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Excessive drinking/peeing - now also 3 legged lame aka why do horses break our hearts?

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  • Excessive drinking/peeing - now also 3 legged lame aka why do horses break our hearts?

    Vet pulled blood this morning to run a CBC and check kidney values. Of course, I searched and everything said EMS or Cushings, and I am worried.

    Horse is coming 9 years old this summer, always been a good drinker (and hay dunker), used to eat like a growing teenager but now needs a more normal diet to maintain weight. We have had management change at the barn, and there's been a learning curve/adjustment, and I've caught some mistakes in the forage feeding, but nothing huge or like he missed food for many hours (I think). The grass is growing like crazy, but he's on a mostly dry lot. He nibbles some through the fence. I also do a light amount of hand grazing. No change in any of this over the past few years.

    He did get his hocks injected last week (and 2 doses of Banamine with that), and I had him on Nexium as a preventative since injections in the past have caused an ulcer flareup. He is super sensitive about anything having to do with his gut, and I've got him on a tightly curated mixture of GI support supplements (fore and hindgut) that through trial and error keep things manageable for him. But sometimes he's a little extra gassy or something and easily gets upset about that.

    He also has a history of back pain which just seemed to tie in with his gut neuroses. In that he'd be prone to a parked out stance and sometimes would fuss because it seemed like he didn't know if he had to poop or pee or pass gas or if his back or SI hurt or all of the above. He has never been good about pooping on the move, but his back has improved a lot, and so he is getting less neurotic about it all. He usually pees before he starts work.

    Yesterday, he wouldn't eat his dinner grain/supplements. He would eat the grain without supplements. He'd eat beet pulp plain. I tried a freshly mixed up batch of supplements, and no dice. Occasionally, he's a little fussy about the Platinum GI when we get towards the end of the bucket, so I thought that might be it (maybe the flax gets rancid?), and I fed him just his TC senior plain to get him to eat something. I called Platinum about this as well to adjust the size of bucket.

    But the past couple of days, he's also been drinking more than usual and peeing a lot more volume, all pretty healthy streams, no straining or anything, but clear and a lot. He even peed on the cross ties yesterday which he never ever does--he'd rather run you over to get out to soft ground than do that (which has happened once or twice when heavily sedated for something and the sedation made him have to pee). No fussing or anything, just had to go and did. Very weird. I've checked for a bean.

    He is eating his hay normally. Not acting ulcery other than being put off by something in his grain. Very calm and actually maybe a little more sweet than normal to handle. Temp normal. Heart rate normal. Pulses normal. Sound. Manure normal if anything maybe more formed balls today than average (can get a little soft sometimes and he often passes manure quickly in more of a mound). Seems to be passing a normal amount of manure.

    A couple weeks ago, he was maybe drinking slightly less than normal, and I noticed his pee was a little more cloudy than average (they want him to pee in a bucket, not the arena footing), but he eats alfalfa and so I figured it was just calcium secretion more visible in a more yellow, concentrated pee. Never seen anything that looked bloody or anything like that.

    Vet says he may need a urine sample depending on what the blood shows. Is there anything I'm missing? Vet seems the most concerned about kidneys. He hasn't had any history of metabolic anything, is kind of young for that, doesn't have any weird fat pads and if anything looks fairly lean right now. Vet says with the extra drinking he seems to be trying to diurese himself, but why? He's had the same salt blocks in his stall for a while now--he does like salt, but it's not like he just recently went to town on a new block or anything.
    Last edited by IPEsq; May. 2, 2019, 03:35 PM.
  • Original Poster

    Well his kidney values are elevated so we are testing urine tomorrow. Not off the charts, but very high especially considering how much he is drinking and how watery the urine is.

    Only thing vet can think of is the Banamine, but that was almost a week ago. He is still not thrilled about his senior feed but wants hay and grass. We removed alfalfa hay from the diet today after the blood results came back. His water intake is closer to normal this afternoon.

    He is bright and friendly. If anything, more polite and cuddly than normal. Must feel worse than he looks to not be his usual highly obnoxious self.


    • #3
      Geez, you never get a break!

      I don't think the poster FatPalomino is still around, but she had a horse with kidney disease. Search may turn up details? IIRC, he did well for quite awhile but did require some management.

      I hope it's nothing but an oddity and he goes back to himself soon!


      • Original Poster

        I know. And he has been doing so well and we were planning on dabbling in some dressage shows starting in June.


