One of ours was diagnosed with severe heaves 10 years ago. He went on to do dressage through 4th level. We made a lot of modifications (dengie instead of hay, various meds, leaving his stall open to the pasture for him to come and go at will, no straw or hay stored in the barn) when he was first diagnosed. He then had 5 years without any heaves symptoms. The past few years, has had had symptoms from June until October. He takes Ventipulmin as needed.
I trail ride my Appy with a pretty good case of heaves pretty regularly. She is also used regularly at our stables for childrens lessons. She seems to do great with a strict medication regiment (Dex and Albuterol) and trying to keep her from the dusty hay and 24/7 turn out-weather permitting. But if she comes off the meds she gets bad again, but when on the meds she is great.
allergy testing and shots may make a huge difference. We were able to halt the progression of Heaves by that and all the management techniques, out 24/7, wet hay, wet feed.
My pony does combined driving which is very strenous.
This gelding is allergic to alot of other things....BUT when the allergy tests were done years ago they ruled out heaves. But since than he always gets this chronic cough a runny nose and there are days when his breathing just sounds like there is fluid in there...Lord knows....vet comes today...
Vet suspects heaves...no biggie he can live with heaves. BUT the ooey gooey snot is cause my poor boy has as secondary infection in his lungs he just earned himself 30cc's of penicillin 2x a day and he may be on steroids for the rest of his life lol side note....he has a heart murmur! vet said that it is common for older horses to develop these...is that true?