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Pony with heaves, looking for natural supplement

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by mcdaid36, Dec 11, 2008.

  1. mcdaid36

    mcdaid36 Songster

    Mar 16, 2008
    Putnam County, NY
    We recently inherited an elderly but still very feisty pony. He has heaves, and has had 2 major attacks since we brought him here in September. He's currently recouperating from his last attack and is on prednisone tablets. I'm looking for some kind of natural supplement I can put him on to help prevent attacks in the future. This second time we noticed him coughing up a lot of mucus, and he also had a lot of mucus coming out of his eyes before the breathing got bad. Hopefully I can find something to help break up the mucus in his lungs when I see these early signs before it majorly affects his breathing, or even a daily supplement to keep it form building up at all. Any suggestions? He is in a paddock with a run-in shed, not a barn, his hay gets shaken out or wet down before feeding, we started mixing peat moss in with the shavings in the shed to help lesson the dust. The shed and paddock get picked clean every day. When he's not having an attack he seems to have no visible trouble breathing, and coughs very little. I also want to help strengthen his immune system somehow since he came to use very run down and underweight. Thanks for any ideas.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2008
  2. Bantamlover23

    Bantamlover23 Songster

    Aug 6, 2008
    Chuluota, FL
    Hi, I am not an expert but have been around horses my whole life. We had a horse with heaves she was not our as we board horses. What we did to help her was soak her hay before giving it to her and the vet prescribed Dexamethasone (sp?). I have not tried either of these supplements but I have heard from people who did and they worked. The first one is Cough Free by Farnam. The other is Clarity by Feedmark supplements. I hope this help some.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2008
  3. mcdaid36

    mcdaid36 Songster

    Mar 16, 2008
    Putnam County, NY
    Thanks for the info. We do wet his hay, and when he starts one of his bad attacks, the meds he starts with are 4 days of injections of dexamethasone, then he moves on to the steroid tablets. Clarity was one of the products I was looking into. It's good to hear other people have had success with it.
  4. Rusty Hills Farm

    Rusty Hills Farm Songster

    Apr 3, 2008
    Up at the barn
    I had a gelding with early-stage COPD. We allergy tested him and were astounded to find out that he was allergic to the grass, the hay, the pine trees, and his own stall bedding. He had so many allergies that the vet put him on monthly allergy shots. The lab could not fit all the anti-allergens in one shot, so he had to have 2! We started him on this when he was 15 and he lived 10 more years without ever having another attack. Instead he finally passed from a combination of cancer and the ulcers that developed from the meds to fight the cancer.

    If you can find an equine vet who is willing to do the blood test and then order the shots for you, you can spare that pony a lot of suffering. The shots came from a lab in New Mexico, but unfortunately I don't remember their name.

  5. CountryMom

    CountryMom Songster

    Jun 21, 2008
    South Texas
    We had a mare suffer pnuemonia a few years back as a complication to another illness. She was already prescribed the Dexo due to Moon Blindness. The only thing I think I can add is that don't just wet the hay. Take yourself a hay net and fill it up with the the amount you would feed the pony. Then drop that entire hay net full into a water trough for it to soak. Leave it there for a while. Just wetting it with a hose won't wash out the dust and dirt that are in the flakes. Not sure how you are doing that, but it is a common mistake. And then of course once soaked do not drop it on the ground for them to eat. Hang it up and the pony can eat without having it's face down in more dirt or the wet hay attracting dirt. Shaking out hay will not work either. It cannot get all the dirt and dust out by shaking. Plus, if you are shaking that hay and breath in what is coming out it is very bad for your lungs. Another option which I have used many times for older horses is to start feeding hay cubes and soak them to get them soft.

    Good Luck!
  6. mcdaid36

    mcdaid36 Songster

    Mar 16, 2008
    Putnam County, NY
    Thanks for the info. I do soak the hay - I have a big plastic pan that you use for mixing concrete. I put in his hay, fill it with water, and let it soak for at least an hour. The vet mentioned not to hang the hay because then the dsut/mold will be right at his level and he will breathe in more dust that way. If it's on the ground he can take a bite, then lift his head away from the dust. I guess it's just 2 different ways of looking at it! We occassionally just shake the hay if we are rushed or forgot to wet it down. I would love to be able to feed him hay cubes. The problem is that he is in an open paddock with another horse, so they share the feedings. Otherwise he'd be locked in a stall for hours at a time, which wouldn't be good for his breathing either. Thanks for the advice though. I appreciate it.
  7. Pretty Pony

    Pretty Pony In the Brooder

    Dec 2, 2008
    Ft. Smith, AR
    I think I can help you out. There is an all natural supplement called "PulmaEze". Race horse take it to stop the bleeding when they race. It is a human grade product so people with asthma or severe allergies would benefit from it as well.

    Go to this web site and call my friend Bob. Tell him "a crazy lady from Colo." told you to call. [​IMG] He developed it. It really WORKS!


  8. Momo

    Momo Songster

    Mar 16, 2008
    Nelson BC
    I had a mare with really bad heaves and tried all kinds of stuff - medications, soaking the hay etc. But she was completely cured when I started feeding her haylage instead of hay. I mean completely. It isn't really recommended for horses any more because they can get botulism from a bad bale, but if you get the small bales/bags (e.g. 40-50 lbs) instead of the big ones the danger is apparently quite small. (At the time I was feeding it to her it was very new stuff and we weren't aware that there could be a problem.) Haylage is fermented and has beneficial yeasts which kill off all the mold (when you soak your hay they aren't inhaling many spores, but they're still ingesting them and reacting). After a few years on haylage it wasn't available any more so I went back to feeding her regular hay but was super careful to get only really clean fragrant hay without any mustiness and she was fine for the rest of her life with no recurrence of symptoms. I also once knew a gelding who was allergic to hay, grass, pollen etc and he was fed a hay-free diet based on beet pulp, soy etc. He looked great and lived to be an old guy.
  9. I would suggest you get the horse allergy tested if you can find someone in your area that'll do it. Its an auto immune disorder like athsma so it's caused by allergies. I have a horse that has heaves and he is allergic to corn. When he doesnt eat corn he breathing is perfectly fine. Good luck.

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