What Would You Do? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 53 Old 06-16-2010, 09:02 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy What Would You Do?

OK so my friends horse is a 26 yr old arabian. Towards the end of last summer he developed a slight cough....we didn't think much of it but as soon as this spring hit it got progressively worse..FAST. Well we had the vet out and turns out he has COPD. We had another arabian mare two summers ago who had COPD and she ended up having a heart attack after a coughing fit even though she was on meds to open her airway and lungs. Well we now have peanut on medication but he seems to be getting worse...no one is riding him and hasn't for the passed month due to how bad he has gotten. But the other day he was just standing in the field and he had a HORRIBLE hacking his brains off coughing fit. The vet wants to try a new experimental drug but it only has a slight percent chance of working. My friend believes he is going to be miserable for the rest of his life(which is true because he loves to work and not working is making him so anxious) and also we believe the summer heat and dust is not gonna help his condition at all..also his coughing is making it hard for him to eat so he's lost a bit of weight.....He is an amazing sweetheart of a horse and would do anything you asked him......we think he is too good of a horse to just let him die from a coughing fit or suffer with breathing so my friend is considering putting him down. Do you think we should try the experimental medication first before putting him down, or just let him go peacefully while he's happy before his condition gets worse or the weather gets hotter?

This is a vid of him from a month ago at the end it shows one of his less severe fits(it carried on after the camera stopped rolling) His fits have gotten so much worse now

~ Hope is never light years away ~
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post #2 of 53 Old 06-17-2010, 01:16 AM
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I didn't know what COPD was so I searched it and I scanned the results and I saw reoccuring statements saying COPD is basically horse asthma.

As a child even before I could remember doctors were poking we with their needles and determining what I was allergic to. So for around 25 years or so I had SEVERE allergies to pollens, dust, etc. And through that whole period I was taking shots popping soo many different pills squirting liquids up my nostrils inhaling inhalants using eye drops all to try and remedy my severe allergies and asthma. The asthma was a byproduct that would show up when the allergies showed up.

Finally I was tired of feeling so miserable and I told myself that the human body can heal, etc.... And I quit taking ALL my medications and prescriptions. Well over a three year period or so my allergies tapered off to where year after year they reduced to where I pretty much can now run through fields full of pollen, I can throw bales of hay in the hay shed. And I would say my allergic reactions are probably around 1% of what they used to be, probably less than that even. Nowadays I may get a sneeze or two every so often and that's it.

"I'm trying to get to the point but first I need to build the foundation. LOL"

Last year I would say I had probably about 20% or more of my allergies still. But sometime towards the end of the summer last year I learned about cleansing the body using fasts, or eating living foods rich with enzymes. I learned about liver flushing, colon cleansing, basically all the stuff you can do to pull all the toxins outta the body. And so I began with some of all this cleansing stuff and it began to work.

I had other stuff besides allergies at the time so I could tell how effective everything I was doing for myself was working.

"Phew. Ok that's enough. I just get so excited to share with people how to have a radiant living body full of energy."

Basically this is what I'm trying to get at. DETOX that Horse

Animals have bodies with livers, colons, kidneys, etc... All the same filters we have. And they too get clogged up from the water they drink if it's local city water, from the food they eat when it's grown with fertilizers and pestecides, all the un-natural supplemets they are fed, vaccinations, the polluted air, toxins passed on from the parents, the list can go on and on.

I would detox the horse. I would not load up the horse with any more drugs. Drugs typically don't cure the cause, they only cover up symptoms. True healing can only come from within once the body has dumped all it's toxins and it's nourished with foods and herbs/supplements that promote life.

Here's a story I wanted to share about putting drugs into the body that I read somewhere on www.curezone.com

Someone was taking some type of prescription pain medication or whatever it was that would cause a type of drugged feeling/effect. And they were taking it and had stopped taking it some 15 years ago. Jump forward to last year and this person was sharing his experience of doing a type of cleanse by fasting. Well basically the body stores toxins all over the place in the body when it's too clogged up to remove em. And so during his fast all his toxins began to dump from his body. And at some point during his fast the liver cleaned up enough to begin processing toxins that were stored in fat, tissues, joints, everywhere. And he began to experience the feeling of those drugs which he hadn't taken for over 15 years. When he took the drugs some 15 years ago the body saw them as toxins so the body encased those toxins to keep em from spreading and stored em in any little nook or cranny it had available or into the fat cells. It did this because the body was already too plugged up to remove any new toxins.

