Okay...so there are a few threads on this, but they didn't have many responses and didn't answer the same questions I have so I'm going to start a fresh one. I noticed my horse making a wheezing sound when I was riding a few weeks ago. Since we were doing a lot of difficult things, I didn't think much of it, and it was normal when I was brushing her both before and after the ride. Over the last week, I've heard it a few times when she's eating and breathes in. She also has a runny nose--clear discharge, not a TON, but more than usual. I called the vet and left a message. When he called me back, he said that it is probably heaves and to either take her off of hay or soak her hay to remove the dust. He also suggested keeping her out at night. I figure it's worth a try even without knowing for sure and if it doesn't work I'll have the vet come out and test for other things. Here is where the decision making gets difficult....
I called the BO to talk to her about it and she said the soaking hay and other things out of the norm for her routine would cost extra. That part is okay with me, I'm sure it won't be much and it's just not an issue. Then, she brought up the fact that they had just started eating off round bales a few weeks ago (when this seems to have started happening). They eat off of square bales for most of the year, and since (I think) round bales contain more dust, that could have just triggered her because it's not what she's used to. I don't know if I should ask her to change things all around or if I should wait it out some and see if things improve? What experiences have other people had? I've been researching COPD/heaves online, and it seems scary, but the vet didn't seem extremely worried. He said that for now to try this, and that if she coughs much more significantly or wheezes 24/7 that he'll need to check her out. Any advice/experience/etc would be good to reflect on. I have made contact with the vet and am asking questions and will continue to do so....but sometimes hearing from other people is useful as well.
A horse is the projection of peoples' views about themselves--strong, powerful, beautiful--and it has the capability of giving us escape from our mundane existance.