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Horse has lost his d@mn mind and I feel like...WEIRD (to me) UPDATE! #46

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  • Horse has lost his d@mn mind and I feel like...WEIRD (to me) UPDATE! #46

    So, as the title says, he's lost his ever lovin' mind, seemingly out of nowhere. I thought it was a saddle fit issue, successfully addressed that, still lacking sanity.
    To make a long story short, I've narrowed the causes for his idiocy down to herd bound behavior, ulcers, spring fever or psychotic break. Just kidding about the psychotic break. Kind of.
    This is a homebred (DWB) that I've owned all his life. This is not the first time he's come unglued in the spring. This IS, however, the first time in his entire life that he's done the herd-bound-screaming-for-friends thing and the VERY. first. time. ever. that he's been unwilling to be caught in turn out. The other day he walked away from me when I went to get him at breakfast time after 12 years of galloping down to me every single time he's called, even if he sees syringes or meds in my hands. SO, regardless what else may be going on, I decided that $h!t needed to stop right there. He has always been a very social horse and loves his friends, always herd leader, always into being out with the guys. So now I feel like a big mean bully because the only other option for the time being is individual turnout.
    Strangely, right around when all this began, the herd dynamics changed dramatically. My guy's BFF and second in command was suddenly being shunned, a bully of a TB that my guy previously kept on the outskirts of the group has become my guy's BFF and a big WB that was kind of the nerd of the group (5 geldings) is number 3. This has to be related to the sudden change in my guy's behavior in the ring/under saddle, but now that I've removed him from the herd it may not be worth further thought.
    But I think there's even more going on than just the herd stuff. I strongly suspect ulcers. Whether or not they're related to the current turn out situation and upheaval in the boys' pecking order, I dunno. He's been opening and closing his mouth as if something's stuck in his teeth or he's stretching his jaw, eating less hay when he's in (only a few hours a day until the summer heat comes), and his manure is cow pie consistency at best. He even flinched when I tightened his girth last week, which he NEVER does. This is a horse who typically enjoys being tacked and going to work. And his behavior in the ring? OMG. Thank God he likes me, is all I can say, because he's a complete nut! I can tell that he's trying as hard as he can to contain himself and I can also tell that no matter how long I work him, he's not learning a damn thing. He's just trying not to explode and hoping to get back to the barn. There's no sourness (yet), but plenty of screaming and "on the muscle" doesn't begin to describe the powder keg I'm sitting on. And working him down is impossible. I don't know why, but this horse was born fit. The other day, after 2 hours (I kept wanting to let him quit, but whenever I did he'd throw his head up and SCREAM the second I'd bring him to a walk) in the ring of HARD work, he had caught his breath and the sweat was mostly dry after less than 5 minutes. And it was 80 degrees out! I don't think I've ever worked him to the point of being physically tired in all his life. Now, when his brain is working, he'll tire out mentally, but there seems to be a complete disconnect of the brain right now.

    I've looked up in his mouth with a flashlight, felt aaaaalllllll the way back in his mouth as far as I could go, exhaustively checked his back, neck, joints, reduced his grain....and probably done other things I'm not thinking of. His behavior in the barn, in the wash rack just outside the barn and on the ground in general when I'm working with him is wonderful. Very mannerly. Even when turning him out now that he has no friends, he stands like an absolute gentleman until his halter is removed AND until I step behind the gate. Only then does he throw his head up in the air and shriek like a girl, hop up in the air and gallop off. Left to his own devices, i.e. in the stall, he seems hyper-alert and nervous, pooping constantly, eyes wide, walking/circling.

    I started him on Gastrogard 3 days ago now and added an additional probiotic and soaked alfalfa pellets to his diet. Weight has come off of him quickly in the last few weeks. No surprise with his behavior and apparent stress level, so I'm hoping the alfalfa will buffer his tummy and add calories. I think he might already be eating his hay a little better. I haven't tried riding or lunging since Wednesday because it just seems pointless. He's not learning anything, I'm getting worn out and I hate disrupting other people's rides with my lunatic, especially when nobody is benefitting from the workout in the first place.

