Heaves-When is it the end? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 04-10-2013, 07:12 PM Thread Starter
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Heaves-When is it the end?

I have a horse with heaves. I've only had her for about 2 yrs and she just recently had a severe bout with heaves. Before she has had coughing especially with light exercise and in retrospect, must be the heaves. She is doing okay now but she is 19. She is hard to keep weight on. I'm thinking about how her future is going to be. When is enough enough?
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post #2 of 17 Old 04-10-2013, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by kateortamar View Post
I have a horse with heaves. I've only had her for about 2 yrs and she just recently had a severe bout with heaves. Before she has had coughing especially with light exercise and in retrospect, must be the heaves. She is doing okay now but she is 19. She is hard to keep weight on. I'm thinking about how her future is going to be. When is enough enough?
What steps have you taken to control her symptoms? What do you feed her? What is her environment?
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post #3 of 17 Old 04-10-2013, 08:06 PM
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Environment is key. The disease is irreversible, but symptoms can be non-existent when the horse is being kept dust- free. Living outside, on pasture, also in winter, and hay and any feed wet. Or a dust- and mold free hay substitute.
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post #4 of 17 Old 04-10-2013, 08:24 PM
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I'm curious, not thread jacking here, but a horse that develops heaves as an adult, say 5 - 10 yrs of age.....is the horse incapable of any kind of exertion without becoming breathless??
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post #5 of 17 Old 04-10-2013, 08:48 PM Thread Starter
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She stays indoors at night in the winter but in the summer she is outdoors all day. Her pasture had a bad round bale which is what set her episode off. She is boarded and all the pastures have round bales. She doesnt have access to it now and may go into a pasture where the horses get only flaked hay. She has a heave line which I used to think was from being a broodmare. Now I know it is, in fact, a heave line. She has also coughed periodically before without exercise and I never thought much of it; thinking it was just a cold.

Her pasture typically has little grass so can be slightly dusty. The problem is that I have no control over her environment because she is boarded.
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post #6 of 17 Old 04-10-2013, 08:50 PM Thread Starter
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Oh, by the way, she gets senior feed pellets and flaked mixed alfalfa hay twice a day.
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post #7 of 17 Old 04-10-2013, 09:05 PM
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If you do not move her, she will not last long with her head buried in a round bale -- even good hay, much less crappy hay.

If you want to keep her going at all, you are going to have to put her where you can feed her hay daily and sprinkle it down.

Have you consulted a Vet. Most will give you a prescription for Ventipulmin syrup. Google it. It is pretty effective in helping breathing, but nothing is going to do any good as long as this horse has to eat round bales. Stalling a heavy horse is also bad. Being out on grass is best. Next best thing is out in a big pen or a pasture with sprinkled down good quality hay.

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post #8 of 17 Old 04-10-2013, 09:23 PM
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The only way to keep her symptom free is keep her away from roundbales, like, yesterday, in fact, as of now, the only way she can have hay is wet, or maybe, if it's good quality hay, in a slowfeeder haynet, where she cannot bury her nose in, has to take a strand at a time...which, in turn, would also help with her weight.
If you can't get that at the place you board, find another place.
The Ventipulmin Cherie mentioned didn't do a thing for my heavy mare. I've seen others where it did wonders. It is pricey.
Have you consulted a vet?
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post #9 of 17 Old 04-10-2013, 09:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Muppetgirl View Post
I'm curious, not thread jacking here, but a horse that develops heaves as an adult, say 5 - 10 yrs of age.....is the horse incapable of any kind of exertion without becoming breathless??
It depends....if it's caught early on and there's a complete change of environment as mentioned, symptoms can be completely absent. But that means no playing around," oh, it's so cold out, poor horse, I can't leave him out" or "don't have time to wet the hay".
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post #10 of 17 Old 04-10-2013, 11:32 PM Thread Starter
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When I said she doesnt have access to round bails now, I meant she doesnt have access. She is getting only flaked hay. Of course I had the vet out. She is on ventipulim, had bactrim antibiotics and is weaning off of prednisone. I am not a complete idiot. However as I have never had a horse with heaves, I really want to know by others who have had experience, what eventually happened with your horses with heaves. What if it stays mild?
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