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Stall walker now stuck on stall rest

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  • Stall walker now stuck on stall rest

    Hey guys, herd bound 5 year old is stuck on stall rest for a few weeks. Before using reserpine, are there any other suggestions? I know several of you have had luck with magrestore. What dosage do you use etc? Any tips would be helpful as I don’t want him hurting himself any more than he already has. (And no, getting a fourth horse in is not feasible at the moment unfortunately)

  • #2
    What we did when we had that problem, not so rare in race horses in training, we tied them in their stall, so they could not stall walk, as per the vet's instructions.
    We hand walked them and left them loose for a bit, but as stall walking started again, we tied them again.

    They were fine tied, just as horses in tie stalls are.


    • #3
      I've dealt with many stall walkers and agree with tying. They were loose until they started walking, which was usually a little after breakfast, then tied for the day-ish, and untied for the night. I would use those 6' cotton leads, put a double end snap in it toward the end, and snap it to a screw eye in the stall. Have hay and water nearby.


      • #4
        In addition to tying, talk to your vet about prozac or a similar type drug.


        • #5
          I"m not a fan of tying for committed stall walkers on veterinary stall rest -- sometimes it just means they move equally much but in a smaller space (which tends to mean more frequent pivoting/turning and more twisting of limbs and abnormal motion in an equal number of steps taken). If they calm and settle when tied, it might be a reasonable option. If they pick up speed when loose (I've known a few who would basically do bad canter pirouettes in a 12x12), then by all means slow them by tying. But for the horse with a serious stall walking bent and an injury it's not my favorite.

          I've had better luck with a small medical paddock, outdoors and in sight of the buddies. The steps it takes to walk out to such a space are usually far fewer and far more controlled than what a real stall walker does when kept inside alone. And the locomotion stereotypy has, IME, been far easier to extinguish in that kind of environment, with some slow-fed hay as a distraction and possibly some ace onboard the first time out, than by tying in a stall.

          I say this as someone whose horse suddenly and fervently took up stall walking, spent 3 solid years in constant motion in spite of barn management tying her for a good part of every day, and has completely ceased the habit with some management changes (now she's the chill horse who lies down for a nap when her buddies are all out of sight and trailers and strange horses are coming in and out for horse shows hosted at our barn).


          • #6
            My horse had to be on stall rest for several weeks after slicing open his pastern a few inches from his heel. He needed to stay calm and quiet to let the stitches do their work... and he having none of it being in the barn all by himself (my barn, at home). Tried bringing in one of the other horses to keep him company, then the one left outside by himself would get all upset and then everyone was unhappy (I have 3).

            So, I created a 15'X15' "paddock" outside (T-posts and hot wire), right next to my back pasture where his two brothers were. He stayed perfectly calm and was totally happy. Problem solved.
            ~~ How do you catch a loose horse? Make a noise like a carrot! - British Cavalry joke ~~


            • Original Poster

              Thanks guys. Unfortunately, an outdoor paddock (I do have cripple pens like those already made) won’t work. He’s in a bandage for a pretty deep cut/scrape just below the hock. The bandage will absorb the mud. He actually got this injury crashing through a fence, so I don’t trust him to be outside alone and separated. He also will walk the small paddock as if he is in a stall. He has a slow feed hay net and hay in the floor. He didn’t eat any off of the floor, just trashed it and barely ate a flake over night. We’ve tried tires too, but he just walks around/through/over them (tangling his legs) or he stands one side of the stall and paces forwards and backwards. We started some Prozac this AM to see if that helps (maybe I’ll get lucky and it will totally break him of his fence/stall walking) the root of the problem is that he doesn’t know how to be bored and alone. If one of the others horses leaves (and he still has the other outside with him) he runs the fence line screaming. So I’m dealing with serious abandonment/anxiety issues. The hardest part is that working with him in a round pen etc doesn’t work because he then latches on to me for emotional security. If that makes any sense at all.


              • #8
                Mirrors can help with weavers. Maybe that could work?


                • #9
                  Originally posted by IPEsq View Post
                  Mirrors can help with weavers. Maybe that could work?
                  That is what I was going to suggest reading the last OP's post.

                  If the horse is a weaver, try a mirror.
                  See if that helps when he is not upset at other, like moving horses around.

                  Most horses we tied to get them to quit walking dropped their heads and went to sleep, while loose they would be high headed and paced the stall or pen or fence line without stop.
                  That is, stayed extra quiet tied, as long as no other was going on, like horses being moved here and there.

                  Seems that tied they knew they could not do other once tied, the world would take care of itself and they finally could relax?

                  Now, tying doesn't help a weaver, they will weave tied just fine.
                  It does help many stall walkers.


                  • #10
                    You might have to try a bunch of different things and see if they work. Maybe a radio on a calm talk program like NPR? A few neurotic horses on stall rest had to eat ace pills AM and PM. You could try some ace injectable and tying for short bits. Probably not practical or safe, depending on his level of anxiety, but I've healed a few fractures by making standing stalls. One horse was a bit of a stall walker but with ace, reserpine, and a hay net, he tolerated the standing stall well.

