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Discussion on Dry cough no other symptoms...but other horse diagnosed with virus

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Joanne
Member
Username: healthy1

Post Number: 10
Registered: 6-2008
Posted on Monday, Jan 5, 2009 - 11:54 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hello,

My horse just started (yesterday) having a dry cough (not alot only a few times) with no other symptoms.

a few weeks ago another horse started coughing with the exact same cough( all of a sudden when on a trail ride and repeated very deep dry coughs )and also no other symptoms.

the vet was called out for that horse, and took a blood test and the blood test showed a low white cell count and the vet diagnosed Virus (didn't say what virus) and gave antibiotics incase of a secondary infection.

now my horse has the dry cough , could this be a virus even with no other symptoms? the other horse was stalled across from me.

also the hay is a bit dusty ( AT LEAST TO ME)because it got rained on slightly. and the barn owner is feeding it anyways.

Thanks in Advance

Joanne
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Chris
Member
Username: stevens

Post Number: 642
Registered: 8-2002
Posted on Monday, Jan 5, 2009 - 6:26 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Joanne,

Does your horse have a temperature? We've had a cough going around our barn in the last month. My own horse had it for about a week, no temp.

If there's no temperature, I'd wait a couple of days and give it a chance to clear up on its own. If there's a temp, call your vet. Personally, I have a problem with "in case of" use of antibiotics.

Good Luck
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IKE
Member
Username: kriseyc

Post Number: 44
Registered: 3-2006
Posted on Monday, Jan 5, 2009 - 7:04 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Joanne,
Does the hay smell or appear dusty when shook out? If it was rained on and not properly dried before baling, I would think it would be musty/moldy and probably should not be fed...are the horses gobbling it up, or pushing it around?
If it's just dusty, and you don't have other alternatives...you could try shaking it out well and even sprinkling it with water to help keep the dust down while your horse ingests it. Also...maybe there were a few bad bales, and some other hay in the lot is better..
Good Luck!
Ike
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Joanne
Member
Username: healthy1

Post Number: 11
Registered: 6-2008
Posted on Monday, Jan 5, 2009 - 7:21 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Chris: my horse does NOT have a temp and is acting normally, i haven't heard him cough again while exercising and free lunging or in his stall. :-)

IKE: it smells AND appears dusty/musky,the bales and flakes feel very heavy for their size from excess water being baled. :-(

i have been shaking it out and pouring water over it, i am going to bring a big bucket/plastic basket and soak it a little before feeding and maybe spray some oil on it.,

sadly i can't be there to do it in the AM it is a boarding barn.

the boarding barn gets it by the semi truck load, so hopefully the next truck load will be Clean and dry.

i personally wouldn't have fed it.:-(
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Julie Masner
Member
Username: juliem

Post Number: 516
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Monday, Jan 5, 2009 - 8:40 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I'd pass on the antibiotics with no temp.
Musty smelling and "heavy" flakes usually signal mold. I think this could lead to problems and I'm sure Dr. O will be more definitive, but I think a talk with the barn owner is in order. If they buy hay by the truckload, the supplier should have to make it right or lose a customer. I can't imagine what to do with a semi load of bad hay--I have trouble getting rid of a partial bale! People with cattle will feed it however and may pay something for it and haul it away.
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IKE
Member
Username: kriseyc

Post Number: 45
Registered: 3-2006
Posted on Monday, Jan 5, 2009 - 10:06 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Joanne,
Glad there is no temp. And less of a cough to your knowledge. The heavier bales, I would agree probably signify some degree of mold. I also board my horse (after having him at home) so I understand the challenges of being at the mercy of other people to care for your dear horse. If the hay is truly not good...and it's causing your horse problems...it is likely causing other horses trouble as well. You might sit down and have a serious, (yet not overly emotional)talk with the barn owner's. You are paying for a service (usually a lot!) and can reasonably expect to have decent hay. I think everyone (Including Dr.O ) will agree that good hay is the cornerstone of a good equine diet. Perhaps you can also speak with other boarder's if their horses are troubled by the hay and together can approach the barn owner's in a positive manner.
Do most of the horses seem to be gobbling up the hay...or are they nosing it around, and reluctant to eat it??

