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Could be EPSM, or ??? - Vet Update

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  • Could be EPSM, or ??? - Vet Update

    I'd like a little help figuring out what might be going on. One of my mares is QH/TB, about 12 years old. Ridden very infrequently - more in the summer - but hasn't been ridden now in probably 3 months or more.

    Diet:
    A cup or so of beet pulp soaked with 1 cup of Purina Wellsolve W/C (weight control), and 1 cup of BOSS, 10,000 mg. MSM daily, 1/2 ounce of Remission (chromium/magnesium). Good grass hay, ocassionally a flake of alfalfa, but not too often. They get enough hay to keep them busy pretty much all day. They never ever go hungry. Water is heated and she has full access to it. She drinks well.

    Turnout: 12 hours out on about 10 acres with two other horses. 12 hours in her stall, which is actually the whole back of the barn with the back door shut. So it's at least 16x30 or so. It's NOT a typical box stall. It's bedded deep in the middle and she lays down every night.

    She has been laminitic in the past and overweight, but she's been fine with that for about 3 years now. She only had the one flareup and never had one again. Vet said she has EMS, but we all know that could mean just about anything.

    She's a bit of a grouchy, leave me alone type anyway, but it's become really bad the last few weeks. The other day I saw her standing at the electric fence with her ears pinned flat to her head, and grabbing the top rail and twanging it. She'd get super pissed and buck and rear, and charge the other horses and run them off, then go back to twanging the fence. She managed to pull down the middle tape. This mare hasn't touched a fence since she was a baby. Normally won't go within 10 feet of it, so this was very bizarre.

    And I've noticed her making the loud "death snort" noise out her nose, while eating, or just standing in her stall looking out the window. This is a bombproof horse (certified and does mounted patrol and search and rescue work.) is never afraid of anything, so I don't know why she keeps sounding this alarm. I used a flashlight, and my hand to check both eyes and she had good reactions on both sides but obviously that's not a comprehensive eye exam. I think that's a good place to start, don't you? I snapped a pic of her with the camera and she freaked and ran backwards at the speed of sound. She's had helicopters land right beside her, and been in the middle of a fireworks display and she never reacts to anything, so that REALLY concerned me when she behaved that way with the camera.

    The other day when I set out hay, she kicked out with both hinds. No one was behind her. And then she was so angry. Ears pinned, bobbing her head, grinding her teeth. No one was touching her, or anywhere near her.

    Lately she does seem stiffer in her hindquarters than normal, but I haven't seen any sweating or shaking or other EPSM signs, but I wonder??? She is Poco Bueno bred, if that matters at all, I don't know.

    She doesn't want to be caught and if she sees me coming, she will take off and stand way out in the field. Sure she'll normally do that when she sees the horse trailer in the driveway, but never on a daily basis.

    I did call the vet yesterday and they said my options are to bring her in and do full blood work and exam, or do 5-7 days of bute and see if this goes away or improves. If it goes away, it is likely arthritis pain. She's never been like THIS before. She's a devil on wheels.

    I have another horse with ulcers, so my first gutt reaction is ulcers. So the 100 dollar question - what would you do FIRST if this was your situation? Do a week or two of Ulcergard? Or 5-7 on bute like the vet said? Or take her in for blood workup, and eye exam? Or do biopsy for EPSM?

    I don't get any reaction from palpating anything. I did give her a gram of bute at bed last night and she seemed even stiffer in the HQs this morning. It's very frustrating.
    Last edited by Auventera Two; Dec. 12, 2008, 12:42 PM.

  • #2
    EPSM/PSSM horses do not necessarily sweat or tie up.

    First thing I would do is check selenium levels.

    What do her muscles over her rump feel like.......my PSSM horse had a really hard feel to his muscles.........I put him on oil and with in a couple of weeks his muscles had softened.

    I know my guy yawns alot when he is sore.......his tail also goes quite a bit and he does kick out like his back end is bugging him.

    PPSM horses do best with 24/7 turnout.

    Dalemma

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Oh her muscles are like concrete cinder blocks. Always have been. Even with no work, her muscles are hard and tight. I have do to do a lot of stretching to warm her up, and especially after a trailer ride of more than hour, she is super stiff when she comes off.
      This is her
      http://www.hphoofcare.com/M%20(8).jpg

      She also yawns alot. It used to be when she was really stressed out, but it's more and more frequent. I've actually posted here before about the yawning.

      Weird!

      Was your horse diagnosed with biopsy?

