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How to help these heaves?!

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  • How to help these heaves?!

    My 13 y/o mare has heaves. Ive owned her for about 5 1/2 years now and have been trying to keep her as comfortable as possible. Besides her heaves, she is perfectly healthy and energetic. Ive done plenty of reading and researching but thought id get some opinions on it and managing it.

    I've switched to a more ventilated barn, with a well ventilated stall, kept her away from hay and now have her on soaked hay cubes. She is also turned out for half the day on grass, turning out 24/7 isn't much of an option. She definitely is at her worst in the spring/summer when her allergies aggrivate her heaves. Winter time is much easier on her, but im still just as careful in the winter as summer. I've tried TriHist, doesn't help at all. I tried Dex on her late last summer and definitely saw an improvment.

    A big question of mine is, should I be riding her? I haven't been riding her lately, now that everything is blooming, and I just feel uncomfortable riding when she already is huffing a little. But, I've noticed when I do ride/exercise her, her breathing with come right down and seems improved than before getting exercised. Should I continue to ride throughout the summer? I've been hosing her off on the hot days which I've also noticed calms her breathing and keeps her comfortable.

    What else can/should I do to help my pony?! What supplements would you recommened? Any suggestions are appreciated.
    http://community.webshots.com/user/C...host=community

  • #2
    My guy seems more comfortable and shows fewer symptoms when he is fit, so I would try to keep riding your mare as long as she is comfortable with that. Montana's RAO isn't as severe as your mare's case sounds, though - he is turned out 18 hours a day and is able to eat hay that isn't soaked as long as it is clean and high quality.

    I don't have him on any supplements specifically for the heaves, but he does get ground flax seed. Tri-Hist and other similar products never helped him much (but they are corn meal based and he is allergic to corn, so...). When he's having a bad day, I give him Benadryl instead.

    Comment


    • #3
      Try spirulina, it helps for most horses. I get it at herbalcom, it's cheap but it is an acquired taste, my horse loves it though. I would start with a small amount and work up to about 1/4 c twice a day, if it helps you can then try lowering the dose and find what is needed for maintenance. I do about 1/4 c once a day and feed it in soaked alf pellets.

      I think it is $14 a pound so a cheap experiment.

      Ann Szolas
      Last edited by decorum; May. 22, 2009, 11:37 PM.

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      • #4
        Keeping them in consistent work is actually better for them.

        As is 24/7 turnout. If she's really struggling that much, you may want to look for another facility.
        A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

        Might be a reason, never an excuse...

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        • #5
          Be careful with the Trihist - my horse went on it for 3 days for allergies and ended up with anhidrosis.
          She wasn't running away with me, I just couldn't stop her!

          Comment


          • #6
            My horse has heaves except in the winter time. The vet told me that once a horse gets this condition, they will always be prone to get it.

            My horse gets Dex when she is really flared up and then just Albuterol tabs on a regular daily basis. This really seems to help her and we can ride on a regular basis. I definitely think the regular exercise helps also.

            I have found that Trihist does nothing to help the heaves.

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            • #7
              My previous horse had heaves and I used to give him MSM once a day-standard dose recommended for joint use. Apparently it works on the inflammation in the lungs just like it does in the joints. I also had him on inhalers when he had a flare up- a mast cell stabilizer, albuterol, and/or steroids depending on the time of year and his reactions to the conditions. My vet at the time thought the inhalers would be better than oral or injectable meds.
              I rode him til the day he passed at age 28-from something other than his heaves. He kept his weight well and was pretty spunky most of the time. He got 24/7 turnout also. If it was a very humid day we didn't work as hard- maybe just walking about or a gentle trail ride and also didn't work as hard on really cold dry days- these two conditions were the kind of days that he had the most troubles.
              I definitely think keeping them fit helps keep them breathing easier. It got so that he rarely had any problems and only needed the inhalers during his peak reactive months.
              Good luck with your horse.
              ANPL

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              • #8
                Equine Gold Breathe Ease

                My mare has heaves and is on MSM, flax and Breathe Ease (a traditional chinese medicine).

                http://www.equusezcare.com/servlet/t...ase/Categories

                When I first started her on it, I gave it daily the first week then 2/day the second week. Then went back down to 1/day and is still on this dosage. She's doing great on this regime! It's taken about 1 month to see a big difference.

                My boarder is a equine vet and she's really surprised how well she's doing. But the real test will be this summer in the heat & humidity.