        • #5
          Have his sugar/insulin levels checked, they drink lots to flush is out. My guy is IR and this was one of the first things I noticed.


          • Original Poster

            Glucose was normal. Things on the high side we’re creatine, BUN, calcium, and albumin.

            After urine analysis comes back we may do bloodwork over again. I used a different farm vet than who has done blood before because he is a little easier for these things and was coming to the barn yesterday morning anyway. I’m trying to get the old records from the other vet on what his levels were in 2015 and 2017.

            I believe slightly elevated albumin has been noted in the past as this was one of the things that we have looked for for ulcers. But when he was doing a lot of parking out behavior in 2016-2017, the vet said he would take action if any kidney values seemed at all borderline, which he said they weren’t, and I believe we ran blood twice before going to a bone scan.


            • #7
              My former hay dunker/heavy drinker ended up being a chronic kidney failure horse. PTS at 10. Hopefully your horse is just seeing a temporary elevation due to meds. Good luck!
              "We need a pinned ears icon." -MysticOakRanch


              • Original Poster

                Ugh, I'm trying not to think about all the bad news possibilities. I had a hard time sleeping last night.

                This morning I walked him a little before a conference call then checked him after the call on how he was doing with his second morning hay feeding. Horses are inside due to mud today. He drank only 2.5 buckets yesterday afternoon/evening versus almost 4 in the same amount of time the day before (when in the paddock there is only an automatic waterer). Still had a lot of urine in the stall this morning at 7:30. I had mucked it all out around 6pm yesterday.

                Took a fairly normal looking pee in terms of volume on our walk, but with where we were it was difficult to assess clarity. He's quite hungry for grass or grass hay. He's eating a small amount of plain TC senior with some beet pulp. Some extra loud gut sounds and a bit hypermotile in frequency, but his poop still looks good / normal. He hasn't eaten any probiotics or hind gut anything now for a couple days. Vet says we want good gut sounds.

                Behavior is also a little more obnoxious today (his normal in your face personality) and he's active and alert. Gums and eyes (he has a white eye) look good.

                Waiting on the urine results to see what's in there.


                • #9
                  My horse went through a stage in the fall of 2017 where he was drinking excessive amount of water and peeing a lot. We did a bunch of bloodwork ACTH was negative. I ended up treating him for ulcers and excessive water consumption stopped when he returned to normal. The internal medicine specialist said it was an odd presentation but after the treatment His symptoms resolved he’s never had excessive water drinking since.

                  I really really sorry you’re going through this I hope your boy is Okay!


                  • #10
                    Good luck, IPEsq. I'm glad to hear that the polydipsia seems to have abated a little and that he seems bright and comfortable. Really hoping you'll get some results that point to a temporary problem rather than chronic disease.

                    From what I recall, your guy seems to have a knack for cultivating less obvious veterinary problems, so hopefully this time the diagnosis will be both less obvious and less significant than the bad things that have been keeping you up at night. Fingers crossed for you!


                    • Original Poster

                      About the same tonight as this morning but less ravenous over his hay. Still suspicious of his evening senior meal—he usually gets 3 small meals a day, and mom’s special evening serving is usually what gets licked the most, not so much

                      At least he is getting some nice wet grass with some hand grazing time and he still wants his hay.

                      If this persists with no other explanation from the remaining test results, I will pursue the ulcer theory. This would just be a new chain of symptoms for him. Gotta keep me on my toes!


                      • Original Poster

                        The good news is that other than very dilute (low specific gravity), nothing else appeared abnormal about the urine. We will retest blood Friday.
                        Last edited by IPEsq; May. 2, 2019, 09:48 AM.


                        • Original Poster

                          Seemed to be feeling better this morning but off his grain in the afternoon and evening. More drinking/more urine this evening. Ok eating plain beet pulp so I asked them to feed him that tomorrow morning, no grain. I asked my vet if I should have his TC tested for something toxic. When this started, we were towards the end of one bag. I’ve tried feeding off another bag, which has been hit or miss. He said a problem with the feed was highly unlikely (and for sure his neighbors wanted what I threw out this evening), but he said I could try switching feeds for a while. Other than sometime he was laid up and fed only a RB, he’s been on the TC for 4+ years now. I took him off the RB as soon as I could because he wasn’t thriving on itnin terms of coat quality and condition.

