COPD not responding to treatment

charliejet

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Hello, I have a lovely 20 year old gelding I bought a year ago, he had a cough from living in a dusty environment. I thought that he would improve when taken away from there and bought him as I had fallen in love with him!

Long story short a year on £1000s of vet bills and a complete move up the country he is still no better.

He lives out pretty much 24/7, has access to an open barn, very well ventilated, with a stable area that is bedded with cardboard and gets haylage when he is in at all. He has a steroid inhaler twice daily and ventipulmin when needed. Although this clears his chest at rest he still can't cope with exercise and wheezes and coughs when ridden.
The wheezing and coughing is all year round. He has been scoped and confirmed that he has allergic airway disease, he can't have systemic steroids due to a borderline cushings test but other than that I feel I have done all I can management wise and he is very good at taking his inhaler etc but so frustrated that I can't get it under control to allow him to work properly.
Only looking to hack him out but he can only manage a short walk with a few short trots, can't cope with any canter.
He loves going out and bounces down the road but quickly tires and begins to wheeze. Any thoughts welcome. Thank you.
 

laura_nash

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My cob has a much lower allergy level (doesn't need an inhaler). His has improved a lot with a change of diet, though it obviously takes a long time to see the improvement. I have him on a diet plan from ForagePlus based on forage analysis, which is basically their standard balancer at half the recommended level plus some extras. This: https://forageplus.co.uk/product/spirulina/ was included initially, though I've stopped adding it now. I never found any improvement from various "respiratory" supplements, but this does seem to have made a big difference to him.
 

Possum

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My pony has severe COPD, and about 2 years ago it flared and took almost a year to get under control. I'm sorry to say that the only thing that worked was oral steroids, it was contra-indicated for him due to previous lami but ventipulmin and the inhaler were doing nothing so we had no choice.

He spent a couple of months 'stabled' 24/7 (in quotations because it was actually a sectioned off bit of barn) on initially high dose (60 tabs a day) steroid tablets and then decreasing over time, luckily keeping him off the grass and on soaked hay was sufficient to mean he coped with the steroids and didn't get lami. We then moved him somewhere more rural and he went on 24/7 turnout, after a couple of months I weaned him off his very low maintenance dose of steroids and he's been medication-free since.

I did have to retire him though, I long rein him occasionally but I won't take him in the school because it's dusty and won't ride because of the additional strain it puts on his lungs. He is only 13.2 though so I'm right at the upper end of his weight limit, if he were bigger he might be able to cope ridden.
 

be positive

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How often do you exercise him, he will be unfit and that combined with the breathing issues will mean he needs many months of regular steady work to build up to being able to trot and eventually canter, it may be that he will never be able to but if you can get him out every day starting with 10 mins in walk, building up by a few minutes every day until he can walk for an hour then you could start to introduce very short trots, it may take 3 or 4 months to get him up to thinking about a short canter or possibly longer but if you do not have the time to build up very very slowly all the medication in world will make little difference to his lung capacity and his ability to cope with exercise.
If he is put under stress by doing too much for his lungs to deal with easily then they will become even less able to open fully and work efficiently, much like an asthmatic person trying to run they will start to cough and wheeze with the exertion.
 

charliejet

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Hi thanks for the replys, I have put off using
oral steroid due to the risk but will look into it further.
 
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charliejet

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I have kept him in light work throughout, my vet advised to keep him working at a level he was comfortable with, ie do what he was capable of - some days he can manage more, others just a walk down the road and back.
 

ILuvCowparsely

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Hello, I have a lovely 20 year old gelding I bought a year ago, he had a cough from living in a dusty environment. I thought that he would improve when taken away from there and bought him as I had fallen in love with him!

Long story short a year on £1000s of vet bills and a complete move up the country he is still no better.

He lives out pretty much 24/7, has access to an open barn, very well ventilated, with a stable area that is bedded with cardboard and gets haylage when he is in at all. He has a steroid inhaler twice daily and ventipulmin when needed. Although this clears his chest at rest he still can't cope with exercise and wheezes and coughs when ridden.
The wheezing and coughing is all year round. He has been scoped and confirmed that he has allergic airway disease, he can't have systemic steroids due to a borderline cushings test but other than that I feel I have done all I can management wise and he is very good at taking his inhaler etc but so frustrated that I can't get it under control to allow him to work properly.
Only looking to hack him out but he can only manage a short walk with a few short trots, can't cope with any canter.
He loves going out and bounces down the road but quickly tires and begins to wheeze. Any thoughts welcome. Thank you.

Could there be something in the surrounding atmosphere which agrevates his breathing??
 

charliejet

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Not that I can think of and he has had a complete change - we moved from Yorkshire surrounded by crops to north of scotland and we just have sheep grazing next door now but it's hard to know for sure.
 
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