What would cause a horse to suddenly act feral, going on 24 hours
Horse in question: a sensitive 9 yo TB mare normally very reactive.
She had a nasty accident approx 4-5 months ago where she hit her head violently causing a major nose bleed and almost lost her eye. The vet said it was possible she might have some neurological issues but I would know in the 3 weeks following the accident; the mare seemed to be fine.
She cracked her hoof on some frozen ground two weeks ago; farrier said it was cosmetic only. She trots sound in pasture and has a normal appetite. I may have felt some heat midway in the hoof following the initial crack but it was so minor. No pulse, no stocking up.
Yesterday morning she wouldn't get near the black bucket she's been eating out of for the last 6 years. I moved the bucket, held it even, and she looked terrified.
She won't even let me get near her - again, terrified.
Nothing in her life has changed.
I realize pain can cause personality changes, but she's had abscesses and injuries before and never acted like this.
I'm sure there's a reason other than just her being nuts. It's so tricky to figure it out since we aren't sensitive enough to pick up on the same things. For example, we had a horse go nuts 'for no reason' but ended up finding a live wire in the wall near his stall the next day after it began smoking.
I'm not saying it's anything serious, but it's probably not imaginary.
If you've ever encountered a possum..they can be scary and very aggressive. My guess is that a possum or a racoon, as a poster above said, could have gotten in the bucket and hissed and/or jumped out at the horse.
When the Vet comes out, check to see how long ago she had her rabies vaccination too. Thinking of critters, possums, raccoons, rats etc even bats can be around should remind all of us to get our horses vaccinated against rabies.
I hope it does just turn out to be related to the head injury - although it would be interesting to know what caused that injury!? If she was having some type of neurological deficit that brought on that injury, she may have some very serious issues indeed. Good luck, and please keep us posted on what the Vet exam results are.
Last edited by sdlbredfan; Feb. 9, 2013 at 08:15 PM.
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.
How is the range of motion in her neck, especially C1-2 area (behind poll) and C 6-7 area (base of neck where it goes into body)? I had a rescued TB who had a history of terrible physical abuse. He had severe changes in his neck. One day I was unable to touch or even catch him in a stall. He acted completely freaked out. Had vet out and vet discovered that horse was having severe neck pain and was unable to lower his head. He was literally wild with pain. Got some anti-inflammatories into him and elevated feed. Within 48 hours he was fine. Over the years this happened several more times, and each time I could not touch or go near him, and always got drugs on board fast. This was a normally very sweet friendly horse. Anyway, just a thought to check out her neck. Use a carrot and ask her to bend from side to side and see how her range of motion looks. If she had such a severe accident several months ago, it's possible that you are now seeing effects of that. If you can't sort it out quickly, get a vet to evaluate her.
On another note, my horse once refused to drink out of her automatic watered. Upon inspection I was shocked when I touched the water. An electric fence wire was touching the shelter and grounding down through her waterer....so possibly the bucket hurt her somehow?
I agree with the others on getting her checked by a vet.
However, buckets have been known to attack...
My mare got her water bucket stuck on the clip of her halter. That poor horse got chased around by her bucket and all she did was snort at the thing afterwards. She was very cautious about drinking out of it for a while.