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What is "Heaves" and is my horse at risk?

Fri, Feb 4th, 2011
Posted in Ask the Expert

Dr. Michelle Knutson

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, commonly known as heaves, is an allergic disease similar to human asthma. Heaves is caused by exposure to dust, molds, & pollens in the air. Hay, straw, bedding and barn dust are the most common substances that lead to the onset of heaves. Symptoms of heaves are a dry cough and difficulty breathing that usually occurs while eating or during exercise.

There is no cure for heaves; However, many affected horses can be successfully managed by avoiding feeding moldy hay & round bales. Hay can be immersed in water to minimize the dust. Horses who have heaves should also be kept outside if possible. Medications & Chinese herbs or acupuncture can help control the symptoms of heaves. Contact your veterinarian for help if your horse has heaves.

212 St. Anthony St., Preston, MN


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