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SEASONAL inappetance? Help me think outside the box

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  • SEASONAL inappetance? Help me think outside the box

    I'm sure some of you recall my threads last winter where I asked for help because Blush was not eating hay and not eating grain. We changed a few things, played around with some others and she started eating again...right about the time spring came.

    She ate very well all summer. I figured I had the inappetance issues all figured out.

    As the days started getting shorter, she got less and less interested in her grain (she ate TC Low Starch all summer) and I switched her over to TC 14% Performance perhaps 3ish weeks ago. The 14% Performance is all she would eat last winter.

    Now she is refusing the 14% Performance and is losing interest in her grass hay. I left instructions to switch her over to the mix.

    Now I'm wondering if her eating issues last fall/winter were SEASONAL for whatever reason. She ate great all summer.

    The other totally weird thing that's happened in perhaps the past 6 weeks is she has become VERY defensive about her belly. NOT up by the girth, but back by her udder. She will bite and kick if I touch near the umbilicus or by her udder. She has never been like this before. This behavior started after we injected her neck.

    I picked up some gastrogard today. She got a full tube last night and left ALL her PM grain (but has responded positively to gastrogard in the past with these issues.)

    I've asked Mountain Vet to get me some Succeed. I'm thinking hind gut ulcers, maybe? Would that explain the brand-new pissyness about her belly?

    I also picked up some hay cubes that another horse at the barn eats that she seems to really LOVE.

    This is what she was on all summer:

    4 grass am/pm
    4 # TC Low Starch AM/PM
    Uckele GUT AM/PM
    4 oz Cocosoya AM/PM
    Vit E AM/PM
    Lysine AM/PM

    When she stopped eating her LS, she went to:

    4 grass AM/PM
    3 # 14% Performance AM/PM
    Uckele GUT AM/PM
    4 oz Cocosoya AM/PM

    And now we're switching her to 3/4 mix AM/PM.

    She has also been on gabapentin for about a month now.

    Does anyone have any ideas? I'm just about ready to call the crazy voodoo vet, because I don't know what else to try.

  • #2
    How are the temps? Any history of arthritis? Pain can cause some horses to go off feed pretty substantially. With colder damper days is it possible that she's hurting?

    Does your routine change much in the fall/winter? Same amount of turnout? Riding? Or more time stalled?

    Have you tried pulling her off the supplements?

    Not sure where you live (can't see it when I'm in reply mode)...but how's the selenium in your area? Hay tested? Wondering because I'm assuming you feed hay in the Fall/Winter...could it be deficient?

    Have you had blood work done?


    Sorry. I don't recall your posts from last year so I may be asking questions you've already answered...just tossing some things out there.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Temps are from 70s during the day to just hitting freezing at night. She is clipped (but pretty wooly) and blanketed.

      Yes, we do have some arthritis issues: right front fetlock had a chip pulled out June 07, depo deposists discovered during surgery which left Blush sore, pain and inflammation has been well-managed with IRAP since Nov 2007. Right hock: something going on, not sure what, exactly (lit up on bone scan, not much there on radiographs.) We've injected the hock twice and I've been cleared to ride.

      Blush is never on grass, hay is fed year round. Nothing has changed in the grass hay she's been eating all summer. I know the BO tests the hay, but I don't know how it tests.

      Last winter, she was in the barn (closed up barn, no windows, lights on) and this year she's outside in a run.

      Routine is the same. She's been on and off work with various lameness issues all late summer/early fall. I'm still not sure we have her figured out.

      Ran Se/E bloodwork in the spring and recently: all normal. Ran general panel in the spring: normal. Ran Lyme titer: negative. Ran EPM IFAT test: negative.

      I've pulled her off all supplements I feel I can. Today I'll try JUST grain and see what we have. I'd *really* like to keep her on the oil and GUT, as I do think those things really help her. I'm hoping I can use a bit of the hay cubes she's so high on to get at least a bit of those into her.

      Oh, she's also on Legend and Adequan monthly. She is due for her Legend (should have been on the 15th...I just keep forgetting.) I will do that today.