                          I do know however he thinks the Progressive RB is like candy, so perhaps I get him some of that so he at least has some nutrition? Is it too much protein?

                          I can easily get Progressive, TC (including Naturals), Purina, and Nutrena at local stores. Probably could also get oats but I read those weren’t a great choice for kidney issues. The barn has Nutrena Safe Choice Senior and Special Care available, which I could give if needed but have shied away from due to NSC values so far. I know he won’t eat straight hay pellets. I have never tried fortified chopped hay. He has no interest in anything flax at the moment.

                          Vet says as long as he’s eating something at this point he’s ok...he eats grass hay (but not quite as much quantity as normal), fresh grass when I have time to take him out, and now beet pulp shreds soaked (no molasses) without complaint.


                          • Original Poster

                            Perhaps the Progressive alfalfa balancer for now for lower protein? Or just a different senior?

                            He wouldn’t have elevated creatine if this was an IR thing right?


                            • #15
                              I don't have answers to your questions (but I'd feed him whatever he will eat), but I keep checking to hope you have some answers. Wishing you the best!
                              "We need a pinned ears icon." -MysticOakRanch


                              • Original Poster

                                Well he is now non weight bearing trotting to the left on left hind (straight line and turning right are not bad). I just tried to get him moving slightly today so he would pee. He has been inside since Mon night and was sound Mon AM. No heat or swelling or anything. Walks fine. Most flexions unremarkable as usual but stretching the leg far back is then positive on the straight line.

                                Vet is concerned and thinks it’s stifle and probably some kind of soft tissue strain but says we need to get the kidneys figured out first. Horse is also starting to feeling pretty fresh so he said now not to worry about the grain just feed him some beet pulp and grass hay that he has been ok with.


                                • #17
                                  Is there an internal medicine specialist they could come to the farm? I am wondering if an abdominal ultrasound by an internal me since specialist. Check for any abnormalities and rule out kidney stones.


                                  • Original Poster

                                    University sports med vet has been kept updated since they are the ones that did the joint injections last week, and they are consulting with the internal medicine folks on this--there are some in a different group at CSU that are on ambulatory service but I may have to haul him to the clinic for an internal specialist, which with his lameness and history of sometimes being explosive during trailer loading, that would not be ideal. I haven't heard further, but sports vets were going to talk to the farm vet this afternoon (I've never used this particular farm vet for a lameness for this horse so he doesn't know him well or all of his extensive lameness history). But of course stifle is a totally new problem and my xrays are 4 years old there.

                                    Step one is to redo blood tomorrow (should get done quickly), and then the sports vets are going to be in the area on other calls and may squeeze in the time to see him as well. Farm vet is most concerned about kidneys. Sports vet are most concerned about the lameness.

                                    With all his weirdness about gut things and pooping and his history of back pain and performance and behavior issues, I wonder if something internal been brewing like this for years. Of course, that's why I ran blood in 2016 and have done fecal tests and rectal ultrasound and a million other things over the years...


                                    • #19
                                      I have been told that steroid injections can contribute to gastric ulcers or make them worse. There isn’t a lot of information on it. In the summer of 2017 I had my horse injected with pro stride, and another joint was injected with steroid. He had recently been scoped clean by the internal medicine specialist, and looked very healthy at the time and he was on gastrogard for protection. Four days after the injection he had colic. Then again two weeks after that. Then a third colic I nearly lost him. Your horses symptoms don’t sound like ulcers but is there any chance he reacted to the injections?

                                      Best wishes to you and your boy. I’m so sorry you’re going through this and hope he gets better!


                                      • Original Poster

                                        As far as kidneys go, vets think the Banamine he got with the injections is a more likely culprit. Sports vet is concerned about joint infection, although this is presenting much like stifle (although still very strange), and the hock was what was injected and would be the thing to get septic arthritis.

                                        Unfortunately he has had had a lot of steroid in his short life and never had a problem before. Both intraarticular, intramuscular (SI region), and oral. Myself, I’ve had one joint injection and it seemed to trigger the worst migraine of my life. Not something I expected but I guess I should have been prepared since hormones are a huge factor in my migraines.

                                        At this point with the stress and change in diet he may we’ll be working on ulcers now too and has had flares in the past from injections—hence giving Nexium until the abnormal bloodwork. He was high as a kite for hand grazing last night which could be ulcers or could be he is finally feeling better and is HANGRY.