I have a 10 year old mare that has a consistent, exercise induced cough. No fever, no discharge, no obstructions. She has been seen by 2 different vets, both coming to the conclusion that she's most likely has an allergy to mold/pollen. There is no sign of infection. She very rarely coughs with the exception of work. She can go for 5-10 minutes working with no cough and then will at times have a strong coughing fit about 15 minutes into working. It generally passes after about 5 minutes or so. Sometimes will reoccur after a walk break and going back to work. I have tried Cough Free and it seemed to help some, but not completely. I'm hosing her bedding down as well as her hay to decrease her exposure to dust. She does get about 10 hours of turnout per day. What other herbs are helpful for such a case? She was on spirulina in the past and it didn't seem to help much. I don't want to put her on strong medications if it's not needed, which at this point I don't think it's bad enough to warrant that, but I would like to give her some kind of support.
Any herbal product that is effective is effective because it is "strong". You can have efficacy or you can have "not a strong medication" but it's very difficult to have both, whether you choose herbal or not.
It is dangerous and incorrect to consider herbal products "like medication, only safer". They are not only potentially laden with the same side effects as "regular" drugs (especially if you choose one that actually does something) but are largely unregulated and not consistent in their strength.
How about doubling her turnout? NO side effects, 100% natural!
Currently, her stall is bedded with pine shavings. I'm considering another source, but I'm not sure what's available in my area or what will be acceptable to use at the barn. I lease the barn and do need to be considerate of the barn owner's wishes.
Suggest you try cob bedding. Becks Better Bedding is very dust free and easy to clean. Be advised some horses eat it like popcorn (that would be my hog Dan)
In addition to that I think if allergy related better to remedy the allergies...not the cough. Suggest you research higher doses of antioxidants. Specifically vit A,E, Ester C, and MSM. They sometimes help milder allergies.
I'm guessing what you mean by trying to avoid strong medications you are talking about steroids and such?
Have you looked at some of the Omega Alpha Equine products? They have four possible products for coughs. The one I like using when needed is the Respi-Free Breathing formula. It's a 3 -in- one formula combining the other three cough products Airwaves, Lung Flush and Herba Coff. Some of the ingredients in the Respi-Free include bronchodilators, expectorants and a natural anti-histamine (nettles).
D Taylor - Thank you for the cob bedding suggestion. I think I have heard of it many moons ago, but have not looked into it. I will do that! I don't think I'll have too much trouble with her eating it, she's not a very food motivated girl. Also, re. the antioxidants and Omega 3. She is on Horse Techs Fuel vitamin, mineral, prebiotic, probiotic, also contains yeast, chia, flax seed and a variety of other things. In addition, I do feed an extra 1/4 cup fresh ground flax twice per day.
Pippigirl - Yes, you are right. I don't want to put her on steroids (I have had to use them personally in the past) and I don't really feel she's in distress to the point of needing them. Should the day come when she's in trouble and does need something of the sort I will not withhold them from her. At this point, you are exactly right, I'm looking for supportive options to address the allergic reactions to reduce the cough. I know the cough is a symptom, not the root of the issue. Thank you for the products you've listed. I will check them out.
Risky Business - I have also heard good things about SmartPak's Breathe products. I may just try that one.
I'm specifically looking for these kinds of suggestions so that I can research the options available and make the best decision for her.
Well, we know that mold spores are one of her triggers, and living in FL where it's warm, humid, and moist most of the year makes for a very difficult environment in eliminating exposure. She has the issue year round, though some days less, some days more.
My horse also suffered from exercised induced airway obstruction caused by allergies. We live in the midwest so his was seasonal. And I understand not wanting to go the steroid route....I did that for two show seasons in order to control it enough for showing. I also did the turnout, steamed hay, special bedding (shredded paper) etc, etc, etc. All helped but did not alleviate his condition.
After the second year I worked with a wholistic DVM who also had extensive training in Chinese medicine. I didn't go into it believing that herbal medicine would help that much but I am now a total believer. As one poster said, herbs are not neccesarily safer so I highly recommend working with a DVM who knows what they are doing. And if your horse is like mine was, the over the counter supplements will not help that much.
My boy was on several herbal medicines for two years and we also moved him to a more wholistic diet removing processed grains. Two years later we do not have to use anything now as the wholistic, herbal treatment alleviated the issue. just a whole grain diet. he is back on pine shavings, regular hay but does have a run off his stall so he is out most of the time.
So I would highly recommend working with an expert in Chinese medicine and trying the herbal route. It made all the difference in my boy's quality of life.
as a side note, he is also allergic to the silicone coating on needles so we had to research and find non-silicone needles. Otherwise he gets a huge welt at the injection site.
Suggest you try cob bedding. Becks Better Bedding is very dust free and easy to clean. Be advised some horses eat it like popcorn
Have to issue a PSA & Caveat:
I had a horse develop RAD about 6 months after I started using corn cob bedding - oddly enough it was Beck's brand.
After stripping his stall and rebedding with shavings plus 6mo on Clenbuterol (Ventipulmin) his symptoms disappeared.
My vet listening to his lungs said if he hadn't heard the rales previously, he never would have guessed this horse had symptoms.
My other horse never had a problem with the cob bedding, but Better Safe, right?
Neither one ever showed an interest in eating it.
*friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon: Steppin' Out 1988-2004 Hey Vern! 1982-2009 Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009