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equine_...orage_myopathy

        Under the symptoms it mentions a pecular "hitch" in a hind leg. I just told my mother the other day that the horse looks "hitchy" in her hindquarters.

        Comment


        • #5
          How's her hind end when you trim her?
          Whole Horse Hoof Care
          Horseshoeing...Deceptively Simple
          Endlessly Complex

          Comment


          • #6
            Have you ever had her selenium levels tested?

            Where is she in her cycle?

            I would try the bute - give it with milk of magnesia so you don't start ulcers or aggravate them if she does have them. Bute is cheapest.

            If that doesn't make a difference after a few days, try a week of Ulcergard paste.

            If that doesn't make a difference, try a muscle biopsy. but check Se first.

            Comment


            • #7
              Could also be ulcers or ovarian issues. More remote possibilities could be RER, selenium or other mineral imbalances.

              Muscles slow to warm up would be an EPSM or maybe RER possibility.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by Patty Lynch View Post
                How's her hind end when you trim her?
                Very stiff. I can't put her legs in my lap. I keep them really low on the hoof stand, or sometimes I rest the toe on my boot. She's kind of always been this way, with heavy bulky muscles and just "tight" all over. Even as a baby I remember her body being really tight and not very flexible. So I was never sure if it was really arthritis pain, or just the muscle tightness. I've tried giving her as much as 2 grams of bute in the morning, then trim her that night, and it didn't make much difference so I assumed it was more muscular than arthritis.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by gabz View Post
                  Have you ever had her selenium levels tested?

                  Where is she in her cycle?

                  I would try the bute - give it with milk of magnesia so you don't start ulcers or aggravate them if she does have them. Bute is cheapest.

                  If that doesn't make a difference after a few days, try a week of Ulcergard paste.

                  If that doesn't make a difference, try a muscle biopsy. but check Se first.
                  Ok, those are good tips. Thanks BTR also.

                  She never really "cycles" that I can tell. I never notice her being in an active heat. No, haven't had selenium tested. I'll call teh clinic back and ask about that.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Try taking her for a brisk walk to warm her up a bit and then trim. Start with her hinds and see if it helps. Does she react to back palpatation? EPSM horses can be very sore there too.

                    When was her last dental exam/float? That would be one of my top areas to invesigate too. The teeth (TMJ) can affect the hind end... don't ask me how long and how much $$$ it took to figure THAT one out I now use a dentist....not the vet for what it's worth. Is she resistant to having her face and/or poll touched?

                    Her pissy attitude while being alone, makes me think teeth or ulcers first though.

                    I work on 4 EPSM horses- none with attitudes . One is full QH, 2 are Belgians and one is a Perch cross. 3 act just as you describe - with varying degrees, and one had more of a stringhalt type behaviour. As a hoof care professional, you will feel and see some improvement usually within 2 trim cycles once the EPSM diet is started. It can be a God send for us working back there
                    Whole Horse Hoof Care
                    Horseshoeing...Deceptively Simple
                    Endlessly Complex

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Well if the muscles are stiff........I would do two things immediately........get selenium tested as PSSM horses require more than the average horse and secondly get her on some oil........at least half a cup twice a day.........if it is PSSM.......you could notice a difference in as little at 7 days.......which is what happened to me.

                      The other thing is you may want to take your horse off pasture as it is high in sugars and try and find a low sugar hay......10% or less.....and absolutely no grain and use only rinsed beet pulp.

                      Yes I had my horse diagnosed with a muscle biopsy by Dr. Valberg at the University of Minnesota.

                      Unfortunately for me and my horse it came back moderate......so he is now retired to a pasture pet.....his only job is to keep my other youngster entertained.

                      Dalemma

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        To answer some more questions-

                        Back soresness - yes, and no. No, right now, but a few weeks ago, I noticed her a little stiff and I found MAJOR soreness in her loin area. To the point she dipped her back way low and grunted. I gave her bute, and did stretches and hand walking for a few days. At that time I thought she might have fallen or pulled something while playing with the others. In a few days she was fine. She's just a crabby old goat anyway. That's why her name is Monster. She's been a crabby girl since birth. Blaneting, tacking up, even putting a halter on her will make her let out a big pathetic sigh like its the end of the world. She never wants to be touched, groomed or petted.

                        Poll soreness - she is bad about bridling, and that's been going on for a long time. Years. She wears a bitless so it's not that, but it's pulling the bridle over her ears. She'll rip her head away and dive it down to the ground. I did get the vet for that one, and he said it was probably do to plaques (??) inside the ears, and some horses are just touchy about ears. So I make an effort to be very careful about that. I can use the clippers on them, no problem, but its when you bend the ears over that she freaks out.

