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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug. 21, 2009
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    Indiana
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    Exclamation (Update: Normal Vit. E) Anyone Have Experience with Muscle Disorders?

    I posted the other day about my horse--a Thoroughbred--going lame while being ridden. See thread here. Yeah, he has some past issues (hind suspensory issues a few years back) and he doesn't move perfectly because he's so straight though his hind end. He also sometimes "slips out" with a hind leg (delayed petellar release, perhaps, we've worked on strengthening for the past couple years). Horse has been going along really well this year.

    Anyhow, horse comes up lame when I'm riding on Wednesday. It was when I first asked him to canter after warming him up. Horse is really stiff through his hind end and clearly off. When doing flexions and holding up his RH leg one muscle is twitching. The vet was out the next day. No twitching muscle but horse is now very much "tight rope walking" with his hind end. He's never really done this before. He sometimes seems like he wants to walk out of it but not really. Vet thinks it's bursa / hip pain and my horse was really impacted? through that area upon her chiro workup on him.

    We also pulled blood and talked about a possible vitamin E deficiency since he's dropped a good bit of weight and muscle this summer. He's never been an easy horse to get muscle on--as a last ditch effort after he was still off (slipping out w/ hind legs / weak stifles) upon his suspensories healing 2 years ago his lameness vet had us do a series of muscle building injections. This helped him significantly.

    After his adjustment Thursday I was supposed to take him out on a walking hack Friday, today, and tomorrow (Sunday). He's getting Monday off and then we'll see what he looks like on Tuesday. His walk was less "tight-ropey" yesterday/today but he's still not really wanting to move very forwardly.

    When I went out to the barn today to bring him in he was just standing there. I'd thrown him some hay when I first got there and he was moving around fine. He always walks to the gate though. He was standing kinda weirdly (he does that though, silly boy) and I thought "oh crap is his stifle catching?" but it's never actually gotten caught before. He moved when I made him to bring him in although he was acting like he wasn't happy about it.

    Some of my horse's bloodwork came back today and it showed that he was anemic. I'm not sure how low his levels were. Vit. E panel will be back Monday but our guess is that it may well be low. I started him on Red Cell tonight per the vet. I will be talking with the vet more on Monday about muscle related issues when the rest of the bloodwork returns.

    Have you had any experience with muscle disorders? Experience with any of these other things? Anything??

    TIA.
    Last edited by Dressage.For.Life.; Nov. 8, 2012 at 11:47 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by RugBug View Post
    Don't throw away opportunities because they aren't coming in exactly the form you want them to.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug. 21, 2009
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    Indiana
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    Bumping this. Any thoughts?
    Quote Originally Posted by RugBug View Post
    Don't throw away opportunities because they aren't coming in exactly the form you want them to.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec. 2, 2004
    Location
    Eastern Ontario, Canada
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    Look into PSSM aka EPSM.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug. 21, 2009
    Location
    Indiana
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    Thanks DraftDriver. Does my horse sound like he -could- have something to do with PSSM / EPSM or am I just seeing similarities in the symptoms since I want so much to get this figured out? I know they're less common in Thoroughbreds.
    Quote Originally Posted by RugBug View Post
    Don't throw away opportunities because they aren't coming in exactly the form you want them to.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec. 2, 2004
    Location
    Eastern Ontario, Canada
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    There is a link between low Vit. E levels and EPSM. Lots of information here: http://ruralheritage.com/vet_clinic/index.htm



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug. 21, 2009
    Location
    Indiana
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    Thanks draftdriver.
    Quote Originally Posted by RugBug View Post
    Don't throw away opportunities because they aren't coming in exactly the form you want them to.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug. 28, 2007
    Location
    Triangle Area, NC
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    When I was doing research on EPSM, I found a statistic that speculated 26% of all thoroughbred horses have it to some degree.
    It's can present with very similar symptoms. My EPSM horse Now does endurance, Second level dressage And cross country jumping.
    He is managed through the following diet:
    1lb ration balancer
    4lbs alfalfa
    4 dry cups beet pulp soaked with 2 cups veg oil and hot water.
    Apple a day electrolytes

    24/7 grass turnout
    Exercise 5 days a week.
    www.destinationconsensusequus.com
    chaque pas est fait ensemble



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug. 21, 2009
    Location
    Indiana
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    That statistic is really interesting, Petstorejunkie.

