The Horse Forum banner

1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
36 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Alright, for starters please be kind in this post as this is a very hard question for me to even ask. I have a 17 year old Quarab mare who was diagnosed with heaves last summer. I have done the best I can; round bales were removed, she has been fed soaked square bales, 24/7 turn out, good grain (with oil to reduce any dust), pine shaving bedding when she needs to come in, light exercise once a week, a shot of Dex when she needs it, etc.

Her breathing is not nearly as bad as it was but it's still not healthy of course. She has an occasional flare up, mostly when the pollen count is high or the farmers harvest. However, she looks terrible. She is fed Kalm Ultra (12% fat), has free choice soaked hay all day long and also has soybean oil daily. She has been turned out on pasture when it is available also and has access to a high performance mineral block. I have tried adding rice bran for extended periods of time, also, and no difference. Ever since she started showing symptoms my easy keeper has been skeletal.

We have tried breathing treatments, supplements, you name it. The only thing that helps her is Dex but my vet advised me to only give it when necessary because of the harsh side effects; she only needs one ever few months.

All this being said, she struggled last winter. I can tell that even though her breathing is getting better she is terribly weak. Her winter coat barely grew in even though we had a horribly harsh winter. The footing in my pasture isn't bad but if the ground froze she had a really hard time navigating; she had to be stalled most.of the winter for these reasons, and no matter how clean or dust free I keep my barn she still coughs if she's in, even on the end stall by the door. I hoped I'd be able to help her rehab this summer, maybe put some weight on her and get her in better health. But nothing is helping still:(

My husband wants me to put her down when the weather starts getting cold again. I told him I can blanket her, try to make the pasture footing better, maybe talk to the vet about trying a new med, but he says no. We have 2 kids under 5 years old and two other horses who are healthy. He says I've done everything I can for her but to continue dumping money into her isn't fair to our family, especially since there is no cure for heaves and she will eventually die from it.

I know I could try to re-home her but I'm terrified to even try. He said to list her online for $100 to good home only, but anyone could buy her for that and ship her off for meat:( Even the rescues have told me if they can't rehomed her they will put her down.

Has anyone put a horse down for heaves? I feel so dang guilty; I know I could do more but guys, I have 2 kids. She's up to date on all her dental, shots, farrier work, even chiropractic work and has great care, I just can't afford expensive meds and breathing treatments. I'm scared if I try to re-home her she'll end up on a meat truck or she'll die at a rescue surrounded by strangers. My husband says the kindest thing now is to let her enjoy the rest of summer with her daughter and put her down when the weather gets cold so she doesn't have to struggle again. Is he right? I don't want to let her go but I don't want to make my girl suffer:(

Please be kind in your feedback, I've been working closely with my vet and doing the best I can afford to do. Pic is from before she got sick.

IMG_1155_1560777163142.jpg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,414 Posts
I am so sorry you are having to go through this. ((Hugs))

The right time is so hard....but I think sooner is better than later. Horses don’t know. They only know the pain, not that we are trying to help them. A horse death is rarely easy....they don’t just lay down and slip away peacefully, even in euthanasia.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,016 Posts
There are worse things than death.

Do not give her away it already sounds like you are doing everything you can for here management, so I'm not sure what someone else can do for her. No one else is going to have the personal investment that will allow them to go the extra mile like you will.

If winter is too hard and your finances can't manage it, no shame in euthanizing. It's better than you bankrupting your family or her doing down in the middle of winter.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,642 Posts
I agree with the others. A good friend of mine had a mare with heaves. She retired her from riding but always struggled to keep weight on her. I am sorry to say that my friend let her mare struggle on for a couple of years too long. Her horse struggled with weight gain, hoof issues and never really looked healthy that last couple of years of her life. In my friends defense she always said but she eats - and yes she did but she was not thriving or healthy. Eventually the mare went down and just could not get up - even though she struggled and tried. it was horrible to see and stand there and wait for the vet (I was there as moral support)

You know your horse and obviously you are doing what you can to keep it healthy. Sometimes it is the right thing to let them go. Hugs to you.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
14,754 Posts
I'm so sorry, heaves is tough on everyone to watch it progress.
It was not my horse I watched suffer and deteriorate but never the less a animal I loved dearly...

