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Disappointing news - heaves

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  • #21
    Good advice here. My only comment is to be very careful with the Dex. You don't want founder issues.

    And, yes, heaves can be managed.
    Show me your horse and I will tell you who you are.


    • Original Poster

      I've been doing some reading and found out there is a other respiratory disease, separate from heaves, called Inflammatory Airway disease. Anyone heard of this?

      I've been feeding cubes and soaked hay. The vet seemed to think I should stop feeding hay period , only soaked cubes. He seems to prefer dry cubes though and prefers hay over cubes.

      What about steaming hay? Is this a good alternative?

      Thanks for the informative responses!


      • Original Poster

        I re read some of the posts and it seems some are good on soaked or steamed hay while others can't have any hay at all so I guess it's a matter of figuring that out.

        Today I just did a little ground work, trotted some circles. He didn't cough at all but seemed more out of breath than he should be from that amount of exercise. He also had white mucus from his nose.

        Since he is nearing the end of a course of injectable dexamethasone shouldn't it have helped him alot?

        The trainer said he seemed like maybe he got better at the higher dose . She's not sure if the cubes helped or not either....


        • #24
          There's lots of different terms for breathing issues, Recurrent Airway Obstruction, Severe Equine Asthma, etc, which may be why certain things work for some over others. My vet said to dose Dex as low as is effective. It turned out a relatively low starting dose usually caught my horses right away. My vet has also been very impressed with the positive effect of steaming hay, he is now recommending that to his clients and some have contacted me about details. I'm not sure why it's not more common in this country because it has been so effective for my horse.
          Things that had no effect whatsoever on my horse include: soaking hay, albuterol syrup, aeohippus and ventolin inhaler, cough free.
          You may need to experiment to find what triggers your horse, look at all aspects of his life that include dust, mold, pollen etc. I sincerely hope you get to the bottom of it and can find your horse some relief. Best of luck!


          • #25
            Proper steaming kills any mold spores and bacteria that might be on the hay as well as damping the dust. Soaking doesn't.

            If your guy has mucus drainage that may be a good thing. Ask your vet about something to loosen/thin it out so your horse can move it out of his system. Don't be too concerned about him being out of breath - think about how you get out of breath easily when you have a cold. But do ask your vet about it. Remember that lung inflammation leads to scarring quite quickly. You have to be your horse's advocate and keep asking about treatment options. Always ask about expected timeframe for improvement so you can go back if it's not working.


            • #26
              Originally posted by Smoke View Post
              Question re: cubes

              So far I've fed him Timothy alfalfa cubes (alfatec)

              "Premium Timothy-Alfalfa Cubes
              Made from a select blend of a minimum of 40% timothy and minimum 40% alfalfa, these cubes are used as a supplement or as a complete forage replacement."

              Would you think these are ok for my horse who's in light work?

              I think the straight alfalfa cubes would be too rich but 40% should be good?

              He's not a hard keeper but not a pony that gets really fat either .he's a good weight right now IMO
              That is what I feed my mare. She is in light work too and has heaves. She was untreated by her previous owners and had an infection when I got her as well. She had a REALLY bad case, we thought she would always need medication. After months of treatment she has been fine with relatively easy and inexpensive maintenance. She has not flared up since starting this protocol. *Knock on all the wood*

              This is what I do:
              *Soak hay cubes
              *24/7 turnout
              *Monitor air quality and do not work when air is not good
              *Lots of Omega supplements, powder in food and Omega Nibblers as treats (This is the most expensive but according to my vet more helpful thing I do. Omegas are great for fighting inflammation).
              *Spirulina supplement
              *Vitamin E supplement

              I don't do these things, but they might help:
              *Zyrtec, some horses heaves is triggered by an allergy, and zyrtec can help. Ask your vet about dosage.
              *Inhalers, can order for under $200 a month from canadian pharmacies online

              I am also going to look into feeding part fodder. The sprouts have lots of nutrients that might further help her body fight off inflammation. Plus it is cheaper than the $12-$15 for a 40 to 50 pound bag of cubes.

              Honestly when she shouldn't be worked I don't want to ride anyway. It is normally hot and muggy. Finding pasture board with no round bales can be hard. I had luck finding people looking to rent out a pasture as a rough board type situation before I brought her home.

              It does suck, mine was in training too and we had to pull her out because she wasn't ride able. But it turned out fine for me, and I hope it does for you too I love my girl and we have so much fun together.


              • #27
                I believe this manufacturer is having a "retirement sale" ($690 Canadian). I recently looked into various steamers, and this one was a great deal. I'm not sure how this would work in a boarding situation.

                Nothing with horses is ever easy or cheap. And if it is, you're doing it wrong. They always rip out part of your soul when they leave. I guess that's how they find us later.


                • Original Poster

                  Originally posted by twelvegates View Post
                  I believe this manufacturer is having a "retirement sale" ($690 Canadian). I recently looked into various steamers, and this one was a great deal. I'm not sure how this would work in a boarding situation.

                  Thanks, will take a look


                  • #29
                    You can build your own hay steamer for far less money if you're so inclined. I'm not at all handy and "built" one similar to this one last summer: http://dutchhenry.blogspot.com/2016/...y-steamer.html I'm sure it doesn't work nearly as efficiently as a commercial one, but it does the job.