Regarding Heaves - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 10-31-2007, 02:46 AM Thread Starter
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Regarding Heaves

I have this mare about 18. I have had her a couple of years. Right after I got her, I noticed sometimes her breathing was labored. Brought vet out, yep heaves, known now as copd. I have her on
tri-hist daily. Most of the time she is good, can ride her for miles no problem. Lately its been bad. I have put her in another pasture, with another one of my horses, take some of the hay out of round feeder, shake it out and hose it down with water, so there is no dust. Does anyone know of any other products to use, that would be liquid instead of granual ( i mix tri-hist with apple sauce and use a syringe to orally give it to her) and a different product that works. Talked to a couple vets. Or any other advice on how to care for her. No I am not getting rid of her, just looking for some constructive advice on solutions.
thankyou, cathryn[/b]
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post #2 of 6 Old 10-31-2007, 10:07 AM
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The most important factors in controlling heaves are management of the environment. Antihistamines may help lower the number of attacks due to the fact that allergies most likely serve as a part of the trigger, but no amount of antihistamines or supplements are going to replace changing her environmental conditions. Limiting her exposure to dust, mold, etc is your number 1 priority. And in those instances where you do have an attack, you need to implement treatment with steroids and a bronchiodilator immediately. The sooner you treat an attack the quicker she will recover and the less risk of permanent damage to the lungs.

Simply hosing down her hay is not enough as it only controls the irritants for a few minutes because as soon as any of the hay starts drying you have irritants floating around again. And even though you cannot see dust, there is dust and irritants in your hay--it's just the nature of the beast. Hay should be served IN water and allow the horse to fish it out for best result. And along with hay a ration balancer or vitamin/mineral supplement should be available as soaking hay can leech a bit of the nutrient content.

You may also wish to join the yahoo group for owners of horses with COPD_Heaves:

Cindy D.
Licensed Veterinary Technician
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post #3 of 6 Old 11-01-2007, 05:43 PM
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Hello there!
Have you tried feeding alfalfa cubes? I manage 36 horses at a ranch, and a few of them have heaves that I have to control. Feeding cubes has made a huge difference. Of course, you should talk to your vet about switching over, if you're interested, and finding out a new diet for your horse. It is virtually dust-free and very easy on the lungs. To eliminate all of the dust, cubes can also be soaked and served as a mash, however some horses won't eat wet cubes, but it's worth a shot. You can make a nice mash up with different "ingredients" or just try straight cubes. All of the horses here will choose cubes over hay when offered the choice - they find them very tasty, so it's not hard to "convince" a horse that it's a good switch. Also, it is very comparable in price to hay.
I hope I've helped!

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post #4 of 6 Old 11-01-2007, 05:46 PM
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p.s. feed should always be fed on the ground, as the horse's body is designed to pick up and eat food found on the ground. This might help as well if you're not currently doing it.

The lovely images above provided by CVLC Photography
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post #5 of 6 Old 11-02-2007, 04:49 PM
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Location: Covington, LA
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I have a mini that has heaves. I live in Louisiana, so in the summer its hot, and that is when he is bothered the most. This past summer, I asked my vet if I could try benedryl, he said to try it, and it has worked better than any of the prescriptions that the vet has given him. So when he is wizing, I give him a dose. And now he actually laps it up, he loves it. Ask your vet about the same. Hope it helps.
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post #6 of 6 Old 11-04-2007, 10:08 PM Thread Starter
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regarding all the people that gave advice

I just wanted to thankyou for all the wonderful replies, it made me feel very good and it was great advice. thanks again
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