    So, when a horse has an episode like this, do I remember reading at some point that it can take them several days to return to "normal"? As I was a the barn to hack him out today, he still just seemed more reluctant to move and behind the leg than how he is normally. Going down hill is also much harder for him since he went lame the other day. *sigh*. I suppose he is doing the "tight rope" walking less now.

    My horse is on a ration balancer (Progressive grass formula, getting his recommended 2lb / day) and 3lb / day of alfalfa pellets. He also gets alfalfa cubes when I am out to soak them (4-6 days / week). And we just started him on Omegatin to get more fat into him per the vet (since he's dropped some weight).

    For horses with EPSM or the like, what all do you want to avoid in their diets? I know you want a lot of fat in their diets. Is there anything you'd change in what my horse gets if I wanted to get him on a diet like this? thanks and glad to hear that you've been able to manage your EPSM horse so well! What breed is yours?
    Quote Originally Posted by RugBug View Post
    Don't throw away opportunities because they aren't coming in exactly the form you want them to.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    May. 17, 2003
    Posts
    5,550

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    If he is tying up repeatedly, you should get his selenium levels checked (dont just supplement willy-nilly as you can do harm with this.) My horse (not a TB) runs on the low side and has tied up without supplementation in the past.

    From my experience, If he has tied up, give him some days off. You can cause more long term damage by pushing those damaged muscles.

    Also, tempting though it might be, don't give nsaids to help with the muscle pain, as the kidneys can be quite compromised during a tie up. You may well notice very dark colored urine. Your vet might think it a good idea to put him onsome robaxin once he's starting to feel a bit better.

    You need to take a careful look at his diet as well as checking out the Se. The rural heritage site was helpful to me.

    Good luck!



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2009
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    I would try a 10 day course of robaxin, then start supplementing with a multivitamin (I use SmartVites Performance Grass), plus a magnesium supplement (I use SmartCalm Ultra). Plus add at least a cup of oil to his feed.

    My horse had some kind of hind end muscle issue earlier this year (undiagnosed...only way to test for PSSM in a TB is muscle biopsy) and the above totally fixed him...along with removing his hind shoes. Honestly, soundest he has been...probably ever. He also went from needing his hocks done every 6 months to not having them done the past 9 months, and still going strong.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug. 21, 2009
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    Indiana
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    Thanks atr and FineAlready.

    So it sounds like vit e, selenium, and magnesium are all especially important in these horses. Have any of your horses ever been anemic with this?

    My horse is on a ration balancer--is the multivitamin (like the Smartvites) going to be a better option for him?? And is the oil especially important for these guys?

    We are in a selenium deficient area so I will definitely ask about his se levels (I'm hoping that would've come up somewhere in the $260 worth of blood panels I had pulled!). I'll also also ask about the Robaxin.

    In regards to giving rest, my vet said hack him out Friday/Saturday/Sunday (horse went off Wednesday night, vet was out Thursday). She said to give him Monday (tomorrow) off and then push him a little and see what he looks like at the trot and such on Tuesday. Does this sound like a bad idea to see what he looks like on Tuesday? thanks.
    Quote Originally Posted by RugBug View Post
    Don't throw away opportunities because they aren't coming in exactly the form you want them to.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar. 24, 2005
    Location
    Fort Collins, Colorado
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    Some of the things you mentioned in your original post sounded exactly like my horse, who was diagnosed with PSSM several months ago.
    One way to look for this without doing a muscle biopsy is to exercise your horse for 15 min or so, then pull blood and evaluate muscle enzymes.

    I had a thread going a few days ago....I just titled it "PSSM". Some of the folks who replied gave some good advice regarding diet and you might want to check it out.