                        Teeth - she's due now. She's done every winter by an equine dentist who comes here from Missouri. He is fantastic, and he sedates them, uses the speculum and spends a lot of time. She's never had any problems that he noted, but I never asked about the TMJ. I will do that. I think he's supposed to be here in January. No, I don't use the vet at all for teeth. After the vet cramming a float in a horse's mouth and flipping her over backwards, then saying "Her teeth are fine" I switched to the dentist.

                        Pasture - we're under 10" of snow now so they really can't get any grass. Sometimes they paw up a spot and eat a little, but there's no grazing now at all.

                        Thank you so much everyone, this is VERY helpful and gives me some good leads to start on!!

                        Oh yeah - oil - what kind do you guys use? I've heard some negative things about corn oil, but then I read that corn oil is best for EPSM horses. Do you use vegetable oil, or corn oil?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          My gelding had mild EPSM symptoms. The main issues with him were not being forward and even balky, very fidgety when he got the hind legs done and very grooming sensitive around the hind quarters.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The ears and the muscles involved are closely tied to the joint. Does she chew with a good side to side sweep or more up and down? Also check her alignment and see if there is anything of note there... especially since she had the incident, perhaps it involved her joint. This is a good article. There is a good picture of how the muscles by the ears are tied in. http://www.equinecraniosacral.com/ar.../article2.html

                            I would go ahead and start the oil and check selenium anyway because of her loooooong history of having grouchy issues and hind end issues . You likely have multiple issues going on.

                            "Monster" Love it! Poor girl
                            Whole Horse Hoof Care
                            Horseshoeing...Deceptively Simple
                            Endlessly Complex

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              I'm not sure about the chewing Patty, I will have a look tonight. I never thought to observe that. Thanks for the article too, will be good reading for this afternoon.

                              I'll call today and set up a time for the selenium check. Will buy oil at lunch also.

                              Her name is actually China. But, yeah, Monster. She got that name the day she was born. She'd been on the ground for about 12 hours, and my stepdad went in the mare's stall to check on baby, and baby double barrell whammied him. She was a REAL pistol. Neither the sire or the dam were like that at ALL. She's never vicious or seeks and destroys, but she's just crabby.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Forgot to answer... I would use either canola or veggie oil. Not corn.

                                Maybe her jaw has been out since birth?? I would be interested if she is out. The article shows how to tell.

                                Her temperment makes her difficult to figure out, for sure

                                You poor, MOM
                                Whole Horse Hoof Care
                                Horseshoeing...Deceptively Simple
                                Endlessly Complex

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  This is off the wall, but could she be cold? Is she blanketed?

                                  Blush started feeling "tight" when the temps dropped. She's clipped and blanketed, but really on a whim, I tried blanketing her heavier...and nearly all of that tightness went away.

                                  I know *I'm* crabby when I'm cold! Might just worth a try?

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Just regular corn oil is fine.........the only thing you have to watch with feeding oil is horses tend to get fat on it...........my guy had to be removed from it after a year due to becoming to fat (he was a 2 cups a day)...........but his muscle's are still okay but I attribute that to proper selenium levels and low sugar forage and constant turn out.

                                    Dalemma

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I didn't suggest corn oil because of the high omega 6 content. The others are more balanced (omega 3 to omega 6) which is what you want. The IDEAL would be to mix them.

                                      A couple of the EPSM horses I have seen, have actually LOST weight when put on the diet.

                                      Remember the true EPSM diet is 20% fat or 2C oil per 1000 pounds. You can back off once things stabilize. Build your way there.... 1/4 C every few days.
                                      Whole Horse Hoof Care
                                      Horseshoeing...Deceptively Simple
                                      Endlessly Complex

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by Simkie View Post
                                        This is off the wall, but could she be cold? Is she blanketed?

                                        Blush started feeling "tight" when the temps dropped. She's clipped and blanketed, but really on a whim, I tried blanketing her heavier...and nearly all of that tightness went away.

                                        I know *I'm* crabby when I'm cold! Might just worth a try?
                                        This is the first year she's been without blankets. She hates blanketing so much that I decided to skip it this year. She grew a big dense wooly coat. I've blanketed her a few days where it was going to be snowing all day, but otherwise, she's clothing free. I have been feeling her ears, and they've felt very cold a few times but I haven't noticed any shaking. She's the dominant one (gee, big surprise there ) so she stands in the barn and the other two stand out.

                                        Thank you Patty and Dalemma for the oil info.

                                        Comment

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