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Anemic Horse

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  • Anemic Horse

    I'm posting this else where, but I thought this would also be a good place since endurance riders tend to know about horses' energy and supplements. We found out a year a go that my horse (SSH) was anemic, from what I understood his red cell count is 32 when it should be over 36. He's been on Platinum Perf. for a year and was on Equitenic (sp??) for about two months. I had another CBC last week and the vet just called and said there's been no improvement. We're going to put him on Red Cell for a month, if there's no change then I'll double the dosage.

    I've had him since he was 4 1/2 (he just turned seven). He's just never seemed normal, always difficult to get going, he gives up quickly, impossible to get to canter, etc. But he's not "dead". I just use him for trail riding and trail trials. It would be nice not to have to fight him to get moving all the time.

    The vet thinks this might be a chronic condition and he'll have to stay on Red Cell. He has no idea what could be causing this.

    Any else experienced this? Any suggestions as to causes/treatment?

    Thanks!

    Erin
    In memory of Apache, who loved to play. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjZAqeg7HyE

  • #2
    How does he look? Weight? Coat?

    I have had one Anemic horse, he was malnourished when I bought him.

    Red Cell is a wonderful thing. We put the 29 year old in our barn on it, talk about kicking up the energy level. Give it a try.It is relatively in-expensive

    Comment


    • #3
      Sometimes Red Cell works, sometimes it doesn't.
      It was a magic bullet solution for my Holsteiner, but had no effect at all on my Friesian.
      If you don't see a noticable improvement in a month, or so - save your money.

      Anemia is a relative condition.
      While there are absolute "clinical norms," other factors affect the RBC value, most significantly the circumstances at the time blood was drawn. The equine spleen keeps a huge reserve of oxygen-rich red blood cells. This is an evolutionary adaptation - the last-ditch defense of a wounded flight animal to help escape a predator.
      So blood drawn after even 20 minutes of exercise may show an RBC value drastically different from a sample drawn at rest.
      The other consideration is breed. Some of the colder-blooded breeds just get by with a lower RBC.

      Performance (or lack, thereof) isn't solely a function of the RBC. The ability of the lungs to oxygenate the red blood cells is a consideration, as is the size and functionality of the heart to pump oxygenated blood to where it needs to go.

      Diet is also a huge consideration. Some breeds (Friesians, Warmbloods and Quarter Horses) are prone to EPSM (Equine Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy). They can't store or metabolize glucose as well, so rely on fat for their primary energy source.
      Dr. Beth Valentine is an authority on EPSM - might want to google her.

      Another option is to send your guy to one of the bigger University clinics for a treadmill diagnostic and full blood workup.

      However, you may have to accept that your horse just doesn't have - nor will ever have the stamina, strength or spirit for endurance work.

      Best of luck!
      Last edited by Mor4ward; Jul. 4, 2010, 09:17 PM. Reason: grammar and syntax
      ... It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that Shwung

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        This isn't an endurance horse, he's being used for trial riding and Trail Trials. It's hard to explain, but he just doesn't have normal energy. He goes out willingly, but it's work to keep him moving faster than a slow walk, and it's a battle to get him to go up a hill (we have mostly hills where I ride). I've been riding for 30 years and this isn't normal for a young horse. When I got him I assumed he was out of shape, but it's been over two years and he's still "lazy". He can't sustain energy.

        We did draw blood after the 20 minute exercise and it's still low. He has no symptoms of EPSM, I looked it up and checked with the vet. Thank you for mentioning it. That's why I was posting, to get other opinions. Not sure about taking him to a clinic, his weight/appetite/attitude are good. This just might be the way he is.

        Erin
        In memory of Apache, who loved to play. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjZAqeg7HyE

        Comment


        • #5
          Try this, worked like a charm on my horse who is anemic.


          http://www.smartpakequine.com/Produc...1&cm_vc=Search

          Comment


          • #6
            A friend's old guy has been anemic for years and on red cell for years, too. It just didn't do anything for him. The other week the vet suggested she put him on lixotinic. Costs more than the red cell but seems to be good stuff. Will post when we know for sure if it's helping.
            You know why cowboys don't like Appaloosas?" - Answer: Because to train a horse, you have to be smarter than it is.