Best of luck
Ike
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Joanne
Member
Username: healthy1

Post Number: 12
Registered: 6-2008
Posted on Tuesday, Jan 6, 2009 - 2:34 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

usually she gets VERY good quality hay ,but this batch got rained on ( and she knew before she bought it) the problem is that BO is dating the hay guy. so she might be a little biased.

i have noticed my horse has been less than enthused with eating the hay, and some others. one day he actually refused to eat it.

there are about 27 horses in the barn so hopefully the semi load will go quickly :-( and that there is no permanent damaged. of course the best thing wold be get new clean hay and get rid of this ASAP.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 22065
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Tuesday, Jan 6, 2009 - 5:45 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hello Joanne,
Yes it is possible to develop a cough from a virus without fever but considering your history of feeding dusty hay that is a much more likely explanation and not an acceptable management practice. To fully understand the substantial risk of feeding hay with mold spores (dusty appearing) be sure to read Diseases of Horses » Respiratory System » Heaves & Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.
DrO
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Joanne
Member
Username: healthy1

Post Number: 13
Registered: 6-2008
Posted on Tuesday, Jan 6, 2009 - 11:44 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks for the reply Dr. Oglesby.

i understand what the risk is of feeding it, if it were my barn and i wasn't Boarding i wouldn't feed it. :-(

sadly there isn't much i can do except try to soak/spray it with water. or get my own bales until new CLEAN hay comes in.

I can't remember if the horse across from me started coughing before or after the bad hay was being fed . i don't know how long they have been feeding it, but i don't think it has been long.

i think she just got this truckload. maybe 1-2 weeks ago?

i will have a talk with the BO and tell her the hay is dusty/moldy and all the effects it might or already caused.
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elk
Member
Username: ekaufman

Post Number: 778
Registered: 3-2007
Posted on Tuesday, Jan 6, 2009 - 1:33 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

If it's a true semi-load (21-23 tons), with average feeding practices (3 ton/horse/yr), then you're looking at a roughly 3 month supply of hay for your horse. So it's certainly worth discussing with the BO, since the problem will likely persist for a while.

When you date the hay guy, you're supposed to get the BEST hay. That's in the rulebook!
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boots
Member
Username: boots

Post Number: 9
Registered: 12-2008
Posted on Tuesday, Jan 6, 2009 - 2:28 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I had the same problem once so I bought a few bales of good hay at the local feed store and took them to the stable for my horses. Put your name on it and ask that that be fed to your horses. This will get you through until good hay arrives at the barn and might even make your point very nicely. AND your horses will not be harmed from the bad hay. The minor cost will be worth it. Maybe this will help. Good luck.
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Erika L
Member
Username: erika

Post Number: 1550
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Tuesday, Jan 6, 2009 - 9:19 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I like Boots' idea. I would hope that when they see the difference, other boarders will complain and hopefully cause some action (Or just theft of your good hay!).

Perhaps you can print out the article and show it to the BO. Unacceptable, she wouldn't be allowed to feed poison, and that's what it is, IMHO.
Erika
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Joanne
Member
Username: healthy1

Post Number: 14
Registered: 6-2008
Posted on Wednesday, Jan 7, 2009 - 12:09 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

LOL thanks for the replies.

i actually have hay bales that i bought to toss him some hay at night .

but she has already told a person that they aren't allowed to store hay in the stalls and also gets "snooty" when a person doesn't like something she's doing or questions it.

so i don't know how that is going to go.

i am starting to wonder why i should pay $435 to get moldy hay and a bad arena base.

o well my horses well being is more important than being afraid to get someone mad. so i am thinking i will get tell her to feed my bales until a new shipment of clean hay comes in.

i KNOW she won't give me a discount, i have to buy my own grain (a special grain) and now buy my own bales??? this is getting ridiculous.
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Chris
Member
Username: stevens

Post Number: 645
Registered: 8-2002
Posted on Wednesday, Jan 7, 2009 - 10:01 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Joanne,

I don't know how big your barn is, but it's a hard business to make a living at. Sometimes it's cheaper to put a bit more money out of your own pocket than do a wholesale upgrade of the facility which will result in a permanent board increase.

I'm at a place with close to 200 horses. I buy all my own supplements and grass hay to supplement the alfalfa that is fed (oat hay is the other option provided by the barn owner). I pay the barn men directly to feed it to my horse. I have at least two friends whose horses only eat grass hay and they buy it themselves, but the barn men feed for them. None of us gets a break on our board.

