Friday, October 5, 2012


Another rainy day here, so not much to update. Thinking about calling the vet out to look at Cool again (ugh.) He has been coughing and blowing some snot out of his nose the past couple days, but literally only while eating his hay. Otherwise, his nose is clear and he's acting and eating just fine. I've been taking his temperature twice a day just to be sure and he's held steady at 99.2 (he's literally always right on the dot of 99.1-99.2) I did notice, that these past two bales of hay (which he has been eating the past two days since this all started) were a little dustier than usual and not as "fresh" smelling. Over the winter we had him looked at by the vet because he was coughing terribly when I rode him (he is actually quite dramatic...Emmy is sooo stoic about everything, but Cool is a HUGE wimp.) She checked him out and listened to his lungs (he seriously acted like he was dying when she pinched his nose to make him take a deep breath I said, dramatic) and diagnosed him with dust allergies. This didn't really surprise me at all since we bought Cool out of a field where he had lived for 6 years of his life and had never been stalled, therefore he was never really exposed to much dust. Earlier this summer, I had her out again to look at him for a similar reason and once again, she diagnosed him with more allergies. As far as I can tell, Cool is allergic to everything on the planet. I started soaking his hay today and so far, he seemed to be a little better when eating. I've never had a horse with so many allergy problems before and I'm wondering if it's time to get him scoped or really looked at in depth and make sure that there isn't some underlying problem? He seems to cough much more in the winter when he doesn't spend as much time outside. At home in the summer he is either outside all day or all night (depending on the temperature) and his stall is large (12x12) with a high ceiling and a dutch door which opens to a run pen. Basically, unless it's raining he has outdoor access and fresh air all day long. In the winter though, when we move to a boarding barn, he doesn't quite get those luxuries. Last winter we put him on Cough Free and it seemed to help a little. Does anyone have any suggestions for winter/general maintenance? I will probably have the vet out anyway to make a definite rule-out of any illness if it persists into next week, especially since we are moving back to the boarding barn at the end of the month.

For all of you out there who own horses with allergies or breathing problems: how did you get your horse diagnosed and what were your horses symptoms? How have you maintained your horse since then? Cool is so young...only 8 years old and I don't want this to turn into something that could potentially restrict his life long usefulness...especially if we can do something now to help it and make him better in the long run!

Please leave your thoughts!



  1. Ooooh I have dealt with Dreamy's breathing issues for nine years. My mare was diagnosed when she had a cough and the vet basically listened to her lungs. She has never been scoped. She shows symptoms by coughing and having "harsh" sounding lungs. Sometimes she has a nasal discharge. And twice she has had what I would call an "asthma attack" and it is very very scary. Soak his hay from now on; it can take a few days to see any improvement. I would have him looked as sooner rather than later. I steam hay now instead of soak. My mare cannot be locked up a a stall without excellent ventilation and I have to be very careful about indoors. She was on a product from Emerald Valley Equine called BTB Wind for many years and I used Immuzim when we did rated shows (since BTB Wind has devil's claw and it tests). Now she is on SmartBreathe and doing great. During her bad attacks she has been on TriHist and Dexamethazone, but I did not want her to be on either one for extended periods of time. Best of luck! Much of COPD (now called RAO) can be managed with some management changes and supplements.

  2. Thanks for all the info! I've been looking at SmartBreathe for a while now and thinking that it might be a good thing for him, especially if you have had good results with it. Will it test at rated shows? I'd like to start showing him AQHA next summer. When the vet looked at him this past winter she listened to his lungs and said that they sounded fine (hence the allergy diagnosis) it possible that an allergy could become a problem like COPD? I started soaking his hay and he was 90% better in just a single day, then I gave him dry hay one morning because I was late for work and forgot to soak it the night before and he was back to sneezing/coughing again. I've been soaking it ever since and he seems better but not 100%. It's really strange, almost like a sneeze/cough (if that makes any sense). It's like he does one big sneeze and cough at the same time...just one, maybe two and then he's fine. In the pasture he's totally fine, its only when he eats his hay. Do you feed Dreamy her hay out of a net or on the floor? I was letting Cool eat it out of the muck tub but then he decided that it would be a fun toy and literally destroyed it. I've been feeding him the wet hay on the ground ever since but he seemed to be doing better when he was eating it out of the bucket. Hay net maybe?

  3. Oh! One more thing, have you ever heard of Anihist? A friend of mine used it once and liked it...didn't know if you had ever had any experience with it?

  4. Yes, I do think it could develop into COPD. The SmartBreathe doesn't test, as there is nothing illegal in it. I used to feed Dreamy her soaked hay out of a flexi tub thing like this:

    I got it at the feed store and she was fine with it. Bummer that Cool destroyed his! Whoops! But now that I steam her hay, I just leave it on a swept area of her back corner (we have wooden stall floors). A hay net would work. That is what I do when I show out of my trailer.

    I have never used Anihist.

  5. Oooo that's a great idea for a tub! I never thought of getting a flexible one...then if he wants to play with it he can't crush it! lol. Thanks for all of the insight!