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  • Heaves

    My vet recently diagnosed my horse with heaves. He suggested I move him back outside and give him prednisone. (prednolizone). I guess I am looking for other's experiences with this. Any have treatments that have worked well? Success stories? Can I expect him to keep working and a good quality of life?

  • #2
    Sorry you received this diagnosis. I am on the same page with my gelding. Diagnosis was recurrent airway obstructive disease (heaves in advanced cases). He was stalled at a nice, well-insulated barn that stored hay in the barn and bedded on straw. Hay looked to be good quality, but when I soaked it I saw just how dirty/dusty it was. NOT the environment to be in. Brought him home from the vet, took off the bubble wrap (that hurt) and threw him out in the pasture for 24/7 turnout with 12 other geldings. He hasn't seen any hay since then. Started him on Smartbreathe (1.25 dose for 17.2 WB) once per day. First three weeks I rode in outdoor jump ring with Ventipulmin given orally one hr before ride and he was a completely different horse. No longer exercise intolerant and actually able to take big, deep breaths. Tacked up outside - only went inside for washrack; rode outside. However, at $1/cc and a 6 cc dose each ride this is pricey! Just this week I stopped the Ventipulmin and I am hopeful. While he still gurgles when he grazes and there are a few coughs on the first walk-trot transition, he is able to breathe. We finished hill work Sunday with a respiration of 92 breathes/minutes and within 15 min it had dropped to 20. Before he would have been panting like a dog. Next step is to try him in the indoor to see how it goes. Haven't done any of the corticosteroids yet, but if I do it will be by aerosal and not injection. Have seen one horse develop laminitis and founder after an injection. Throw him outdoors immediately, steam or soak the hay (15 min). I'm now starting him on pelleted hay. I'm afraid that steamed hay will simply freeze in winter and soaking in the winter will be a nightmare. I was devastated with the diagnosis, but am much more hopeful now. My vet said he'd had a good response to Smartbreathe and the Smartpak site has nearly 175 endorsements. Good luck!
    pace, path, balance, impulsion and ??

    Don't panic! Ralph Leroy Hill


    • #3
      I am glad to see this. I just recently started my older gentleman on SmartBreathe. My vet hasnt gone full blown with a diagnosis of Heaves/COPD/RAO...yet. He's always had issues with his tear ducts not draining properly and depending on how bad his allergies are I usually have to get them flushed during the summer. This past year he's started coughing a few times during warmup and then he's fine. He's currently on a strong antihistamine (trihist didnt even phase him) 2x a day with mediocre results. I just added SmartBreathe to his current Smartpaks which will ship out on 9/23. I hope it helps him