Several of us have spent close to $7500 rennovating the dressage court on our own nickel. If the barn owner had made this investment, she would have passed on the price to us in the form of permanently increased board.

With the recent rains, nobody was milling wood locally so the BO couldn't get bulk shavings. Many of us went to the feed store and bought our own bags of shavings. BTW, here's where paying the barn men for extras really pays off; when there are shavings, my horse always is well bedded.

Even with these extra expenses, I'm better off where I am than moving to another barn where my board would go up at least $250 a month (I'm already paying $475) and the trailer parking fee would double if they even had a space for my trailer at all.

On the upside, the BO is very generous regarding bringing in clinicians and never charges a ring fee. She only charges $15 for a day stall. She does what she can for those that treat her politely and say "please" and "thank you".

So, all that said, look around and see if you're better off where you are or if you can find a better situation elsewhere. I suspect you aren't going to change your current BOs position.

Good Luck
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 22076
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Wednesday, Jan 7, 2009 - 10:15 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Joanne,
I would say that "to understand the risk" should lead you to the conclusion that feeding dusty hay to your horse is not to be tolerated. Other members give some good ideas above.
DrO
Opps, I just saw your latest post and see you do understand the risk. Good going and maybe shaking out some of the dusty hay in front of the barn owner where she might inhale some of the dust will get the point across to her too.
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Kathy Hayden
Member
Username: kshayden

Post Number: 55
Registered: 6-2008
Posted on Wednesday, Jan 7, 2009 - 10:50 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thank you Chris for this reality check. I pay just $ 50.00 a month for the use of a facility close to me and though I appreciate and almost never complain - I do sometimes find myself saying - 'wish they would do this or that'. For some insane reason - never thought *** I *** should step up and do it myself...what a concept :-). I sure do love that big arena this time of year and am very, very happy to have it.

200+ horses at one place sure makes me think of nursery school where all the kids shared their illnesses quite freely - my youngest was a nanny while going to college and was always sick - and she was not a sick kid before - once she stopped the nanny business - she hasn't been sick for a year...I just wonder in a barn that big - horses must travel to and from shows/trainers etc and trade bugs back and forth. Seems it would be so hard to control an environment like that.
Just my thoughts out loud. Thanks again for the reality check. Kathy
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Erika L
Member
Username: erika

Post Number: 1551
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Wednesday, Jan 7, 2009 - 11:44 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I'm afraid I have to second Chris' statements. I probably lose money on the one boarder I have here. I just did it as a courtesy to her. If I had many more, I'm sure that $500/month would barely break even. There are so many hidden costs to running a farm that one never thinks of.

That said, I still think there is no excuse for feeding dangerous hay.
Erika
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Chris
Member
Username: stevens

Post Number: 647
Registered: 8-2002
Posted on Wednesday, Jan 7, 2009 - 2:28 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Just to be absolutely clear, I am not advocating that Joanne allow her horse to be fed moldy dusty hay. Just offering some perspective.

I'm fortunate that with as many horses as we do have at our place, very few ever leave the property. I would guess that maybe 20-25 (less one with my guy still laid up) show or trailer out so it's a pretty stable (yuk yuk) environment.
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IKE
Member
Username: kriseyc

Post Number: 46
Registered: 3-2006
Posted on Wednesday, Jan 7, 2009 - 7:44 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Joanne,
I'm glad you were able to get some good hay to your horse. I agree with "elk" that the BO should be getting the "best" hay if she has a "relationship" with the hay guy. And I also like Dr.O's idea of shaking the hay out under the nose of the BO.
All kidding aside...the BO should be able to tell the hay guy it is bad and seek replacement.
ANY good businessman will stand by his product and want to make the situation right...or they won't be in business long. I am a little sympathetic to the BO...I know she has a lot of people and horses to please..and there are a lot of hidden costs but hay should NOT be the place to skimp at all, and shame on her for feeding it and being snooty about you bringing good hay in.
Have you asked her if she has spoken to him about replacing it?
UGH...Good Luck Joanne
Ike
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Joanne
Member
Username: healthy1

Post Number: 15
Registered: 6-2008
Posted on Wednesday, Jan 7, 2009 - 10:54 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Chris: yes i understand your post completely, the other barns i have been to are MUCH worse than this (well runs out of water,no bedding etc), and if i go to a another barn with a better indoor, you never know if they really do what they say.

i didn't mean to make the BO sound all bad. in her defense : actually 99.9% of the time she gets VERY GOOD hay. this time i don't know what happened.