    My plan as of now is to keep up the G'gard and probiotics and alfalfa while he adjusts to the new turnout and see is anything else unusual crops up. If things improve slightly, I'll try working him again. I feel terrible for taking away his biggest joy in life - his friends and a 5 acre grassy pasture. Am I making a mistake there? Does anyone have any suggestions? Just to add, I've owned and worked with generations of his parents, siblings, aunties and uncles and all have been fairly hot, reactive, and required ulcer treatment at some point in their lives. My guy is NOT Mr. Quiet even when he's "normal", but the current level of "Moron" is far worse than usual.
    Last edited by JackieBlue; May. 4, 2013, 12:26 PM.
    "Absent a correct diagnosis, medicine is poison, surgery is trauma and alternative therapy is witchcraft" A. Kent Allen
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/tailsofglory
  • Original Poster

    #2
    Also wanted to add that I'll be having a fecal, CBC with diff. and blood chemistry run on Monday. Monday is the first day that I can get all samples to the lab in a timely manner for reliable results. Vet is involved, thinks I'm on the right track with regard to his tummy and can find nothing else wrong.
    "Absent a correct diagnosis, medicine is poison, surgery is trauma and alternative therapy is witchcraft" A. Kent Allen
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/tailsofglory

    Comment


    • #3
      Is there any possibility of a toxic plant popping up that has caused this? It might not hurt to have your County Extension agent walk the pasture with you (or anyone else who might know stuff like this) to see if something has appeared that should not be eaten by equines. Good luck and keep us posted.
      Jeanie
      RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died, Death either by euthanasia or natural causes is only the end of the animal inhabiting its body; I believe the spirit lives on.

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        You know, I've thought of that because he's also peeing like a hooved water balloon. But I'd have to think he wouldn't be the only 1 of the five exhibiting signs. He's now in a paddock on the other side of the farm with entirely different vegetation, so maybe that will make a difference. ?

        And the fact that, even though he's mentally deficient the majority of the time, he still seems very aware that hurting Mom is a bad idea. He's downright snuggly when I'm in the stall with him and stands in the cross ties like a seasoned school horse. I think a toxin might lessen his inhibitions at all times. I could be wrong.
        "Absent a correct diagnosis, medicine is poison, surgery is trauma and alternative therapy is witchcraft" A. Kent Allen
        http://www.etsy.com/shop/tailsofglory

        Comment


        • #5
          Just the herd hierarchy could trigger ulcers. I'd add ranitidine for the first week, and give him 2 weeks off from work.
          My horse's only symptom he had ulcers was that he tried to throw me for the first (and hopefully only) time in 13 years, and he was eating his grain slower.
          www.destinationconsensusequus.com
          chaque pas est fait ensemble

          Comment


          • #6
            I vote ulcers and possible neck or back pain. With the herd hierarchy change he may have been doing a lot of running/feinting/fussing out there and tweaked something.
            "The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              :-). Forgot to mention that I started him on ranitidine on Thursday. He says it's gawdawful stuff.

              I'm feeling really awful about the turnout change, but my husband is trying to help me feel okay about my decision to pull him out of the group. Whenever he sees me looking down/worried/blue, he says, "You know, that maniac is lucky to be alive! I think he can handle a temporary trip to solitary!" ;-) It somehow makes me feel loved that my husband takes a protective role when my horse loses his marbles. Am I just as nutty as poor Horsie? :-)
              Last edited by JackieBlue; Apr. 20, 2013, 01:39 PM.
              "Absent a correct diagnosis, medicine is poison, surgery is trauma and alternative therapy is witchcraft" A. Kent Allen
              http://www.etsy.com/shop/tailsofglory

              Comment


              • #8
                Lyme disease?

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Horse was very sick with Lyme this time last year. Retested for both 2 weeks ago and negative for both. Phew! Will test again in a week or so if nothing changes just in case we're I. the phase before seroconversion.
                  "Absent a correct diagnosis, medicine is poison, surgery is trauma and alternative therapy is witchcraft" A. Kent Allen
                  http://www.etsy.com/shop/tailsofglory

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I didn't read the whole thing. I stopped at "Herd dynamics are changing and his Vice President just got impeached."