                The palatability of Breathe Ease is good - smells like cinnamon. There is also a similar product called "Mo Lung" but I haven't tried it yet. It's supposed to be a little cheaper than Breathe Ease.

                You could also join the Heaves-COPD Yahoo Group.

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                • #9
                  Do you know exactly what is causing the heaves? For instance, I had a pony with grass heaves: she was allergic to grass. The very simple solution was to keep her inside and not let her eat grass when it was "live," or green. She could be safely turned out in the winter after the first freeze and the grass died. She never needed any medication whatsoever.

                  I realize that what my mare had was an exceedingly rare condition, and chances are your horse doesn't have the same thing. But have you tried removing various things from her diet or environment to try and identify what aggrivates the heaves? Is it more of an asthma-type condition? (Meaning it's not allergy induced but more of a general inflammation kind of thing?)

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                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by decorum View Post
                    Try spirulina, it helps for most horses. I get it at herbalcom, it's cheap but it is an acquired taste, my horse loves it though. I would start with a small amount and work up to about 1/4 c twice a day, if it helps you can then try lowering the dose and find what is needed for maintenance. I do about 1/4 c once a day and feed it in soaked alf pellets.

                    I think it is $14 a pound so a cheap experiment.

                    Ann Szolas

                    I've been reading that a alot of people have been having success with Spirulina & calming their horses heaves, I think im going to give it a try!
                    http://community.webshots.com/user/C...host=community

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Most heavy horses are caused by hay. It is often a HAY alergy, not a dust alergy. Remove ALL the hay (and hay cubes). Feed buckets of soaked beet pulp instead. If they won't eat it at first, just make them know that is ALL they are getting - eat it or not.

                      I have had horses that were mainteined on several dangerous drugs be 100% on none, by removing ALL the hay.

                      Conditioning is important, as well as keeping them fro getting too fat. An eventer with heaves competed at Prelim once I managed his diet. We had one complete a 50 mile ride and win best conditioned.

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                      • #12
                        I feel for you. My mare has tested high positive to brome, rye and blue grass pollen. She's not allergic to timothy or alfalfa, so she can have that type of hay. Her allergies have just started to kick in, and will keep up until the first frost. Since she's allergic to the pollen, even when in she's exposed to it in the air. It's more breathing it in rather then actually eating it. She doesn't cough a great deal, but she starts to breath heavily after very little exertion and can't get enough oxygen, even at a walk. This being the case, I can't work her enough to get her fit. Plus her arthritis flares along with the allergies. The only thing that has helped her so far is dex.

                        You might try spirulena, like someone else mentioned. It doesn't seem to help my horse, but other people have good results with it. If you board and can't deal with the fine powder (it goes everywhere), you can get it in tablet form from Springtime, Inc. My mare initially wouldn't eat it initially, but now she thinks it's a treat. It's pricier then bulk powder, but a lot easier to deal with. You work up to 40 grams a day. With the tabs, you give 10 twice a day with their feed.

                        Anyone have any luck with benedryl for respiratory allergy problems? I was thinking of giving that a try to see if it does anything. I'm getting pretty desperate at this point. She really does much better if I can exercise her, but she can't work if she can't breath. Catch 22.

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                        • #13
                          I'd submerge the hay in water and feed it like that.

                          Also--a combination of Vitamin C and bioflavonoids may be helpful. (Citrus C-Q is one brand)
                          "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

                          ...just settin' on the Group W bench.

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                          • #14
                            Spirulina + MSM

                            I've had great success with Spirulina plus MSM. I feed 1 tablespoon of spirulina per day when my gelding has a flare up. Otherwise, I feed a maintenance dosage of 1/2 tablespoon per day. It does have a foul odor and I suspect a foul taste. I had to gradually introduce it to my horse.

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                            • #15
                              The vet I worked for here in FL gave vetri-cine for heaves. http://www.vetriscience.com/vetri-cine.php

                              Works great. I also use it on my mare that has no see-ums allergies (aka is itchy scratchy). If she is off of the vetri-cine she will rub herself raw.
                              In loving memory of my precious Gwendolyn; you will always be with me, in my heart. I love you.

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                              • #16
                                Springtime, Inc. makes a product called DMG 5,600 that's the equivalent to the Vetri-Cine, I believe it costs about 28 cents a day for the maintenance dose. They also have a product called Breather Powder. I'm tempted to try these two in tandem, as it doesn't cost an arm anda leg, and see if they can help. Otherwise, it's back to dex.

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