COPD/heaves advice please! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 09-11-2010, 04:02 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: NY
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COPD/heaves advice please!


I need some advice on COPD. I just recently got a mare who has a COPD. It was diagnosed in June, and she used to live in MD. She is now in NY. She did very well when we got her originally, but we had to pull the horses off the pasture because it wasn't growing anymore, and they are now in a sacrifice area (pasture is 3 acres). Also, they are out 24/7 w/ access to a 3-sided shelter and woods. I've done quite a bit of research on COPD, with most of it suggesting removing hay from the diet and replacing it w/ pellets or cubes. I also have her on Breather Powder from Springtime inc (though this is new and not taking effect yet) and a small dose of dex pills. Being that I can't remove hay from her diet, does anyone have any suggestions on what to use that wuold help, or any kinds of hay that would be better for her? Our hay is round bales, but it was baled dry and stored inside. We don't have a barn, so she isn't inside a stall at all. I'd appreciate any advice here. Thanks!

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post #2 of 6 Old 09-11-2010, 04:08 PM
Join Date: May 2010
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If it is fed just left out in a roundbale there isn't much you can do I don't think. If it is forked into the paddock daily you could soak it first.

Myth= Free/Cheap horses are expensive.
Indy was $150 we keep her in a pasture with a shed for free and she is brushed and fussed over dailey. Other then deworming and feet trimming she isn't costing us anything.
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post #3 of 6 Old 09-11-2010, 04:25 PM
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Pennsylvania
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Rinse her hay. Get a muck bucket and filler' up with water. Dunk that hay and let it set a minute or two. It will knock the dust off of it.

Keep her out as much as possible as barn dirt and dust only makes it worse. Her 'good' season should be coming up. Fall and winter are best for them. The cool air really helps their lungs.

If she is grained, make sure that isn't dusty either. If it is, buy a dollar store kitchen strainer and dunk her grain too.

If you do ride her, warm up is the most important part of your ride. If you warm her up nice and slow, atleast 20 minutes, she should be less likely to have an attack. Its that jumping on and taking off that really sets them off.

Have you talked to your vet about getting her a 'rescue inhaler'? We had one for freckles that was a 'just incase' she had a bad attack. She would start coughing and really just couldn't stop. They are expensive but worth it. Especially if she seems like she is fine, take her out on trail and have her have a attack. It takes about 10 minutes to really kick in but once it does, the vet said she would be fine to atleast get back home, if not continue the ride.

Good luck with her!
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post #4 of 6 Old 09-11-2010, 07:46 PM
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Illinois
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We have a gelding which has mild allergies at this point so we make sure that we keep Tri-Hist on hand so it doesn't turn into COPD. You get it from your vet. It is around $50 for a good sized container.

A woman can NEVER have too many horses.....
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post #5 of 6 Old 09-12-2010, 10:43 PM
Join Date: May 2009
Location: CO
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If the hay is fed outdoors, I don't see "as" much trouble with it, given that there is much cleaner air out there, and less risk of the hay dust being breathed in.

I like Cough Free (can't remember who it's by) for different allergy, and coughing issues; it's all natural, and has worked really well for me. I've gotten if from fleet supply stores, and online at, as well as

"The ideal horseman has the courage of a lion, the patience of a saint, and the hands of a woman..."
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post #6 of 6 Old 09-16-2010, 07:07 PM
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Camden, AR
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I have a friend that had a horse with COPD (we finally had to have her put down), and she had great success with Cough Free. The biggest reason that she had to be put down was because she finally got sick enough that she lost all of her weight, and no matter what we did, she wouldn't put any of it back on. She was outside 24/7, except at feed time, and then it was only long enough to eat her grain, and then leave. The horses had free access to 3 round bales, so she had plenty of roughage when you figure in the pasture as well. She just wouldn't put her weight back on, and had gotten to the point where she was always heaving, even during the winter, so we done what was best for her, and had her put down. Wanda had her for several years with good health, but the last couple she started going down hill no matter what we done. She tried everything to save that horse, and I ended up having to hold Wanda up as the horse went down. Her story is also a good example of "A free horse isn't really free!"
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