Know How to Care Best for Horses with Heaves 

Know How to Care Best for Horses with Heaves 

Pulmonary disease in horses is known colloquially as heaves or broken wind. Usually, it is the result of exposure to dust and a lot of air pollution. If your horse is having pulmonary issues, you need to go that extra mile to help him recover. Heaves particularly is a kind of airway inflammation and bronchoconstriction – in simpler words, it is an allergy like reaction to the pollutants in the environment.In humans, it is called asthma. A lack of treatment may lead to mucus building up, eventually even killing your horse. If your horse is showing the early symptoms, it’s best to take precautions.

How to care for your horse?

You need to start by checking your hay quality. You must be aware of dangers of hay that is moldy, however, once struck with heaves, even good quality hay may be dangerous to feed. The best remedy to this is to wet your hay before feeding it to the horse. You can go a step further and steam your hay. Hay steamers that take the temperature up to 212 degrees Fahrenheit are available in the market. Experts suggest that switching to pellets is a fool-proof way of feeding good hay to your horse.

Some issues like a pulmonary hemorrhage require special medication under a vet’s supervision. You can also consider adding an Omega -3 Fatty Acid supplement to their diet. Popularly used to treat human respiratory issues, the supplement is perfectly safe and can be extended to horses as well. You can try an algae source of the omega – 3 fatty acid if you want to go all natural and drug free.

Are all of your horses facing pulmonary issues?

If yes, there’s something wrong with your stalls. It’s best to switch to a place with loads of ventilation. Ammonia in the air is a terrible atmosphere for horses with pulmonary issues. Avoid placing heaving horses in barns with overhead haylofts. Also, a change of bedding would be great. If you’re using straw, ditch it, it’s the worst choice ever. Go for cardboard or chopped paper beddings as they’re low-dust. Sawdust and Pellets over stall mats are acceptable as well. Lightly wet down the pellets and sawdust daily.

When you’re sweeping and cleaning the barn, make sure to let your horses out and don’t bring them back until after an hour. Increase their turn out time and give the dust some time to settle. Change their bedding, check for ammonia smells and do your best to make the atmosphere around their stalls low on dust.

Remember, pulmonary issues may become a lifetime problem so it’s better to prevent it rather than look for a cure later. Keep your horses in a low-dust, healthy atmosphere and feed them the best of hay available, because they’re totally worth it. To echo Allan Hamilton, “I call horses ‘divine-mirrors’ – they reflect back the emotions you put in”.

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