Helping a Horse with Heaves? - The Horse Forum

 
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post #1 of 8 Old 02-26-2013, 02:36 PM Thread Starter
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Question Helping a Horse with Heaves?

Yesterday, my horse got diagnosed with heaves. The vet told me that I could soak her hay and stuff but is there anything I can do to really solve the problem? Also, the vet had also noticed that she had lost a bit of muscle mass. What can I do to build that back up? I only really noticed my horse coughing when I would ride her. But then when the vet came later yesterday afternoon she started coughing even while she was being examined. However, even though our vet is almost positive it is heaves, she did take a blood sample to rule out any infection. Just wondering what I can do to help with heaves and to help build her muscle mass back up.
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post #2 of 8 Old 02-26-2013, 03:26 PM
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There are a lot of feed through supplements out there that will help with both of those issues. I would wait to start a hard work out routine to build up muscle until the heaves is under control- did your vet give you any suggestions medically? You can try to improve her environment as best as possible- eliminating as much dust and other irritants as possible etc. Talk to your vet about switching bedding, moving her to an outdoor stall or pasture board where there is more ventilation- things like that. She isn't going to be able to easily build up muscle until she can breath properly while working, so the heaves needs to be addressed medically first.
Best of luck!

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post #3 of 8 Old 02-26-2013, 04:16 PM
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There is no cure to my knowledge.
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post #4 of 8 Old 02-26-2013, 05:48 PM
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There is no cure for heaves once they have it its for life all you can do is control it with medication. Keep her outside as much as possible feed good clean dust free and mold fee hay. As far as work and building muscle depends on how bad her heaves are and if she can be worked. If her breathing is very labored you arent going to beable to work her much if at all. I own a horse with heaves when she was being riden her being worked depended on how her breathing was that day. If she was having a good day I rode if she was having a bad heave day she got it off.
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post #5 of 8 Old 02-26-2013, 07:46 PM
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I'd double check with your vet on any exercise program to build muscle. My mare has what my vet calls "low grade heaves" and he encourages my riding her. We just do lighter/easier workouts when she is having coughing episodes. So much will depend on what your horses respiratory capacity actually is.

As others said, there is no cure however, management can make a huge difference. Keeping your horse outside as much as possible (but in a low dust area) and soaking hay can really do wonders for a heavey horse. Also, when your horse does need to be in a stall, trailer, etc. moistening any bedding can help keep dust down and prevent outbreaks as well. Keeping any riding areas dust free is a good idea also.

Heaves doesn't have to be a career ending diagnosis. My girl still competes in both traditional shows and competitive trail rides with no problems. She has only had flare-ups when our lovely Michigan weather has required her to be stalled for multiple days at a time.
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post #6 of 8 Old 02-26-2013, 09:06 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SunnyK01 View Post
I'd double check with your vet on any exercise program to build muscle. My mare has what my vet calls "low grade heaves" and he encourages my riding her. We just do lighter/easier workouts when she is having coughing episodes. So much will depend on what your horses respiratory capacity actually is.

As others said, there is no cure however, management can make a huge difference. Keeping your horse outside as much as possible (but in a low dust area) and soaking hay can really do wonders for a heavey horse. Also, when your horse does need to be in a stall, trailer, etc. moistening any bedding can help keep dust down and prevent outbreaks as well. Keeping any riding areas dust free is a good idea also.

Heaves doesn't have to be a career ending diagnosis. My girl still competes in both traditional shows and competitive trail rides with no problems. She has only had flare-ups when our lovely Michigan weather has required her to be stalled for multiple days at a time.
My horses are never inside. They have a horse shed with concrete floors that they go in as they need to. What kind of exercises can I do with her to build muscle?
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post #7 of 8 Old 02-26-2013, 09:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndreaOllendick View Post
My horses are never inside. They have a horse shed with concrete floors that they go in as they need to. What kind of exercises can I do with her to build muscle?
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If they are already outside, I'd definitely start soaking the hay if you aren't already.

Once you ask your vet about how much exercise your horse can handle, there are lots of threads on here about building muscle. I'd hate to suggest anything specific not knowing what they have been cleared for.
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post #8 of 8 Old 02-26-2013, 09:40 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by SunnyK01 View Post
If they are already outside, I'd definitely start soaking the hay if you aren't already.

Once you ask your vet about how much exercise your horse can handle, there are lots of threads on here about building muscle. I'd hate to suggest anything specific not knowing what they have been cleared for.
Makes sense! I'll ask her what she thinks when the blood test comes back tomorrow morning! She just got diagnosed and I just recently noticed the coughing so im sure its not bad but I will definitely wait and see! Thanks! :)
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