Episode 15: Is coughing a problem?

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Let’s say a horse is coughing. Is that a problem?
My argument is: No, coughing is not a problem.
Rather, coughing is a sign or symptom of a problem. But not a problem itself.
You may find that obvious. However, many of us have inadvertently picked up on fixing symptoms, rather than the underlying cause.
Have a cough — > give cough suppressant
Have a fever — > get the fever down with aspirin
Have a headache -➝ get rid of headache with tylenol
But what should we do instead of aiming at getting rid of the symptom?
Well that depends on WHY the horse is coughing. We talk about the “sick cough” vs. the “chronic cough” and how to think through those issues.
This idea of taking a moment to think and find what the symptom is telling us is key to Tucker BioKinetic Technique (TBT).
Listen now about coughing — which applies to many symptoms — on our podcast Horse Mysteries Solved now.


Links Mentioned:




Renee (00:01)
Hello, my friend. This is Dr. Renee Tucker. Thanks for joining me today. We’re going to talk about coughing horses, but with an emphasis on how to think through what you should do.

Renee (00:14)
You say, well, I know how to think, and I don’t have a coughing horse. Well, that’s that’s cool. You can always listen later. But the key here is that so many of us have learned to just treat the symptoms, really. I mean, we grew up with that, right?

Renee (00:29)
You got a fever, take something to take the fever down. You got a cough, get a cough suppressed, got a headache, taking an aspirin. And in doing that, just so really, without thinking, we inadvertently learn to just treat the symptoms rather than thinking through why there’s those symptoms and what the actual cause could be. So I just thought I talked a little bit about that today. We have two types of coughing.

Renee (00:56)
Well, I’m sure there are many, but the two we’re talking about are coughing when the horse is actually sick, little off their food, maybe a little snotty nose, maybe a little fever, but they’re coughing, they’re not feeling good. Okay, they’re sick. And then the other type of coughing is that chronic cough. There’s a couple of different reasons for all of these, actually, but we’re just going to divide into two different types the sick cough and the chronic cough. Okay, let’s try to start with the sick cough.

Renee (01:31)
So there’s a sick and one of the first things people want is a cough suppressant. And I say no.

Renee (01:41)
Okay, not really. Okay, here’s what I really say. What’s the horse trying to do when they’re coughing? I know it can be scary. I mean, horses are big.

Renee (01:53)
Coughing on a horse is loud and it can be scary, and everyone just wants to fix it. I get that, okay? But let’s just take a step back. Pretend it’s not your horse, all right? And then why is the horse coughing when they’re sick?

Renee (02:10)
Probably obvious, maybe, but they’re trying to get stuff out of their lungs that’s not supposed to be there. So part of their immune system has cleared out stuff running around in their lungs that’s not supposed to be there. Bed bugs, whatever. And not literal bugs like bacteria, virus, fungus, whatever. And then the body is coughing to help expel the stuff the body does not want anymore, clearing the lungs out.

Renee (02:43)
And so if the body wants to cough some stuff out, it’s not supposed to be there. Actually, the last thing we want to do is use a cough suppressant, a suppressant suppresses, or stops the coughing. Now, it may feel better not to cough, and certainly there are cases when you do use a cough suppressant. I’m sure some of us have had where you’re coughing so bad. One, it’s so you can’t even breathe or coughing so much, or you’re coughing so much you’re almost throwing up.

Renee (03:19)
It’s so violent or you’re constantly coughing and you can’t even sleep. Okay, so there are cases where you know what? Right before bed, take a coughs or present because it’s going to be more important to sleep and heal. All right, so I’m not saying there are not cases for a cough suppressant. That’s just some examples of sure, we can use them sometimes, but I’m trying to really encourage everyone to think about it.

Renee (03:48)
What is the horse trying to do if he or she is trying to cough stuff out? Don’t suppress the cough. Okay? What you would like to do is support the immune system. It’s trying to do something.

Renee (04:03)
Can you help? Sure. There’s plenty of herbs, vitamin C, E, echinasia. You can go online to any herbal email store, sorry, online store, and just Google immune support herbs for equine. There’s plenty, there’s certainly essential oils there’s.

Renee (04:26)
You know what I do for my kids when we have a cold or something? Oil of oregano. It can’t be an alcohol base, but the actual oil is very thick. You break open these capsules and put it on a diffuser. That stuff is antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral.

Renee (04:49)
So we breathe that in and if you’re having trouble breathing or you’re coughing, oh my gosh, it’s beautiful. You might need a big diffuser for the barn, but that could work. Or you could maybe even just put some on their nostrils that might burn their skin. You should probably look that up. Alright, just great.

Renee (05:07)
Okay, the point is you want to support the immune system with some herbs, essential oils, whatever. Here’s the key. Antibiotics do not support the immune system. What do I mean by that? Okay, antibiotics are not evil.

Renee (05:26)
There are a case for antibiotics. But antibiotics go into the system and they kill, which was what anti means. They’re against it. Biotics, meaning bacteria. They kill bacteria.