      Comment


      • #4
        I would honestly talk to your vet about trying to bute her for a week and see if you find any improvement.

        I know I really start hurting this time of year.
        A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

        Might be a reason, never an excuse...

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Bute's a no go, even on gastrogard.

          I can try some Previcox and see if that changes anything. I'll start that tonight and see if it helps.

          Oh, I did forget: she is also on BL Solution.

          Comment


          • #6
            Why the gabapentin?

            What's she on the Gabapentin for?

            No to the bute, it will wreck havoc if she has ulcers.

            Might be a hind gut ulcer, might be a stomach ulcer might be both.

            Ulcergard (omeprazole) for the stomach ulcers
            Succeed for the hindgut ulcers.

            I am assuming you have checked her teeth and looked in her mouth for ulcers.

            Ah I just read that she's on BL solution.
            Is tha for joints arthritis?
            Can you change that to one of the fat based joint supps HyCel or Myristeal C ones or to a protein based like Keraflex.

            BL has Devils claw and can be a problem for some horses GI tracts.
            MW
            Melyni (PhD) PAS, Dipl. ACAN.
            Sign up for the Equine nutrition enewsletter on www.foxdenequine.com
            New edition of book is out:
            Horse Nutrition Handbook.

            www.knabstruppers4usa.com

            Comment


            • #7
              Just taking a step back...because again, this is "new information" to me....

              You've got a LOT of variables going on here. I know you feel like all of these supplements are necessary...but are they REALLY and do you know how they may be reacting with one another?

              Just because something is "natural" does not mean without side effects.

              If I were in your shoes, I'd get down to bare bones until you get her eating. Strip out all the stuff you can within reason. Personally, I would take it down to hay and grain.

              I would try to manage pain with a prescription medication under the guidance of your veterinarian. Basic hay ration, basic low sugar grain ration, you can add your soaked alfalfa if you wish. Think about keeping your grain from getting stale...buying less at a time or storing in a sealable container.

              If she starts eating again within about 7 days, I'd give it another 7 days or so. Possibly add a probiotic like Fastrack (the tube...just 2 shot deal with some variety).....

              Then....I'd slowly back off the pain meds and see what you've got. If she reverts, you've got your answer without having changed any other variable. If she does FINE? THEN you start adding back your additional supplements one at a time and give them about 2 weeks at a time with all going well before you add in something else.

              I know they all seem fairly benign...but who knows how it all reacts.

              I would just want to be very very methodical.

              WIsh I had more for you.
              A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

              Might be a reason, never an excuse...

              Comment


              • #8
                please get your horse scoped. it is so inexpensive and will answer so many questions if it's an ulcer ... or worse.

                my pony mare exhibited the same symptoms as your horse and when she was scoped we immediately got our answer.

                however this was after four months of round the clock medicating (Gastrogard, anti-biotics, supplements, you name it), weekly vet visits, blood tests, and all of the expense and worry you can imagine would go with it.

                a LOT of hand-wringing could have been alleviated with a quick trip to the clinic for a scope.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Just a thought but it is possible that she is having her last heat ie transitional heat of the season. That can bring on all the signs that you are talking about.
                  McDowell Racing Stables

                  Home Away From Home

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    She's on gabapentin for nervous system wind up pain and she has responded beautifully.

                    We absolutely do have a LOT of variables going on with this horse. If this did not happen last year, right about this time in exactly the same way, then I would absolutely blame it on something that's going on right now--be it the gabapentin or her hock or the neck issues or her feet or whatever. According to at least one of my vets, she is sound and ready to go into work. We have addressed the neck and the hock and the wind-up pain, and we're making leaps and bounds of progress with her feet.

                    Last year she was on much more feed-through stuff, so what we have right now IS significantly more pared down than it was. The things I really WANT to get into her are the GUT and the oil and the gabapentin. Everything else is gravy. I don't feel the need to ADD anything, certainly, but am willing to give the Succeed a try, just in case. I asked MV to get me the tubes. I suppose I can pick up some probiotic and give that a try as well.

