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What is going on with my horse?! Hock pain? PSSM? Other?

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  • Original Poster

    #21
    Brief update from tonight: temp still elevated (for him - 100.7); stocked up, particularly behind, but also a bit in front; small hives on his back; still lame and still mostly working out of it to practical soundness.

    Vet pulled Lyme titer tonight. Based on the new developments, I'm finding it more and more likely. I will report back when I get the results.

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    • Original Poster

      #22
      Quick update:

      Lyme test was negative.

      Horse has been supplemented with Vit E and Selenium since about mid-May, plus a cup of soybean oil (I'm working him up to more). Have been trying like crazy to get him a low starch feed and have ordered it from TWO feed stores, neither of which have come through for me. Grrr. He does not get much grain anyway (2 lbs of SafeChoice currently).

      He has improved soundness-wise quite a bit. I have no idea if it is because he had/has an acute injury that is aggravated by the farrier and that is resolving or if it is the diet. The real test for me will be when he gets his feet done (by new farrier) in a few weeks.

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      • #23
        How's your boy doing? What does his PSSM diet consist of?

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        • Original Poster

          #24
          Hi again...dug up my own old thread here. So...the horse in question did great all summer long. He was getting the following:

          AM:
          1 pound of SafeChoice


          PM:
          1 pound of SafeChoice
          1 cup of soybean oil
          His smartpaks, which consist of: SmartTendon, SmartGut, SmartVites Performance Grass (primarily for the vitamin E and selenium), and Smart Calm Ultra (for the magnesium).

          Free choice hay while in the stall, and on pasture during the day until about November.

          After some initial difficulties with the new farrier (horse stood quaking in fear during about half of the first farrier appointment and wouldn't permit the farrier to put hind shoes on him), the horse is now doing really well with his new farrier. However, he is barefoot behind now because the farrier feels it wouldn't be safe to put shoes on him given his history. He does very well barefoot anyway.

          And now the big "BUT"...

          Starting in about December, the horse has taken a turn for the worse and is exhibiting hind end wonkiness again. Not so much with the farrier (knocking on wood!), but he is having trouble moving forward under saddle and on the lunge. He especially has trouble transitioning between gaits, and really lurches through the transitions and/or explosively blows into them. He will sometimes rear or buck (there was none of this all summer). He recently suffered from some very rock hard swellings in his girth area after a ride (it was reported that he was very sucked back and then explosive during the ride), so he can't be girthed for a while now. He is on a bute/robaxin regimine, which seems to be helping, but that ends today. I have noticed a major difference from the robaxin/bute - he is able to move forward much more freely lunging.

          He has also gotten increasingly cranky and irritable on the ground, to the point of aggression. He has trouble backing up, particularly when ridden, and with really struggle to avoid backing up.

          I am planning to up his oil starting immediately, as I really do think this is EPSM/PSSM. He is a TB, and I recently e-mailed with Dr. Beth Valentine, who seemed to think that it wasn't worth it to biopsy him because TB muscle biopsy results are difficult to read, but that it would be better to just increase the fat and see how he does.

          Anyway, an update. Let me know if anyone has any thoughts about this.

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          • #25
            Yes, up the oil. My guy starts getting wonky at anything less than three cups of oil although I am sure he is much bigger than your thoroughbred. Also winter is a typical tough time in that if they are cold, I think they are more prone to muscle spasms aka bucking sprees... You might want to invest in either a Draper or BOT blanket. Hope that helps!

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            • Original Poster

              #26
              Originally posted by candico View Post
              Yes, up the oil. My guy starts getting wonky at anything less than three cups of oil although I am sure he is much bigger than your thoroughbred. Also winter is a typical tough time in that if they are cold, I think they are more prone to muscle spasms aka bucking sprees... You might want to invest in either a Draper or BOT blanket. Hope that helps!
              Thanks! Yeah, I would guess he is about 1,200 pounds or so. He has always been difficult in winter, and he seems to be worse the more tension there is in the arena (although that could just be normal horse stuff). He does best if he and I are alone in there and he can walk very relaxed on a loose rein for at least 15 minues before thinking about actual work.

              When other horse are in there, he tenses up and things snowball. I had noticed he seemed more relaxed if he was wearing a wool cooler on his butt for the walk warmup, so I recently bought a BOT quarter sheet for him. Unfortunately, that's also when the girth injury happened, so we have not used the quarter sheet for riding yet (but I have been putting it on him for a few hours at night under a cooler while I am with him in the barn).

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              • #27
                Sounds like you have the right plan. FWIW, my guy is much better if we are "alone" as well. He is much more relaxed and focused, and I probably give him a more patient and focused ride as well. Not sure if it is EPSM related, but I know of another confirmed EPSM horse who actually cannot be ridden near other horses. Maybe they think the other horses are the ones "biting" them on the butt which I imagine the muscle spasms must feel like judging from their reaction...

