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This is a discussion on Heaves??? within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • Heaves horse forums
  • Horse has dry heaving cough

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    07-08-2010, 08:15 PM
Unhappy Heaves???

Hello, I just got a new mare a week and a half ago, I am concerned that she might have heaves. I am fairly new to OWNING horses, so this has me a little freaked out. The person I got her from took her in from a family that was moving out of state. They used her from trail riding.

My mare is 17 years old, current on everything and on a 15 acre pasture with no hay anywhere. After bringing her home, I heard her dry cough twice (one right after the other) I thought nothing of it thinkit could just be from the hay in the trailor. I see her every night and she seemed fine, acting normal. However today, when I went to see her and ride her (it would have been the first time) she just didn't seem like she was breathing normal, at least compared to my other mare... She took long deep breaths, but faster , not like labor breathing. After saddling her up and leading her out, she started the dry cough again. She did it 5/6 times one after the other. I didn't get on her and work her just in case this is actually heaves.

She has also been in season the past few days, so Im not sure if that would have anything to do with it?? Plus we live in the hot state of florida (need I say more :) but it was around 5pm, so it was starting to cool down some.

Does anyone have any experience with heaves? What should I look for? Is this treatable or do I have a horse I can do nothing with? Please help me!! Thanks!
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    07-09-2010, 01:07 AM
A few symptoms of heaves (COPD) is coughing, yellow nasal discharge, and laboured breathing. The horse has trouble with the exhalation, and will appear to exhale 2x in a row. It is like asthsma. I don't think there is a cure, but if not a severe case it can be made managable with prednisone.
That being said, you are going to call your vet to get proper diagnosis and treatment right? Right!
    07-09-2010, 02:23 AM
It could very well be something she is allergic too or a reaction to the change in environment/weather/conditions/etc.

My vet was concerned that my horse had heaves but it came on out of the blue and then went away and so it was concluded it must have just been a reaction to a weather change / seasonal allergy / who knows.

If she didn't have the cough before it could be that. I'd probably have a vet out to listen to her lungs/throat if it doesn't clear up in a week or if she starts showing any sign of distress or trouble breathing.

My guy sounded HORRIBLE in his lungs but it went away and hasn't reared it's head up again. Fingers and toes crossed it has to do with her move and she'll feel better soon!

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