To cut down on the risk of ulcers and other digestive issues, we like to feed high quality grass hay. It gives the herd just the right amount of nutrients so we don't have to worry about anyone but the hard keepers or those that require additional supplements or medication to keep their ailments under control.
Sadly, horses do come to Borderlands with ailments and Digger is one of them. He has heaves and we are doing our best to keep them under control. While it may not be ideal to feed him round bales, we do. However, we do keep a hay net on it so that he cannot bury his head into the bale. It also may help that he can't toss any loose hay around stirring up dust. We do our best to keep the dust levels at a minimum for feeding for everyone.
While we take precautions with the hay, we also know that it's not enough. So we have also feed him a supplement to try and tone down the heaves. When he arrived, he came with two different types of heaves medication, Cough Free and Antihist. We've used Antihist in the past on a different horse with summer allergies (where her heaves flared up during the summer rather than the winter).
We've been alternating between the two to see if Digger likes one over the other or if we like to handle one over another. In truth, they both smell the same so it's really a consistency thing. Cough Free came as a pellet (although it also comes in a powder form). Antihist came in a powder form. I prefer pellets personally for ease of soaking.
We also soak all of our grain to reduce the risk of choke. But it also cuts down on any dust that the grain may have. Beet pulp and alfalfa pellets can become dusty when you first dump them into the grain bucket and we want to do everything we possibly can to make sure there is no dust in the food that we give the horses, especially to Digger (and Brego who we suspect has heaves as well).
It's always a learning curve with each horse to see what will work and what will not work. So far either Cough Free or Antihist seem to be doing the trick. We'll continue to alternate between the two for ease of use. They both cost right around the same amount $30 for a 30 day supply. It costs $1 a day to keep Digger's heaves under control and that dollar is worth every penny.
In case you want to look up more about Cough Free, here's some more information:
It can be bought at any TSC, Runnings, or Fleet Farm.
The Antihist is also sold at TSC, Runnings, and Fleet Farm
It's always a wise decision to speak with your vet about your horse's heaves issues. Digger's previous owners took him to the vet to figure out a game plan for Digger. We want to continue that treatment plan and will continue to give Digger his heaves medicine (either Cough Free or Antihist) for the rest of his life.