    Good luck, but I hope this is not your diagnosis. Online, some people can make the management/diet sound fairly easy and doable, but I am completely at my wit's end trying to find something that will work for my mare.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb. 25, 2011
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    So California
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dressage.For.Life. View Post
    For horses with EPSM or the like, what all do you want to avoid in their diets? I know you want a lot of fat in their diets. Is there anything you'd change in what my horse gets if I wanted to get him on a diet like this? thanks and glad to hear that you've been able to manage your EPSM horse so well! What breed is yours?
    I don't know what is in your ration balancer or Omegatin, but what you should avoid are sugars and starches. So avoid feeds containing molasses, grains, or corn. Carrots and apples are high in sugar as well, but I don't know if the occasional snack adds enough sugar to matter.

    The fats and alfalfa are recommended.

    The other thing I've read is that moderate daily exercise is important to clean out the muscles -- my nontechnical shorthand for the chemical process that clears the saccharides or whatever.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb. 11, 2011
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    The anemia does not seem to fit into a vit E/Se def nor ESPM tho. That is odd to me, unless he was severely malnourished.

    Since your in Indiana and in the thick of the drought this year tell me about any grazing or less than wonderful hay he may have gotten. Any chance he got into brachen fern this summer?



  15. #15
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    Aug. 21, 2009
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    Indiana
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    Thanks Krallen, I will look your thread up. I wish you luck in finding a diet or something that will help your mare.

    PeteyPie--His current ration balancer is actually labeled good for PSSM / EPSM horses. It's only 6% starch. The Omegatin we just started to get more fat onto him is 13.5% starch. And he only gets molasses if I'm needing to get meds into him!

    D Taylor--He's been getting his recommended levels of a ration balancer, as well as alfalfa pellets and cubes and lots of a mainly grass type hay (has a little alfalfa in it). So he shouldn't have been severely malnourished.

    He's been out 24/7 but there's of course been no grass. Even this fall, it's all overgrazed (out of my control, some of my barn's larger pastures are closed due to reseeding). And the hay hasn't been fabulous, even brought in from Kentucky. And I have no idea what / if he could've gotten into something. I suppose it's possible. Is there any way to test for something like that (eg. if he's gotten into some toxic plant)?
    Quote Originally Posted by RugBug View Post
    Don't throw away opportunities because they aren't coming in exactly the form you want them to.



  16. #16
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    Feb. 11, 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dressage.For.Life. View Post

    D Taylor--He's been getting his recommended levels of a ration balancer, as well as alfalfa pellets and cubes and lots of a mainly grass type hay (has a little alfalfa in it). So he shouldn't have been severely malnourished.

    He's been out 24/7 but there's of course been no grass. Even this fall, it's all overgrazed (out of my control, some of my barn's larger pastures are closed due to reseeding). And the hay hasn't been fabulous, even brought in from Kentucky. And I have no idea what / if he could've gotten into something. I suppose it's possible. Is there any way to test for something like that (eg. if he's gotten into some toxic plant)?
    Bracken fern tends to grow in wooded areas. Or pastures and ditches near wooded area. After a drought lessens and rains begin to return the new plant growth is even more toxic. Most livestock tend to avoid it but the new growth in a drought year can be rather attractive to some.

    Walk the pastures and see if present. Google for pics and take note of pics of the unrolling leaves especially.

    If it were in the hay you would see a fern type weed as likely it would be mature.

    Bracken fern contains thiaminase so basically results in B1 def. Horses get bracken staggers (aka -funny coordination/off gait/standing with feet apart) and muscle tremors, wt loss, other symptons of poor doing such as rough hair coat, anorexia and anemia. In extreme cases fever and convulsions....and death.

    What blood work did your vet run? Since you know he is anemic then a complete blood count was done. But what blood chemistry results do you have?



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug. 21, 2009
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    Indiana
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    I'll see about walking his little pasture when I go out here in a while to syringe-dose him his Red Cell. (Because of course he won't tolerate it as a top dressing...haha).