I am not understanding your vet saying to only administer 1 shot every few months...
I'm hoping that is a typo...
Honestly it makes no sense to me to not give what aids and gives some relief to the animal often enough they feel "better" or as good as possible under the conditions.
My understanding is the shot is less effective as pills, needing 2x as much to do the same as pills.
The horse I lost to this was on medication every other day, should of been every day at the end.
Yes, it was Dex he took...
5 pills mornings in feed. I would of done that every morning and pushed for doubling the dosage if it would of given one breath free and easy to the horse.
To me, what is the difference if the side effects are harsh...
I don't mean to be mean but she is dying...make her days on earth as stress free and painless as possible.
If you were to give her more medication you might have her till early fall if she is failing rapidly now struggling to get the air exchange...maybe but no guarantee.
She will not eat if she can not breathe so she will slowly starve.
If this is what you are facing, her decline is now rapid, then yes...free her from her torture and put her to sleep.
Don't make her suffer through heat and humid weather of summer if she so struggles now.
Bring your vet back for a evaluation...
Listen to what he says...
Can giving more medication daily help her or not?
Is she struggling to breathe just existing forget moving around?
Is it time to let her go?
If you ask they will tell you but you must be the one to initiate that conversation and face, accept their professional opinion.
I would far rather release her now than watch her die a bad death and that is what you may face over the summertime with weather as it is...
3 months sooner...is that really going to make a difference?
Your children will remember her as she is now, or what she is going to become in a few months..that is not a memory I would want my children to see, to remember their pet struggling so to breathe.
There is a dignity in death you can give her now or watch her decline & demise...
I would far rather be one day early than one day late and she suffer terribly...
With what you write, the time is now or very soon not months or years away unless your vet knows of some other way to reverse effects of this horrid disease..
Once you lose ground it doesn't come back, not with this issue..the lungs are shot and the heart is under tremendous strain as is every vital organ in the body.
A very hard decision...but you know in your heart the answer she, your beloved pet needs.
Hugs...many of us have walked this path and some will walk it again.
They say to truly love is to set free...for them.


I would not re-home her or sell her, period.

Put her to sleep and let her rest peacefully not face a potential horrible future at hands unknown what they shall do to her.
If she is as bad as you say, any rescue if they took her is putting her to sleep.
That decision is yours.
Do you pass her off to someone and hope she is kindly treated her last days or do you make certain her last days and moments are with those she knows and trusts...and she is seen off to safe pastures with peaceful forever sleep.


hlg.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
36 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
My vet is very practical and blunt. In his eyes she's done for; there isn't any curing it and he doesn't see the point in me medicating her at all. However, I pushed and got the Dex. Her breathing on a day to day basis isn't terrible; just a bit of mucus and a little rattle, but no heave line or anything. The only time I give her a shot is when she has a heave line, which is generally every few months. He always stresses the side effects of the shot and says it's really hard on her so I try not to give it more often than I have to.

The hardest part of all is that she has good days. Sometimes I'll take her for a little ride on our trails and she loves it, she prances and sticks her tail up and acts like a cranky Arab. But if you let her trot, or go up a hill, it sounds like she's dying. She mentally still wants to be what she was but she's gotten so much weaker and it's devastating to watch because she looks so confused.

Winter is what scares me because she did go down last winter, and she hasn't gained any weight this summer so I think this winter will be even worse:(
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,336 Posts
If you want to look at my past posts, the most recent one should be about a horse that I found with struggling with very advanced heaves. She was 30, and struggled with heaves for at least the past five years. Medications were no longer working, and she could no longer be managed. The owner was holding onto the good days that she did have, and that led to her having to be shot in an emergency situation.

