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Re: RC: heaves

Tami -

Heaves, though often manageable, are generally an allergic response to
something.  Allergic tendency is a VERY highly heritable trait. 
Research in humans shows that if both parents are allergic the
likelihood of having allergic offspring is close to 100%.  With one
allergic parent, it's over 50%, if I remember ... 

Allergies in horses show up as breathing difficulties, hives, & other
skin problems, often seasonal as you report in this mare.  Horses can
have food allergies as well (which usually show up as skin allergies or
heaves), and from experience I would say that diagnosing a specific food
allergy is one of the most difficult things to do with an animal. (It's
hard enough with a baby; animals are even tougher!)

Remember, in this case heaves is a symptom - the real problem is
allergy.  A horse with seasonal hives can have a foal with heaves, or
food allergies, etc.  It's the allergic tendency that's inherited, not
the heaves itself.

I would not breed a mare with heaves, especially if they are seasonal
and affect her to the point where she needs treatment and someone is
concerned about her breathing difficulty affecting the foal.  It would
have to be one special horse I think, even then I don't know.

If your brother-in-law is still bent on breeding this mare, advise him
to screen the stallion VERY CAREFULLY for possible allergies - maybe do
some research on his offspring as well.

-Abby B

> ckellerfarm wrote:
> Hi all,
> I have a question. My brother-in-law has a very nice mare. Whom he is
> thinking of breeding. But the mare has heaves. He asked me if this
> would cause any problems with her being able to carry a foal. I told
> him I had no idea if she could, or if it would be a problem. I have
> searched all my books and the web and haven't come up with anything. I
> can't get a hold of the vet  to ask,(cavling season).
> Could some one help us out here.  My thinking is if would be a problem
> and if wouldn't be good for her or the foal if she is having trouble
> breathing.
> The mare has problems with it in the late winter and early spring, and
> she is treated for it at the time it acts up.  The horse is fine most
> of the year.
> Tami Keller

* * *
Abby Bloxsom
ARICP Certified Instructor
Level III Recreational and Distance Riding
Colebrook, CT USA

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