My 14 yr old ISH is breathing funny lately. I am not sure if it's the heat getting to him or what but yesterday, for example, I worked him in the round pen lightly early in the morning before the heat of the day really set in
( Around 10 am ). While working him I noticed he was breathing slightly heavily but no more than a normal horse being worked who is 1200 lbs and out of shape.
After the round pen, I walked him through the barn and tied him up while I went to get everything ready for a bath. ( I generally hose the horse off almost daily to help keep them cool but decided a bath was needed ) While bathing him, I noticed his breathing was more of a quick short breath through the nose ( try sucking air through you nose and letting it out quickly, that's the exact noise he was making )
I mentioned it to my BO who told me she noticed it too. Now mind you this horse hasn't been worked by a human in a while ( rescue from kill pen ).
Could this be a side effect of being so out of shape?
Could it be the heat ( 106 daily average with humidity. )?
Could there be something else going on?
I really wouldnt risk guessing with something so essential as breathing. I'd call a vet asap. Good luck, I hope he is ok and is just out of shape.
I'm not sure I'd be working a horse at all when the heat index is 106. When you see those signs again, check his gums to see if they are still pink. If they're red or blue, call a vet ASAP. One indicates lack of oxygen and the other heat exhaustion. You can check to see if he's dehydrated by doing a skin pinch test or a gum test. Pinch the skin of press on his gums. Either should return to normal within 2 seconds. Also check his heart rate. Normal is 30 to 40 beats per minute. You can find his pulse under the top joint of his front legs, up near where the girth goes. If it's over 60bpm, call the vet. If it seems heat related, be sure to keep hosing and scraping off the warm water (his hot body will heat it up) until he's cool to the touch. Most of the blood vessels are in his legs, so hose there first.
It wasn't 106 out yet. It was closer to 89 and it wasn't a hard workout, just a quick 5 minute walk trot around the round pen.
I would never ever work him hard, or any horse for that matter, in this insane heat!
Panting (fast, shallow breaths) can be a sign of colic or of tying up - try the pinch test for dehydration and look at the gums. When in doubt call the your vet!
Not panting! I am sorry to be getting frustrated but it seems like no one is actually reading my description or I am not explaining it well enough.
It was the ONE inhale through nose out quickly. THEN SEVERAL normal breaths for a few minutes and then ONE quick in through nose out through nose breath. He stopped the quick inhale/exhale within 20 mins of ending the workout and was snoozing on the lead line while getting a bath.
If he was panting heavily I would have called the vet as there have been several horses who have died or nearly died from this heat and I have had a horse colic before so I know it's not something to just sit and watch about.
I stayed out there and watched him for a good hour after he had stopped doing it and waited to see if he would eat or drink ( he did both and then rolled after I had given him his bath )
I emailed my BO and she said he is doing just fine, no more strange breathing even when the temp is 110 outside.
I can see now it was a combo of the heat, him being out of shape, and me starting too quickly. I should have kept him at a walk and not asked for a trot, even for such a little amount of time.
Please read everything people write, even if it seems like a lot. It gets frustrating to have to keep saying the same thing over and over again because people skip half of what was written.
That's what I am figuring it was. He is 1200 lbs and hasn't been properly worked in a round pen in close to 2 yrs ( I have only had him 2 months so don't think it was my fault )
I am laying off his workouts until the weather cools down and I have had the vet out in October for shots and coggins and ask his opinion on the breathing.
Yea, sounds like he's just a little unfit. You could probably walk him in the heat but trotting is surprisingly hard work for horses. Walking is relativly easy but gets the heart and lungs working a little. You could start with 10-15 mins of walking and work up from there. It depends on how strong his heart and lungs are whether he is able to start now or should wait. Thats something the vet should be able to tell you about.
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