Chronic Asthma / Heaves in Broodmare Treated with TCVM

Chronic Asthma / Heaves in Broodmare Treated with TCVM

By Barbara Allard Ward, DVM, CVA, CVTP

Author: Chi Institute/Thursday, April 1, 2010/Categories: Student Case Reports, TCVM Newsletter, 2010 Spring Issue

Abstract:  A 13 year old broodmare with chronic asthma/heaves has a deformed foal, the deformity suspected to be secondary to a marked “heave line”.  Treatment with Chinese herbal therapy and other traditional Chinese veterinary medicine modalities was successful in managing the “heaves”.  Subsequent foals were normal. 

Signalment:  “One Hot Mama”, 13 year old thoroughbred mare.  Bred March 23 and is in foal.

Owner’s complaint:  Chronic cough.  Occasional thick, yellow nasal discharge.  Cough worse in winter.

History:  Successful racehorse and producer.  She has had 5 foals.  After a trip to the breeding farm with foal #4 (at age 9), the mare and her foal both came home with cough and nasal discharge. Antibiotics were used to treat both.  The foal recovered quickly but the mare’s cough and nasal discharge lingered.  

This mare lives outdoors and only spends time in the barn when foaling or during foul weather.   She eats pasture grass with a commercial mixed mare and foal supplement during the spring, summer and fall.  During the winter she is fed alfalfa hay and the commercial supplement.

The cough was worse in the winter.  With time she developed a “heave line”.  At age 12 her 6th foal was born with a deformed hind limb that was not an angular limb deformity or a flexure contraction, but instead a significant bend in the midshaft of the cannon bone.   It was postulated that this unilateral bone deformity resulted from the mare’s significant “heave line” and its effect on the developing fetus. Western treatments helped, but did not resolve the issue of asthma/heaves.  

TCVM Exam in April 2005:  
Depression at LU 1.  ++ sensitivity; Heave line; Deep, non-productive cough/flatulence. Cough, worse during the day and with movement; Tongue swollen with tooth marks, pale, a little purple; Pulses weak, difficult to palpate; Ear temperature normal; Less activity than the other mares although Fire personality.

TCVM Diagnosis:  Lung and Kidney Qi deficiency with phlegm-heat.

TCVM Treatment Strategy:  Tonify Lung and Kidney Qi, stop asthma and cough.

BL-13, BL-42, LU-1, LU-11, Qi-Hai-Shu, Fei-men, Fei-pan, Bai-Hui

Rou-fa was used at CV-17, CV-22 and at Ding-chuan bilaterally. Tui-fa stroking/pushing from LU-7 towards LU-9 to tonify lung. 

Herbal:  Jing Tang F0082B Breathe Easier B™.  Dose: 7 g twice daily on feed. This formula tonifies Lung and Kidney Qi.  It removes phlegm, nourishes the Yin and the lung and stops asthma and cough.

This formula contains several Yin tonics because Yin is easily consumed in asthma/heaves cases.  This formula is a good one for use in the colder months because it is warming. There is a caution when using this formula in a pregnant animal so only half a dose was used treating this mare.  The classical antecedent to this formula is Ge Jie San.  

Progress:  Within two weeks the coughing stopped completely.  No further acupuncture was used.  The herbal formula was used at half a dose (7 grams) twice a day from April of 2005 to December 2005. The mare delivered a healthy, normal foal on March 4, 2006.  She was not rebred in 2006.  In the early fall of 2006 the mare began coughing again.

TCVM Exam in September 2006:  
The mare still has a hint of a “heave line”.  Her pulses are weak bilaterally, but rapid. Her tongue is pink and moist.  LU-1 alarm point is depressed but not sensitive.  

TCVM Diagnosis:  Lung Yin deficiency and Lung and Kidney Qi deficiency Asthma Yin deficiency 

TCVM Treatment Strategy:
Tonify Lung Yin, Tonify Lung and Kidney Qi, Stop cough

TCVM Treatment:
Herbal Therapy:  Breathe Easier B was used for treatment at a half dose, 15 g in the morning and Lily Combination was used at 15 grams in the evening.  

Herbal:  Lily Combination ™ JT A0050
This formula nourishes Yin and moistens Lung, stops asthma and cough.  Classical Antecedent:  Bai He Gu Jin Tang

Food Therapy:  Switch hay from alfalfa to grass.  Use barley and wheat but not oats in grain mixture. On the farm during most of the year there was an abundance of purslane, a herb known at Portulaca Ma Chi Xian whose nickname is “longevity veggie”.  It was picked several times a week and fed to the mare.  The farm help grew watermelons and they were happy to give the watermelon rind to the mares.  Watermelon is cooling.  Purslane is cooling and clears damp-heat.

Progress:  Lily Combination and Breathe Easier B quickly resolved the mare’s cough and asthma symptoms.  She stayed on both herbal formulas for 3 months. She produced another healthy foal in March of 2008.


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