Chloe has heaves

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Chloe has heaves

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    09-08-2009, 05:11 PM
Chloe has heaves

Grace (the girl who is leasing out Chloe) called on Friday to tell me that Chloe has heaves. I have owned Chloe for 10 years and she had coughed here and there when we got into heavy workouts but I didn’t think much of it because it was dusty. My horse trailer at the time was an open stock trailer and we would go down the gravel rode with it creating tons of dust inside- at shows she would cough during warm-ups but then would be fine.

Chloe was kept outside 95% of the time and the hay was as clean as we could get and was always fed outside (when she wasn’t stalled)… I’m just baffled that my girl could end up with it but looking back I guess I can see how with the dust that was everywhere.

When talking to Grace I asked what brought on calling the vet. A couple of weeks ago it was the county fair and if you show in the 4-H show you are required to stall during the fair. One night Chloe was found coughing really bad in her stall so they had the vet that was at the fair look at her. She didn’t have a fever, her nose wasn’t runny, no gunk in the eyes… she looked fine and they thought that maybe she just got some dust up her nose (dusty fairgrounds with the lack of rain this summer)…. Then when Grace was riding the other day she was pushing Chloe pretty hard and that’s when she started coughing bad. Grace cooled her down and called the Vet.

The vet is thinking that the heaves are set off from heavy dust. This year we haven’t gotten much rain and things are rather dry. The vet also thought that Chloe has probably had heaves for awhile but they just were never set off badly enough to really be noticed. When Chloe is at rest or even at a moderate pace she doesn’t huff or cough but once she is pushed into the lope/canter that is when her airways are affected.

The vet wants her on a no hay diet with clean grass (not in the dustier pasture out by the gravel rode) and only fed a complete pellet and use of medication like cough free to start with. She has set up for a nutritionist to come out and do a full evaluation on what we should feed Chloe to prevent her from becoming overweight (at this time the vet said she was 50lbs overweight…not bad but it doesn’t help). Since Chloe doesn’t have it really bad at this time we are lucky and hopefully by taking the hay away it will help a lot. Also no stalling on a regular basis- which isn’t a problem since she is on pasture 24/7.

But Grace won a state 4-H horse show trip this year and the show is in less then two weeks. We don’t want her to have any problems while we are there (it is at the mn state fairgrounds) she will be stalled 3 nights. Has anyone ever used air powder? I found it online and it looks like it is used to help performance by opening up the airways. Before I called the vet I was just wondering if it works.

Anyways I just had to get this off from my chest- I thought I was doing everything I could for my girl but I guess we all get surprises. Everything should be ok as long as we take the precautions. What are others experiences?
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    09-08-2009, 07:41 PM
My Dixie was diagnosed with heaves this summer. Her's is actually due to something in the pasture, so the more I keep her in the barn, the better she is. I've been able to let her out for about 2 hours a day, any more than that and we really have a setback. She is on Dexamethasone and Breath Ease, and is doing fairly well now.

I still feed her plenty of hay (to alleviate her boredom from being stalled). I got a hay net for her and really stuff it. But I DO soak all of her hay, thoroughly, actually dump the flakes in the water trough and completely cover it with water and let it sit 5 or 10 minutes before loading it to the hay net and then tying it up in her stall. I've also been feeding her soaked alfalfa cubes and have her on Nutrena Safe Choice pellet feed.

The good news with Dixie is... it's seasonal. As soon as the cooler, less humid days arrive we should see her back to normal.

I was really bummed out when I first discovered she had heaves. She was given to me (I've learned my lesson, even a free horse should be vetted). But she's been so good with her treatment, with being stalled, etc., that as long as I can manage her and it doesn't cost me an arm and a leg, I will keep her. The Dex is $20.00 for a bottle, and it lasts me a good month. I've not been able to get her off it, but she's getting 3cc in her food daily. I've tried going to every other day, but it really sets her back. I'm going to try the every other day again as the weather cools more. The Breath Ease was $120.00 at the vet, but someone on the forum posted a link to where I can buy it online for only $63.00.
    09-08-2009, 07:47 PM
I just wanted to mention, my vet told me that as long as her air way was inflammed I should not exercise her at all. If your girl is really having difficulty with breathing, I'd not take her to the fair, it could really cause a setback. Talk to your vet about this.

There is no way I could ride Dixie right now. She'd get to coughing so hard it would be impossible to ask her to work.

FWIW, the Cough Free did nothing for Dixie. We went through a bucket of it with no results whatsoever.

Never heard of the air powder. Again, ask your vet about it.
    09-09-2009, 08:12 AM
Thanks for the info... At this time Chloe is not be ridden and is on grass turnout (what the vet said to do) But Chloe doesnt get the flarred nostriles or puffing from just standing around (that is what I read online as a symptom- is that correct?) only when working at a lope/canter. From what I have been told she is very aleart and full of life like normal... when I talked to the vet on the phone she told me that Chle did not have it full on but more of a minor "asthma attack"... heaves is all too new for me.

Last I saw Chloe was the 15th of August and other then a couple of coughs while Grace was warming up she looked really healthy (but then it started raining which settled the dust). I wish I could see her and moniter on a daily basis but she is over two and a half hours away which makes it tough.

As far as the state show we will be getting vet approval before she does bring her. I think they have the vet schedualed to come out mid next week to do another check on her since if Grace doesnt go to the show then it gets passed on to another 4-Her and we would like to give that family a couple days to pull things together.

Right now there is grass for her to eat but im not sure if we are going to put her on a pellet or soaked hay for winter... I just don't know how well it will work to soak the hay when it is below freezing out.

Thanks again for your info and telling me your expierence- sorry to hear your horse is having a really hard time and I hope she gets better soon. Have a great day!!!
    09-09-2009, 11:56 AM
Glad you are working with your vet.

To see how Dixie breathes, you can look at the video I posted in the Horse Video section, called "Morning Chores". I show on there how she uses her abdomen to push out the air in her lungs. It's very unmistakable.

Hopefully Chloe is just having a problem with the dust and will be good as new in no time!
    09-09-2009, 01:46 PM
I have a mini, that has heaves, my vet gave me Dexamethasone. It seemed to help some, but not totally, I asked him about giving benedryl, (somewhere I heard about that), so he gave me the recommended dosage, and it seemed the benedryl helps him wonderfully. And he loves it, but I think he loves anything you feed him, he will stand patiently while I measure it, and takes the syringe without even being haltered.....strange little guy. But the benedryl works, ask your vet about that.
    09-09-2009, 01:52 PM
This company has a paste you can give pre-performance and a supplement for situations such as the fairgrounds.

Oxy-Gen, Essential animal nutrition, livestock, equine, supplement, performance and show feeds
    09-10-2009, 07:50 AM
Thanks MLS... something I will have to look into.

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