I suppose what I'm trying to say with that story is that when the body is loaded with toxins it can't process em and remove em quicker than they are being ingested and they can stay in the body for an entire lifetime. Matter of fact they can be passed on from the mother to child and the child can go their entire life with those toxins in their body.

Sorry about this really turning into a novel. But I have a confident opinon that the horse has toxins that are just tucked somewhere in the body that can't be processed. A lot of natural herbs/plants help detox the body and build the immune systems. But putting in more drugs are only gonna exacerbate the problems by continuing to load the body with toxins and weakening the immune system. And this I have personally experienced.

I would take a long hard look at all the things the horse is consuming and ask myself are they putting toxins in or are they feeding and nourishing the body. And I would take measures to detox the horse using NATURAL minerals and herbs and nourish it with living food and clean water devoid of poisins such a chlorine and flouride, there's many others in city water typically but those two are very common.

Truth passes through three stages. First it is ridiculed. Second it is violently opposed. Third it is accepted as self evident.
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post #3 of 53 Old 06-17-2010, 01:22 AM
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In all honesty, I think it would be more humane to go ahead and let him go before he gets to the point that he is absolutely miserable all the time. COPD is a progressive disease and in the likely event that this experimental treatment would fail, he would be much worse off than he is now. He has lived a full life and has known love and friendship. IMHO, there is no reason to make him suffer unnecessarily. Though he isn't my horse and it is ultimately your friends decision, that's what I would do if he was mine.

Always remember that feeling of looking at a big, open country over the ears of a good horse, seeing a new trail unwind ahead of you, and that ever-spectacular view from the top of the ridge!!! Follow my training blog: http://robertsontraining.blogspot.com/
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post #4 of 53 Old 06-17-2010, 06:43 AM Thread Starter
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totalfreedom-wow what a novel lol. I don't know if detox would work...but from my experience, if i read it right, when he was not on the meds his cough was pretty bad but it got a bit better when we put him on meds but it has been getting so much worse. Also it is much more complicated than horse asthma he can't breathe all the time unless he has his medicine (which dont even help with the fits too much anymore) so i can't imagine taking him off and having him be even worse....he's 26yrs old I don't know if his body could handle it..as I said earlier we had,(were sold a sweetheart arabian mare and the owners never said anything about the COPD that she had and had her so drugged up you couldnt tell until 2 weeks later...she didnt look or seem at all drugged though it just hid the COPD)but anyway we had the mare and she was even on meds and had a heart attack during her coughing fit and she was only 23yrs.

smorbs--that is what she is leaning more towards right now because he is just getting more miserable every day. He loves to be ridden and that's not happening so he kinda just mopes around. We don't want him to get worse because right now he has times when he is comfortable and we don't want him to have to go out in pain....she has the vet coming out again on friday for him and now her 35 yr old blind horse is walking in circles and not acting herself. She has been very healthy and still is other than a little arthritis we think she's just tired and her body is giving out slowly so unfortunately it might be her time too :(

~ Hope is never light years away ~
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post #5 of 53 Old 06-17-2010, 12:49 PM
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I'll try to keep from typing up a novel this time. LOL

Another thing that could be done if your friend wants to try and save the horse is to keep him on the meds that allow him to breath, but also do a detox for him.

The MOP from that articles is all natural so it would be safe to use while he's on those meds. And if he begins to show improvement I would begin to reduce the meds and then play it by ear.

I'm gonna get that MOP as soon as my debit card gets here and it's pretty cheap stuff. I think it was only 15 or 20 dollars or something.

Another thing about detoxing the body. I think this article mentions it but I'm gonna mention it too. The body typically goes through a healing crisis otherwise known as the herxheimer effect. But it only lasts while a load of toxins are coming out so if your friend does try the detox it may be smart to start at half dose and work up. Or even start at full dose and if it's a pretty bad healing crisis then back off to a half dose until things are going smoother and work back up to the full dose.

For me though when I'm cleansing myself I like to go full strength because I want any healing crisis to be over with quick rather than have less severe symptoms that drag on a little longer. But I've never gone through any herxheimer reaction strong enough that it bothered me that badly.

Healing for the horse is possible. It just takes the right knowledge. And it's a bit sad because the world isn't very aware yet of the true methods of healing that nature designed. "But they will become aware." At least for me it's sad because I have to watch family memebers continue to degrade in health while they continue to take more and more prescriptions. "humble as a child.....kingdom of heaven." I'm not religious but I understand the meaning of that quote. "I have religious friends, and they're always quoting stuff."

