Re: IR Mare

Donna Coughlin

Dr. Kellon,

Your mention of clenbuterol or albuterol for a horse with COPD (or other breathing issues) caught my eye. In years past, you've given me recommendations for my IR COPD horse, Robin Goodfellow. He is a 15.2, 950 lb., 11 year old Welsh Cob/Arab cross. His case history is below. Aside from his breathing, and the persistent IR (insulin, leptin high on semi-annual blood tests, putting him at high risk for laminitis), he is very healthy and has never had any footsoreness. He is in moderate work 5 days a week. Case history link is below.

During the winter, his breathing problems lessen, but they still affect his desire and ability to canter for anything but short distances (a few 20 meter circles). He's relatively comfortable at the trot, again better in the winter. I might add, he's a wild man when free lunging, although it definitely causes abnormally heavy breathing. If past years are any indication, these breathing problems will worsen in the spring and summer. He is totally comfortable when not working. Obviously I worry that this impacts our ability to work him enough to bring down his insulin. I was very interested to read in your post that clenbuterol or albuterol lower insulin; I wasn't aware of that.

He is on steamed hay (thank you to Joan for THM article on steamers) and enough TC Lite to carry his supplements, which include minerals balanced to hay, j-herb, vit. E, iodized salt, flax, Mov-Ease, spirulina, ALCAR, chondroitin and MSM (the last amounts match those in Uckele's Lung EQ). Thanks also to your suggestion, he gets Jet Breath every day. Several years ago, I tried iodide salt (also at your suggestion) and it didn't help. Last year I was both steaming and soaking his hay (somewhat high s/s) and the soaking made no difference to his breathing. 

Once, we tried using an human inhaler (similar to one sold for horses) with albuterol, and that dose before being worked actually seemed to help, hard to say because we were only able to administer it once. He completely panics, and now even when he hears a soda can opening, he has a heart attack. So no inhaler!

A friend's trainer treats a COPD pony with albuterol sulfate syrup, brand name "High Tech." Pony loves it. I was wondering if you would recommend this and at what dose? Or would clenbuterol be better? Does it come as an oral med? If it's preferable, what dose? I would ideally like to give it to him before he works--does that make sense? If so, how long before he works?

Thank you again for this group and for all your help. I'm sure mini Duke would no longer be causing mischief and joy if it weren't for all of you!

Donna Coughlin, Duke, Robin and Obi
CT 2009

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