Coughing – should I be concerned?

This topic contains 7 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  lovemyhorse 4 years, 8 months ago.

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  • GetIggyWithIt Original Poster GetIggyWithIt
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 0

    Lately my horse starts off each ride coughing and stretching. He always seems better after he coughs a few times. Is this natural or should I be worried?

    FindersKeepers FindersKeepers
    Topics Started: 2Replies Posted: 1

    My daughter’s pony does a similar thing. Actually, this is kind of embarrassing, but he starts every ride with two coughs and a fart (sorry if it’s gross, but it’s true!). Her trainer has never seemed concerned about it, and he’s done it his whole life (23 years now!), so for him it’s normal. But if your horse’s cough/stretch is really new for him, that might be a different story. Good luck!

    barrelracercj barrelracercj
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 2

    Most likely its normal, my horse does. He coughs once or twice and then is fine for the rest of the ride. Most likely its allergies or the dry air. If it gets worse I would contact a vet. But if it a few coughs and then he is fine I would say its probably allergies.

    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 21

    I wouldn’t be terribly concerned, but I would be tempted to have the vet out anyway. I wouldn’t classify this as “normal” behavior, although it could be normal for this horse. Is it worse during the summer or winter? Does the horse get plenty of turnout?

    I would make sure the horse is fed hay only on the ground and grain fed on the ground if possible as well. Lots of turnout time, and maybe adding flax and msm to the diet.

    Sundance Acres
    home to 6 overly spoiled, fat, shiny, adorable horses, and 4 cute barn kitties

    qhpleasurelopin qhpleasurelopin
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 1

    Like others have said, it isn’t “normal” but it may be normal for you horse. However, things to check: is there enough ventilation in the barn, is the hay dusty, are the stalls dusty, does he have allergies etc. If your hay is a little dusty, I would suggest wetting down the hay. If the stalls are dusty, change the bedding. And try to keep the barn well ventilated.

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 3

    If this is new, evaluate any changes in bedding, stall cleaning practices, ventilation, hay source, and feed. Mold in hay, ammonia in bedding, lack of air moving, seasonal pollen allergy, increased dust in the aisles or stall, or even insect repellant sprayed near your horse’s face and nostrils can trigger coughing. It may be the horse’s reaction to any of these and his way to clear his throat. If it gets worse, or persists for longer periods, have your vet examine him. If it goes away after all the weeds are through pollinating, he may have developed allergies. Most “dust” in hay is really mold spores, which would necessitate changing your hay. Wetting the hay may help, but will not eliminate mold spores, just keeps them from being inhaled as the home eats.

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 2

    I would be concerned if the horse is in a dusty environment. Make sure the bedding hasn’t degraded to dust and that your hay is free of dust and mold as well. You don’t want it to develop into Heaves.

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 19

    If he only coughs right at the start of a ride, it might be his way of warming up — maybe there was something on the bit that triggers a cough. Maybe the bit itself triggers coughing. You get something in your mouth and it can trigger cough. Horse may have some unswallowed feed/grass/hay in his mouth that suddenly triggered cough. (Horse can hold grass a long time — how many times during worming have you taken him off pasture, kept him out for 1/2 or more, put the tube in his mouth and out comes the wormer with the wad of grass attached). My horse does the same thing right when we start trotting. He has to stop and cough. Then he’s fine. He doesn’t cough while out at pasture. Only at the start of a ride. The pony coughing and passing gas is funny….sorry! Now, if he is coughing while at pasture/rest/stalled, then you may have a problem and the other suggestions per mold/dust/etc should be considered.

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