Any advice on Heaves?

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dognpony

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My mini stallion started coughing about 6 months ago. Our vet came out and did bloodwork and checked him over and the labs were all normal so she said it is probably just allergies and not to worry. We did have a big pine tree that dropped lots of yellow pollen so I was happy we were going to be moving in a couple months. Our new place has a big barn and he is on a dry lot with his half brother during the day. His coughing has persisted and this past week he was laying down a lot (something he hardly ever does). I put him in the stall for a day by himself and he was pooping fine so I had our new vet come out and it turned out he has mild Heaves. We also just got back the mold testing on our house and barn and we have a huge mold problem. I feel terrible that is happening to him and I want to do everything I can to help him breath better. Vet recommended wetting the hay, putting him back on grass not a dirt surface. Keeping him outside as much as possible (not in the barn) and steroids.

Any other suggestions? I feel terrible this is happening to him. He has never been sick in his life.

Thank you,

Joan in Maryland
 

Cayuse

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I have a pony with respiratory problems from allergies. Ask your vet about Zyrtec :) .I have used an albuterol (opens the lungs) and a beclomethasone (steroid) inhaler on my guy with very good results. It is a little pricey, but did the trick. We did the inhaled steroids instead of oral steroids because of the possible risk of laminitis that goes along with oral steroids. Vitamin E supplement help quite a bit to calm his immune system. I also did the allergy testing, both the blood draw test and the skin test and followed with the desensitization shots and I did not find them helpful although some people do have great luck with that. Hope this helps.
 

Ryan Johnson

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Wetting hay will def help , so will keeping him off dry lots and away from dusty areas. As Laurie mentioned above be wary of laminitis with the oral steroids, not only the steriods but the increased turnout on grass. Maybe something similar to Founder guard (as we have here) would also help.

Hope hes ok :)
 

MaryFlora

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One idea to throw in with the great input above is Triple Crown Safe Starch Forage. It is a complete feed with no other grain, hay, etc needed. Goldie, my 24 year old mini, developed heaves about 5 years ago. The vet gave me 5 doses of steroids to give intramuscular and said no hay, no grass, no grain.

I contacted Triple Crown and they were very helpful about product information and how much to feed Goldie based on weight. At that time it was around $24 for a 40 pound bag. Goldie is 34” and about 225. Her ration was somewhere around 3.5# per day split into two or three feedings. She did very well.

I’m so sorry to read about your mold problems, that is a miserable thing to happen!
 
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I had a little female Welsh Cobb that came to me with heaves. She was already older and pretty fragile. My vet had me use wet hay for a while but that didn't seem to help. He then figured it could be the hay. Poor little thing was allergic to hay in it's natural form (could have been dust, mites, etc too--who really knows?) He had me use something called AnilHist (?) can't recall name correctly. It worked miracles with this girl. I would sprinkle some on her grain and after about 1 1/2 weeks saw some improvement. Then it completely went away. Kept her on it for about a year then slowly titrated it down and discontinued it without any issues. She may have had stuff in her lungs from previous owner's care (she was starved and may have tried to eat almost anything). She lived about another five years without any heaves at all. I think her case was quite mild though.
 

