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Suddenly Girthy?

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  • Suddenly Girthy?

    OK, so my gelding, who was always very mild mannered and easy to work with, if a bit stubborn, has gotten very touchy around his girth area and pins his ears when I girth him up. His saddle fits fine, and he shows NO back soreness. I check his back before and after every ride. I make sure his girth is clean and hose it after every ride.

    I checked over his girth area and see no evidence of anything that could make him touchy. No rubs or galls, scratches, bumps/lumps, etc.

    When I girth up, I do it loosely at first, then walk him around and tighten it a few times until it is snug. Its a stretchy girth too, with elastic at both ends at the buckles.

    The only thing I could think of is maybe he doesn't like the material of the girth, but he's had it for about 2 months now. It is a ProChoice girth, This One

    Any ideas?

  • #2
    The dressage barn that I go to occasionally uses fleece girth covers on ALL of their girths. You could try that, see if it makes a difference. They use the real fleece, not the fake stuff.

    Good Luck!


    • #3
      When I was horse shopping, one horse owner was telling me that girthiness in a previously ungirthy horse was the first symptom of ulcers...


      • #4
        I agree check him or treat him for uclers!
        I love cats, I love every single cat....
        So anyway I am a cat lover
        And I love to run.


        • #5
          Before scoping for ulcers, have a reputable chiro come out. I've found that 90% of the time, sudden "girthiness" means a rib or two is out. A quick 10 minute adjustment and SHAZAM, girthiness is gone
          <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.


          • #6
            I second the chiro, and also will add massage might help. My boy was girthy when I bought him (saw the behavior some when I tried him out). He didn't have any ribs out, but his shoulders were very tight. One massage treatment helped him out immensely.


            • #7
              R.I.P. "Henry" 4/22/05 - 3/26/2010 We loved you so much....gone but NEVER FORGOTTEN...i hope we meet again


              • #8
                My laid-back-easy-going boy suddenly became girthy one day.

                It was ulcers.

                GastroGard to the rescue!
                The more you stir the $hit, the more it stinks.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by ChocoMare View Post
                  Before scoping for ulcers, have a reputable chiro come out. I've found that 90% of the time, sudden "girthiness" means a rib or two is out. A quick 10 minute adjustment and SHAZAM, girthiness is gone
                  You took the words out of my mouth. *Sudden* girthiness is much more likely to be a rib out than ulcers.

                  You can't rule out ulcers though, as the horse may have just been tolerating things until "suddenly" he's not. But a Chiro check will be much faster
                  The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                  • #10
                    Ribs go out b/c of saddle fit so check horse all over for soreness especially the shoulders and ribs. Often when ribs are out SIs are also out. Two of my horses, when I first got them, had ribs out but no signs of girthiness. The two that have been girthy -- both TBs -- have a history of ulcers. I found one improved drastically when I changed his diet. I would get the chiro out first b/c I think all horses need chiro regularly and then if not improved the vet.
                    Susan B.


                    • #11
                      I'm just about 25 miles from Lancaster and find those nasty "no see ems" aka culicoides have been wreaking havoc with the horses at my barn. My mare has a lot of bites on her girth area and that has made her a bit cranky to ride. We gave her a few days off and some anti itch care and she is improving.

                      Her physical appearance around the girth area is not raw but has some rather subtle swelling and wrinkling of the skin. Her tail is itchy too.


                      • #12
                        ulcers are so much more common than we think.

                        it costs very little to get a scope at the vet's office.


                        • Original Poster

                          thanks for all the recommendations. From what everyone is saying I am starting to think ulcers. He gets touchy around his sides too, but its only in the barn.

                          Before I call the vet out, is it normal for ulcers to be sudden. this was a one day he was fine, and the next, girthy, and I see him every day. How likely is that? I know someone said it was possible, but that they would check other things first.

                          He is touchy on his sides (just at the girth area) too when grooming... that kinda makes me think an ulcer or rib is an issue.

                          Thanks for mentioning the "no see ems", Addison. I will check closer and see if I can see anything.


                          • Original Poster

                            Oh, I had a light bulb!

                            Could antibiotics cause digestive upset or irritability? He just came in with a scratch whose surrounding area was very swollen and put him on a 5-day antibiotic course to bring the swelling down. I thought about it and it wasn't until the day after his antibiotics started that he started displaying his girthy-ness. I think he's about done with them now, should I wait and see if it goes away with the antibiotic course ending?

                            Or could the antibiotics be aggravating ulcers that were hiding?


                            • #15
                              I'd start with a chiro evaluation. Most times when I see sudden girthiness, there's a rib or two out of whack. Last week, a mild mannered gelding nearly kicked me BAD when I pushed on his side while tacking up. Chiro came out and his ribs were a mess.

                              Yes, antibiotics can cause digest upset. Make sure you give him lots of probiotics daily. Perhaps he has ulcers flaring up --- might try a round of gastrogard.


                              • Original Poster

                                I suppose it is time for his chiro appt. I just put in a call to Dr Jimenez (chiro) to get on his appt list.

                                I'm hoping now that it was just the bute and antibiotics now and that it will pass, but he's due to see the chiro anyways, so if it doesn't leave with the end of the antibiotic course, hopefully that will fix it, and if not... The vet for ulcers. I'll ask Dr. Jimenez about it when he comes out.


                                • #17
                                  Bute?!! Yikes!!

                                  I doubt the antibiotics but did you just say Bute?!!! That'll give them ulcers OR cause them to flare up for sure!! It's very stomach irritating.

                                  One way to cheaply diagnose your horse. Before tacking up. Give him 90 or so CC's of a nice mint flavored antacid. See if that helps. Cools the tummy so to speak! Any ole cheap one will do. Works for mine.


                                  • Original Poster

                                    I am very sparing when it comes to medicating, but the Bute was suggested to give 1 gram the first day or so of the antibiotics.

                                    And thanks for the suggestion of the antacid! I will try that.


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Haven't gotten my hands on antacid yet. I need to look harder... we seem to only have tablet antacids around here.

                                      Anyways, Addison, what sort of anti-itch stuff do you use? Just some cortizone cream? I was looking today and noticed some small bumps (like tiny bites maybe, not open or anything, just bumps.) near his girth area. today he was more happy about me scratching him there than pinning his ears... maybe those "no see ums" could be some of the cause. He is very sensitive to bugs/flies.


                                      • #20
                                        I recall reading a thread about a "pepto bismol test" to see if your horse has ulcers. Try putting that in the search function and see if you can find it.
                                        "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse..." ~Revelation 19:11