Dr.O : i actually HAVE been shaking it out infront of the other people and the BO LOL. infact some people came out and said: why is it so cloudy?
then I told them why and what i was doing.

IKE: this stable has 60 stalls ALL WERE FULL!... but the BO put her price up a good 70 dollars at one time and everyone left. (even me, i moved to a stable and they didn't give my horse enough hay or clean very well and just turnout for 1 hour. i then moved back to the previous/current barn. they feed the amount you say and bed VERY well!. clean sawdust everyday.

i am happy here, i just wish they had enough boarders again to get enough money to redo the indoor. ( the base is worn on both ends and there are hills, making the footing deeper on one side.(way too deep), and the base around the edge is kinda slanted from wear also.

p.S today i went at PM feeding time and the hay was actually better. some bales are worse than others. only very very slightly dusty ( and 1 flake that wasn't dusty at all). and i haven't heard my horse cough it a couple day so YAY.

:-)
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J Nicola Stinchcombe
New Member
Username: nikky19

Post Number: 1
Registered: 1-2009
Posted on Monday, Jan 26, 2009 - 2:24 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

My horse just started coughing when he was in training for two months - he had had only an occasional cough to shavings that were dusty prior. I have now moved him to a new barn for the winter so that I can ride and he had awful coughing fits just standing in his stall. The hay I am sure was causing it as this BO is wonderful and started feeding him another hay and things have improved though he does have some coughing spasms with work both at the beginning and during - no discharge. Would BreathEZ be of any help in this circumstance?
Sorry if I am stealing into this discussion with my own questions, but have just joined and can't see where to "start a new discussion".
Thanks.
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LL
Member
Username: frances

Post Number: 810
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Monday, Jan 26, 2009 - 3:51 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi J Nicola, and welcome to HA.

It can be confusing at first but what you should do is find the article which best relates to your question (in this case you can find it most easily by scrolling up to the top of this page to where it says "Horse Advice.com - Diseases of Horses - Respiratory System - Chronic Cough Without Fever"). Click on the latter part (Chronic Cough Without Fever) and you will reach DrO's article on this. The idea is that you read the article first as it may answer your question, then scroll right down THAT page to the bottom, past lots of discussions some of which may be relevant to your case, and right at the bottom of the article page you'll find where you can "Start a New Discussion".

Good luck!
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Linda Schilkowsky, DVM
Member
Username: lindas

Post Number: 93
Registered: 2-2008
Posted on Monday, Jan 26, 2009 - 11:52 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Sounds like you might need to start shopping for a new barn if the BO doesn't see the problem.
However I can sympathize with the owner. Last year we had a drought and people were buying anything that was barely edible just to get feed in the animals. A friend who is a barn owner bought a whole truckload of alfalfa that looked and smelled wonderful...at first. A few weeks later they were out with a chainsaw, believe it or not, cutting out the moldy interiors of the bales and feeding it to the cows. The exterior of the bales were fed to the horses. They were dusty but were dry. I did caution him that this was not the safest idea, but he truly had no where else to turn. It was another 3 weeks before he could find another truck load to get shipped in.

Last May I bought beautiful orchard grass that looked and smelled great. The bales were light and loosely packed, and when opened they were perfect. I stored it in my nice dry barn to feed over the winter. I am now getting into that hay and it is really dusty and smells like dirt (not musky like mold). It no longer smells fresh. After you handle it you feel like you have a graphite powder or other dry lubricant on your hands. When I bought the hay I was told I was lucky, that they had "just missed" a storm while baling it and putting it away. Now I find out it was possibly rained on. I doubt I can get a refund, so now I have hundreds of dollars worth of hay in my barn that I am shaking out and fluffing up outside the barn and then carrying in to feed. I have no more room until I can get rid of the old hay, so I have no choice but to do this until I can find new hay that is in good shape (hard to find this late in the season), and also find somebody who will buy the old hay at a fraction of its' worth to feed their cows. Grrr!
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Joanne
Member
Username: healthy1

