Heaves is a chronic, non-infectious airway condition that is also known as RAO and is a result of an allergic reaction to inhaled particles.
Heaves occur in older horses that are usually 6 or older. The allergens are things like mold and dust and the biggest culprit is from round bales but it can also be caused by the bedding you use.
Once the allergens are inhaled it causes the small airways in the lung tissue to narrow and become constricted. The first sign you’ll notice is an occasional cough and it eventually progresses to be more frequent.
If heaves is left untreated it can cause non-reversible damage to the lung tissue and result in permanent loss of lung function.
Horses with heaves try the following:
- Keep them on pasture with grass
- Feed pelleted hay
- If your horse is stalled make sure they have a clean environment and feed a dust-free diet. Make sure there is good ventilation
- You can soak the hay prior to feeding it but be careful as this may make it worse for some horses.
When my Welsh pony mare developed heaves I pulled her off of the round bale and started feeding her timothy hay pellets. I also added an herbal product called Mo Lung. Within 5 days my mare was breathing normally. I also give her Allergy Herbal along with the Mo Lung because she has allergies.
Mo Lung (Pelleted) is a natural blend of Chinese herbs which may assist oxygen to flow more freely into the lungs. Mo Lung comes in 3lbs, 5lbs, and 10lbs. If you would like to order or you have other questions please contact me.