Need Some Help and Advice!

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Need Some Help and Advice!

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    01-24-2009, 04:46 AM
Exclamation Need Some Help and Advice!

Hey I was wondering if I could get some advice..

I got a 19 year old toughroughbred mare, she is sound and very sweet.. Although her previous owner had informed me that she has a sort of cough from being raced too young.. so she coughs alot, she has pills for it everyday though, and the more she's exercised the less she coughs, but now that is the least of my problems.. she seems to be loosing weight alot, and she isn't eating as much as she sould.. she's eating high fat and fiber, beat pulp grain and alot of hay.. but she's lost alot of weight.. She also was spoiled before I got her, they blanketed her all winter and kept her in a warm barn so her coat never really grew in, and now she's in a little colder of a barn but she's still blanketed with a winter blanket, I had the vet check her the other day and he floated her teeth, I thought maybe that could be a possibility to why she wasent eating all that much, he also said she has heeves.. I was thinking of giving her Senior feed, but I am really unsure of what to do.. I am looking to board her in a warmer barn but I don't know what to do about the weight issue and the heeves.. please help! Thank you.
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    01-24-2009, 04:05 PM
Green Broke
Does it have snot and mucus coming out of it's nose? (Sorry forgot if it was a mare or gelding!)
    01-24-2009, 04:29 PM
Nope no liquid from the nose, she just breaths funny... she puts her head down alot too so im going to try putting her hay and water up so maybe it will help her when she eats what do you think I should do.. is there a cure?
    01-24-2009, 05:10 PM
I personally wouldn't put her food and hay up. It's really not natural for the horse to be eating like that.

What I would do is soak her hay and grains that she gets so it isn't dusty, and I would even think to not have her in a stall. It can be rather dusty in there and the dust will just irritate her more. Though if there is no shelter for her to be in outdoors, you'll have to bring her in.

This website has some good info on how to manage heaves

How heavy is her winter blanket and how cold is it where you live? If it's really cold, and her blanket isn't all that heavy you might have to put another blanket on her, especially if she's losing weight.

I hope this helps
    01-24-2009, 05:55 PM
I don't recommend putting her feed up higher. Keep it at ground level if possible. Horses put their heads down to help clear their nasal passages. They are meant to eat from ground level as well. If you can soak/wet down the hay it will help a lot with heaves. Dust bothers them a lot. Best to keep them outside rather than stalled whenever possible also.

Oops, didn't see your post appylover. Sorry for the repeat.
    01-24-2009, 06:04 PM
That's quite alright Appyt!
    01-24-2009, 10:28 PM
My mom's mare had heeves, bad allergies etc. She would have her good seasons and bad seasons. It seemed to come on with dusty hay. I would try to keep her stall as dust free as possible (you can purchase chunkier shavings or use straw, but straw is a pain in the butt) We would also soak her food to cut down on the dust intake as well. When she was really bad we put her on cough free, seemed to work pretty well.
    01-25-2009, 12:37 AM
Heaves is a chronic condition that can worsen over time from the bronchiolles becoming narrower due to remodelling ("scarring"). So, preventing attacks is the most important thing you can do for these management is the biggest part of "treatment".

The very very very first thing you need to do is to cut hay out of the diet and replace it with a complete feed or forage cubes or if you can't do that then serve her hay soaking in water. This is because airborn irritants trigger attacks and a horse with it's nose in hay has it's nose in millions of airborn irritants--unless the hay is soaking wet. Turnout is also very important because barns harbor lots of dust, fungi, molds, etc that also are irritants that can trigger attacks. So, even in winter a horse with heaves should be turned out as much as absolutely possible. A 3 sided shelter and a heavy waterproof turnout blanket are sufficient in most cases for even bad winter weather. A single exposure to airborn irritants can affect your horse for 3 days. And your horse is getting daily exposure.

When an attack occurs (anytime you notice the breathing issue getting worse) you need to treat immediately--usually with a steroid and a bronchiodialator. Again, this is because each attack can permanently narrow the bronchiolles in the lungs and make breathing harder even when an attack isn't occuring.

Taking care of these sorts of management things will likely help the overall health as well as weight since a part of the "not eating" issue may be simply that the horse can't breath well so doesn't feel like eating.
    01-25-2009, 06:01 PM
Green Broke
I agree, outside as much as possible is best for heeves. Make sure she's turned out with a friend. Dust as well as ammonia from urine in the bedding can aggravate heeves,.

For her weight gain, I'd put her on a diet of free choice bermuda or grass hay, plus the following, split into two feedings:
  • 3-6 lbs of alfalfa pellets or cubes, wetted down or soaked
  • 2-3 lbs of whole or crimped oats
  • 1-2 lbs of stabilized rice bran
  • Source Focus SR supplement
  • plus a general vitamin supplement
Keep her blanketed, but keep her turned out as much as possible. Use a weight tape and track her weight once a week, same day and same time of day. If she doesn't begin gaining weight on this diet after 3-4 weeks, I'd have her scoped for ulcers.

Once she's up to a good weight, slowly taper her back to 1-2 lbs of alfalfa, 1-1.5 lbs of oats, no rice bran or just 1/4-1/2 cup, and cut out the Source supplement.

Besides her diet, I would also deworm her a bit more thoroughly. Give her Tape Care+ now, Quest in 4 weeks, then Equimax 10 weeks after that. That should clear her out of parasites.
    01-25-2009, 07:00 PM
Again, hay should only be fed soaking or as a wet cubes. I can't stress that enough.

As for the deworming recommendation above, that is way overkill for the time of year and location of this horse, deworming for tapes too often/inappropriate times and using ivermectin sooner after Quest than necessary.

If worms MIGHT be a problem in this horse (she hasn't been dewormed after the freezing temps set in) then it would be best to go ahead and get a fecal egg count done. If the egg count is high, then deworming with ivermectin would be a good idea (ivermectin/praziquantel if she hasn't been dewormed for tapes since the end of the grazing season). Then start deworming again in the spring. If she has been dewormed with ivermectin or moxidectin since the freezing temps set in there is no reason to deworm at this point because the winter is the time of lowest reinfection rates in Canada.

Moxidectin is should not be used in a debilitated (sick, underweight) horse.

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