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Communication Key in Getting Multi-Sport Athlete Back on Track
Susan Straight describes Otis “as close to a perfect horse as we can get,” so when a mysterious cough formed and began to interfere with the multi-sport athlete’s performance, Susan called on the pros for a resolution.
October 25, 2014

Fourteen-year-old Toasted Oats, also known as “Otis,” is a handsome multi-sport athlete owned by Susan Straight. But when he developed an occasional cough that came and went with no predictable pattern or time of year, there were some days Otis would be unable to fully engage in his activities. And, over time, his cough started to worsen.

Susan’s veterinarian recommended bringing Otis to Tufts Hospital for Large Animals at Cummings Veterinary Medical Center for an evaluation. Dr. Melissa Mazan checked his lungs and pulmonary function and pinpointed the issue as inflammatory airway disease.

Dr. Mazan prescribed a course of medications to help Otis and offered suggestions to minimize the environmental irritants that could be in a barn, like dust and mold. So Susan and the staff at Oak Meadow Farm in East Windsor, Conn.—where Otis is boarded—came up with ways to help Otis breathe a little easier.

“The reason I brought him to the Hospital for Large Animals was because I was at a loss on what to do,” says Susan. “I was impressed the moment I walked in. Everyone we worked with explained what was happening at every step and had a warm, kind attitude. Dr. Mazan really cares about Otis and made sure he got well.”

The combination of medication and environmental changes worked, and within a month Otis was back to his regular self. Susan says he didn’t require any further medication after the initial treatment, is symptom free, and happy doing what he loves—jumping and dressage.
“He’s Mr. Wonderful and as close to a perfect horse as we can get,” says Susan. “I am very grateful and he is very grateful.”