Internet Vet.

My history in veterinary medicine is slowly dwindling to the distant past (which still doesn't negate the random and occasional "what do I do" texts) (prepare for those to haunt you for the rest of your life).  Even so, I can recall with eye-rolling enthusiasm the distaste we had for people who came in with a sick and/or injured pet and told us they'd read some-such on the internet.  The internet cannot perform an exam and therefore can neither diagnose nor prescribe medications.  Suck it.

While I still cringe every time I see some stupid what-do-I-do post on OTTB Connect, I still want as much knowledge as possible.  Fortunately, the best response for those people is the same response I've given myself and my vet is due out Friday.  Until then, though, I've been joyfully googling myself into a tizzy.  Because my raison d'etre lately seems to be insanity.


And I'm worried that Archie has developed either Recurrent Airway Obstruction or Summer Pasture-Associated Recurrent Airway Obstruction.  Because he coughs.  A lot, lately.  And he had a runny nose the other day.  The solution for one is to spend more time in the pasture.  The solution for the other is to spend less.

Since he was about fifteen, Archie's had a "warm up" cough - the sort that lasts for a few seconds and doesn't linger and after our first lap of trot, is never seen again.  I addressed it with my vet and he said no biggie.  Once he was sound enough for trot work after losing his shoes, he started coughing intermittently and repeatedly, to the point that we haven't done any consistent "hard" work.  Lots of walking, spurts of trotting, and canter one time when he was naughty.  Walking doesn't induce coughing.

I've thought of various things - the heat, the humidity, his age, my relationship with gravity, the tightness of the girth.  And his new stall.

We're learning to smile.
Unfortunately, I can't determine if the new stall is the issue because he had two weeks off prior to the stall, so my horse may have exercise-induced coughing for three weeks, but only really symptomatic for the one week in which he was actually worked.  If it were three weeks, that makes it more Summer Pasture-Associated.  If it's just this week, with the stall, it's more likely RAO.  You know, assuming it's either of those and I haven't tried to play vet too hard.

But, fortunately, my old man is still perfectly content and happy to march me around on the buckle at the walk.


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10 comments

  1. Could he have some kind of summer allergy? I'm not much help, but OTTB Connect makes me homicidal.

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  2. I heard Shake No More Gold (what I was using intermittently for Riley's head shaking) is good for this. It's an herbal tincture distributed through Smart Pak, but cleared up his "allergy symptoms". He too, does the cough, cough, cough when he starts warming up, more specifically in footing or tall grass. Good luck with the diagnosis:)

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  3. Courage has just started having a few good coughs when I pick up the reins to work. I've be more worried, but it's freakishly dry here, so I blame dust.

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  4. Obviously the vet is the best answer here, but at my barn we feed organic apple cider vinegar for coughs and it pretty much fixes it. Worth a shot!

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    Replies
    1. Interesting! I might look into this if my ladies persist this coming winter, thanks L

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  5. my mare coughs when i first pick up the trot too. the day she never worked out of it was the day we discovered her fever, leading to vet visits and our whole barn getting quarantined by said vet freaking out about strangles or EHV. as it was, she had the flu and like 9 other horses got it too... oops.

    i also occasionally worry about allergies when she gets particularly fussy or her eyes get goopy... but really, the only true coughing spell was when she had the flu. tho if archie doesn't have a fever that's probably not the case in your instance

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  6. Oh Archie, sheesh! Best wishes for an all-clear from the vet.

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  7. My girls have both been coughing for our initial steps of trot for a while now. I've discussed it with the vet and we reckon it could be dust related. I had hoped it'd be better when they moved outside for the summer and away from dusty stables & arenas but we've had one of our driest summers in years so o escaping the dust #sadtimes
    We tried them on a herbal supplement last week but as I'm a lazy sod and haven't ridden in the arena since I don't know if they are still coughing for initial trot steps as our strolls in the woods are very zen ... am interested to hear what your vet has to say and shall keep you posted on my madams' diagnosis as we try to figure things out on this side.

    I feel kind of bad as i sort of shrugged it off during the winter hoping going out for the summer would clear out the airways but didn't bank on the lovely dry summer we've had *ashamed*

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  8. So sorry Archie is worrying you so. You will both be in my thoughts.

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