                    That creates security problems for the Prez./DWB. If you want to do things the easy/cheap way, give 'em 5 or so days to work out their new hierarchy and then see what you have.
                    The armchair saddler
                    Politically Pro-Cat

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by mvp View Post
                      I didn't read the whole thing. I stopped at "Herd dynamics are changing and his Vice President just got impeached."

                      That creates security problems for the Prez./DWB. If you want to do things the easy/cheap way, give 'em 5 or so days to work out their new hierarchy and then see what you have.

                      Your "summation" made me laugh, MVP. :-D I would've let him continue on with the gang if he hadn't started the uncatchable thing. If I brought in everyone but The Prez ;-), he wouldn't even run or come to the gate in desperation like a normal horse. He'd stand in the middle of this enormous field, head in the air and just holler repeatedly. He'd decide, before long, that he needed me and he'd come down to the fence and do his "Mama call", a specific whinny he throws out just for me, saying I could come get him. Um, no. We weren't going to have anymore of Mr. Jerkface calling the shots. But I still feel guilty, even though I know I HAD to change his turnout.
                      "Absent a correct diagnosis, medicine is poison, surgery is trauma and alternative therapy is witchcraft" A. Kent Allen
                      http://www.etsy.com/shop/tailsofglory

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        My pinto did something fairly similar (no change in herd dynamics) with excessive urination, stretching often to urinate without doing so, acting like a nut (he's a somewhat hot horse anyway but this is mentally checking out--scary) and the apparent culprit (we are 10 days into the experiment) is apparently . . . alfalfa. Not giant amounts, either. Our barn took a new shipment of hay about 10 days before this behavior cropped up and sure enough--it's about 10-20% alfalfa.

                        A little "hindsight is 20/20" post-hoc analysis led us to see pretty clearly that the other few times he's wigged out like this were times when he was getting feed that contained alfalfa or when we added some in order to increase his weight slightly with what we thought was a "safe" source of calories.

                        If you haven't recently made a feed change, it's highly unlikely to be the case with your horse, and I in NO WAY am endorsing that alfalfa is "bad" to feed--my Irish mare is absolutely thriving on the SAME hay--but the excessive peeing caught my eye, along with your description of his behavior. FWIW.

                        Removing ALL alfalfa from his ration has gotten me the horse that I bought a year and a half ago: quiet, bombproof, easy and willing every day, and I only wish I'd stumbled across this sooner. It was actually my trainer that figured it out, as she was the one who brought in the hay.
                        Click here before you buy.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                          My pinto did something fairly similar (no change in herd dynamics) with excessive urination, stretching often to urinate without doing so, acting like a nut (he's a somewhat hot horse anyway but this is mentally checking out--scary) and the apparent culprit (we are 10 days into the experiment) is apparently . . . alfalfa. Not giant amounts, either. Our barn took a new shipment of hay about 10 days before this behavior cropped up and sure enough--it's about 10-20% alfalfa.

                          A little "hindsight is 20/20" post-hoc analysis led us to see pretty clearly that the other few times he's wigged out like this were times when he was getting feed that contained alfalfa or when we added some in order to increase his weight slightly with what we thought was a "safe" source of calories.

                          If you haven't recently made a feed change, it's highly unlikely to be the case with your horse, and I in NO WAY am endorsing that alfalfa is "bad" to feed--my Irish mare is absolutely thriving on the SAME hay--but the excessive peeing caught my eye, along with your description of his behavior. FWIW.

                          Removing ALL alfalfa from his ration has gotten me the horse that I bought a year and a half ago: quiet, bombproof, easy and willing every day, and I only wish I'd stumbled across this sooner. It was actually my trainer that figured it out, as she was the one who brought in the hay.
                          My 8 year-old Arabian gelding did the same thing on alfalfa. His 12 year-old grade arabian pasture buddy did perfectly fine on the alfalfa.
                          PA Hi-Ly Visible [PA Hi-Noon (by Magnum Psyche) x Takara Padrona (by *Padron)]

                          Proud member of the Snort and Blow Clique

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            It's possible that alfalfa does this to him, but I don't think the BO has changed the hay. I added the alfalfa pellets after more than a week of "the crazies", so at least that particular change isn't to blame. Can the new, Spring grass have a similar effect? Could he be on some sort of epic sugar high?
                            "Absent a correct diagnosis, medicine is poison, surgery is trauma and alternative therapy is witchcraft" A. Kent Allen
                            http://www.etsy.com/shop/tailsofglory