Renee (05:42)
So antibiotics are running around and killing bacteria, but they really don’t differentiate very much between good bacteria and bad bacteria. Plus they do put a strain on your kidneys, liver, as the body has to filter those out. So if you need antibiotics, you need them, that’s fine. Keep in mind though, that it’s not actually a support for the immune system and it is taxing the body. And ideally you should add probiotics, which would replace the good bacteria if you choose to use those.

Renee (06:16)
OK, I hope you get the idea of what I’m trying to say. For sick coughing, we want to, number one, think about what’s the body trying to do, trying to get rid of something. Let’s help that. Okay, I think that’s enough on the sick coughing. So secondly, let’s talk about the chronic cough.

Renee (06:38)
Now we still are going to say what’s the body trying to do. The body is not an idiot. Bodies don’t just go, oh, I think it’ll cost today. Hey, let’s fix it now. Always has a reason, even if it’s not clear to us yet.

Renee (06:53)
There is a reason. I got a few things for your chronic coughing, all right? Number one, and these aren’t in any common order or anything. I’m just talking. Okay.

Renee (07:06)
It’s actually alignment stuff. What does that have to do with coughing? You would be surprised. I mean, I was okay, so we got coughing. Well, we know that the lungs are involved, but what’s around the lungs?

Renee (07:22)
We’ve got ribs. We’ve got that whole thoracic cavity that the lungs sit in. That’s the barrel of the horse. And the bottom or foundation of that barrel is a sternum. And then attached to the sternum and the end of the ribs is the diaphragm, which moves the lungs.

Renee (07:44)
So when we have a case of chronic coughing, we want to think about, well, what’s the mechanism? What makes the horse cough? Physically, it’s these things that help the anatomy to do the coughing. So that’s going to be ribs, sternum, diaphragm. Also, believe it or not, the hyoid.

Renee (08:07)
The hyoid apparatus is a structure that has bones and cartilage and a lot of tendon, ligaments, muscles all around the throat area of the horse, kind of the larynx area. I have had multiple horses where I just align the hyoid and they stop that coughing. And by that I mean the coughing where you go to ride the horse and they cough several times as you warm up, and then they stop and you think, well, maybe it’s dusty, but this has been even if it’s not dusty, dust has nothing to do with it. You’re out in a wet, grassy field. It is still doing it.

Renee (08:49)
So a lot of times it’s just a hyoid. It’s just crooked. And you know what? It tickles the trachea. And you just want to cough until the muscles get warmed up and things get loosened up and kind of relaxing there.

Renee (09:04)
And then they start coughing. That’s just weird. Okay, but my point is there are anatomical structures that can be affecting the lungs of the trachea, the bronchi that make those cough. So we want to think about those most commonly sternum, the hyoid. Also, the neck can do it because that will be affecting the trachea.

Renee (09:25)
But those are alignment issues. Second thing is potentially scar tissue on the lung or the pleura, maybe even the diaphragm. As I talked about in a previous podcast, scar tissue can be anywhere in the body, and you can absolutely address it with TBT. Why would a horse have scar tissue? Well, as you may imagine, if they had like a pneumonia, even as a foal, you could have some scar tissue in there and you could be left with residual coughing.

Renee (09:59)
So again, you can totally clear that out with TBT. That’s Tucker Biokinetic technique. Okay, the last one I just want to mention is heaves officially COPD chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Frankly, I think they updated the name, but the point is, it’s heaves where the horse is kind of coughing but also really having trouble breathing air out. You can breathe in pretty good.

Renee (10:26)
Can’t get it out, so well. Okay, here’s my opinion. My two sons. Take it or leave it. All right.

Renee (10:34)
I believe that heaves is primarily caused by a chemical which is stuck inside the lining of the bronchi. This makes the body make some protective mucus, if you will. It’s really thicker than that, but it lines the bronchi, and so that makes the airway smaller. And it keeps getting smaller and smaller as the body is trying to work with it. Okay.

Renee (11:05)
These are chemicals that will not come out on a typical liver detox because they’re not in the liver and they’re not circulating. They’re stuck in the lining of the bronchi. And then that tends to get worse and worse. And we do things to help the bronchi open. But again, we want to get rid of the original cause, which in my opinion, is chemicals.

Renee (11:32)
And we can do that with TBT. I know that sounds weird, and everything I say a little bit weird because weird is where the funds at. But you can do it energetically because everything is energy. Your energy. I’m energy, the car is energy.

Renee (11:50)
The table is energy. It’s all energy. So with TBT, we work at the quantum level so we can help clear those out slowly but surely and get the heavy horse back to breathing properly, which is awesome. Okay, that’s kind of what I want to say on chronic stuff. For chronic, again, we want to say, well, why is the horse coughing?

Renee (12:15)
And you’re like, Darl, Renee. Okay. But there are some things people don’t normally think of, which are the alignment things, the possible scar tissue, and for heaves, the chemical lining and the bronchi. Okay. So I think you guys did a great job.

Renee (12:30)
I think you’re already probably there where you’re trying to figure out what what is the primary cause. I don’t want to stop the coughing. If the horse needs to cough, let’s figure this out and it can be done. Just hang in there, keep asking questions, and you’ll get the answers. They are definitely out.

Renee (12:49)
Okay, talk to you guys later. Bye.

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