Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Cruiser’s Cough

Cruiser’s Cough
Cruiser has had a cough for quite some time. The vet has been out twice, and she is sure it is COPD or some sort of asthma type problem. There is no indication of any infection. Blood work only showed that he has inflammation. Just as a shot in the dark, we put him on a round of antibiotics. He is on steroids and they seem to help, some. I haven’t ridden him in what seems like forever. This is not a happy situation.
A few weeks ago, we took him off hay and put him on hay cubes. I try to keep him out of the dust as much as possible, but it is tough at a boarding stables in the winter. Ideally, he should be living outside, but even if I could find an arrangement like that for him, he can’t eat grass. He is insulin resistant. He would still end up eating hay—which I believe is the culprit—and I wouldn’t be able to spend as much time with him. This stinks.
I lead him for a half hour when I visit. Exercise is necessary for insulin resistant horses. He coughs the most when he exercises. Talk about a guilt trip—I am the one that is making him cough. I could ride him at a walk, but leading is better exercise for me, and I stay warmer.
I haven’t been writing about this because it makes me so sad. My expectations are low for a recovery, and even if he does get better, he will never be where he was. He will never be the awesome athlete that never wants to quit.
On the vet’s last visit, I told her how he had a very bad virus when he was just two. It caused and extremely bad cough. We treated it and cleared up the infection, but the cough lingered and lingered. It happened too long ago for me to be sure how long he was coughing, but I believe it was a couple of months. Since then, he has had allergy issues in late spring and October when the leave fall. Twice before, the vet came out to treat a cough. Other years it didn’t get so bad that he needed medical attention—just time off.
My vet believes he probably had his lungs compromised by the original cough and they just got worse over the years with his outdoor allergies. My athlete probably never reached his athletic potential. Hard to believe that he probably could have trotted faster and further than he did if he had good lungs. You should have seen him in his younger years…
Last night, he didn’t cough a single time on his walk. This is the first time I have exercised him without a cough since this all started. The two previous days, he only coughed twice on the walk. He did roll in his stall and then coughed 10 times.
So, the future looks bleak. At best, I am hoping he can go on easy rides next summer.


Val said...

I can empathize. I wish there was a magic pill to make the cough go away and put our horses back to normal.

achieve1dream said...

:( Poor Cruise.