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Any successes treating self mutilation syndrome in a gelding?

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  • Any successes treating self mutilation syndrome in a gelding?

    We believe he is type II even though he is a gelding (stallion like behavior). I've spoken with professionals and I have some things to try. I am just wondering what other people have tried/what worked.


  • #2
    No advice as I've never been around one that does it, but just out of curiosity, is he stalled? If so, maybe try 24/7 turnout with a buddy. If it's an OCD type problem, have you asked your vet about drugs that are used in people to reduce OCD behavior? (I guess that is advice, but it isn't advice based on experience with it, so it may be useless...


    • #3
      I've never had that issue in horses, but when one of my young Australian Shepherds was chewing her foot to a raw nub (and got stomach ulcers as well), the vet prescribed prozac. Worked almost immediately and after a few months I discontinued the pills. My aussie lived to be 14 and never had another problem. Back then there was no generic for prozac so I had to pay the going price at the drugstore. Check with your vet and see if it might work for your horse.


      • #4
        My morgan used to chamber is teeth when stressed, not quite self-mutilation, but sort-of.

        Identifying and controlling stress triggers (for him primary trigger was being stalled for more than a short overnight), and treating for ulcers.
        Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.


        • #5
          I had an OTTB gelding that bit his chest while he was a racehorse. I bought him and within a week with 12 hours of turnout a day, he stopped. He never did it again once he quit, even when he had to be on extended stall rest. Can you try to get him more turnout. I was not aware that there are different types of self mutilation in horses.


          • #6
            I heard at the track the rare colt would would bite his flank, enough to make sores.
            They used a bib on those, so they could not bite themselves, the same kind used to keep one from chewing their blanket off.

            That was long ago, before anyone knew about ulcers.


            • #7
              Generally, self-mutilating horses have triggers: once you isolate the triggers, the habit goes away. Ironically, especially in type II situations, the trigger is isolation.

              It's best for horses afflicted with self-mutilating tendencies to have various changes in their lives: free turn out, unrestricted hay or grass, and a pasturemate. For Type II horses, one has to carefully evaluate the horse and not go with 'what the book says'. Some Type II's benefit from going out with another horse; matriarchal and patriarchal types do best, IMHO, as companions for these types of horses. Others are too aggressive: I think that self-mutilation is a stereotypy like cribbing or box-walking, and needs to be treated as such: free T/O in herd environment, ulcer treatment, and unlimited hay/grass.

              Alternatively, where is your horse targeting?

              You could also try Prozac.

              Good luck!
              AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012