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This is a discussion on Heaves? within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • Is it dangerous to ride a horse with heaves
  • Is horse heaves contagous

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    09-07-2010, 02:49 AM

My 20 yr old mare is having difficulty breathing..she is constantly coughing..labored breathing and wheezing..i rode her 20 feet and she was completly out of breath and couldnt go any further when she coughed while I was on her, her back legs almost gave out on her every time she cougs whether being exercised or not and when she walks and was being ridn she held her head low to the ground and she is usually high headed for she is a gaited horse..when she breathes her stomach muscles contract and she has a VERY bad heave line and her nostrils are aways flared she seems like she is in pain when she breathes and her ribs are more visible than usual and they have been a couple years because of her age but now more so than usual... when she walks she feels different and she has shorter steps with her back legs and she kinda hops a little bit she just looks all wrong and feels wrong when walking..she absolutley will NOT go faster than a slow walk and hasnt been put up in a stable in around 5 yrs she is in a 7 acre plot with 3 other horses she has been coughing for awhile now ....idk what to do!!!!!
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    09-07-2010, 02:51 AM
She as coughs constantly....she will cough between 5 and 10 times than stop and about 5 min later sometimes 10 she will cough like that again
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    09-07-2010, 02:52 AM
She also coughs constantly....she will cough between 5 and 10 times than stop and about 5 min later sometimes 10 she will cough like that again
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    09-07-2010, 02:54 AM
Call the vet call the vet call the vet!

I sort of hope what you are describing is exaggerating to explain, she sounds miserable!

My horse had a terrible cough that the vet thought might have been heaves. We had a whole game plan for things to try and what to do if that didn't work. You should really immediately work out something like that so you can find the root of the issue and help her feel better as soon as possible.

He listened the the horse's lungs and throat and was incredibly concerned by what he heard and that he was coughing without being exercised. My horse was NOT anywhere near as bad as you described and the vet considered it very serious and it required immediate treatment.

It turned out to be some weird environmental change that may have had to do with the season / the weather / something in the air but it eventually cleared up and hasn't been heard from sense *knock on wood* but the safest thing to do is call one out immediately because at the very least they can offer her some relief from the pain and stress!
    09-07-2010, 10:10 AM
Call the vet and have her scoped

    09-07-2010, 10:29 AM
Im not usually one to jump on the call the vet bandwagon but c'mon girl...call the vet.

We had a horse with severe heaves at our farm and the vet described it to be a constant asthma attack for horses. If your lucky, its just a nasty cold that NEEDS VET ATTENTION.
    09-07-2010, 10:30 AM
Yes, you need to stop riding her. It could be inflammatory and manageable or it could be more permenant. If it is an acute inflammatory process (doesn't sound like it since she has a heave line = been going on for some time) then you could turn it into a chronic/unmanageable condition by continuing to ignore it and riding her. For god's sake STOP RIDING HER. Call the vet ASAP.
    09-07-2010, 12:37 PM
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I'd call the vet, especially since there are other horses in the field with her. I could be something contagious although it doesn't sound like it.

Have you taken her temp? How dusty is your hay? Have you changed anything in her diet lately?

This really is a "call the vet" situation.

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