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Inflammatory airway disease (IAD) treatments?

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  • Inflammatory airway disease (IAD) treatments?

    Does anyone have any experience with Inflammatory airway disease (IAD) treatments other than steroids? If so, what did you use & did it work? If you have had a horse treated with steroids, did you use oral, injectable, or inhaler delivery? How long was the course of treatment? Did your horse's IAD symptoms return? I know that for young racehorses it is common to need only 1 course of steroid treatment & the symptoms don't return, but has anybody had IAD show up for the first time in an adult horse (doing more strenuous gallops prior to moving up to prelim eventing). Thanks!

  • #2
    I am going through this right now. I am in the middle of figuring out what works best for my 12 year old. He has coughed for years, and things sort of crept up on me, but now he has exercise-induced breathing issues. Starts at the canter, not only coughs, but began to get sort of stuck with his breathing. SmartBreathe and other supplements are not enough.

    Under vet consultation, I first tried ventipulmin alone without any noticable difference. Then put him on 12 day course of dex, which did wonders. (I dissolved the tablets and dosed him orally) At the end of the treatment, he was perfect. But of course, that could not be done long term. He is now on 4 mg dex every other day, which I just throw in his feed. He was scoped fairly soon after the course of dex and lung lavage test done, which showed no inflammation or infection in the lungs. Just inflammation in the upper airway. I think the course of dex has settled his lungs. I now notice him breathing much better when I ride, but he is still not perfect. Although he breathes and does not get stuck and stiff, he can be difficult to jump because he coughs/snorts on the way to the jump sometimes, which messes up his rhythm and my distance.

    I am trying to figure out something to give him before I ride as a booster. Today I tried a cocktail of 2 cc ventipulmin and 15 cc Air Power. He likes it and went pretty well. For some reason, even just 2 cc of ventipulmin has a huge effect now that the dex has settled the lung inflammation. I will probably just give 1 cc next time, as the 2 cc made him sweat a bit more than usual and he was a little up.

    I also stream his hay, and he now gets only about 3 flakes of steamed coastal at night. All other times he is out at pasture or gets ChaffHaye. I bought him an Aerohippus mask and am experimenting with inhalers. You will find that the metered dose inhalers (for people) are VERY expensive. I have a Flovent 220 which I have not tried yet because I am teaching him to use inhalers with cheap stuff first. I bought a cheap nebulizer at Walgreens and am experimenting with that by nebulizing a cough concoction my vet gave me that has DMSO and Dex in it. He tolerates the nebulizer held right up to his nose, but that particular concoction seemed to make his nose sensitve when I rode. Probably the DMSO. I am next going to ask my vet about something else to put in the nebulizer, maybe dex and ventipulmin.

    We can keep this thread going with our progress if you want.

    It amazes me that once I started paying attention to his breathing, how much I learned. The course of dex settled the inflamation in his lungs, and resolved some stiffness riding that I never imagined was due to lung issues.
    Rest in peace Claudius, we will miss you.


    • Original Poster

      Thanks for the reply. Yes, very interested to hear about your progress & also hear from anyone else who has experienced a horse with IAD. Thanks!


      • Original Poster

        Anyone else with a horse with IAD? Has anyone tried interferon as a treatment?


        • #5
          I hunt a horse with (managed) COPD/heaves. I know the terms used to describe this condition in horses are changing rapidly, so I'm not sure whether that is the same condition as IAD in your horse.

          He gets the Flovent (fluticasone) inhalation through an Aerohippus inhaler daily; I have reduced the number of puffs daily during his allergies' off season (he is allergic to lots of plants and grasses), but expect to start bumping up the number of puffs per day about now.

          As needed for immediate relief, he also uses the same Albuterol inhaler that I use for my asthma, also through the Aerohippus device. It is extremely satisfying, when he is a bit wheezy (coughing has never been his big symptom), to administer the albuterol and within about ten breaths, he is clearly breathing more easily. This horse can be the teensiest bit headshy, but I believe he has figured out that the "nose-thingy with the spray noise" helps him breathe better, and I can take it out in the pasture without a halter and he'll stand as he breathes in and out.

          Sometimes I give him just a few puffs of the albuterol as a preventative before a foxhunt; but sometimes I've been running late and didn't have time, and he's been all right. Obviously, if he hadn't sounded perfectly clear the night before and that morning, I wouldn't have taken him out.

          He gets dex (injectable given orally) as needed if the wheezing doesn't respond to the albuterol inhaler. My vet recommended a tapering dose for such situations.

          Ventipulmin never seemed to have much effect on this horse.

          And ToTheNines -- see if your vet will get your fluticasone ordered through Universal Pharmacy in Canada. It's a lot cheaper than anywhere in the USA.

          Good luck!

          I can ride my horses without a sharps container.


          • #6
            I went through this last year - we started on Ventipulmin/Phenbuterol (liquid gold) and after several bottles, no response, I gave up on that course of action. Move to inhaler (I used the full mask) with Flovent and Albuterol, which I did for several months twice daily (I did find it was much less expensive to buy from Canada versus Walmart!). I combined this with soaking all food, and added 20,000 (double) dose of MSM and Anihist supplement. When that didn't make a difference, we went to oral steroids - Dex at large doses, gradually tapering off. I was pretty fearful of this route, since I knew horses can founder, but ultimately this is what made the difference.

            Anihist is no longer available - I am using Cough-Free at this point, not sure if it really helps, but I'm afraid to make any changes. We lost most of the year, but this year, he's back under saddle. Although his breathing is louder - he has great stamina and could really go for hours.


            • Original Poster

              Thanks for the input- keep it coming! This horse's condition is fairly mild- she seems to have seasonal allergies (gets a puffy face). If she gallops more than about 7 minutes, she gets a small amount blood coming out of her nostrils. Anything less than that and there is no blood. Her lungs have been scoped & lavaged & they are clear (and the blood isn't coming from there), but the vets diagnosed her with IAD due to inflammation in the upper resp tract.