It sucks, but many times horse owners have to be advocates for their horse's quality of life. If their quality of life is declining and can't be improved, you have to make the call. She may be good most days, but what happens when you've waited too long? I believe that it is way better being "too early" rather than "too late". You will know when the time is right.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,105 Posts
If you can hear a rattle when she's breathing just standing or walking around, she's struggling. She's working so hard to breathe that she can't keep weight on. She gets weak because she's not getting any air. She's confused for lack of oxygen. I would give her a dose of Dex, let her have a few good days, and put her down before she suffers more. There are worse things than an easy death.

If you really want to try, get a second opinion from another vet and see if Dex with pills 1-2x daily helps her. I still don't think your husband is wrong. Letting her go before she struggles with cold weather and before she bankrupts your family is a good idea. Not an easy decision, but the right one.

I'm sorry for your horse's condition and your anguish with this. Heaves is devastating, and watching a horse die frantically gasping for breath from it is traumatic. Do not let your mare get to that point.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
26,879 Posts
When it comes to end of life I would suggest a second opinion (for your sanity). See another vet for treatment options. If they agree with the first vet then I think it will make you feel less stressed over the decision that you have to make. It will help to take away some of the "what-ifs".

I have a friend that had a horse with heaves, he was told to put it down. They ended up moving. I can't remember if they put him in a grassy pasture or took him off the grass and put him in a dirt paddock. I just remember that moving him made a world of difference. They also soaked his hay in a wheel barrel, it seems like they changed the type of hay he was fed as well.

I don't recall the details on that horse - just that he lived to be very old and happy. I only say this because a second opinion/treatment plan could potentially offer you some other choices. But it may not.

Either way this is a very hard decision and I am sorry that you are in this predicament.
 
  • Like
Reactions: rambo99

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,990 Posts
I think i would get a different vet up for a second opinion. You may not be doing enough for treatment.

For example, this is the schedule the vet gave me for my mares (very minor in comparison) respiratory allergies:

Dosage of dexamethasone

Give orally or in feed:

6 ml once a day for 4 days

5 ml once a day for 4 days

4 ml once a day for 4 days

3 ml once a day, for 2 weeks

3 ml every other day


The goal with the decreasing dosages is to find the smallest amount we can give her to control her symptoms. For example, if she does well on 4 mls a day, but then starts coughing again when on 3 ml, we would bump back up to 4 ml and stick with that dose.

My mare is off all treatment at this time and doing well. I have to be meticulously careful about what hay we buy. Nothing with dust or mold. She's not stalled except for severe weather. I installed stall mats with no bedding - this gets swept out completely before stalling so there is no dust or limited dust in her stall.

What are you feeding her if she isn't gaining weight? Is she eating all her food without it being stolen?

I would find a better vet. No offense, but your vet is terrible. The goal of using dexamethasone is to prevent the lung damage from becoming worse by preventing the allergic reaction. If you don't stop the immune system's over reaction, you are allowing the disease to progress.

Determining the type of allergy is important as well. Is your horse allergic to pasture and worse in the summer, or allergic to hay and worse in the winter?

Have you tried steaming the hay? Or feeding a pelleted feed? For example, i know someone who feeds 15lbs of senior feed per day with no hay to her heavey horse. This means no dust exposure at all from feed- she dumps water on top to wet it down before feeding.

Dexamethasone is $6 a bottle online. Don't buy directly from the vet. Ask for a prescription and buy online which saves about $40.

One vet told me my mare had heaves- but the second vet said this was allergies. My guess is it was an allergy. The disease has not progressed in any way. She no longer coughs and has not needed any further treatment in a couple years.

I think it is time for a second opinion.