Post Number: 16
Registered: 6-2008
Posted on Tuesday, Jan 27, 2009 - 9:40 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hello Linda: i actually have been shopping for a new place, however compared to all the places i have been this has been one of the best (except for the indoor and this ).

the hay did smell wonderful at first (the BO is actually very good usually at picking hay), but i think it was baled too wet and got rained on slightly and started getting dusty AFTER she bought it.

i also had been fluffing/shaking and wetting :P (my horse loves his hay wet i found out...who wouldn't :P more like grass,less dusty.

a good update: we got a new truckload and this hay smells A LOT better and is nice and loose and springy and breaks apart easily. so i am very happy lol ...although i'm still shaking it out just incase.

i did notice with the other hay the Powder like substance on my hands and a very dry powdery feeling to the hay. i'm thinking it was probably mold spores.
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Vicki Zaneis
Member
Username: vickiann

Post Number: 853
Registered: 3-2005
Posted on Tuesday, Jan 27, 2009 - 1:48 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I have had good hay that was put up just fine go moldy due to weather conditions. Hot, humid weather of summer can lay ruin to a load, which is why I do not buy my hay until most such weather is past.

I do recall a year when the hay from the most reputable sources had mold problems because it had been a very wet season, and I found myself with a barn full of terribly moldy hay and a husband who could not lift anything because he was recovering from shoulder surgery.

I gradually hauled every bale out of there myself and fed it to the cattle (frankly, they didn't like it very much) while bringing in only a few new ones at a time selected every week through the cooperation of a neighboring farmer from a storage barn nearby, each having been carefully examined and having passed extensive "sniff" tests.

I would NOT feed moldy hay under any circumstances to my horses. T & A cubes are available as an alternative as are various grass forages. Yes, this might be expensive, but so are Veterinary bills, short and long term.

Also, there are many true stories of barns burning down suddenly due to moldy hay as molding bales can start fires as they are going through the process. This would probably apply in cases where the hay was put up improperly with too high a moisture content rather than hay that molds due to unfavorable weather and storage conditions.
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Linda Schilkowsky, DVM
Member
Username: lindas

Post Number: 97
Registered: 2-2008
Posted on Tuesday, Jan 27, 2009 - 10:26 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

We used to worry about spontaneous combustion when I was growing up, as we grew our own hay then. We never had anything go moldy, but you could feel warmth between the bales when they were fresh and stacked. We used to leave spaces for air circulation and within a few days the warmth was gone. Our hay was always perfect for the entire year, so I guess that is something to think about even if the hay is properly cured.

Joanne, I'm sure your barn owner is conscientious and is very interested in getting only the best hay. I know for my part that I will not be interested in getting a large amount of hay just after baling in the future. Better to let it cure awhile and see how it does. If you need hay in the spring you can always just buy a few weeks supply and wait and see. (and hopefully the good stuff doesn't get snapped up), too bad the best priced hay is the type you pick up in the field when it is baled. Unfortunately in cases like this it is usually an economic decision on the part of the barn owner, for they can have hundreds to thousands of dollars sunk in a truckload of hay, and need to move it before they can afford anything else. Vicki is correct that there are alternatives for horse owners who can afford to do something else and want their horses to have a healthier option.
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Joanne
Member
Username: healthy1

Post Number: 17
Registered: 6-2008
Posted on Tuesday, Jan 27, 2009 - 11:10 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Vicki: i would not hestitate to buy T/A cubes or other alternatives if need be. i am also the kind of person when i buy hay i have to pick the lightest for the size,and reach into the center and sniff each one before throwing it into my tuck. :-)


Linda: yep been buying and giving my own to supplement hay after i soak hers (especially it being so cold and i'm not blanketing)

i usually put pallets under the hay, then stack them alternating cut ends up then cut ends down. and leave slight space between.

i bought the most wonderfully sweet smelling,loose and springy, light bales you have ever seen.. for 4.00 dollars!!! not freshly baled.

now everyone knows where it is. :-( poo. i am hoping there is still some left when i go pick up more. LOL but that is wishful thinking,

infact someone came up to me at my barn and told me where she got the BEST hay from....it was the place i bought mine. :D
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