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Originally posted by californianinkansas View Post
                              My 8 year-old Arabian gelding did the same thing on alfalfa. His 12 year-old grade arabian pasture buddy did perfectly fine on the alfalfa.
                              Well, it seems I'd be stupid not to look into whether BO changed the hay. And maybe, just for the sake of thoroughness, I should pull the alfalfa pellets and substitute with beet pulp to avoid more weight loss.
                              "Absent a correct diagnosis, medicine is poison, surgery is trauma and alternative therapy is witchcraft" A. Kent Allen
                              http://www.etsy.com/shop/tailsofglory

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by JackieBlue View Post
                                Your "summation" made me laugh, MVP. :-D I would've let him continue on with the gang if he hadn't started the uncatchable thing. If I brought in everyone but The Prez ;-), he wouldn't even run or come to the gate in desperation like a normal horse. He'd stand in the middle of this enormous field, head in the air and just holler repeatedly. He'd decide, before long, that he needed me and he'd come down to the fence and do his "Mama call", a specific whinny he throws out just for me, saying I could come get him. Um, no. We weren't going to have anymore of Mr. Jerkface calling the shots. But I still feel guilty, even though I know I HAD to change his turnout.
                                I think you need to inject some patience into your diplomatic negotiations.

                                Who cares if he stands out there and calls, and then finally cries for his momma? Don't break a sweat or wear out you shoes, just let him be out there in the cold all by his lonesome until he figures out that his strategy isn't that great.

                                Or alternatively, go out there when he's screaming and remind him that being saved by momma is an option. He's out there yelling because he forgot how to give himself security.....Then he remembers to dial the special momma line. Help a dumb-a$$ out. You won't have to do this too many times.

                                The wheels do turn in a horse's head if you give them time and a dirt-simple situation. It's a real pleasure to hear those little wheels turn while you sip a cool one.
                                The armchair saddler
                                Politically Pro-Cat

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by mvp View Post
                                  I think you need to inject some patience into your diplomatic negotiations.

                                  Who cares if he stands out there and calls, and then finally cries for his momma? Don't break a sweat or wear out you shoes, just let him be out there in the cold all by his lonesome until he figures out that his strategy isn't that great.

                                  Or alternatively, go out there when he's screaming and remind him that being saved by momma is an option. He's out there yelling because he forgot how to give himself security.....Then he remembers to dial the special momma line. Help a dumb-a$$ out. You won't have to do this too many times.

                                  The wheels do turn in a horse's head if you give them time and a dirt-simple situation. It's a real pleasure to hear those little wheels turn while you sip a cool one.
                                  Barn rat for life

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Broken tooth or jaw is a possibility. Sinus infection which gives him headaches? Brain Tumor? Maybe he's having sinus headaches from spring pollens?

                                    How does his breath smell?

                                    I'd say time for a good vet check, including eyes.
                                    "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
                                    Thread killer Extraordinaire

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Vet is involved, teeth are fine. Breath smells awesome. I spent about 20 minutes all up in his mouth with a flashlight and then the vet did the same. Vision is spectacular. The last time we pulled blood, in December, vet asked me if I had him on a blood builder or potent vitamin. He had excellent levels of everything, not even a touch of anemia and oodles of hemoglobin. We did the blood work as a recheck because he was very sick last summer and I'm a worrier. He was feeling great when we pulled the blood and vet commented, "Well, no wonder he feels like a million bucks. He has every right to!"
                                      I'm pulling blood again on Monday, but I really don't expect to find anything there.
                                      "Absent a correct diagnosis, medicine is poison, surgery is trauma and alternative therapy is witchcraft" A. Kent Allen
                                      http://www.etsy.com/shop/tailsofglory

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Try the Equishure? It is still working quite well for my guy who had the diarrhea.

                                        http://www.kerx.com/products/EquiShure/
                                        from sunridge1:Go get 'em Roy! Stupid clown shoe nailing, acid pouring bast@rds.it is going to be good until the last drop!Eleneswell, the open trail begged to be used. D Taylor

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