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This is a discussion on Coughing? within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

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    03-13-2012, 12:32 AM
Question Coughing?

Hello!! (:
For about two years my mare has been coughing whenever we start to trot. She'll cough for one or two rounds. It kind of worries me, but my riding instructor just brushes it off and makes jokes saying "she has asthma! Hahah"
I'd really like to know why she coughs.
It doesn't matter if we're in the dusty indoor, or clear outdoor. It doesn't matter if it's wet or dry, warm or cold. She ALWAYS coughs.
She only coughs when it's our first transition into the trot.
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    03-13-2012, 02:21 AM
I called the vet out once for my boy for this reason. Paid a $97 farm call, and nearly $400 in xrays for him to basically tell me that:
Since my horse lives in a stall, and is bedded in shavings, the dust and yuck can cause irritation, and has to work itself out. Which is what he does when we begin to hack around and he coughs or sneezes a couple times.

If you're REALLY concerned, then you should call your vet.
    03-13-2012, 08:24 AM
Alright(; thank you
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    03-13-2012, 09:37 AM
Although your trainer may have intended to be funny, my horse does have asthma...or heaves. It is a very serious issue. I use a supplement for her to help make breathing easier. I would watch her, it might just be that she is clearing her lungs but it could be more and if it is something more serious it is best to catch it early. :)
    03-13-2012, 09:59 AM
Donīt worry, itīs quite common in horses. And also in humans - when I go jogging, I also cough a few times until I get in the right breathing rhythm. The dust the horse inhales in stable gets deep in its lungs and when the horse starts to breathe deeper, the dust has to go out somehow.
Also some authors say horses cough because of a bit (causing stiffening of mouth, tongue, soft palate, epiglotis and larynx, leading to laryngeal fremitus)... but it doesnīt seem probable to me.
    03-13-2012, 10:01 AM
So should I try riding with a halter on? I ususlly don't unkess im just walking
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    03-13-2012, 10:18 AM
Originally Posted by Lexiie    
So should I try riding with a halter on? I ususlly don't unkess im just walking
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Personally I donīt believe a bit could cause such a problem, unless you ride your horse like "rollkur style" or something like that. I wouldnīt pay attention to coughing as you said one or two rounds. Maybe if the horse had another breathing problems or the cough was severe (horse stops, refuses to move forward and coughs with its head low, canīt breathe in properly etc.)... but thatīs not your case ;) Our school horses caugh sometimes, too, after starting a faster work under saddle.
    03-13-2012, 10:54 AM
Alrighty. Thank you very much for the info everybody!
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    03-13-2012, 11:39 AM
One of mine does that at the start of most rides. If the cough ends with a sneeze I don't worry.
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    03-13-2012, 12:32 PM
My daughters horse does the coughing thing at the start of every ride Then he does a big sneeze. I wouldnt worry about it as long as his breathing is good and not labored he's just clearing out the dust an stuff.

asthma, coughing, sickness, sore throat

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