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Spinoff of "cold" thread - my horse WAS shivering today....cold, or other??

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  • Spinoff of "cold" thread - my horse WAS shivering today....cold, or other??

    I am in NoVA. It rained all night. Went to barn to meet vet for fall shots, and found my horse in the run-in shed absolutely shivering. I startled all 3 horses a bit so they may have been napping in there. Got my horse and he had a hard time walking. His hind end especially - every muscle quivering. His ears were pinned. Walking to gate he was stiff in his hind legs and then I realized he had to pee, so he got in position and did, but he was shivering so badly I was afraid he would fall over. Brought him in, took temp and it was 97.3. He was wet and even in winter, gets very little winter coat. Always has been that way. Had good gut sounds. Seemed HUNGRY.

    I put him in his stall - he ate his alfalfa and stopped shivering after about 5 minutes out of the rain. Vet came and examined him and really felt he was just cold - said with no winter coat, the rain was through to his skin. Recommended leaving him in half a day with lots of hay and then putting him back out. By the time I left barn his temp was coming up few 10ths of a degree. I went back 5 hours later and he ate lots of hay, seemed completely normal, and temp 99.1. (he did get flu/rhino shot today too) He is walking and acting normally.

    Gotta tell you it scared the crap out of me. The shivering seemed intense and almost neuro. to me but vet insists he was just cold.?? Has anyone seen this before?? It's still raining but now is 73 degrees so it's warm and humid.

  • #2
    Absolutely - yesterday morning as a matter of fact. The rain started a LOT earlier than expected, so the horses were very, very wet by the time I brought them in for breakfast. I went out to lead my WB gelding in so they didn't all do their stupid "I'm really cold so I'm going to RUN and buck and do all sorts of stupid things on the way to the barn" that they are prone to do in these situations.

    it was HARD for him to walk due to the shivering. He actually had a bit of a hard time eating out of his bucket because his muscles looked like a water bed in an earthquake. It was awful.
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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    • #3
      Sounds like a typical case of a VERY cold horse to me. I found a horse in the same condition quite a few years ago... older mare, lower on the totem pole so wasn't in the shelter, standing outside shivering like crazy. We actually couldn't even get her to the gate to bring her in (super duper stiff hind end, like you mentioned), we had to first bring a blanket out to her, rub her down over the blanket for awhile to get her warmed up, THEN brought her in and left her with a mountain of hay until she stopped shivering and was hollering to go back out.
      Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Thank you JB. Your description is exactly what my horse looked like. Muscles twitching all over like jelly. And he was walking like his hind legs were asleep. Scared the crap out of me. Thank goodness vet was on his way anyway. He was soaked and standing in the run-in shed. 97.3 is a pretty low temp I think. He is often low, but usually at least 97.9. He also acted ravenous when he saw the hay. He shoved his face into the pile and started eating. He had a very intense look in his eyes too....like he was trying to hold himself together and this is NOT an intense horse. So uncharateristic. I rode him yesterday - light hack 40 minutes at walk and he was wonderful - happy, forward....I still fear something neuro. but vet really insisted he was cold.

        I was the one who posted about the "super heavy" blanket advice See? I may really need one!

        Comment


        • #5
          Does the horse have hay available 24/7 outside, or grass? If not, that's something I'd look into.

          Also, I think a nice turnout sheet just to keep the rain off is a good idea!
          Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Right now horses are out 24/7 due to mild temps. When it gets colder, they will go in at night, out during day. Vice versa in summer - in during day, out at night. He has grass 24/7. Free choice alfalfa in his stall at all times, even when he is brought in for meals. BO is great and very generous with hay.

            He has never gotten a nice winter coat. We've always had winter coat envy. If he starts off dry, I can put a sheet on him.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by tpup View Post
              Right now horses are out 24/7 due to mild temps. When it gets colder, they will go in at night, out during day. Vice versa in summer - in during day, out at night. He has grass 24/7. Free choice alfalfa in his stall at all times, even when he is brought in for meals. BO is great and very generous with hay.

              He has never gotten a nice winter coat. We've always had winter coat envy. If he starts off dry, I can put a sheet on him.
              Even if he's wet, you can still sheet him if you're creative about it. Bring out some towels, a wool cooler (or any good wicking cooler), and a human hair dryer. Um... introduce the hair dryer slowly. VERY slowly. But they can and do get used to it. I can blow dry my nutty mare, she just glares at me the whole time while I do it.
              Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

              Comment


              • #8
                If you need to dry one fast- and its a tolerant one - you can cover more area with a shop vac on blow than you can with a hair dryer.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by tpup View Post
                  I was the one who posted about the "super heavy" blanket advice See? I may really need one!
                  Yeahbut... There is a BIG difference between 65* and long, hard rain, and 20* and no wind or rain.

                  This same WB gelding is perfectly happy standing at the top of the hill when it's 15* and windy. Not cold at all.

                  Rain not only soaks the hair down, it gets on the skin and pulls heat away. Wet makes you a lot colder than the same dry conditions.

                  These conditions - including the intense shivering - still don't mean, IMHO, you need a *heavy* blanket where you are, especially since he'll be (unless I read wrong) inside at night.