    If he's standing any differently than his usual "normal", in the past month or so I've maybe seen him standing more "parked out" than usual (his sheath has been cleaned, no issues there). Not sure if that's the "standing with feet wide apart" thing or not.

    And we pulled like a general health panel and whatever panel went along with pulling for the vit. E. I'll see if I can get a copy of the results (clinic is about an hour away and I don't have the time right now to just run over and pick it up).

    ETA: My horse's current pasture does drop off a little as it goes down by the road and other plants to grow there. However, I haven't seen the horses around there as there isn't really any grass down there now, either.
    Quote Originally Posted by RugBug View Post
    Don't throw away opportunities because they aren't coming in exactly the form you want them to.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    May. 20, 2005
    Location
    Thousand Oaks, CA
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    886

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    I had read and heard from vets that a blood test revealing anemia wasn't all that accurate and unless your horse has recently lost large volumes of blood that a horse is rarely anemic. If you really want to go with the anemic thing, lixotonic is better than Red Cell.
    Yes, the hindquarters muscles can get incredibly locked up/sore and I think some of the stiff and soreness of the muscles in EPSM horses can make them more prone to other causes of lameness or injury because of the inflammatory condition they are in. Anyway, it often looks like stifle or SI issues. How is your horse when you stretch his front legs forward? Reluctance to do so actually can point to the hindquarter soreness typical in EPSM horses. That said, all my EPSM horses have had varying symptoms and no two are exactly alike! Fun...



  19. #19
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    Aug. 21, 2009
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    Indiana
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    Thanks candico, that's some good information to have. This vet actually recommended the Red Cell and it was something I could get him started on right away. I'm actually going to ask about if there are any injections I could do instead, because my horse is not a fan of the liquid supplements, to say the least. How is the lixotonic better than Red Cell? Have you just found it to be more effective than the Red Cell (through blood tests)? Interesting to hear that the blood tests maybe aren't that accurate for anemia!

    That all sure makes sense to me--that these horses are maybe more prone to other lameness issues due to being so stiff or locked up. And he's perhaps a little resistant (like for the farrier and when I occasionally do those stretches). Hmm...

    So how have you been able to manage your EPSM horses diet / supplement / exercise wise? thanks.
    Quote Originally Posted by RugBug View Post
    Don't throw away opportunities because they aren't coming in exactly the form you want them to.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul. 26, 2003
    Posts
    300

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    My thoroughbred gelding has unofficially diagnosed issues with muscles as well. He is ten and I have had him since I bought him off the track at 3. His main symptoms were cold-backed, sore butt muscles, tight shoulders, stiff in hind legs, very slow to "warm up" and if he got upset or nervous he would go into a frenzy trying to urinate, but not drink or eat, act colicky then it would pass. Not a full colic episode though. So with vet's help this is his routine/food now:

    5 lbs Tribute Ultra Kalm (high fat, low sugar/starch pellet) spread over four feedings
    2 ounces Quiessance (spread over two feedings)
    2 ounces Mega-Sel (spread over two feedings)
    2 cups very soaked Speedi-Beet is part of his "fourth meal"
    2 ounces chia seeds (soaked in Speedi-Beet)
    1 ounce GastroEaseEQ
    Free Choice (essentially FC, it takes him a long time to eat!) hay
    Grass T/O when possible about 2-3 hours/day otherwise he is in dry lot due to weather.

    He does get some form of exercise every day, even on "days off" I turn him out to play in the arena, take him for a walk, etc.

    What I think has helped A LOT is monthly chiropractic (DVM that helped with his diet), massage and time in his "snuggy"... his Back on Track sheet. He loves wearing it even in the summer! I make sure he wears it about an hour minimum before I tack him up and he warms up a lot better.

    Best of luck and feel free to PM me if you want any other info. Somewhere on this computer I have couple of papers I saved about muscle disorders!

    Becky & the boys
    Becky & Red
    In Loving Memory of Gabriel, 1998-2005 and Raalph, 1977-2013



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