Either path your friend chooses I wish em both the best.

Truth passes through three stages. First it is ridiculed. Second it is violently opposed. Third it is accepted as self evident.

Last edited by totalfreedom; 06-17-2010 at 12:58 PM.
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post #6 of 53 Old 06-17-2010, 01:03 PM
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Totalfreedom - I'm sure you're aware of this, but I think it is very important to mention that "all natural" doesn't mean "safe" there are many all natural medicines that can kill you and your horse if not used correctly. Esp because most of these remedies haven't been tested in horses, just because it's safe for humans doesn't mean it is so for horses. I'm not saying that you are wrong or that the system doesn't work (I don't know enough about this particular one), just always be careful when dosing animals (or yourself) with something that doesn't have any testing.

OP - I watched my old guy suffer from COPD for many years. He was diagnosed at about 12-13 and lived to be 27. Summers were the hardest for him, especially when it got really humid/hot and the corn pollen came out. My vet told me (esp when he was younger) that light riding is actually good for them as it helps open up their air passages. You may want to talk to your vet about that. Personally I would try the new medication, see if it helps. If not put him down. At his age COPD is very difficult to deal with and can/will get progressively worse.

Edit - Also, if possible try some of the management changes mentioned in these articles. I didn't have the facilities to do it, but I've heard it can work remarkably well. Much like when you have outdoor allergies. Stay inside and you'll feel better.

Here's an article from the AAEP and The Horse:

Managing Summer Pasture-Associated Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, an “Asthma-like” Disease of Horses - AAEP

The Horse | Pasture-Associated Heaves
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post #7 of 53 Old 06-17-2010, 01:46 PM
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I think I would try something different before putting him down. What medication is he currently on? Is he stalled at all or kept outside 24/7?
I had a pony that had COPD when I was younger. I don't know if she was as bad as it sounds like your gelding was, but she had gotten to the point that we had thought we were completely retire her form riding she was coughing so bad. We started her on wendals herbs Respiration Wendals Herbs and it worked wonders for her. I ended up competing her again the following spring. She would occassionally cough if it was real dry/dusty where we were riding.
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post #8 of 53 Old 06-17-2010, 02:04 PM
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Where I worked they had a lesson horse (an adorable few spot appaloosa) and he had horrible COPD. He rarely coughed but his nostrils would flare to try to take in more air and he would stretch his neck way out to attempt to gulp more air.

We tryed many medications. He was only 16 and a young horse. Nothing worked.

The only thing that even worked was in the summer bringing him in during the day with a fan, turnout at night.
24/7 turnout when the weather was not super hot.
Wetting his hay helped some (we super soaked it), but we also fed wetted pelleted feed with alfalfa cubes which helped even more I think.

Being a lesson horse in an indoor arena was the worst thing for him.
He did much better being outside 24/7 and not being ridden in ANY type of footing. (becuase it gets dusty).

His old owner was cheap to the max, and often fed moldy hay. I was told by my instructor this was likely was cuased it. So make sure you are feeding clean non-dusty hay!
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post #9 of 53 Old 06-17-2010, 02:27 PM
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This might sound out there, but have you tried giving him honey?

I have asthma, and I eat a teaspoon full of locally made honey each day. It is made from local pollen, and it kind of primes your immune system to help reduce allergic attacks. If he were mine I'd try giving him about 1/2 cup of honey each day. It would need to be locally grown, not from the grocery store.

Feeding soaked hay, soaked hay cubes or pellets is much better than dry hay.

Keeping him outdoors at pasture is the best thing too.

Dusty conditions- like dusty stalls, dirt arenas etc are hard on them.

You can see the dust flying in the vid- I'd cough too. Can the arena be wetted down a bit to keep the dust down? I know on our dirt roads the county sprays down calcium chloride which keeps the road from being dusty all summer. It does work and it might work in the arena.

Spent a whole hour today laying in a pasture, waiting for a sparkling vampire to show up. Alas, I woke up and looked over, only to find a mound of horse crap. Sigh.
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post #10 of 53 Old 06-17-2010, 02:49 PM
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The coughing could be triggered by a number of difference sources. Dust, pollen, mold, humidity, etc. The key to helping is to figure out what triggers the episodes and try to prevent or reduce the severity.

One of my boarders has a mare with COPD. She is also a vet tech and while attending a continuing education seminar this spring was told there are new studies to suggest COPD is genetic.
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