Don't breed and do tell your breeder. I used to breed Labradors and I would want to know if ANYthing was funky in ANY of my pups.
Beware of beet pulp, it has a ton of natural sugar plus some BPs have molasses added. I found the oil needs to go in after soaking or the alf pellets wouldn't soak properly. (Yes, soak in water-plain oil doesn't soak into hard pellets and the whole bowlful will be way too slimy for her dainty lips)
Hand walking is OK if you will really march and stay out there long enough. I'd get on.
Her body description sounds just like Mikey's. Topline strung tight like piano wire with a big (hand size) dent in big rump muscle. Rump hard as rock. After 6 or so months on the diet, his body softened and I could make his bottom jiggle when I pushed on it.
Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.
ALCAR can be purchased online at My Best Horse, PureBulk, NutraBio, etc...
The recommended dose is 1g per 100 lb of body weight. So, the average 1000 lb horse would get 10g ALCAR daily. Be warned though that ALCAR can cause them to be a bit gassy, I divide my mare's dose into AM/PM.
Also, I would not use ALCAR in conjunction with the high fat diet as they work in opposition so you would just be wasting your money. If you are going to use the high fat diet, then try L-Carnitine at the same doses instead of ALCAR.
Personally, for a WB mare I would use ALCAR and a low sugar/starch diet with plenty of exercise. You should see results pretty quickly if she is in fact PSSM.
There are other things that can be added as well, but I don't want to further overwhelm you. My suggestion is to start with ALCAR and put her to work. She might feel stuck in quick sand, stiff and reluctant...if she is PSSM, it will improve with time. I would ride her, not just handwalk.
Like yours, mine looked like a 2-3 yr. old at 4 and was narrow & gawky through the body but had tremendous balance and movement. She stayed looking that way despite working regularly. Her body only changed when I added ALCAR. I do give my mare higher does of selenium than what is typically recommended. Yes, it can be toxic so we monitor via bloodwork and so far she continues to thrive. I feed her a balanced diet which is challenging in a boarding situation. I'm fortunate that our grass hay has regularly tested at 0.1% starch and relatively low sugar as well. I keep her diet under 10% total sugar + starch, actually it's less than 6%. Magnesium is something else you can try adding, I don't use it because my hay analysis reflects that it isn't needed. However, it can help with the muscle cramping. But, best to not change more than one thing at a time so you can understand the effect on your mare.
Also, the timing of when you feed her is important - feed her within an hour after exercise. This is when her muscles can best utilize the nutrients vs. the tendency to store the glycogen (this excess storage is why these horses' muscles feel hard like ropes).
Non-molasses BP is very safe to feed PSSM. Unfortunately, my mare doesn't tolerate BP (gas colic) so I use TC Lite as the carrier for her supplements.
Yes, definitely use Lysine, I saw a noticeable improvement when I started adding it. It helps them turn the fat from the oil into energy.
For one of my mares (Han/Oldx), I did contact the previous owner when I found out she had PSSM, because she had had two foals before I bought her as a 6yo. I knew I had to say something so that whoever had her foals could keep an eye out for PSSM symptoms.
With my other mare (Han), who I bought as a 2yo, I did not contact her dam or stallion owners, although I would still like to. I don't because I can't say whether it was her dam or stallion that passed it on. So I figure both owners will ignore it and think it was the other.
I'm just launching a website that will track horse DNA for all breeds - my main target right now is PSSM and I appreciate any and all owners with PSSM positive horses registering their horses on my new site so I can add their pedigrees to my database so we can figure out which lines are carrying this disease. Please contact me or just enter your horse in my site equine-dna.com and please encourage all your friends with disease psotive horses to do the same - thanks!
I have found two Facebook groups to be super helpful - search "EPSM/PSSM in Horses" and "PSSM Forum".
Our very own ChocoMare was very helpful in providing me "kickoff" support and when I feel frustrated.
The Facebook groups also keep documents of confirmed PSSM horses. Some of the members are GREAT with bloodlines and have created software/websites to investigate the origins of the disease.