                    She is due to have her teeth done in Nov (gets them done every 6 months) and I'll give the dentist a call at the first of the month. Her mouth is NEVER bad--no ulcers or anything.

                    Last year we did get down to bare bones...and she started eating in the spring. I am concerned that I'm going to be struggling with this all winter. Last winter was No Fun.

                    webmistress, the reason I have NOT had this horse scoped is we did that late last year, following some episodes that were CLASSIC ulcer episodes--FAR more suggestive of ulcers than her current anorexia. She had the cleanest stomach CSU had seen in a good long while. She still responded positively to gastrogard. So what would scoping now change? She will either be clean, and I will treat with gastrogard and Succeed ANYWAY (because I've been there, done that) or we will see ulcers...in which case I will treat her with gastrogard and Succeed. What's the point in spending the couple hundred?

                    Laurierace, she was transitional several weeks ago and still eating. I have not seen ANY signs of heat since this started. However...I wonder if her inappetance could be linked to her being anovulatory? She really doesn't eat during the months she's not cycling. Hmmm.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Could be allergies to something that only shows up in the fall/winter? They don't have to have hives and respiratory symptoms for it to be allergies. Believe me I know.

                      Mine will colic. He is allergic to 22 different things and borderline on 6. Some of them are food. We removed the food stuff he is allergic to and he is on shots for everything else. We are keeping our fingers crossed that this is the root of all his problems, including the ulcers he had last year.

                      This is the first September in the three years I have owned him he hasn't colicked. I need to knock on wood now since I have said the C word twice. We have been avoiding saying that word too. He also colics in January/February and sometime in the spring. This year he threw in July as well. Oh dear, I've said it again. Every time it was different, my vet was tearing out what little hair he has left. We got talking about allergies and he said lets test him, we had scoped him the year before and found ulcers, double dosed de-wormed him after the episode in the spring, added paste electrolytes after the episode in July, ran blood tests, it was the only thing we haven't done. Lo and behold lots of red on the report. Started the allergy shots in August and the three vials (two sets - he is allergic to so much stuff that it takes two shots each time) will take us through June by then we will be on the once a month most concentrated stuff. Then he goes on maintenance.

                      My poor trainer has to say "he's fine" first anytime that he calls me, especially early in the morning. Or I lose it.

                      Just a thought.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Interesting idea, Seal Harbor. God knows I have a cat that has allergies that manifest in weird ways (her allergies make her skin very thin and friable.)

                        How much did your allergy tests cost? How about the shots? Did anything show up on general bloodwork to indicate that there was an allergic response happening?

                        The BO where I board also begins every call with "Blush is fine...I'm calling because..."

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The test - was $300, vet draws 60ccs of blood and sends it in, we used the Spectrum Group for the testing. The allergy shots were $200 (I still haven't gotten the bill for that) Cheaper than the $700 per colic call or a run to the emergency clinic.

                          His esnophils, basophils and globulin were out of whack. The esnophils and basophils not so much but the globulin was low.

                          We were also running out of things that could be causing this. Every episode presented differently. Dehydrated one time, displaced intestine and gassy another, we thought he might be impacted. He stopped eating the first year I had him when he was getting stuff with corn in it. He almost did this quarterly.

                          We scoped him last September - oh yes, ulcers. Did the entire 28 day GastroGard - then nearly 180 days on maintenance dose of UG - he still colicked. Now he only gets UG when shipping and showing. Changed his diet to not include any high carb grain or sugar. Changed his diet again after the spring episode to include beet pulp. However, he was still eating timothy hay. We stopped that when the lovely red square showed up next to it on the allergy report in August.

                          I check every supplement for corn, oats, timothy or orchard. He can only eat alfalfa hay. I read more ingredients lists than anyone I know.

                          Here is the link to the Spectrum Group. They have PDFs with what they test for for each region of the country.

