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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb. 10, 2013
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    91

    Default Falling horse...?

    I'm a first time horse owner (but long time rider) and I don't know very much about horsey health care. I've had my 2010 OTTB mare since November, I got her straight off the track. We've been doing very light lunge work but mostly just bonding since she's really lacking confidence and quite skittish. Anyway, here's my question. Can someone please tell me I'm overreacting/ being a worrywart?

    The exit from the barn has a ramp up to a somewhat narrow doorway (old cow barn). She's been through this exit 100 times with no problem. The last time I took her up it she stopped walking in the middle of the ramp and I looked back to see she was standing there with her left front leg bent underneath her. I thought she was just being dumb (?) so I clucked at her and asked her to walk on. Instead of taking a step, she just collapsed onto her knees and fell over. She got straight back up, totally terrified, and raced through the door (squishing me into the doorframe). Anyway she got outside and she was upset, pawing and snorting but didn't seem lame or in pain. I walked her and saw no problem so we did about 5 minutes on the lunge line walk/trot so I could watch for lameness. Nothing. Recently she's started being head shy on the left side; she had no problems when I got her and the first time I noticed it was when we were tacking up for lunging that day.

    Does anyone have any input or advice? My BO and a small animal vet who boards her horses there have no advice for me and have never heard of that before.

    Sorry for the novel!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug. 25, 2012
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    641

    Default

    Sounds neurological and warrants a vet out ASAP I think.


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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct. 10, 2007
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    down south
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    5,060

    Default

    Neuro. Call the vet
    Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole


    1 members found this post helpful.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul. 11, 2011
    Posts
    25

    Default

    I had a horse that had fractured a vertebra in his neck early in his life. The fracture healed and no one knew that the injury had occurred. When I bought him years later he tripped, not often but when he did he fell to his knees. He began tripping more frequently and digging holes in his stall so we took him up to the nearest hospital. The vet took pictures of his neck, identified the old injury and found that the fracture was restricting his spinal chord. The moral of the story is that contrary to what people are posting on other threads, horses don't just fall to their knees or collapse for no reason, have the vet check her out.


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  5. #5
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    Nov. 13, 2010
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    2,208

    Default

    Ditto neuro. Doesn't sound anything like she slipped or something.

    Vet visit ASAP.


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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec. 20, 2009
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    3,121

    Default

    OP - you are not being a worrywort. As I started reading your post, I was thinking maybe a locked stifle but with the fall and the head shyness, it seems more neuro.
    Back in my trailriding days, I had an awesome TB mare - every once in a while she would fall - there always seemed an excuse, so no one thought much of it. She also went through a period where I had trouble getting the bridle on. I sold the mare to someone else (she was $1500, no one then did much in the prepurchase activity.) I heard later that she had neuro issues and could no longer be ridden.
    We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........


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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb. 10, 2013
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    91

    Default

    Thanks guys. I was really hoping you would all tell me I was being silly, but I guess I will call the vet out tomorrow.


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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb. 1, 2008
    Location
    Nowhere, Maryland
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    Default

    It's definitely worth a vet exam. Especially with the sudden headshyness.

    But-- had you just put your tack on? Some horses will occasionally react to girth pressure by collapsing. My old guy does it pretty much any time things are not done in his exact routine, but I've seen other horses who do it just once in a while. The girth presses on a nerve-- sometimes they seem "stuck" for a minute and when you pull on them they fall down (or explode).



  9. #9
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    Feb. 1, 2008
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    Nowhere, Maryland
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    Default

    It's definitely worth a vet exam. Especially with the sudden headshyness.

    But-- had you just put your tack on? Some horses will occasionally react to girth pressure by collapsing. My old guy does it pretty much any time things are not done in his exact routine, but I've seen other horses who do it just once in a while. The girth presses on a nerve-- sometimes they seem "stuck" for a minute and when you pull on them they fall down (or explode).



  10. #10
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    Feb. 10, 2013
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    The tack had been on for about five minutes. I was wondering if maybe the bridle was pinching because she's gotten so fluffy it's not sitting right on her ears.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    May. 4, 2006
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    Seabeck - the soggy peninsula
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    When the vet comes out, please ask him or her if they have heard about nerve pinching with certain kinds of girths. I have a friend who has an Arab gelding who, in his younger days of eventing, absolutely could not wear a certain kind of girth or he would do something similar, ie collapsing, inability to move/lameness, not quite certain of the whole story, but she changed the girth and he stopped having that issue. I have no clue why and do not remember what she said was his problem. I could email and ask if you want. I would also imagine if that horse was experiencing pain from the girth that it could certainly translate into head shying and reluctance to bridling as just plain resistance to the whole damned pain process.
    "I have brought on the hatred of Wall Street and I relish it".
    Franklin Delano Roosevelt



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan. 22, 2007
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    16

    Default Other ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by Calamber View Post
    When the vet comes out, please ask him or her if they have heard about nerve pinching with certain kinds of girths. I have a friend who has an Arab gelding who, in his younger days of eventing, absolutely could not wear a certain kind of girth or he would do something similar, ie collapsing, inability to move/lameness, not quite certain of the whole story, but she changed the girth and he stopped having that issue. I have no clue why and do not remember what she said was his problem. I could email and ask if you want. I would also imagine if that horse was experiencing pain from the girth that it could certainly translate into head shying and reluctance to bridling as just plain resistance to the whole damned pain process.
    Iris cyst or TMJ problem.