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                • #28
                  FYI - Safechoice still has 20% NSC or more... so it really is not a good feed for a PSSM horse. BS Carb Guard is 8-9%, TC Senior is 11%, etc.

                  Our barn has had some luck with supplementing vitamin E. We have one confirmed PSSM horse, and a couple muscular warmbloods prone to being tight who get the same treatment.
                  "Winter's a good time to stay in and cuddle,
                  but put me in summer and I'll be a... happy snowman!!!"

                  Trolls be trollin'! -DH

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #29
                    Originally posted by CatPS View Post
                    FYI - Safechoice still has 20% NSC or more... so it really is not a good feed for a PSSM horse. BS Carb Guard is 8-9%, TC Senior is 11%, etc.

                    Our barn has had some luck with supplementing vitamin E. We have one confirmed PSSM horse, and a couple muscular warmbloods prone to being tight who get the same treatment.
                    Thanks for your post. I know that Safe Choice isn't the very best feed for this condition, but I have had one HECK of a time getting what he needs locally. Luckily, he doesn't get too much of it, really. I'm going to concentrate on first getting the amount of oil I want in him, and then I'm going to refocus on finding him a better feed.

                    The good news is that he actually seems to prefer his meals to be a complete oily mess, so we have that working in our favor!

                    ETA: He is already supplemented with vitamin E.

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #30
                      Originally posted by candico View Post
                      Sounds like you have the right plan. FWIW, my guy is much better if we are "alone" as well. He is much more relaxed and focused, and I probably give him a more patient and focused ride as well. Not sure if it is EPSM related, but I know of another confirmed EPSM horse who actually cannot be ridden near other horses. Maybe they think the other horses are the ones "biting" them on the butt which I imagine the muscle spasms must feel like judging from their reaction...
                      Very interesting about the "alone" phenomenon! My horse seems fine in summer riding with other horses in the outdoor, but that is also when he is feeling better physically. So it is really hard to say what the cause is. I always assumed it was the more confined space and extra close proximity to other horses, but who knows. If anything, to me it seems like in the winter, he will tense up in a "normal" horse way about this, that, or the other thing (other horses, noises, etc.), but then that tension triggers the muscles to really spasm and THEN he loses it and bucks, cow kicks, rears, etc. One thing I can say for sure is that he doesn't work through his problems well in winter at all. No amount of riding him with other horses seems to help the problem, and in fact, it seems to make it worse.

                      He is basically loving the additional oil (seriously, seems to really enjoy the sloppy mess in his bucket!). I realized that I have probably been giving him less than a full cup for a while now, as the oil has gotten gloppier in the cold, I had started to "eyeball" the measurement instead of really measuring...partly because I wasn't even sure that he HAS EPSM. Anyway, I did one full cup on Monday, a cup and a half yesterday, and am going to do two cups today.

                      I went out this morning and lunged him a bit (he still can't be girthed, which is frustrating!). He was very calm and relaxed, and only just a little stiff starting out in trot on the lungeline. When we were done, he did stop and look pointedly at his side and then pointedly at me, but I think that may have just been an itch, or perhaps some light cramping because he was walking fine, eating fine, pooping fine, etc.

                      Last night was his last dose of robaxin, so we will see where we are at later this week. He was DEFINITELY less crabby about his blankets last night and this morning, but I would think it would be too early for the oil to have a real effect yet. I am told that he did have a small fit in his stall last night after he came in from turnout and after he had been fed. He basically pawed aggressively a few times, bucked, and then was fine. So who knows? He can be very hard to read because he can be calm and wonderful one minute and an emotional wreck the next. It's always very hard to tell if it is physical or just sassiness.

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                      • #31
                        Did you ever get radiographs of the neck? Some of what you described with the farrier fits my horse.
                        The Evil Chem Prof

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                        • Original Poster

                          #32
                          Peggy, sigh, not yet. He had improved so much through the summer and fall that he basically seemed to be better. His behavior and comfort with the farrier improved and up until recently, he was doing really well. He was jumping around courses with great lead changes, a great attitude, etc.

                          The neck is still part of "the list" of things to look at depending on how things go from here. Because he definitely has a muscle issue that is quite visible (they get rock hard, and I can sometimes visibly see his muscles quiver), I'm going down that road for a while.

                          But, yes, I do think this horse will eventually get radiographs of his neck at some point. I'm honestly a bit afraid to haul him to the clinic and have him sedated for the radiographs (assuming they would need to sedate him...he's just that kind of horse) because when he last had his hocks done he had a major bad reaction to the sedation that resulted in his entire head swelling, his nasal passages nearly closing, and quite a bit of bleeding from his nose (so scary!).

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