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Bizzare symptoms/behaviors--any ideas?

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  • Bizzare symptoms/behaviors--any ideas?

    I'm posting for a friend of mine.

    She has a 23 YO gelding who, about 5 weeks ago, began quidding just a little. She had the vet out 2 days after first noticing this and had his teeth floated. He had some hooks, but basically only required light work.

    After the float, she did not notice improvement. Then he slowly started eating less of his hay though he would still eat grass out in the pasture.

    This last Sunday, he started taking mouthfuls of food, would chew, did not appear to be in pain, but then would basically spit everything back out. He'd do this a few times, then give up on his hay.

    The vet came out Monday. Vitals were good. They sedated him and did an oral exam. Did not find anything of concern. Elected to take radiographs just in case. Rads were evaluated by multiple veterinarians and nothing of concern was noted.

    The vets advised my friend to administer 2g of bute, get him some alfalfa cubes and soak those. See if it was a pain issue. There was no improvement with bute and he had his last dose last night 4pm.

    The vet is concerned that perhaps there is a neuro issue that is affecting his ability to swallow. They are going to do a blood panel today and also an ACTH to check for Cushings. They are wondering if there's a tumor or abscess that might be putting pressure on nerves?

    At this point, there are no "solid" hypothesis. His temp and other vitals are still normal. He acts hungry and attempts to eat but continues to only get a few bites down before "giving up" and walking away. He's normally got a very piggy appetite.

    They are in Canada and the horse lives alone on the farm. The only contact he's had with anything "horsey" was the farrier who was out the same day as the vet did the original dentistry 5 weeks ago and the subsequent vet visits. No other horse contact.

    Thoughts?
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...

  • #2
    How long has this been going on really, maybe longer than the 5 weeks this was noticed?

    Hearing hoofbeats and thinking zebras, not horses, I would think rabies is one more possibility?

    Thinking horses, not zebras, I too would guess neurological problems, some other than rabies.
    Any university close, so several vets can look at him?
    They love those mysterious cases.

    Our gray 20 year old doesn't eat too well, but he has some melanomas in his mouth we are watching.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Thanks. (This is for BarnBoss btw. Her internet is down today. This is Laddie.)

      I don't think it had been going on longer than that because this gal takes care of him daily and is pretty on her game. In fact, when she noticed it that day, she called me and asked what I would do and I recommended that she have the vet out and at least do an oral exam--make sure his teeth were in good shape. At that point he was still eating and pooping normally.

      I don't think there's a veterinary university near her though I do know that her vets are consulting other colleagues as they're kind of stumped right now. Will check on that.
      A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

      Might be a reason, never an excuse...

      Comment


      • #4
        Hey- it's me. Internet is up and running now.

        I can most definately point the first sign of changes in chewing to Wednesday October 20. He was then floated on Friday October 22.

        He was grinding grass, but not swallowing it all. It would pack between his incisors and he would hold some pockets of mashed grass between his molars and his cheek.

        Normally when he eats, his lips are clean. October 20th, he started getting really green lips, his teeth and tongue were also really green. It's progressed from there.

        RE: university. I'm 90 minutes from Guelph. If I had unlimited funds, we would be hooking up the trailer, but I just don't

        Comment


        • #5
          What is your horse's breeding?
          If there is any chance he may be Impressive bred, if you don't know his background, do check for HYPP status.
          Just one more zebra idea, but you never know.
          Plenty of H/H and H/Y horses start when older having digestive system ennervation problems like choke and such, according to what a vet told me.

          Well, ugly story, a good over 40+ years ago.
          10 or so bay school horse, would lay down ten minutes after eating and moan and groan a little bit, then get up and be fine.
          Vet checked, pulled blood and could not find anything, but suspected some kind of tumor somewhere, maybe some intestinal lypoma/s, probably was seeing some neurological symptoms related to the workings of the digestive system, but I don't remember him saying that.

          Did that for a week or two, then did as yours, would eat but not swallow.
          We did all our own dental work, it was part of what stable managers did and nothing strange was found there.
          We didn't have modern techniques, no x-ray or other.
          Horse got worse, vet euthanized and necropsy found stomach cancer, that the vet said was very rare in horses.

          I remember that well, as I was in charge of the infirmary barn when he came in with problems.

          Since this is puzzling the vets already, I assume common diagnoses have already been checked out, that is why the zebras.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Bluey View Post
            How long has this been going on really, maybe longer than the 5 weeks this was noticed?

            Hearing hoofbeats and thinking zebras, not horses, I would think rabies is one more possibility?

            Thinking horses, not zebras, I too would guess neurological problems, some other than rabies.
            Any university close, so several vets can look at him?
            They love those mysterious cases.

