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COPD / heaves

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  • COPD / heaves

    About 5 years ago, I noticed my horse occasionally had a thin, white watery discharge from his nose in the springtime. I didn't think much of it, because it was so infrequent. Eventually it seemed to be occurring more regularly, so I mentioned it to my vet when he was out. He saw the discharge and felt it was most likely allergies (since it was not accompanied by any other symptoms and happened mainly in the spring).

    This past year, my horse was stalled for about 6-8 months (aside from hand walking) due to a suspensory tear. He began having a major nosedrip in January 2011 from both nostrils, same colour as the previous discharge. The vet at the time thought it was a "cold" and prescribed something (don't remember what it was). It all but disappeared for about 3 weeks, then slowly came back (to the way it was before, minimal discharge once in a while).

    Now it's October 2011 and I am noticing the discharge on a regular basis. He has been living outside since May 2011 and this has not seemed to have helped. There is no discharge until AFTER I'm done riding. He has always coughed a few times when he starts trotting, but that's it. When I'm untacking, his nose will begin to drip.

    I plan on talking to the vet again about this, but have been doing some research and am getting freaked out by all the potential respiratory disorders. He has never had any problems with breathing/fitness but the discharge it alarming.

    (Just an anecdotal side note, the other day I was hugging him and kissed his neck [ha ha]. Continued grooming him, everything is fine. Put my stuff away, then took him outside to turn him out. Kissed him on the nose and within 10 seconds my skin began to break out in hives. Could something in the pasture be something he/we are allergic too? He gets hives about 2x a year as well...)
    A quick tutorial on interval training: Conditioning your horse for eventing

  • #2
    What is his respiratory rate? My horse had some respiratory issues last year, elevated respiratory rate, nasal discharge and coughing. Vet came out, we made some changes in his management (wet hay, more turnout) and he didn't improve much. I had him on Ventipulmin which helped a little.
    I ended up moving barns since the one I was at didn't want to work with us to change his environment for the better. He's at a new barn, different hay, and getting SmartBreathe and he is FINE. No coughing, respiratory rate is normal, and he does not seem to have that nasal discharge except occasionally. He is just coming off 4 months of stall rest for a suspensory injury and I was waiting for the coughing and elevated respiratory rate to start again.
    There's another horse at the barn that had a real problem in the spring with coughing and hugely elevated respiratory rate (40+) she has been on SmartBreathe too and is doing much better. I would try it for your horse, it really seems to help.
    I would also try to have your horse out as much as possible, wet hay if need be, etc.
    Good luck with your horse!


    • Original Poster

      Well I haven't noticed any issues with breathing. He seems to have no trouble during exercise or recovering afterwards, however I will definitely double-check his heart rate/respiratory rate before, during and after exercise to see if I can identify if he's struggling in any way.

      Since he's been at the same place for 3+ years (aside from his 4 month stint inside at a different barn, where his discharge did increase) it's hard to pinpoint if there are specific environmental triggers.... sigh.

      I will keep the SmartBreathe in mind. I'd rather try changes in routine/supplements before turning to prescriptives if he doesn't need them.
      A quick tutorial on interval training: Conditioning your horse for eventing