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Thanks for the responses. I'm putting the links in a folder, if the red cell doesn't work in a couple of months, I'll try some suggestions. The SmartPak looks good, I've used SmartFlex when he was having stifle problems (common with some gaited horses), and it helped.

              Erin
              In memory of Apache, who loved to play. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjZAqeg7HyE

              Comment


              • #8
                Have you checked bloodwork for a TICK-BORNE disease? If you Google "Lyme Disease" it will lead you to the other tick-carried diseases, some of which cause anemia, sore muscles and joints, etc. I just learned today, having discovered the "bull's eye" rash, that I have early "Lyme disease" and my doctor confirmed that - so 20 days of antibiotics may totally knock it out, but the Googled info opened my eyes to all the other parasitic stuff. The symptoms can go on for years or present themselves immediately so it might be worth checking on your fellow.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by pj View Post
                  A friend's old guy has been anemic for years and on red cell for years, too. It just didn't do anything for him. The other week the vet suggested she put him on lixotinic. Costs more than the red cell but seems to be good stuff.
                  I looked into Lixotynic (sp?). When you compare apples to apples on a line-by-line basis, I can't see what it has to offer.

                  Horses need COPPER, not iron for RBC production. And if I recall correctly, Lix has 1/3 to 1/2 less copper than Red Cell.
                  Added iron is a marketing ploy, to appeal to the owner's instincts, regarding anemia. Heck, with that way of thinking - why not share a nice, juicy medium-rare ribeye with your horse!

                  .... gotta stop now - starting to drool.
                  ... feeling HUNGRY ...

                  But seriously, I would suggest printing out the ingredients of Red Cell, Lixotynic and do a side-by-side comparison of each ingredient.
                  ... It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that Shwung

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Horses do need copper to assimilate iron. The cheapest and oldest fix is a handful of dried molasses in the grain every day for a couple of weeks then twice a week or so from there on. If your soil has no free copper to make its way into forage or grains, you need a source of copper. The old timers didn't know WHY molasses worked for horses with anaemia but only knew it did, and that was all that mattered.
                    Founder of the Dyslexic Clique. Dyslexics of the world - UNTIE!!

                    Member: Incredible Invisbles

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Another possibility could be a Selenium deficiency. Something that many people don't know is that you can feed 20 horses the same amount of Se and most are fine but one has a system that doesn't utilize it well and that horse is deficit. Se deficiency doesn't just manifest as Tying Up. It shows as tiredness, exhaustion, non-tolerance for exercise, like climbing hills.

                      By the way, many equine vets are out of date about equine nutrition needs. Se levels needs have been evaluated more recently.

                      A lot of horses are misdiagnosed as being anemic, it has to do with how their bodies store the red blood cells until they are needed. Anyway, I've read that most horses diagnosed as anemic are not anemic and that is why they don't respond to iron supplementation. My equine vet has told me the same thing.

                      Bonnie Snodgrass

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        I asked a couple of our local feed stores and they had never heard of dried molasses. When I looked online, what I found was being sold as fertilizer. Not sure if that's the same stuff that can be fed to a horse.

                        I'm starting to lean towards the idea that he's not utilizing the food he's eating, so when the Platinum Performance runs out I might try a senior feed. I will keep all these suggestions in my folder. Something will work.



                        Originally posted by sk_pacer View Post
                        Horses do need copper to assimilate iron. The cheapest and oldest fix is a handful of dried molasses in the grain every day for a couple of weeks then twice a week or so from there on. If your soil has no free copper to make its way into forage or grains, you need a source of copper. The old timers didn't know WHY molasses worked for horses with anaemia but only knew it did, and that was all that mattered.
                        In memory of Apache, who loved to play. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjZAqeg7HyE

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