Friday, April 26, 2013

Cough. Cough. Cough.

Got brave and hopped on bareback!

Another day of sunshine and lollipops!  Minus the lollipops.

Oz has developed a little cough the past couple of weeks.  It's annoying.  Each time we start to trot, he coughs.  I hate when that happens, because I'm afraid that if I'm riding with others, they'll worry that he's contagious.  I'd taken his temp, but it was normal.  I'd soaked his hay, but he still coughed.  It was only with exertion, like when we trotted, or when I ponied him on the trail and we climbed a hill.  So I wasn't terribly worried...but since it hadn't gone away, and since I've got 3 weeks until game time, I opted to have it checked out.

The heart sounded good.  The lungs sounded fine.  Nothing at all in the trachea.  And again, no temp.  Eyes were clear, as was his nose.  So nothing viral, said the vet, and no one need worry about catching the creeping crud.  At this point, he pulled out a long glove, one that is intended for use when a hand goes up the end of a horse that one's hand should never travel into.  Oz, of course, had no clue. And this time, the glove was for the front end, anyway.  A knot was tied where the wrist would normally be, and the opening slipped over Oz's muzzle.  It was left there for a couple of minutes, just long enough for Oz to become uncomfortable breathing, at which point the 'bag' was pulled off and the vet's stethoscope placed onto his side.  Oz gave a hefty cough, induced by the bag.  The vet listened to see if he could hear anything in his lungs.  Nothing.  A second time of breathing into the makeshift bag, a second time listening, and again, nothing.

The needle came out and blood was drawn.

Then we went outside for a quick trot around to show the good doctor what we'd been experiencing, and true to history, Oz coughed.  We turned and trotted the other direction, and this time a little chunk of what looked like chewed grass or hay came shooting out when he coughed.

The vet suggested we wait for the lab to check the bloodwork, and then, if nothing showed up, we'd make a plan.

What showed up was...well...nearly nothing.  A wee bit of inflammation, I was told, but nothing terribly bad. So I was told to return to exercise and see if whatever it was would work it's way out in the next few days.  Then, if he didn't get better on his own,  we'd put him on banamine for a few days and see if that helped the cough.

The past few days I've not done anything other than walk a few circles, but after the phone call I went right out and saddled up.  We had a good, solid workout, and yes, he coughed a couple of times, but it wasn't bad, and I didn't let it stop us.  I'm anxious to get things back on the road.  Or, in this case, the trail!  

Sandy and I ponying Oz down the trail.  Next time?  I'm riding the red man!


Allenspark Lodge said...

Love the bareback picture. You know the only problem with riding bareback, other than the 'hairy jeans backside' problem? It soon becomes "too much trouble" to saddle up! Good luck with the cough issue; anxious to hear about the upcoming trail adventure!
Bionic Cowgirl

Andrea -Mustang Saga said...

I hate that kind of mystery. Hmm. Did you check his selenium level? Deficiency can cause a problem with swallowing. I know that's not what you described but it came to mind, it can present itself as coughing. If it was selenium deficiency, that particular symptom would be very very serious. They don't get that bad until it's just about too late. Theoretically they can be deficient even if you supplement (absorption problems) but in my very short experience I haven't seen that yet.

COPD came to mind too, and they use the glove over the nose method to diagnose that so I'm guessing your vet ruled that out.

I had one other thought - some kind of worm can make them cough. I don't know anything about that and I bet the lungs would sound bad.

I hope it clears up before your big competition!

strivingforsavvy said...

Did I miss something? Is Sandy back at your place? I hope Oz's cough clears up soon!

cheyenne jones said...

The cough could simply be just that, an irritating dry cough. But the other could be hair from his coat, as it is shedding time, and my two do get minor cough just now, with it.

Tracey said...

Bionic Cowgirl...agreed! I'll be lazy with him in no time :)

Andrea, the lung worm was ruled out (thankfully!) And from what I see, it's mostly at a walk that the trail competition is done at, so a big WHEW. I just didn't want to go down and have people afraid they were going to catch something ;)

Striving, no, but he lives just 5 miles away and Dave's been letting me borrow him so I can pony Oz on the trails. Cool, yes?

Cheyenne, you could be right. Lord knows I cough when I swallow his hair, lol!

Shirley said...

2 of my horses have an occasional cough, Gussie always coughs when she is getting up after rolling in a dusty spot, and both she and Beamer cough when they are eating the fines in the hay. Not much to worry about, just annoying. Hope you do well with Oz in the competition.