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laura miller (Laura99m)
Posted on Sunday, Dec 9, 2001 - 10:00 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hello,

About three weeks ago I purchased a TB gelding, who is approx. 10yrs. old. He was very underweight and came off of a mostly dirt paddock with a large round bale of hay (coastal), that 3 other horses also ate from. I have had him looked over by my vet, and also had the WNV shot with the booster due next week. His feed at the previous location was a very low grade pellet at the rate of 2lb in the morning and 2lb at night.

Since bringing him home I have changed his diet quite a bit. First, he is on 4 acres of grass, Bahia mostly but recently we seeded with winter rye, which is coming in nicely, I do want to mention that I have several large live oak trees around the property and he is particularly fond of the acorns, (I have read the text on acorn toxicity). Oliver is also now receiving 4lbs mix grain, morning and night with one flake T&A & one flake costal at night while he is stalled. He is out all day on grass.

I have recently started adding vegetable oil at the rate of 1 cup split with each feeding, along with a pinch (about 1/3 of ounce flak seed). He had been sand blasted for 10 days with weekly follow ups, Wormers include Zimectrin on 2nd day, one week later double strongid wormer, one week later Quest.

I have recently noticed that Oliver, while having put on about 25lbs since bring him home seems to breath heavily all of the time. It appears to resemble breathing after a quick canter across the field, only no cantering just heavy breathing. He is in rather fine spirits, although he seems just a bit depressed at times. I am not demanding a lot in the form of exercise from him at this time due to his weight and muscle tone. I do notice also that he sweats all the time about the ear and forelock area. I have provided all this information in hopes that someone may have an idea of what could be causing the heavy breathing. I am calling the vet first thing in the morning and making an appt. for her to come out. I do want to say that I have only been a member for about a week, and I love this site, the only problem is so much information so little time to read. Thanks so much for any information you could give.

Laura
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM (Dro)
Posted on Monday, Dec 10, 2001 - 7:12 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

There are many possibilities Laura, and you have already taken the best first step, calling out the vet. Probably the most likely is COPD (see respiratory disease menu) but the lack of cough makes me uncertain. Let us know what she finds, and I suspect we will have an article on it.
DrO
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laura miller (Laura99m)
Posted on Monday, Dec 10, 2001 - 9:25 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hello DrO,

Thank you so much for your reply and I will read the text or COPD as soon as I finish this post. I did want to mention that when I went out to feed this morning, Oliver was breathing normally. Could it be possible that since he is so out of shape that just the roaming of the pasture would cause the rapid breathing, or possibly the rye grass in the field? My nieghbor told me that rye would "blow a horse up", (not sure what that actually means), if they get too much. I have put in a page to the vet just to be on the safe side. Also, he does not seem to have a problem of excessive heavy breathing after exercise, which is a ten minute walk/trot in both directions, as well as a couple of short trail rides with only walking.

Thanks again for your input.
Laura
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laura miller (Laura99m)
Posted on Monday, Dec 10, 2001 - 9:54 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi once again,

I just finished reading several of the posts on COPD and Oliver does not seem to exhibit the classic symptoms of this disease. I am no expert however, and will of course have him checked. One of the reasons I do not believe it is COPD, is that he is breathing normally in the morning from the barn where he stays at night and seems to breath heavier from pasture. He has only once coughed while being exercised, and that produce a mouthful of grass he was chewing on before we started. It is unseasonable warm, (even for central Florida), this time of year and he does have a modest winter coat. I noticed one of the posts also titled, "heavy breather", and Oliver exhibits symptoms similar to that. I certainly pray that this isn't COPD and is something easily cleared up either on its own or with short term medications. We shall see. Thanks for your time in reading this and I look forward to any comments or information.

Laura
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Sherri L. Hueser (Tangoh)
Posted on Monday, Dec 10, 2001 - 11:55 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Laura,
I don't know if you are referring to my posts, but I also have posted a similar problem to what you're experiencing. I still don't know what causes my 5 year old TWH to breathe heavily during the initial hot months of summer (usually from mid-June to end of June) he breathes heavily, even while at rest in his paddock, similar to if he had run across the paddock like you mention, but only occasionally.

