Recurrence of heaves: the saga of Batt’s struggle to breathe

Michele said she’d fall off her chair if I blogged 3x this week. Here’s blog 2 of 3. I’ll be shocked if she comments on all 3!

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This guy isn’t feeling too hot. 

I alluded to Batt’s struggle with mild heaves a little in the past. It’s never been completely under control, but it’s never been terrible. There are thing I could probably do better (such as, no round bales, but at the same time, the quality of his round bales are often better than my squares so… my round bale guy is fabulous about making sure I get non-dusty bales). In the past, I’ve supplemented MSM, which has helped, and turmeric, which has also helped, and also added in generic zyrtec. Flax helped A LOT but was a trigger for his impaction colic so the risks outweighed the benefits there. I’ve tried a slew of other supplements and some helped, some didn’t and many helped sort term (Heave Ho I’m looking at you).

With this past year’s crop of square bales basically being crap (thank you rain), I purchased a hay steamer, and that has helped a lot. But, like everything else, things help only so much…

The past couple of weeks, Batt has gotten more and more agitated as humidity has increased. I’ve increased grass thinking that if he were off hay, at least part time, that might help (no). Low humidity days, were better, high humidity days, not so great. My farrier came out about a week and a half ago and mentioned the obvious, humidity makes breathing hard. And with all the rain we’ve had over the last 2 years, there is so much more mold out there. Of course. ::head–>desk::

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100% humidity at 6AM. It’s soup outside.

Around Wednesday/Thursday, the coughing increased to the point that I tossed a dex packet in his dinner grain to see if it would help. And by morning? Much better. So we reduced it down to a half a packet for a few days. Monday night? I completely forgot (bad mom). Yesterday morning? He had reached a point where I stood there at his stall at 6am considering an emergency vet call. He was hacking, gasping, and spewing food everywhere as he tried to breath and eat (world’s sloppiest eater anyway).

img_0381I tossed in some dex just to see how quickly it would work any headed inside. By the time we went to turn out, he was already looking better. Some coughing, but you could see the dex doing its work. Emergency vet call averted.

Calling the vet during business hours resulted in an Rx for prednisalone and Ventipulmin (we were able to bypass the visit for now as she had recently seen him). Other than crying over the cost (OMG a 100ml bottle of Ventipulmin directly from the vet, ::cries:: I don’t know if my vet writes Rx as legally, in PA, they are not required to), he is feeling SO MUCH BETTER as of this morning. He can breathe, he isn’t coughing, and seems comfortable.

img_0822Going forward, he’s on a decreasing dose of ventipulmin for the next few days though if it works, we’ll talk about keeping him on a tiny dose (NOOOO), seeing how he does without it, or saving it for bad attacks (hopefully). He’ll probably be on the prednisalone (thankfully not prednisone as I can handle this without fearing allergic reactions!) daily after a 2x loading dose last night for the foreseeable future before dropping down to every other day if possible. If that doesn’t work, we may consider a lower dose (right now, it’s 250mg/day). My wallet cries, but I’m hoping he can at least breathe.

As I now have an insane vet bill, if anyone want to buy a belt, let me know. Sample of some below but I have lots of other patterns as well. Will take pictures of other elastics later.

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Some belts, lots of other possibilities exist! Fully adjustable.