            Our gray 20 year old doesn't eat too well, but he has some melanomas in his mouth we are watching.
            also check for toxic weeds and plants which you can find information on the ragwort thread by me

            as a lot of people tend to over look whats actually growing in there paddock
            one must remember this whypooh picking is vital something which not a lot of usa bods on a regualr basis as in like once a day

            poohs not only encourage worms but also weeds

            Comment


            • #7
              I knew a horse that started doing this. After trying everything under the sun and finding nothing that worked, they finally scoped him. He had an esophogeal tumor and he was unable to swallow anything.

              Comment


              • #8
                He's a Morgan, so we're ok w/r/t HYPP. I'm a fanatic manure and pasture examiner- I believe we're ok there as well.

                I think it is very plausible that their are some tumours or something of that nature going on. Seven years ago, his liver enzymes were incredibly high. The pathologist thought we were most likely dealing with liver cancer. We opted not to do further diagnostics as we were told he didn't have long to live and there wasn't anything we could do to save him. It's possible that this issue is very connected to the previous one.

                Other than the severe difficulty in eating, he is very normal. No pain, normal temp, resp etc. He's bright eyed. We're stumped.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by TheOtherBarnBoss View Post
                  He's a Morgan, so we're ok w/r/t HYPP. I'm a fanatic manure and pasture examiner- I believe we're ok there as well.

                  I think it is very plausible that their are some tumours or something of that nature going on. Seven years ago, his liver enzymes were incredibly high. The pathologist thought we were most likely dealing with liver cancer. We opted not to do further diagnostics as we were told he didn't have long to live and there wasn't anything we could do to save him. It's possible that this issue is very connected to the previous one.

                  Other than the severe difficulty in eating, he is very normal. No pain, normal temp, resp etc. He's bright eyed. We're stumped.
                  Some metabolic problems other than H/H or H/N are similar and maybe he has something like that?
                  I am sure your vets are looking at it all.
                  Guess that this time liver enzimes were normal?

                  I hope they find something soon, if he can't eat now.
                  How about drinking? Impaction is a real possibility.
                  May ought to stack up on some IV fluids, in case you need them to give him more time to look for a diagnosis.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    He's getting some soaked pellets into him- not enough to maintain body weight at this time. At the moment, he's not losing weight, but I'll be making a decision shortly if bloodwork comes up with nothing.

                    The stuff he is eating is so watered down that he is getting sufficient liquid in. Poop is moist.

                    Liver enzymes are never normal. I've done some herbal stuff with him that has really helped. They are much lower than the bloodwork I did years ago, but have never been in the normal range.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Are you sure his incisors are short enough to allow him to close his molars to chew? I had a mare with that issue, and she stopped eating hay entirely. She would pick at it, then walk away. After having the incisors reduced, she started eating hay again and has been fine ever since.

                      Otherwise maybe ulcers or something like that? Maybe putting food in his belly hurts, but he's hungry so he tries it.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Is it possible that he choked at some point in mid-October when no one was around to see it, and that he's got some inflammation, swelling problems in the esophagus?

                        Good luck.
                        "The formula 'Two and two make five' is not without its attractions." --Dostoevsky

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          There was a horse at our barn that presented with what looked like choking. Older (20-something) horse. Turned out to be a tumor in his throat. It got progressively larger over time until he had a tough time swallowing.

                          Had another horse that had a bee sting or allergic reaction to something and his tongue swelled and he couldn't swallow.

                          Aside from what you already suggested, I'd think some sort of paralysis.

                          So frustrating to not know what's wrong. I hope you figure it out soon. It's nice to hear that you're so observant. Good luck.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Hampton- will ask the vet re: incisors when she's out today for BW. Ulcers are unlikely. He was always on 100% grass or grass/hay combo. He's turned out minimum 12 hours per day. Very low stress life in all respects.


                            Posting Trot- possible, but just not likely. He's in my backyard. I check on him mulitple times/day. It's just not likely that I wouldn't notice something amiss. The vet has palpated his esophagus. She says their is no swelling. He doesn't seem irritated whatsoever.

                            As a side note, he's been on bute for the last 4 days in case any of this was pain related. There has been no change, positive or negative, w/r/t adding bute.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Just throwing this out there -- the only thing I've ever seen similar to this ended up being a sharp stick (small, pointy, probably came in the hay) stuck under the horse's tongue. It had gone in so far that it was overlooked in a couple of different examinations.
                              Shall I tell you what I find beautiful about you? You are at your very best when things are worst.
                              Starman

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                JoZ- we've looked everywhere in his mouth. It's possible something was overlooked, but not likely. He was sedated and two vets took turns poking, prodding etc in his mouth for 20 minutes. They couldn't find anything.

                                Someone mentioned about incisor length. I talked to the vet and she said that wouldn't affect his ability to eat soaked cubes or pellets. She also shut his mouth and manipulated his jaw. She said she could hear grinding from the molars.

                                I've noticed in the last day or so, he's been lying down an awful lot. I'm starting to wonder if this chewing issue is secondary to something else going on internally. I will update when I get the bloodwork back.

                                Just wanted to thank you guys for your ideas- much appreciated and thanks Roo for posting this for me.

                                Comment

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