They have newer treatment options - inhaler use or allergy shots
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
264 Posts
Not advocating one way or the other, but your husband does have a point. For me, it boils down to I have to do what's best for the horse and not what's best for me. If my horse can't be a horse and has to stay stalled for long periods, well that's no good for the horse. But, I would definitely get a second vet opinion. Maybe they can hit on a management plan that lets your horse make progress.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
171 Posts
My vet is very practical and blunt. In his eyes she's done for; there isn't any curing it and he doesn't see the point in me medicating her at all. However, I pushed and got the Dex. Her breathing on a day to day basis isn't terrible; just a bit of mucus and a little rattle, but no heave line or anything. The only time I give her a shot is when she has a heave line, which is generally every few months. He always stresses the side effects of the shot and says it's really hard on her so I try not to give it more often than I have to.

The hardest part of all is that she has good days. Sometimes I'll take her for a little ride on our trails and she loves it, she prances and sticks her tail up and acts like a cranky Arab. But if you let her trot, or go up a hill, it sounds like she's dying. She mentally still wants to be what she was but she's gotten so much weaker and it's devastating to watch because she looks so confused.

Winter is what scares me because she did go down last winter, and she hasn't gained any weight this summer so I think this winter will be even worse:(
New vet! If there is NO heave line but she has mucus and rattling, she is suffering from an infection. Get rid of the infection, and she should regain some weight.

Other drugs to try to give her a break from the dex (and I don't see her even needing a break receiving so little so far apart) are Predef-2 and Re-Cvr.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,118 Posts
I don't outright know your or your horse's complete situation but I'll weigh in with a story.

I was good friends with someone who had a sweet, sweet, SWEET Arabian mare who had heaves. Spunky little chestnut who even on her bad days tried to be a little fireball. They kept waiting and working trying everything they could to help her but, as you know, there is no cure for heaves and it only gets progressively worse as time goes on. One day the poor thing collapsed gasping for air while my friend was on the tractor. He ran over to her and she essentially suffocated in front of his eyes and there was nothing he could do to stop her suffering. The vet arrived 10 minutes after she had passed and he said it was one of the worst things he'd ever gone through in his entire life.

You know your horse and you know how the disease progresses. I am a firm believer in a day too early than a minute too late but again YOU know your horse and it is your decision. If she were mine I'd give her a little time and before she gets too bad spoil her rotten before allowing it to get worse.

I am really sorry you're having to go through this and it really does sound like you have done and are doing everything you can for her. ~hugs~
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,001 Posts
I agree, while yes, I do think her time may come earlier then you want it to and there is no shame in doing what you can and giving her a peaceful end before she suffers I also think there IS more you can try, and not all of it is going to break the bank. I would have another vet who is more comfortable working with heaves check her out.

I do agree with your vet that dex is a last resort, I'm surprised that people seem so "pro dex", but at the same time if she needs it she needs it. I would definitely avoid anything that could possible be "work". She may be better off inside then outside have you tried that? (If she has allergies and you have a clean barn for example) Every horse is different, it sounds like she has a large allergy component, it may be worth allergy testing just to see what you're working with. If she comes in to pine shavings do you water the stall? Could be she's allergic to pine too. I wouldn't give up just yet. At least look into it more, with someone not so fatalistic. There's blunt then there's not going to bother. Heaves is common and can usually be controlled (of course some more easily then others)

It also sounds like her weight is a major factor. Have you considered things other then heaves? Cushings for example? Does she have a clean bill of health otherwise? I'd definitely check that first. Then also consider different types of feed. May be worth trying different grains, how much is she getting? Are her teeth good? Think of her *just* as underweight for a minute. I would add beet pulp and other stuff. I'm guessing she could likely get more, and maybe since she used to be an easy keeper you're not giving her enough for her current needs (a hard keeper can eat a TON of food). How are you soaking her hay? Soaking it also removes nutrients... I would just mist it, or steaming is supposed to work wonders for horses that need the calories but need it wet. I think there was even a thread about DIY steamers on here (ages ago lol).

