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Questions about a bodysore horse - chiro/massage intersection (long!)

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  • Questions about a bodysore horse - chiro/massage intersection (long!)

    So I have an OTTB who is chronically bodysore. Starting in Dec I pulled him back in from the field (had been turned out without work for about a year due to an injury of mine) to start work again (we definitely legged up like we should - didn't jump right in). Was EXTREMELY one-sided. Had chiro out in Jan, she said pushing on his back was like banging on a picnic table, and it was true. Put him on injectable glucosamine and aggressive schedule of adjustments (every 3 weeks, getting longer to every 8). Horse obviously improved and is now working pretty well. However, he still is quite sore through the back.

    I found a massage student (taking the course, needs some clinical hours to get certified) who is massaging him for free (AWESOME). She seemed to do really well with him on Saturday, but his back was so sore he wouldn't even really let her work on it. She worked out his neck really well, and he loved it, and his hindquarters he eventually let her do. He hasn't had a chiro adjustment in about 3 months because I lost my job and so the nonessentials had to go. I haven't really been riding him either though except for light hacks (no health insurance).

    So, I have been really confused as to why he's getting so body sore with basically being a pasture puff. Have always nagged my farrier about contracted heels and long toes, with separation at ragged ends, and finally have found a good barefoot trimmer who doesn't charge too much $$, so I had him trimmed yesterday by her. She did a good job, so we'll see how that works out. I have this sneaking suspicion that most of his bodysoreness comes from not being able to move correctly on his feet without pain, leading to compensation, etc... Thoughts on that one??

    And finally, the real question I started out to ask is that I'd love to hear from folks that do chiro and/or massage, why you do which you do, and what you think they can fix. I am really wondering if his problem should be fixed first with massage to get out the soreness, then a chiro will be able to adjust better. But this horse has never NOT been sore. I can't groom him with anything more than a cactus cloth or one of those gentle grooma rubber curries without sending him into orbit.

    Note about saddle fit - I know this impacts things, but our saddle fits ok and shouldn't be causing probs this badly, especially because he was still sore as hell after NO saddle for about 6 months. I think there's something else going on...

    Thanks for the support I'm just getting really frustrated with trying to peel this onion. There's always another layer - everything we have done (Rx ulcer treatment, joint supp, etc) has helped, but it also seems like everytime we solve one problem, another presents itself immediately!! I just keep thanking my stars that it's not life-threatening or anything , but it's a little hard to keep the faith sometimes.

  • #2
    Have you checked his SE levels? SE deficiency can cause a horse to be very body sore.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      I haven't had his levels checked, but on the Chiro/vet's recommendation put him on an E/Se supplement with 2g daily... haven't seen any difference, and from what I've read 3 g is the max supplementation dose for Se, right? Also, he's not really sore all over - the masseuse said his neck was really pretty fine - some knots, but they came right out, and after he got over letting her work a little deeper, his glutes were good too. It's the muscles over his back that are the ones that are really sore. Would Se deficiency mean that just certain muscles would be sore, or all muscles?

      Comment


      • #4
        I'd look into muscle disorders:

        http://www.re-leve.com/documents/Mus...ngtheknots.pdf

        http://www.re-leve.com/documents/Fee...edisorders.pdf

        I think you're also on the right track with the feet.

        Comment


        • #5
          How much you supp with E depends on the horse. At one point I was adding 4mg/day, on top of the 1 from a vit/min supplement - so 5mg/day over and above what the forage was giving. I knew of a horse who required 6mg/day to maintain normal blood levels. So, it depends.

          Did the chiro do a good job of checking his ribs and sternum?

          Have you, or the chiro, or the MT worked on back lifts? If you stand behind him (safely ) and scrinch his butt to make him tuck it, which also lifts the back to some degree - can he? Will he? Can you do that on one side at a time, so that he curls down and curls to one side?
          ______________________________
          The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

          Comment


          • #6
            I had a very body sore and back sore thoroughbred. My fabulous veterinary acupuncturist diagnosed her with neurological wind up and we treated that with gabapentin. The change in Blush was AMAZING. And happened overnight. Gabapentin is cheap from Walgreens.

            I left her on gabapentin for about 8 months and then weaned her off when her lameness issues meant she could no longer be ridden. No return of the body and back soreness.

            Wouldn't be a bad idea to give it a go with your guy. You'd know in a week if it's going to help or not. You'd likely know overnight.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by evans36 View Post

              So, I have been really confused as to why he's getting so body sore with basically being a pasture puff. Have always nagged my farrier about contracted heels and long toes, with separation at ragged ends, and finally have found a good barefoot trimmer who doesn't charge too much $$, so I had him trimmed yesterday by her. She did a good job, so we'll see how that works out. I have this sneaking suspicion that most of his bodysoreness comes from not being able to move correctly on his feet without pain, leading to compensation, etc... Thoughts on that one??

