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You're in a boarding situation and not able to afford two horses. The vet bills and meds on this horse will be costly.

The horse has no future once he leaves your care. My grandad had a pony with heaves so I know how it can progress no matter what is done for the horse.

If you know for fact the horse has COPD and is in an advance stage, do the right thing and have him euthanized.

It isn't easy. Nobody wants to do it but it IS the humane and ethical thing to do.

I have had to lay five horses to rest in my lifetime - I was in a boarding situation when I had the first two PTS'd from cancer and ringbone at ages 29 & 27. It isn't like I don't know what I am talking about.
:iagree: Selling this horse will subject him to the possibility of a miserable end. Often people don't want to make the decision to have them PTS, and especially because its not free.

Your choices are to throw money at him to make it comfortable for him until it is cruel to keep him alive, or to have him PTS in which case you know he has been cared for till the last, and gone peacefully.

Have the vet out, and get advice as to his long-term prognosis/care and when vet thinks is a point of no-return.

It is a hard decision, but only you can make it.
 

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"throw money at him to make it comfortable for him until it is cruel to keep him alive" it doesn't need to be that expensive. Most horses don't even need medication just management. The end could be quite awhile do. Pro's and cons but the vet will be able to sit down with you and go over that. I know plenty of horses with heaves that are like any other horse. This guy sounds pretty advanced but hence the vet, don't think worse case until talking to the vet.
 

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"throw money at him to make it comfortable for him until it is cruel to keep him alive"
I can see now how that could be taken wrong. I just mean that even basic care of any horse (barn, feed, feet etc) is not cheap to start with and add to that regular vet visits and it adds up, not to mention any ongoing special dietary needs the horse has.

And sooner or later someone will have to make the inevitable decision.
 

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Discussion Starter #26
The most important thing for a horse with heaves, is management. That can be hard to do, if you board.
The place where I board him right now is kind of like a home stable. There's only 4 other horses and the barn manager lives there himself so the horses are taken care of as they were his own. There's also grass arena's available and the horses are outside 24/7. The barn manager is avare of that my horse has heaves but he has said so far it's nothing too serious and the horse seems happy. But of course he doesn't ride him. I see most of the symptoms when I try to ride him. But yes I couldn't wish for a better boarding stable for him right now, it's great compared to the one he was at before or other boarding stables available where the environment wouldn't suit his needs at all.
 

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Discussion Starter #27
I know plenty of horses with heaves that are like any other horse. This guy sounds pretty advanced but hence the vet, don't think worse case until talking to the vet.
I think too that his situation is actually not that serious yet that the only option would be to only keep him as a companion horse or to put him down. I will talk to the vet but for me it seems like there's two ways of how it could go.

I can either get some meds from the vet (not sure what are they called in english but you give them every 6 months or so and they make the heave symptoms dissapear) and ride him like normal for about a year or more, but when the effect of the meds dissapears, all the symptoms come back even worse than they were before. So there's no point in that really but I know many people have used this option. I wouldn't definately do it because i'd rather be honest with myself and the fact that I can't ride than to give meds and pretend everything's alright and then watch the horse in pain afterwards..

So it seems to me whatever the vet says if I keep him as a paddock/really light work horse, then there's hope that he will have a longer and happier life.
 

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Discussion Starter #28
.

Odd that heaves is worse in the winter. Is he inside more?

Let us know how it goes with the vets, that will make a huge difference.
I will. He used to be inside more during winter time at the old barn. Now this winter he was a little bit better due to being outdoors more but there wasn't a massive difference. Could still hear him cough quite often at his worse days. He's always been better during summer time.
 

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Discussion Starter #30
I would have not have bought that horse
if you have known this horse for 6 years and knew he had heaves, that is your fault sorry

now you nay be stuck with him


good luck trying to sell him
Okay let's make this clear. Although I'm the owner now, I didn't buy him for money. I got given him. My aunt wasn't able to keep the horse anymore so the only options for the horse were that she would sell/give it away herself to some stranger or I would take the horse and start taking care of him myself. So of course I took the horse because I love him and have been knowing him for years. I didn't want him to end up at some bad place because I was aware that he's not healthy and at that point there wasn't enough time to find a loving home for him right away so if she were to sell him, she would have literally given it to the first person interested.

So I'm glad I got him. At first I thought I'd be able to keep him as my own and ride him etc. because all these past years people who have been riding him have done so. But when I started seeing the horse every day and riding him more often, I noticed he might be in a bit worse condition than I thought he'd be. Now I just have to face the reality and see what to do next and what's right for me and best for the horse.
 

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I have only read the first page. I think this is interesting:
Horse Heaves Symptoms and Treatment | Horse&Rider

My old horse has Heaves/COPD/RAO, he hasn't been officially diagnosed or anything but my granddad recognized it when he visited and so did my instructor a few years later. He gets worse in the summer so it must be the pollen. It would only really become obvious when cantering and much more so when he's unfit. The fitter he is, the easier it is for him to breathe.

I'm sure somebody has said this already but don't feed dusty hay, if you want to be extra cautious, soak his hay before feeding. You said your horse is worse during Winter? Would you be able to work out a fitness program for him that you start asap. Exercising is good for your lungs, it makes them function better. I have breathing difficulties myself and I am much worse if I'm not fit. So try exercising but away from sand and irritating particles like that.
 

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I would also talk to your vet about medication.

I'm not sure but I remember hearing that breathing over steamy water is good for you, maybe look into that?
 

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You don't need to sell your horse. Heaves needs to be managed! Just like asthma.

My horse had a cough two years ago. First vet immediately assumed heaves. He wanted to do a transtracheal wash for $400. He put her on a medication that had sat in his hot truck for weeks. The medication did not work. Didn't do anything. $100 wasted.

I took her to a second vet. That vet spent an entire hour examining her. First at rest, then at work. Checked her lungs and said this is probably allergy related. We started dexamethasone. A single $6 bottle lasts me 3 months. We lowered the dosage and tapered off. The next summer we treated with zyrtec 10 tablets.

I have not even needed the dexamethasone this year.

Why not? Management. I soak or hose her hay. Every day. I check the hay for mold and dust before buying... She is not stalled. If the trails are dusty we ride in front away from the dust.

My vet suggested if it gets worse or if symptoms start to increase we do allergy shots. It is a big upfront cost... $1000 the first year for the shots and skin testing. But it can stop the progression of the disease. It gets cheaper after that as you only need to pay for the shots.

You can also use inhalers.

Not treating is the biggest mistake an owner can make, as it allows the disease to progress. I think doing allergy shots is probably the best for your case if you can afford it... if you can't I would try a combination of the dexamethasone (for $6 a bottle) and an inhaler. You use the inhaler every time you ride. Check ebay for the inhaler device. The device itself is expensive but assuming you don't break it, you can always resell it later on.
 
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