ZuZuPetals

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I had a little female Welsh Cobb that came to me with heaves. She was already older and pretty fragile. My vet had me use wet hay for a while but that didn't seem to help. He then figured it could be the hay. Poor little thing was allergic to hay in it's natural form (could have been dust, mites, etc too--who really knows?) He had me use something called AnilHist (?) can't recall name correctly. It worked miracles with this girl. I would sprinkle some on her grain and after about 1 1/2 weeks saw some improvement. Then it completely went away. Kept her on it for about a year then slowly titrated it down and discontinued it without any issues. She may have had stuff in her lungs from previous owner's care (she was starved and may have tried to eat almost anything). She lived about another five years without any heaves at all. I think her case was quite mild though.
I have a rescue pony with Heaves, I treat him with Hydroxyzine powder over some grain usually at the first sign that he may be starting an episode except in hot months I tend to give him a dose every few days as I’ve noticed flies are a big contributor so use a fly mask and spray, I’m fairly confident it’s the bites?! NO hay ever switch to pellets, water down pens or stalls to limit dust. If you must do hay it has to be soaked to avoid dust. I have been very successful doing it this way he has little to no symptoms however we had a sort of heat wave swing through this week and created 88-90 degree in November hence flies! Last night was his worst attack yet and I have no doubt he would have died. It came on FAST with in 1 hour, he was on the ground drowning in mucus which becomes a faucet when it gets to this point flaring nostrils, respirations through the roof. I ran and loaded a syringe with 10 mg of Dexamethasone and panic stabbed him! When I say the relief he got with in minutes was enough to sustain until it full kicked in. If you can have that on hand I highly recommend! Strange I saw your thread come up on my email as I just dealt with this. Best of luck xx
 

ZuZuPetals

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My mini stallion started coughing about 6 months ago. Our vet came out and did bloodwork and checked him over and the labs were all normal so she said it is probably just allergies and not to worry. We did have a big pine tree that dropped lots of yellow pollen so I was happy we were going to be moving in a couple months. Our new place has a big barn and he is on a dry lot with his half brother during the day. His coughing has persisted and this past week he was laying down a lot (something he hardly ever does). I put him in the stall for a day by himself and he was pooping fine so I had our new vet come out and it turned out he has mild Heaves. We also just got back the mold testing on our house and barn and we have a huge mold problem. I feel terrible that is happening to him and I want to do everything I can to help him breath better. Vet recommended wetting the hay, putting him back on grass not a dirt surface. Keeping him outside as much as possible (not in the barn) and steroids.

Any other suggestions? I feel terrible this is happening to him. He has never been sick in his life.

Thank you,

Joan in Maryland

I have a rescue pony with Heaves, I treat him with Hydroxyzine powder over some grain usually at the first sign that he may be starting an episode except in hot months I tend to give him a dose every few days as I’ve noticed flies are a big contributor so use a fly mask and spray, I’m fairly confident it’s the bites he’s allergic to?! NO hay ever switch to pellets, water down pens or stalls to limit dust. If you must do hay it has to be soaked to avoid dust. I have been very successful doing it this way he has little to no symptoms however we had a sort of heat wave swing through this week and created 88-90 degree in November hence flies! Last night was his worst attack yet and I have no doubt he would have died. It came on FAST with in 1 hour, he was on the ground drowning in mucus which becomes a faucet when it gets to this point flaring nostrils, respirations through the roof. I ran and loaded a syringe with 10 mg of Dexamethasone and panic stabbed him! When I say the relief he got with in minutes was enough to sustain until it fully kicked in. If you can have that on hand I highly recommend! Strange I saw your thread come up on my email as I just dealt with this. Best of luck xx
 
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ZuZuPetals

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I had a little female Welsh Cobb that came to me with heaves. She was already older and pretty fragile. My vet had me use wet hay for a while but that didn't seem to help. He then figured it could be the hay. Poor little thing was allergic to hay in it's natural form (could have been dust, mites, etc too--who really knows?) He had me use something called AnilHist (?) can't recall name correctly. It worked miracles with this girl. I would sprinkle some on her grain and after about 1 1/2 weeks saw some improvement. Then it completely went away. Kept her on it for about a year then slowly titrated it down and discontinued it without any issues. She may have had stuff in her lungs from previous owner's care (she was starved and may have tried to eat almost anything). She lived about another five years without any heaves at all. I think her case was quite mild though.
Sorry I didn’t mean to post that as a reply to you!
 

dognpony

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Thank you to all who took the time to reply. I really appreciate it. I am trying to get someone to build an open run-in so he can have some shelter without being in a mold ridden barn. He is at the very early stages and has not been coughing much at all since I started wetting the hay and keeping him outside as much as possible. Thanks again!!!
 

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