                  A waterproof, breathable turnout sheet on this same horse, same weather, same rain, and he's perfectly happy. It's not the temp that is/was the issue, it was the wet-to-the-skin condition, combined with it (suddenly) not being 95* and not having a full Winter coat.
                  ______________________________
                  The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    When brought in, you can also put a sheet on them and "tent it" so to speak so that the sheet is not against the wet hair by shoving straw (or hay) between the sheet and the horses body. They dry quickly and the sheet generally does not absorb the wet from the horse's coat It warms them up quickly. I've also done it w a horse that is miserable wet and had to stay outside by throwing on turn out sheet and shove the straw/hay under it.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I would be sure to leave lots of hay in a dry, covered area if a horse was going to be outside overnight in the rain. Grass and alfalfa not so much.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Alfalfa is hay
                        ______________________________
                        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          He eats only alfalfa due to worn down back teeth. Has trouble chewing "regular" hays. The alfalfa is softer and lighter for him. He does fine on it luckily.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            My horse is a Florida-bred TB that would come up north in the summers and go south for the winter, as a racehorse. Unfortunately for him, I bought him and he gets to stay here year round. It has been 5 years (as of yesterday!) that I bought him and truthfully, he still doesn't do well in the winter, or cool wet days. I do blanket/ sheet him as appropriate, but some days the weather doesn't follow the weather forecast and he gets caught naked. A couple of weeks ago this happened. Rained all day, when it wasn't supposed to, and I found him shivering out in his field. He was filthy and the vet was on his way out inject his hocks, so my horse got a warm bath and covered with his chill chaser until dry. He was also put into his stall to eat hay and continue to warm up. It was about 60 degrees farenheit. He is wimpy and it does scare me to see him like that. Like you mentioned, almost neurological.
                            While I personally love fall, I find it a tricky time as far as outfitting my horse properly for the weather conditions.

                            So yes, your horse could have been very chilled

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              This happened to my TB mare who also does not get a good coat. It apparently does not have the little locking together mechanism that lets them shed water. She soaks it up like a sponge. A tropical storm came through and it went from 95 ish to 60 and a DELUGE in like 4 hours. When I got home she was barely able to stay on the ground from shivering. I thought she was going to jump in my arms! (MAMA!) I had some old wool blankets so I put those on her and rubbed her all over (that hay inside is a good idea!) and fed her and once she got food into her and some water off her she was OK. I put a sheet over the wool blanket (just left one on) and took it off later. Some horses like people just can't take the wet and cold and others are like other people, born hot flashing!!
                              Every mighty oak was once a nut that stood its ground.

                              Proud Closet Canterer! Member Riders with Fibromyalgia clique.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                My horse has done that in the past. My Tb mare does not grow much coat in the winter. Anything from mid 50's and under she is starting to be cold. In the next week or so, she will start getting her sheet at night and probably by the end of October will be getting her sheet 24/7(depending on temps).

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Rain+wind+cold=misery for many horses. Once they get soaked to the skin they lose all their protection.

                                  IME inrfared lights are the quickest way to warm a horse (or human) plus a nice hot meal, soaked beet pulp for the horse and cream of potato soup for the human.

                                  I covet one of these
                                  http://www.buytack.com/products-ranch/kec/main1.htm
                                  I wasn't always a Smurf
                                  Penmerryl Sophie RIDSH
                                  "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
                                  The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by JB View Post
                                    Alfalfa is hay
                                    alfalfa is a legume

                                    grass hay to ferment in the hind gut, warming up the horse

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by summerhorse View Post
                                      This happened to my TB mare who also does not get a good coat. It apparently does not have the little locking together mechanism that lets them shed water. She soaks it up like a sponge.
                                      What is this locking mechanism you speak of?

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I have had horses a long time, back when they really did not have turnouts!.

                                        One day, I noticed my horse in the field standing looking like Don Quitote's horse humped over, while his younger pal grazed happily.
                                        It was raining, and about 50. Turn outs were really not easily available like they are now.

                                        I went out, and sure enough he was shivering.
                                        Brought them in, gave hay, etc and dried him off. He was fine.

                                        But, it taught me a valuable lesson, rather two.
                                        1, horses don't go to the run in if they want to stay with the herd,
                                        2. horses are animals, but have minimal protection when their coats are wet. they cannot fluff them up and help insulate themselves.

                                        Right now, I have to dig my turnouts out. Living in northern new england, I have turn out sheets, and turn out blankets. I also own ponies, to light horses to drafts. Drafts get cold too, but a turnout sheet on them in a nasty rain is just fine. The light horses might also need some insulation as well as the sheet. Drafts have massive internal body mass and therefore a better furnace to keep warm than than a ottb or sb.

                                        I have found the light horses and oldies really need to be blanketed to help them maintain body weight in the winter. When temps start to get nasty fall rain, I do like them with a turn out on...helps keep them dry, thus comfortable.

                                        I start them with a turn out sheet, add a stable blanket, and then come the below 0 they move into a turnout midweight, and add a stable blanket under that for most of january and february. I can wash the stable blanket weekly.
                                        The drafts just get nice coats, and really not that heavy, since their body mass helps them to keep warm. But, they do get the rambo xl's on sleety or snow days.

                                        I also for the most part, work out of my house, and have help so when weather is bad, they can get into a shelter, or we bring them in. One horse shivering was one too many for me.

                                        JB has been very accurate in describing the 'it depends' on blanketing. It really does depend on the breed of horse, age, and just different horses like people are more tolerant of different environments.
                                        save lives...spay/neuter/geld

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