This time last year, I had a coughing horse.
This time two years ago, I had a coughing horse.
This time three years ago, I had a coughing horse.
Last year, we treated Aero with cortisone injections throughout the allergy season. I also took to soaking his hay, all the time. This meant that hay for all three horses needed to be soaked, which was indeed a pain in the butt, but it definitely kept the cough at bay. After discussing my options with the vet, I decided to investigate immunotherapy. A blood sample was taken, and sent off. The results looked like this :
In a translated nutshell, he’s mildly allergic to the following aerborne allergens :
timothy, ryegrass, scutch, oat and rye pollen
flour mites, mould mites and grain mites
and the following alimentary allergens :
soya, carrot, sugar beet, rye, oats and lucerne
with scutch pollen being the only one in the “red zone.” At 402, it’s still not a high positive result – over 1000 is considered high. I’d hate to see a horse in that zone!!
It’s interesting that they are all things he’s been exposed to all his life… I fully expected oak and cedar pollen to be a problem, but they’re not! So there goes the “He’s got breathing problems because I moved him to Provence” guilt trip.
The plan was to start treatment just before pollen season started. I called the vet, who ordered the magic potion. Then we arranged a shady-looking meet-up in a car park to hand over the box containing said magic potion.
The following day (March 14th), I gave Aero his first injection, followed by a second one a week later. He had his third one on the 21st of April and I will continue to give him monthly injections for a total of ten months.
I was very careful not to imagine that I was seeing an improvement. After all, with soaked hay and during a cold, damp (for here) winter, his cough had been non-existent for several months. However, he always had a slightly runny nose. Was it wishful thinking when I felt this had dried up within days of the second injection? I kept quiet and waited for pollen season to hit.
We’re now slap bang in the middle of Provençal Spring (the very best time of year here IMO).
Trees, flowers and grasses are exploding into life, colour and pollen.
And my allergic horse is still cough free! Woohoo!!
I’ve had him in the dusty arena a couple of times – no coughing.
Out on the trail – no coughing.
Turned out into the grass paddock yesterday for the first time, with lots and lots of galloping around – not so much as a little clearing of the throat.
I’m now 100% confident that the immunotherapy is working. I will continue to soak his hay, keep his shelter as dust free as possible and not expose him to the dusty arena too much, but I am very, very happy that’s he so well.
Mind you, there are other little reminders that he’s getting old. His two hind fetlocks are puffy in the mornings, and boy has he lost his topline 😦
We may beat the cough, but we can’t beat time.
PS. Adding this to say that I’m just back from a ride on Aero. No coughing, but a slightly runny nose when we had finished. Fingers crossed that when all the grass pollens hit he’ll be able to cope.