COPD in horses

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COPD in horses

This is a discussion on COPD in horses within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

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    01-29-2010, 11:46 AM
Exclamation COPD in horses

I am hoping someone on here can help me..

My old friend has boarded her horse Simon with me for years. We rescued him 8 years ago from slaughter. He had 0% body fat and the vet didnt think he would make it, and wanted to put him down there. We nursed him back to health and simon became a wonderful horse. He is between 18 and 20 years old now, and up until March of '09, he was as spunky as ever, racing my horse down trails in the woods, and jumping anything you put in front of him.

Last March I noticed him really straining to breath. His nostrils were flared to the max, and his whole body jolted with every breath. He was Diagnosed with Cronic Lung Disease. And it is probably the worst I've heard about. It has not been under control since. His owner put a few hundred dollers into him, trying different medicines but nothing helped. The last medicine we had him on (dont have the name on me) she said worked ( I was out of state) and the first day he 'seemed' to be 'better' she tok him out and cantered him on the trailes. Needless to say - he's been worse ever since. And she refused to put another penny into a horse she couldnt ride. After that he lost ALOT of weight. He looked pathetic. WE bought him supplements and bought him extra food. In september she set her mind to having a farmer she knew come pick him up, take him back to his farm, and shoot him in the head. I was ferious. We exchanged many harsh words, and finally she ended up surrendering him to us. We no longer talk to this day, but I am so happy to give Simon ANOTHER chance.

Now I am out of work, expecting a baby, and money is VERY tight. My father helps me tremedously, but doesnt understand how important it is to get Simons condition controlled. A 3 weeks supply of medicing for Simon that supposedly worked last time is $80. On top of that I want to try and get him an inhaler. I called my vet today and they said they would get the exact price but estimated the inhaler piece that goes over his nose $300. I just can't do that :/ Is that something you think I could get used? If so where? Does anyone here have one?

I'm glad to just give simon an extended life, but I'd like to make it as easy as possible for him. I don't think his biggest concern everyday should be to keep breathing :( He still weizes and his sides still strain with every breath - and that's just standing there.
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    01-29-2010, 12:11 PM
Have you used steroids and a bronchiodilater for several days in a row to get his problem under control? Are you currently feeding hay that is not soaking in water? Is he kept in a stall or barn at all?

For the inhaler mask, there are some make-shift options that will cost you next to nothing and work pretty well. Many people use a gallon milk jug and cut the end and cover the edges in duct tape so that it can be placed over the horse's nose.

Focus on management issues and he likely doesn't need medications every day and will breath better. COPD attacks are triggered by airborn irritants like mold, dust, even pollen. He needs to be either getting NO hay and all of his nutrition via a complete feed or hay cubes or having his hay served to him soaking in water. He shouldn't be stalled or in a barn at all. 24/7 turnout with a waterproof turnout blanket when necessary in the winter and possibly a simple run-in shed or a roof on four poles so that he can get under shelter from the rain is the best choice for him. (This is all assuming that his attacks aren't triggered by summer pasture.) It is also possible that using antihistamines on a daily basis (much cheaper than steroids or bronchiodilators) may help to prevent attacks. This is theory at this point, but anecdotal evidence from several owners with horses suffering from heaves indicates that it might work.

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