STEVE: Heaves are a clinical sign of a problem known as C O P D, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. They typically are a symptom due to chronic allergies, in the horse, and as a rule we don’t usually see them in young horses, what-so-ever. Its usually isolated in primarily older horses, these horses cough and have, you know, quite a bit of external signs of potential allergies or irritants from the environment that they’re in.

And externally what we see, is we see a heave line along their abdomen, along the base of their abdomen, and the heave line is essentially due to a hypertrophy of the external abdominal oblique muscles, to where, they’re under contraction in order to force air out in order to get enough air moved in and out of the lung field, cause its under a little bit of constriction.

Historically, we’d probably have a horse that’s been in an area that is been chronically, or been stabled for a fair amount of its life, so its been exposed to a particulate matter, dust and and mold spores, things of this nature and has a history of being treated for chronic allergies throughout its life.

And therapeutically what we do is we just treat it symptomatically, we try to go ahead and put them on potentially nebulizers if it’s a show horse, ventipulmin which is a bronchodilator, in order to maximize the ability to transfer oxygen, or to get the best relief from the clinical symptoms of the cough and or the heaving signs where it basically makes it much easier for them to inspire and expire without having to put the abdominal press or the diaphragm under so much stress in order to move air in and out.