A friend of mine asked to post the story of her horse's health problems here, in hope that somebody will be able to share similar experience or any ideas at all, because she's tried everything now and is quite at loss.
This is Radis, her horse -
Radis is a 10 years old gelding. He has a "parrot mouth" (the upper jaw goes over the lower jaw), a couple of missing front teeth after a pasture accident and an incorrect bite. He puts on weight very slowly and is hard to keep it.
He's been living in a 24/7 pasture board since February 2011. Before that, he was kept in a stable overnight. Until that, he had no history of any respiratory problems, coughing or anything alike. However, in October 2011, when the horses were moved to the winter paddock, he was first seen coughing. A vet came, did an endoscopy and discovered some scarring in his trachea. He was prescribed a 10 day course of silicea30 (a homeopathic remedy) and a month of complete rest.
However, after a month the coughing was still there. The vet now prescribed pulsatilla 200c, three doses with an interval of 12 hours. After that, Radis was still observed coughing from time to time with no regularity. The coughing has always been "dry", with no sputum, runny nose or other such symptoms. He was started on light working, but in December 2011 the owner noticed that Radis had started breathing a bit heavier than normal.
The vet came, listened to the horse's lungs and found no problems, however, in the beginning of January 2012 his coughing became worse and now regular. Radis was prescribed silicea200c, three doses with an interval of 12 hours. During January Radis was also given natrum muraticum30c and ehinacea30c for his immune system and skin, because he developed light rain rot and some lice were discovered on him.
In the beginning of February he had light colic. Then, for about two weeks, the coughing dissapeared and was not seen or heard not a single time, but at the end of the month it suddenly returned again and Radis started breathing heavily. The vet came and found out that Radis was breathing and his heart was beating two times faster than normal. Radis was then prescribed three doses of lycopodium200 in an interval of 12 hours and gradual increase of lunging and riding.
Additionally to daily feed (free-range good quality hay, good quality oats 2 times a day), Radis gets also Iceland moss and, when it doesn't conflict with the homeopathic remedies, different phytotherapeutic herbal mixes.
Now, he is still coughing heavily and starts breathing heavy fast when working. Still, he has lots of energy, seems content, moves willingly with the rider and also in free movements, out in the pastures. The last few weeks he's had loose stools, in which incompletely digested hay can be observed.
He isn't allergic to dust (of which there is little), the temperatures have varied a lot, he doesn't seem sensitive to rain and wind, and none of the other horses present similar symptoms. One of the vets has made a guess that he might have something anatomically wrong in his airways, but, to check that, an operation has to be done. We also have just a few competent horse vets around here and the owner is really running out of options.