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  13. #13
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    Nov. 17, 2008
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    609

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    Get the vet out ASAP ....my seemingly healthy 4yr Dutch wb collapsed one day out in the pasture...went flat...but then got up and seemed totally fine....I let it go....2 weeks later he was dead....there's not a day that goes by that I wish I could turn back the clock and called the vet out...might not of changed the outcome-but at least I could have a little more peace of mind-instead of thinking "what if" and maybe if I had just called the vet out something could have been detected and prevented


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  14. #14
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    Sep. 29, 2009
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    Any update OP??



  15. #15
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    Feb. 10, 2013
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    I went out with the BO and the small animal vet and we did the standard neuro tests on her. Tail pull while she's moving, walking in small circles, placing feet in strange positions, checking for flinch/skin shudder reactions and palpating the spine. She passed them all with no problems. Today I went to bring her in for a good grooming and she was decided she didn't want to come in right away, cantering and bucking all over the pasture and getting the other horses all excited. She looked pretty happy to me. Her headshyness is much better too, she just twitches when I move my hand up but she lets me touch her. I am going to keep careful watch over her but am hoping it was just a fluke.
    Last edited by bellsandwhistles; Feb. 27, 2013 at 05:25 PM. Reason: left out a word



  16. #16
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    Aug. 25, 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellsandwhistles View Post
    I went out with the BO and the small animal vet and we did the standard neuro tests on her. Tail pull while she's moving, walking in small circles, placing feet in strange positions, checking for flinch/skin shudder reactions and palpating the spine. She passed them all with no problems. Today I went to bring her in for a good grooming and she was decided she didn't want to come in right away, cantering and bucking all over the pasture and getting the other horses all excited. She looked pretty happy to me. Her headshyness is much better too, she just twitches when I move my hand up but she lets me touch her. I am going to keep careful watch over her but am hoping it was just a fluke.
    Not to be rude but you really need an equine vet to come give her a very thorough equine neurological exam. It might have been a fluke but if not and it happens again things could be a lot worse. She could potentially fall on someone or injure herself.


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  17. #17
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    Feb. 10, 2013
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kwalker024 View Post
    Not to be rude but you really need an equine vet to come give her a very thorough equine neurological exam. It might have been a fluke but if not and it happens again things could be a lot worse. She could potentially fall on someone or injure herself.
    I totally understand. The vet in question actually has a background in equines so she really does know what she's doing. She owns three of her own, and two are retirees with various health problems and she works on them herself. I trust her completely!



  18. #18
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    Nov. 23, 2001
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    Catharpin, Virginia
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Kwalker024 View Post
    Not to be rude but you really need an equine vet to come give her a very thorough equine neurological exam. It might have been a fluke but if not and it happens again things could be a lot worse. She could potentially fall on someone or injure herself.
    Ditto this.

    I had a mare do this once...a few months later, again. Just sort of "fell down" in her paddock to her knees, while at rest. Had the vet out to start the process of what it could be. Neuro was fine, testing for Lyme, etc. Perhaps seizures, brain tumor, even narcolepsy???

    Sadly, before we could finish the process I found her dead one morning in her run in shed. She must have had an "event" and slammed her head into one of the shed posts -- skull fracture. Thank God, from what we could see she died pretty much instantly. She was 15 years old.

    We have to suspect (after the fact) she was having seizures, but of course she succumbed in the middle of our investigation, so we did not know the cause of them.

    This is not meant to scare you, but to let you know it is worth investigating AND until you find the cause, keep a wide berth between you and a wall or object while handling her.

    I'm not sure what you can learn from a vet "in the field". It would probably be less expensive in the long haul to get her to a good equine veterinary college/university hospital for a good neuro and a head radiograph.


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  19. #19
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    Feb. 10, 2013
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    Default

    Thanks guys. I will look into more thoroughly. Some of these stories are pretty scary.



  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellsandwhistles View Post
    Thanks guys. I will look into more thoroughly. Some of these stories are pretty scary.
    fwiw, I watched an equine vet that claimed she knew about neurological deficits do a bunch of tests and claimed my friend's horse was not neurological. A few days later the horse could hardly get on the trailer. At UC Davis she was diagnosed as 3+/5 neurological. The horse has since been euthanized for severe neurological problems.

    95% of vets don;t know what the hell they are looking at. Sad but true, I have seen it in case after case. You need someone who really knows what they are looking at and for.


    2 members found this post helpful.

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