So Your Horse Has a Cough...
Heaves is a persistent condition that affects the lungs of horses. It is a similar condition to COPD in people. It occurs due to an inflammatory reaction from particles found in the horse's environment. When a horse inhales these particles, the small airways in the horse's lungs narrow and eventually become obstructed.
How can you tell your horse has heaves?
Increased breathing rate
Flaring the nostrils
What should you do?
Do have your horse examined by a veterinarian.
Depending on the severity of the case, your horse may need certain medical treatments to help ease your horse's breathing.
It is best if a horse can be kept outside as much as possible.
Hay should be wetted down or soaked prior to feeding to help decrease dust and mold exposure.
If your horse is kept in a sandy area, the ground should be wetted down to prevent dust from being kicked up.
Take Home Message
There is NO cure for heaves, but it can be controlled.
Once your horse is diagnosed, this condition will need to be managed for the rest of your horse's life.
Heaves is a PROGRESSIVE disease and can be life limiting.
Damage to the horse's lung can become irreversible, and will continue to worsen if left untreated.
BUT!!! The sooner you can get your horse's heaves under control, the easier it will be to manage.