                    I have never used anything like Prozac in horses -- that's very interesting! I hope it helps. Not sure the side-effects in horses but sedatives like reserpine certainly have their drawbacks.


                    • Original Poster

                      My dilemma is two fold. 1) he won’t eat hay if he’s left in. He trashed what I give on the floor and won’t eat out of a net. He will only eat when the others are inside too. He spends his time listening intently for the others and wandering around. 2) ace doesn’t work. He still stall walks on ace. His walking has never been frantic, just that he can’t tolerste being bored. And it doesn’t matter if he is in the 2 acre field. He will walk the fence line. If he is out with my gelding he will eat a bit, but then wanders to the fenceline closest to mare to walk it to get to her. I had to give him private turnout because he was annoying and biting my show horse. He can not go out with the mare. He has been tested and is definitely a gelding. He’s had some weird unsoundnesses going on and came back from a boarding facility a neurotic mess. Even when turned out with another horse, if one of my three comes in, he has a melt down. They all have to be in or they all have to be out. There is no inbetween with him. 🙄


                      • #12
                        Have you checked for ulcers or stomach issues?

                        Also, years ago I had good luck using Depo for an insanely neurotic herdbound gelding. Might also be worth a try, though I don't know about contraindications with Prozac. Was he late cut?


                        • #13
                          Have you discussed something like Prolixin/fluphenazine with your vet? A fellow-boarder had a horse that paced the fenceline and was generally a worrier. He would suck his tongue in the cross ties. He was reactive under saddle.

                          They put him on Prolixin for a few months and put him in a consistent riding program. They were able to take him off the Prolixin after a few months. It seemed like that it just broke the cycle of anxiety that he was experiencing.

                          Another thought for once he is off of stall rest is seeing if depo would help.I am not sure if depo is enough to take the edge off for stall rest.

                          I have used Magrestore for my OTTB but I was using it for body soreness not for calming. I don't think it would help in your situation.
                          Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)


                          • Original Poster

                            He’s already on Depo and a magnesium supplement m. Ulcergard was started yesterday to prevent/treat ulcers while he is laid up. I’m just at such a loss that I’m tempted to sleep in the stall with him and wean myself farther away from him each night but it’s still kind of chilly. I’ve ordered a mirror so hopefully that will help. I’m hoping the Prozac will break this mental cycle he seems to be stuck in. Thanks all for the advice so far. I know it’s a tricky case.


                            • #15
                              My horse would walk circles, rear and buck on stall rest. He would just get a bit wound and then he was unable to unwind until he'd just crash. Like a toddler long overdue for a nap. I did spend some days with my laptop on my tack trunk working from the barn to babysit him and try to get him to eat his hay. Prozac did not stop the behavior but it seemed to allow him to hit the reset button easier. It may take a few days before you know for sure how well it will work. I contemplated trying a mirror for him, but he wasn't quite so herdbound as your horse, and when he'd get into the wind up mode, it was like he was in his own world so I don't think he would have noticed the mirror at those times. I have seen it help for weavers and herdbound horses, including one who would just about dig a trench in the stall--that one also needed the mirror to go to overnight shows.


                              • #16
                                Make sure he is not eating anything that gives him extra energy and for the love of god just get him drugged ASAP why take any chances


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by MoonLadyIsis View Post
                                  He’s already on Depo and a magnesium supplement m. Ulcergard was started yesterday to prevent/treat ulcers while he is laid up. I’m just at such a loss that I’m tempted to sleep in the stall with him and wean myself farther away from him each night but it’s still kind of chilly. I’ve ordered a mirror so hopefully that will help. I’m hoping the Prozac will break this mental cycle he seems to be stuck in. Thanks all for the advice so far. I know it’s a tricky case.
                                  Good luck! Mental stuff is so difficult. I wish they could speak English and understand that it's going to be okay. I think treating for ulcers is great -- mental stress often translates to stomach issues. I've stressed myself into an ulcer before. After the ulcergard, you could try papaya juice daily as general maintenance. It has specific enzymes to help control stomach upset and aid in digestion. I've had great luck feeding it to ulcer-prone horses that are quick to lose interest in eating. You might have to dose it the first few times but they typically end up liking it.

                                  Could you get him a goat or other small friend to stay in the barn for him?


                                  • Original Poster

                                    Originally posted by Haylter View Post
                                    Make sure he is not eating anything that gives him extra energy and for the love of god just get him drugged ASAP why take any chances
                                    He has bad reactions to reserpine and ace is contraindicated with the Prozac. Since the ace doesn’t last all day for him, we went the Prozac route. Goat doesn’t help. Nor does my fiends mini gelding we tried today. He wants my mare. Desperately apparently. *ryerolle*


                                    • #19
                                      ahhh ok


                                      • Original Poster

                                        The mirror came in the mail today. It was hung and he loves it. It was a 12”x24”. He loves it and is happily eating hay near it. I found 24x24 of the same safety mirrors on amazon and purchased three of them so he could have a 2 foot by 6 foot area to admire himself in. Thanks all SO much for the suggestions and I’ll let you know how my giant mirror scheme plays out.