Feb. 1, 2013, 05:35 PM
Horse has stopped moving around in his pasture
As some of you may know, I own a horse "in absentium", I study abroad and while I'm away my stable owner takes care of him like her own. Yesterday I got a message saying he'd developed a large swelling in his sheath, she called the vet and he was there within 20 minutes, he gave two injections and a supplement to help him pee more. He didn't know WHY, but said it should go away over the weekend.
My stable owner attached in the message a worry that he's stopped moving around in his pasture, whether it's snowy, icy or bare. This has been going on for a while, she says. So it probably isn't related to his sheath issue.
He's a 13 year old STB off the track for a few years. He's barefoot. She's put studded boots on him now to see if he's just unsure of his footing, but I doubt that'll solve the problem.
He doesn't walk with any lameness (he's been lame several times so both I and my stable owner are experienced at seeing when it appears). But he'll go out into his pasture, and spend his day just standing by the hayrack while his buddy is all over the place.
This is not behaviour that is like my horse. He's always running around, looking for grass straws, investigating stuff. I've recently had a reminder that behavioural changes in horses should be taken seriously.
I'm pretty lost for ideas but I'm thinking ... could a possibility be back issues? I'm struggling to find the English word here but a common issue especially in ex-racehorses is that they get what we call "lockages" in their backs and/or necks. It's an issue equine chiropractors deal with, I'm really sorry I can't find the technical term for it but I'm sure some wiz on here will be able to recall the English word.
He was also vaccinated (and teeth floated) a few weeks ago, and I'm wondering whether he could be having a reaction to his vaccines? Unlikely, but I'm putting it out there.
I'd really appreciate some input on this, problem-solving from afar is a bit difficult but I'm doing what I can!
Feb. 1, 2013, 05:38 PM
OK just had another look round and the Internet refers to it as "subluxations of the spine". So with that out of the way... I'd love some brainstorming!
Feb. 1, 2013, 05:52 PM
A lot of horses are more reluctant to move around if the weather is bad or the footing is treacherous. And standing immobile for a long period is a common cause for sheath swelling. If the horse is otherwise normal (eating, drinking, vitals normal, bright and comfortable) maybe 30 minutes of handwalking a day on comfortable footing would help.
before you buy.
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Feb. 1, 2013, 06:22 PM
When was the last time he had his sheath cleaned? Did the vet look for a bean?
Feb. 1, 2013, 07:22 PM
There could possibly be a pain issue which is causing him to feel pain when he urinates and when he moves around a lot. That could be consistent with your back theory.
Feb. 1, 2013, 08:53 PM
Feb. 1, 2013, 09:24 PM
I would also say eyesight issue like mhtokay said. How about hearing, ear infection? Maybe the horse is depressed? Dementia maybe from EPM?
My horses are VERY active in winter. Ice, snow, rain, mud, water. My gaited mare loves to do her greatest reining horse impression with regards to slide stops. Wow, and some of her tracks are really long too. She does it in limestone rocks too.
Swollen sheath, yes lack of movement.
Hope he gets better.
Feb. 1, 2013, 09:30 PM
Mine stopped moving and refused to be led. Age 28.
The "cure" was he was moved to a another field, where he didn't have to leave his pasture (first pasture everyone had to be led to the barn to be fed).
Second thing: barium shoes all year long. He had been barefoot for 20 yrs before.
This all happened during winter when it was very icy. I think he was saying he didn't feel safe walking.
Feb. 1, 2013, 09:43 PM
This sounds like a great idea. I will remember this if I have one who won't move around.
Originally Posted by Chall
Feb. 1, 2013, 10:29 PM
Not to cause alarm, but my DD lost a favorite horse a couple of years ago to cancer of the penis. Symptoms were sheath swelling, lack of movement. The vet tranq'd him and when he "dropped", the lesion was obvious. I'd have the vet take a close look inside of his sheath. Bad stuff that cancer.
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Feb. 2, 2013, 07:19 AM
He also has a separate "pen" /corall, totally enclosed within that field, where he gets fed, in peace. Very helpful for the oldsters.
Originally Posted by rmh_rider
Feb. 2, 2013, 03:37 PM
Thanks so much guys! I'm really hoping it's that he doesn't feel safe moving around on the ice (my stable owner says it's pretty icy there now). In that case either keep him in boots while it's slippery OR have him shod.... I really don't want to take the step and have him shod as I've worked really hard to get his feet as excellent as they are now. And when he's additionally not sore-footed it seems a bit of a shame.
He doesn't walk stiffly, which should discount vertebral subluxations, but I'll still have a look round at chiropractors. I've been wanting to get a masseur out to have a look at him for ages so that could be an idea anyway.
It's so easy to get pulled in by scary theories, isn't it! I really wouldn't like to think cancer etc, but it's always worth checking it out. He's due to get his sheath cleaned soon so I'll have a look at it then.
REALLY nice to know the sheath and the lack of movement are related. I wonder what causes that phenomenon...
Feb. 2, 2013, 03:58 PM
Again, hearing hooves in the night, we're thinking zebras.
Let's go back to the initial complaint. A swollen sheath. If you have a swollen anything, it hurts. So you tend to avoid doing anything that may make it hurt more. This is why horses are forcibly exercised after castration. Moving around reduces swelling.
As was asked before. Has anyone cleaned the sheath. Basic horse care! If the sheath swelling hasn't resolved, he may not be interested in walking. Is there somewhere he can be walked?
Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.
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Feb. 2, 2013, 04:22 PM
Just another idea. A mare belonging to a friend of mine stopped moving around. Over just a few weeks she even stopped coming to the fence to meet her "mom". Blood test showed very low vitamin e levels. She's on vitamin e supplements now.
"The captive bolt is not a proper tool for slaughter of equids they regain consciousness 30 seconds after being struck fully aware they are being vivisected." Dr Friedlander DVM & frmr Chief USDA Insp
Feb. 2, 2013, 07:56 PM
[QUOTE=merrygoround;6812418]Again, hearing hooves in the night, we're thinking zebras.
Let's go back to the initial complaint. A swollen sheath. If you have a swollen anything, it hurts. So you tend to avoid doing anything that may make it hurt more. This is why horses are forcibly exercised after castration. Moving around reduces swelling.QUOTE]
Yes, this. The lack of moving around was noticed at the same time a swollen sheath was observed. Then, the first thing to investigate is the swollen sheath and the cause of that. That's a no brainer. Clearly, it could be a number of things with the sheath that has caused the swelling (though I doubt that it is just because he has not be "cleaned"). He could have been kicked in the sheath, could have a penal tumor, a bacterical infection in the prepuce or a number of things.
Horse suddenly has a swollen sheath and stopped moving around = have a vet investigate the sheath.
Feb. 3, 2013, 09:18 AM
Feb. 3, 2013, 02:08 PM
Metabolic problems (onset of being insulin resistant) sometimes shows up via swollen sheath also. It definitely is time for a Vet to check this horse thoroughly.
RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died, Death either by euthanasia or natural causes is only the end of the animal inhabiting its body; I believe the spirit lives on.
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