One time on a particularly hot June day (he is a black horse) when he exhibited this heavy breathing, I hosed him with cold water and the heavy breathing stopped almost as soon as the cool water hit him. This is the ONLY time of year he exhibits this, and there is no cough. He seems only slightly off during these episodes and still has an appetite. I don't know if it's allergies, or what it is, but it never worsens and totally disappears by the end of June.
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laura miller (Laura99m)
Posted on Monday, Dec 10, 2001 - 7:07 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Sherri,

It sure sounds the same to me. It's pretty hot here, (central Florida), right now and Oliver has a bit of a coat, although he is sorrel which is not as hot as black. He also seems a bit depressed when I notice the heavy breathing, but definitely not off feed. He is trying to make up for lost suppers and is only too happy to eat. He will eat almost anything, today I caught him eating spanish moss of the the fence. I thought perhaps it was something he was eating like the rye grass, acorns, oranges, vegetable oil, flax seed. The vet was perplexed as well, because when she came out he was breathing normally and she listened to his breathing at rest and after a quick lunge. Nothing unusual to report. I'll just keep an eye on him and see if it keeps up after it turns a little cooler. It was so nice of you to respond to my post, your caught my attention because of the same title. I thought that was pretty funny we both had the same title. thanks again

Laura
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Sherri L. Hueser (Tangoh)
Posted on Tuesday, Dec 11, 2001 - 10:00 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

It is funny, because when I saw your post I thought it was an update to mine and I was surprised to see it was a new post.

Anyway, your problem sure does sound similar. I have chalked Tango's episodes up to an airborne allergy or intolerance to the first real heat of the summer at that particular time of the year. I too thought it was something he was eating, but by process of elimination I soon realized that wasn't the problem.

He has had these episodes for the past 2 springs, starting as a 3 year old, but by the end of June he is completely normal, and fit for anything.

Good luck, let me know how he's doing. Maybe we can garner some knowledge from each other's similar experiences and posts. That's what I love about this site.
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laura miller (Laura99m)
Posted on Tuesday, Jan 15, 2002 - 7:33 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Everyone,

I just wanted to update on Olivers "heavy breathing". Well, winter finally showed up, at least winter for central florida", and no occurance of the mysterious heavy breathing. I think it must have something to do with the heat and a possible attempt to regulate body temperature. So for now everything is peachy with him. Thanks for everyones input.

Laura
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM (Dro)
Posted on Wednesday, Jan 16, 2002 - 6:36 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Has Sherri already knows I think that getting rid of extra heat is a problem for some horses under some conditions and when these times occur they will increase their respiratory rate and depth. What is important during these times is that they have relatively normal, though louder, lung sounds and no other sign of possible infection. Monitoring their rectal temperature during these times and also during normal times and keeping a log might also prove interesting.
DrO
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Pam Sargent (Brock)
Posted on Wednesday, Jan 16, 2002 - 11:26 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I'll just add my two cents worth on this post. Hi Sherri - Pam from Moose Jaw, SK; your neighbour to the south. The same thing happened to my big gelding and we have attributed it to the heat because the only time it happened was when we had a week-long bout of extremely humid weather. Jake is a BIG bay horse and every afternoon for 5 days in a row I would come home after work and take him over beside the house and hose him down for about 20-30 minutes until his breathing finally returned to normal. It felt sooo good he was just about on his knees! (Be sure to keep the cold water off the area around the kidneys, though). Another thing we had to do was to keep him out of his box stall (he has access in and out all day and night) because it was also really hot in there. As soon as the weather cooled down, he never showed any signs of heavy breathing and has not done so since. My vet said it is likely because he is just a big, heavy (and dark) horse and it was extremely humid, something we are not really used to here in Saskatchewan!
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Sherri L. Hueser (Tangoh)
Posted on Thursday, Jan 17, 2002 - 10:53 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hey Pam,

Nice winter we're having here in SK. We have virtually no snow here in the supposed 'great white' north.

Seems we have a common problem with our horses... you, Laura and myself. I am convinced that Tango's black coat and the fact that he was a little overweight last spring when the first real heat set in was his problem. It will be interesting to see what happens this year. He's in great shape this winter without the extra pounds so I'm hoping that will help but I'll also be surprised if we don't experience similar heavy breathing this year. I'll try to be optimistic, but he's done it every spring since I got him. Thank goodness it's short lived and like your experiences Pam, hosing him down works almost immediately.

I will take your advise Dr. O and start monitoring and logging his temps. I think that would be helpful.

I just booked our first spring poker rally this morning. Can't wait!
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