I would be realistic, and I don't think considering the option is wrong, but I wouldn't give up just yet, give her a little more time and see what direction she's going in. I'd love to hear more about exactly what she's eating.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
No shame to put her down if you have reached the end of what you are willing or able to do.

Esp. if your husband is pushing for it, it is hard to have such a disagreement between 2 spouses. But in no shape or form would I agree to sell her for cheap or give her away for free. I'm sorry to say it bluntly, but that is a cop out. It is difficult for you to maintain her at the additional cost and work, and you HAVE a emotional bond with her.
Someone that doesn't have that emotional bond is not going to try half of what you did. They will put weight on her and send her on her way. Or simply let her decline and most likely die a rough death once they figure out they can't "fix" her.

All that said, I feel like you haven't quite reached the point of letting go. If this treatment plan is all your vet could come up with, it sounds like they need a new job. A dex shot every few month is not going to help her. She could have already been a lot better and managed her weight better with some relief from better treatment. If she has no heave line other than every few month, she is not a severe case. As a matter of fact, it sounds more like a nagging respiratory infection that should have been cultured and treated with antibiotics.

For the vet to say "she's done for, waste of money" because "there is no cure". Well. There is no cure for diabetes. Cushings. And a great many other things where you can still have great quality of life if treated right, whether horse, dog or human. And it doesn't even have to be a expensive treatment either.

Even if it is heaves, why would they tell you to give a shot every few month? You might as well not do it, honestly. There have been a few horses over the years with heaves at my barn. All were managed and rather well. A couple were far more advanced than your mare sounds like. Dex has possible side effects. What medication doesn't though. If it gives her a couple (or more) good years at a very manageable price, what would be wrong about trying? She would probably do rather well at a relatively small but REGULAR dose. Really not impressed with what your vet came up with.

Once she feels and breathes better, it would be far easier to keep her weight up nicely during winter. With very few tweaks to the diet. Thin coat? Many horses need blanketing. Also not a big deal.

I'm saying all this not to make you feel bad, but only because I feel that you aren't ready to give up just yet. If you get to the point that you are, honor her life by letting her die at home, at peace. Not in a strange place, scared or facing worse then euthanasia.

She is young, her disease doesn't sound that advanced esp. given that she isn't on Dex treatment plan. If it was me, I would have a culture taken to see what is really going on. The gurgling and mucus sounds like an infection has settled and she hasn't ever gotten rid of it. A Culture will make sure the right antibiotics are given, as not all of them will work for all respiratory infections.

Sit down with your husband, see if he is willing to get another vets point of view, given on the info you have received from other members on here. You both need to be on the same page. He needs to realize you have to feel at peace with your decision. And if you both are, give her the gift of being let go at home and at peace.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,498 Posts
I think others have already covered a lot of things, but I'll just throw one more out there... however, before I do, I agree that there is no shame in euthanizing a horse that cannot be cured of heaves. I have a friend who is contemplating doing just that, and I honestly don't blame her.

BUT... when I first bought my daughter's horse almost 4 years ago, the first winter we had him, he began to cough a lot. The vet said it was heaves - same as yours - it's incurable, but can be managed with DEX. I put him on a daily dose for about a month. Now that I know more about Dex, I wouldn't use it so quickly, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do. Can't you give him the powder daily? Is it really worse than death? However, what I wanted to say was that the second year, we moved our horse home and started aggressively managing it. We did all the things you're doing, except for stalling. He is heavily blanketed. I'm talking layers of blankets (I sometimes just put a fleece under his winter blanket) and a neck cover to keep his airway from getting cold. I steamed his hay. And he was fine until about March without any meds, but then he started to cough again and we put him on Ventipulmin for 28 days. It cost about 125$. He has not been on any meds since then. He has now been through two winters without coughing at all, free of any meds. I still blanket him aggressively but no longer wet or steam his hay.

