We have an ooolllddd pony (horse dentist guesses 30ish??) who has been having trouble this winter. We call him the King b/c he gets treated like royalty, warm water on his feed, warm water to drink when it gets really cold, deep bedding etc. Anyway, earlier this winter, after the first big snow had passed, we took him for a short walk down the cleared driveway. On the way back he started to tie up mildly. I left my daughter holding him and ran back to barn for some Ace. He got back to the barn and I consulted with the vet who said to start him on electrolytes and vitamin E/selenium. We did that, then second big storm came and we took him out again for a casual walk, same thing happened.
He is not in hard work, his job is to let 45 lb girls brush him and go for hacks and do some very light ringwork. I think it keeps him happy to be used and to get hugs and treats.
I am suspicious that he is simply not moving around very much in the snow. We have cleared a trail around the paddock and I spread hay all around so the ponies have to hunt their way around.
Any ideas?? Is he telling me this is the end of his working days?
Has any blood been pulled during one of these episodes?
Has the vet recommended any further changes in diet, aside from adding electrolytes & e/selenium? Think no carbs.. as in a 100% forage diet, low in legumes.. no alfalfa.. Do a google search for more specifics..
If you're concerned he's not moving around much in the snow, do you have an indoor where he can 'live' when it's not in use? I'd scatter hay in his turnout area to encourage movement.
Haven't drawn any blood, but vet was there a couple hours after the first time and checked him over. By then he was eating, drinking and comfortable.
Not sure he's actually tying up badly, but he'll stop walking and you can see his flanks trembling. He'll pause 30-40 seconds, then walk on by himself, without any urging. He doesn't look terribly distressed, but rather mildly uncomfortable.
He's not on Cushing meds. He does grow a ton of hair, but has no symptoms besides that. My vet thought we could manage it with clipping.
About 2 years ago I had the vet do a full exam, including blood work. Everything was in the normal range and I remember it being "costly" (understatement). Since then we've lightened his workload, as mentioned he goes on lots of hacks etc. and is handled with kid gloves.
Thanks for your ideas.
PA, where the State motto is: "If it makes sense, we don't do it!".
My pony who had Cushing's had a problem with trembling from time to time--not outright seizuring, but definitely trembling....
We were never able to get to the bottom of the trembling, I just attributed it to the Cushing's. Didn't happen often but did a couple of times--never severe though, nor did it last very long (a couple of minutes at the most). Vet said to call him back if it became more frequent or continued for more twenty-thirty minutes. Don't know what the vet would have done if the trembling had gotten worse--he didn't say.
Is he telling me this is the end of his working days?
You might start him on Vitamin E--I'm not sure of the dosage, but 800 mg. sticks in my mind--consult your vet. Could be a muscle issue which Vitamin E would address. Ask your vet about "Elevate" Vitamin E, it seems to be a good product. He probably wouldn't require much at a time and could be worth the extra cost as it is a product that has gotten much praise from what I have read.
Good luck! Report back in a month or so if you put him on Vitamin E....
"We want to raise our children so that they can take a sense of pleasure in both their own heritage and the diversity of others." ~Mr. (Fred) Rogers~