                          http://www.vetallergy.com/pages/horseowner.html

                          My poor vet, I was teasing him about a Colic Club card, you know you get a punch for every one you have then you get the 10th one free. He laughed, then felt so bad that the last time in July he took off the $100 emergency fee. Then I felt bad, it is not his fault this horse is so "special"! He will be as thrilled as I am if this was the root of everything that is evil. Now I need to go knock on wood again. I keep saying the C word.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            check your PM's

                            I sent you a way out of the box idea.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Gastroguard takes three days to begin working. Use Rinitidine 2x day in the meantime.

                              If it is a hindgut ulcer, Slippery Elm can be helpful. You will have to take her off of grain products in general, but no biggie if she isn't eating them anyway!

                              www.herbalcom.com
                              "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                              ---
                              The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Ranitadine is something Blush stopped eating in her grain a year ago. I have not been successful since then in getting her to eat it. If I try pasting it into her, she will not swallow, and will drool for hours. It's very unpleasant all the way around.

                                I may have to try slippery elm. How well accepted is it?

                                This evening Blush ate about about a pound and a half of the TC 14% Performance before getting bored. She was interested in both the soaked alfalfa cubes and the soaked hay cubes, but took probably an hour to eat a handful of each and then got bored and walked away. She had not touched her AM grain, so I suppose even a pound or two is an improvement. Unfortunately, this horse didn't look good until she was getting about 10-12 lbs of hard feed last winter/spring. At least she started eating some hay when I put her back in her pen.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Mix it w/applesauce or molasses and shoot it in the back of her throat. It is much much easier to prevent an ulcer than treat one.

                                  Was she not on preventative gastroguard while at the clinic for her scan/workups? If not, you'll want to do that next time.

                                  Honestly.. horses being the models of consistency that they are, if she is cranky and not eating, you really should figure that this is not simply an anorexic horse. Not trying to be facetious, but horses don't just stop eating for no reason... although some would convince you that they do, and will. It's not that I am not sympathetic!

                                  At the very least I would assume a low grade pain issue. I have a friend whose horse always appeared to have seasonal affective disorder.. as soon as fall hit, he was grumpy to tack/saddle. Years later it became revealed that his back is probably arthritic, and the cold weather exacerbates it. He also eats/does not eat sporadically Just an example.
                                  "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                                  ---
                                  The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Gabapentin

                                    You said she had been on the Gabapentin for about a month...does the introduction of this and her going off her feed coincide?I took Gabapentin for YEARS for Fibromyalgia and one of the side effects for me was I had absolutely no appetite EVER.I had to force myself to eat...After several years and aging I finally went off it because my blood suger problems were worse than the pain the drug was blocking.Don't know if the same would happen in equines...but it sounds likely...
                                    good luck!

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by EqTrainer View Post
                                      Mix it w/applesauce or molasses and shoot it in the back of her throat. It is much much easier to prevent an ulcer than treat one.
                                      Believe me, I've TRIED. Mixing it with anything does not work. She still holds the mixture in her mouth and will not swallow for HOURS.

                                      Was she not on preventative gastroguard while at the clinic for her scan/workups? If not, you'll want to do that next time.
                                      Yes, of course. She is always on ulcergard when she travels.

                                      Honestly.. horses being the models of consistency that they are, if she is cranky and not eating, you really should figure that this is not simply an anorexic horse. Not trying to be facetious, but horses don't just stop eating for no reason... although some would convince you that they do, and will. It's not that I am not sympathetic!
                                      Exactly, which is why I started this thread. I KNOW there is a reason my horse is not eating. I just don't know what it is.

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by Equsrider View Post
                                        You said she had been on the Gabapentin for about a month...does the introduction of this and her going off her feed coincide?I took Gabapentin for YEARS for Fibromyalgia and one of the side effects for me was I had absolutely no appetite EVER.I had to force myself to eat...After several years and aging I finally went off it because my blood suger problems were worse than the pain the drug was blocking.Don't know if the same would happen in equines...but it sounds likely...
                                        good luck!
                                        I don't THINK so, but I'll check my notes and maybe pull her off the gabapentin just to see...

                                        Comment

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