I feel like your vet may have made up his mind that this horse isn't worth saving so if it were me, I'd get another opinion, and try the Ventipulmin if you haven't already. Blanket your mare and let her out! The footing isn't great here either, and my daughter's horse doesn't move as much in the winter as he does in the summer, but he is out 24/7 with access to his stall. Some days he just stands in the stall with his head sticking out, but that means he is getting fresh air.

So I guess you have to decide whether you are comfortable that you really have tried everything or whether your vet is misleading you on how treatable this really is. No one would guess my daughter's horse was diagnosed with heaves - at 20, he still jumps, brings home lots of ribbons, and never coughs at all anymore even though he's no longer medicated. On the other hand, my friend's horse is always wheezing even though they've done everything I did including turnout and blanketing as well as Ventipulmin and daily Dex. I guess you have to figure out what side your horse is on, but I'd at least talk to one other vet before euthanizing her.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,498 Posts
I would just mist it, or steaming is supposed to work wonders for horses that need the calories but need it wet. I think there was even a thread about DIY steamers on here (ages ago lol).
Just wanted to add that I made a steamer from a rubber garbage can and an old child's humidifier. I put the hay in a haynet and made a metal rack with an old bbq grill so I could hang it over the humidifier. It would take me about 45 minutes to steam a couple of flakes. I opted to steam over soaking because in the winter, the soaked hay would freeze solid whereas the steamed hay did not.

I also second beet pulp.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,001 Posts
No shame to put her down if you have reached the end of what you are willing or able to do.

Esp. if your husband is pushing for it, it is hard to have such a disagreement between 2 spouses. But in no shape or form would I agree to sell her for cheap or give her away for free. I'm sorry to say it bluntly, but that is a cop out. It is difficult for you to maintain her at the additional cost and work, and you HAVE a emotional bond with her.
Someone that doesn't have that emotional bond is not going to try half of what you did. They will put weight on her and send her on her way. Or simply let her decline and most likely die a rough death once they figure out they can't "fix" her.

All that said, I feel like you haven't quite reached the point of letting go. If this treatment plan is all your vet could come up with, it sounds like they need a new job. A dex shot every few month is not going to help her. She could have already been a lot better and managed her weight better with some relief from better treatment. If she has no heave line other than every few month, she is not a severe case. As a matter of fact, it sounds more like a nagging respiratory infection that should have been cultured and treated with antibiotics.

For the vet to say "she's done for, waste of money" because "there is no cure". Well. There is no cure for diabetes. Cushings. And a great many other things where you can still have great quality of life if treated right, whether horse, dog or human. And it doesn't even have to be a expensive treatment either.

Even if it is heaves, why would they tell you to give a shot every few month? You might as well not do it, honestly. There have been a few horses over the years with heaves at my barn. All were managed and rather well. A couple were far more advanced than your mare sounds like. Dex has possible side effects. What medication doesn't though. If it gives her a couple (or more) good years at a very manageable price, what would be wrong about trying? She would probably do rather well at a relatively small but REGULAR dose. Really not impressed with what your vet came up with.

Once she feels and breathes better, it would be far easier to keep her weight up nicely during winter. With very few tweaks to the diet. Thin coat? Many horses need blanketing. Also not a big deal.

I'm saying all this not to make you feel bad, but only because I feel that you aren't ready to give up just yet. If you get to the point that you are, honor her life by letting her die at home, at peace. Not in a strange place, scared or facing worse then euthanasia.

She is young, her disease doesn't sound that advanced esp. given that she isn't on Dex treatment plan. If it was me, I would have a culture taken to see what is really going on. The gurgling and mucus sounds like an infection has settled and she hasn't ever gotten rid of it. A Culture will make sure the right antibiotics are given, as not all of them will work for all respiratory infections.