I'd also encourage you to look for additional issues which may be present with your mare. The PSSM may not be the end all be all of the symptoms you are experiencing (as I found out yesterday with my guy).
And then, to throw this in the mix - my guy's diet (per feeding - fed 2x/day)
5 qts Seminole PerformSafe
6 qts Standlee Alfalfa pellets
2 cups oil
1 tablespoon Health-E vitamin E
1 tablespoon Magnesium Oxide
I am about to swap out the oil for Cool Calories because he does not appreciate greasy meals.
TIMBERRIDGE SPORTHORSES: www.timberridgesporthorses.com
--> Just Press Start // '99 Oldenburg
--> Always The Optimist (reg. Simply Stylin) // '02 Thoroughbred
I had a horse that I suspected had PSSM starting at the age of 3. One summer he was fine the next summer he was not....he went from an easy going guy to a horse that did not want to go forward with a rider on his back, he started to buck and rear. I did the diet/exercise with only a small improvement......I finally opted for the muscle biopsy and boy was I glad I did....it gave me the information I needed to know whether this horse would ever be rideable. The results were not what I hoped for unfortunately he had 20% muscle involvement which is considered moderate and not usually fit to ride. Having the muscle biopsy saved me a lot of grief and possibly injury. It is a simple procedure and it was the best thing I could have done for this horse......he became a pasture pet and buddy for 6 years after his diagnosis but was euthanized this past August.
I have a Dutch/TB mare with PSSM. It took me about two years to figure out what was wrong with her. Her gaits became shorter and shorter, she had no energy, and refused to canter either on the lunge line or under saddle. She got to where she was a 17h horse moving like a shetland pony.
When I started her on oil I was using corn oil - super messy - but fortunately she will gobble up anything you keep in front of her. She was already on a low carb diet, just had no fat. Within a week of starting oil and magnesium I could tell a difference! It probably took about 9 months for her to be back to her original movement, but the improvement was very steady. I tried ALCAR and couldn't tell any difference with it. After tweaking this is her diet: 1 lb. Patriot forage balancer (ADM product), two of the large measuring cups of ADM Healthy Glow (The cups are about the size of a 20 oz drink cup and come with the Healthy Glow), and magnesium. She did pretty well with one cup of the Healthy Glow, but does even better on two. She is outside and on big bales of prairie hay (mixed native grass) I am very lucky that she responded so well and that she will eat anything. I just wish I'd figured it out sooner!
I buy magnesium oxide at the feed store - they carry it to put in cattle feed. It lasts forever and is very cheap!
My old retired TBx mare is a suspected EPSM case, but I never did the muscle biopsy. When I first bought her, she was very fit and working nearly every day so there were no signs of a problem. Then after I bought her, over the winter when it would rain and she wouldn't get out to work, the day after I would take her out to lunge and she would tie up. This happened several times. This was before EPSM became widely known (mid-90's). But she is the rare case that tied up in her shoulders instead of her haunches. She also had muscle wasting along her shoulders, and you could actually see part of her scapula where there was no muscle covering. Anyway, my trainer suggested I take her off of the high-starch feed she was on and put her on a lower carb feed, with some Vit E/Sel. supplements, and DMG. She did well on that as long as she got consistent exercise. But whenever she had a break in exercise, if I wasn't very careful to very gradually put her back into work, she would tie up again. I was able to compete her in lower level eventing and dressage successfully. Around 2002 I came across information (probably on COTH) about EPSM. As I read the symptoms I realized they sounded exactly like my mare. I changed her diet gradually over to soaked alfalfa pellets and corn oil, and she began to fill out, and even started to develop muscles along her shoulders where there had been none before. She felt so much better when I rode her. It took a few months to really feel the effects. So from then on, until I retired her, I kept her on a low starch/high fat diet. We were no longer competing at that point, but just enjoying riding for pleasure.
Now that she's retired, I don't give her oil. She does fine on hay and senior feed, and some rice bran. I still ride her once in a while, but just slow and easy stuff for the most part. When I turn her out she still acts like a squirrelly three-year-old.
Happiness is the sweet smell of horses, leather, and hay.