Sit down with your husband, see if he is willing to get another vets point of view, given on the info you have received from other members on here. You both need to be on the same page. He needs to realize you have to feel at peace with your decision. And if you both are, give her the gift of being let go at home and at peace.
I completely agree with this however, while I would NOT put her on the market I would consider a rescue or experienced person you know as an alternate home.

@lhoward31 do you know a lot of horses getting regular year round Dex? I've worked with a lot of vets/horses and dex is either short term as a treatment or as needed for flare ups. I'd be concerned if she needed dex regularly, and I don't think her vet said to do it every few months, just as needed (which for this horse is every few months). It's not just a medication it's a steroid and there's a much higher risk of more serious side effects then your average medication. Oftentimes it does as much harm then good, I've dealt with that plenty it's not pretty and it's usually used for emergency situations or as a last resort medication wise. However, I agree at this point this horse needs more, and maybe one of the things to try ruling out other things (and I agree there's likely other factors) is to up the dex, because to be blunt side effects don't matter if you need to put her down, if that's her last resort then go for it. If dex can buy you a few more years of good qol vs putting her down in a few months then that's all that matters. I do think a different vet that is actually interested in helping you would make a world of difference for her!

Too add- I am NOT at all belittling the care you've put into this horse!! However, I think you've only done the bare minimum (and I think a different vet would explain that to you better). Caring for a horse with heaves can be a lot of work and it's understandable if that's too much for you, however, given a little more time and hopefully finding the magic combination for your mare can make things routine and much more simple/less overwhelming then they are now. Sort of "work smarter, not harder", could be you try a bunch of different things and she is STILL a huge amount of work and not doing well, but since you've barely scratched the surface as far as what you've tried (keeping her out, square bales, these are great but when that doesn't cut it you look at part 2- I don't think you've tried much for medications/supplements? etc). It could be her magic combination of care is right around the corner and you just haven't found it yet. I'm not saying to keep on going indefinitely, but it's at least worthwhile to look into different things. I knew a pony that was kept out, with out being a little dirt paddock next to the dusty ring. I convinced them to STOP keeping him out and got him a corner stall with good airflow but away from the dust and he improved and no longer needed as much care. So as I said maybe give yourself some limits for what you are willing to try and how well she is doing by that time but don't necessarily give up right now. If you can rule out other health concerns and find a good balance (and that may be an if) she could do very well for years to come.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
The problem is that many equine rescues end up needed rescue. Or they just fold up one day, and you find horses that were neglected or worse. Happens far to often.

Nearby there was a young lady advertising that she was looking for older companion horses, so that her barrel horse would have company. She said she was a vet student (which is true) and that she therefor could provide excellent care for seniors or horses that have some manageable health issues.

Of course, people jumped on that. What she really did, though, was to send the horses off to slaughter. She would tell the former owners the horses "passes away" in some cases falsifying vet records. We are talking about a large number of horses, some of the owners are still trying to track down what exactly happened to theirs.

Its simply unrealistic to expect other people to take on a horse that can't be ridden anymore and that needs a lot of extra effort and / or expense to just keep going. Horses are expensive to begin with. I think it would be a very rare exception indeed where this would work out in the favor of the horse. Long term. I would never risk it, personally, but everyone has to make their own decision.

Honestly, I don't remember the exact dose of Dex that those horses got. What I do know is that they were on a actual "plan". They started out with a larger dose and got weaned down to the absolute minimum that would give them good quality of life. Other meds were incorporated as well as some lifestyle changes (to keep dust down in food and housing, etc, some other meds).

I may be wrong, but to me it sounds as if the OP isn't quite ready to give up or has doubts. To me it also sounds like there is no good options given by vet, esp. one that says its "a waste" to even try since there is no cure. That wouldn't do it for me. Esp. if it doesn't quite present as severe heaves, from what I have experienced (not my own horse, though)

No shame to give up. But if I were to struggle with this, if I had a emotional bond and wouldn't be quite sure, I wouldn't stop at this. Esp. after reading about other members that shared their experiences and opinions.
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Top