              BINGO. If his feet aren't properly trimmed, it can affect all sorts of things. My mare went through this last year; she got progressively more sore/lame over a month, and the first vet said it could be her SI or stifles. She was four at the time and had been in light work—very limited jumping. I didn't want to jump into joint injections just yet, so I started doing some observation and research of my own. Her feet looked like crap—very long toes, underrun heels, sole stretched forward, massive flaring, etc. I talked with my chiro, who is also a vet, and she said fixing the feet was a good place to start.

              EqTrainer started trimming her, and we gave her the better part of a year off. We got her on free-choice hay, a diet that meets her needs nutritionally (enough protein, vitamins and minerals for her body to rebuild muscle and hoof) and as much turnout (movement!) as we could give her.

              Chiro and massage helped, especially later. Initially her feet were so out of balance that any adjustments the chiro made wouldn't hold more than a few days.

              She's still barefoot and sound as she can be—in fact she moves better now than she did when I bought her.

              So, definitely make sure those feet are trimmed properly, regardless of what your chosen practitioner calls him/herself.

              You could also talk with your vet and do some research into EPSM; a friend's horse was diagnosed with that after months of soreness, twitchiness, sensitivity, etc. He was a middle-aged OTTB also.

              Doing a selenium test might also be worthwhile; that's a relatively cheap and easy fix if he's deficient.

              Good luck sorting him out. It's tough.
              Full-time bargain hunter.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by onelanerode View Post
                Doing a selenium test might also be worthwhile; that's a relatively cheap and easy fix if he's deficient.
                I want to second this; I know you said you were supplementing him, but a DVM/endurance rider of my acquaintance has seen multiple horses who were so deficient that they apparently could not absorb the oral supplement. She had to start with an injected supplement and once their levels were up via that route, oral supplementation could maintain it. So Se is worth checking.
                Originally posted by HuntrJumpr
                No matter what level of showing you're doing, you are required to have pants on.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I think you may have hit the nail on the head with the hoof form and the possibility of a poor trim. I know that bad trimming and shoeing were one factor in making my mare very sore all over (including back-soreness). She also had lyme disease as a contributing factor.

                  It would be worth looking into selenium-Vit. E deficiency as a part of the puzzle, but the hoof form may be the root of the problem.

                  Good luck.
                  "The formula 'Two and two make five' is not without its attractions." --Dostoevsky

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Thank you everyone!!

                    JB/ambar - very interesting about the Se... I didn't realize that was the case. Vet didn't seem to be that concerned about the Se when we were discussing his diet. I will speak with her again next time she comes out about just running a test to see. As far as stretches - I've never tried to do a back lift like that, but I do the ones where you scratch under the belly to get him to lift the back, and he actually seems to enjoy those. He can and will do them, so the stretch probably feels somewhat good. It's really just when I start to touch on his back that I get the hairy eyeball.

                    Simkie - do you have more info on neurological wind up and gabapentin? I don't think this is related to any of the tying-up muscle disorders - he can still work, and he will round up through his back some, just won't really stay there and work.

                    I just have this gut feeling that it's his feet, and the more I think about it I can't afford to attack everything at one time right now, so even if I fix something else, the feet are still going to be a problem. I think fixing them first is going to ease the rest of the road, anyhow. So we'll see how he continues to move after this trim. This was the first time that someone has taken anything off his underrun heels and really rounded the outside of his sole. Most of the flare in the front feet and all in the back feet was gone after 1 trim. He was a bit sore that day, but that's normal for him. At this point I'm thinking I'll give this a couple trims along with the massage (since that's free - woohoo!) to see if we're getting anywhere, and just have the vet/chiro out to adjust him and talk about drawing Se when I can afford it.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by evans36 View Post
                      Simkie - do you have more info on neurological wind up and gabapentin? I don't think this is related to any of the tying-up muscle disorders - he can still work, and he will round up through his back some, just won't really stay there and work.
                      Neurological wind up is not related to tying up at all. Googling "wind-up pain" produces results:

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pain_wind-up

                      http://www.bayareapainmedical.com/winduppn.html

                      Et cetera.

                      After seeing the enormous change in my horse, I would not hesitate to try gabapentin with ANY back sore or overly touchy horse. I thought back to several horses in my past, and wish I could have tried it on them.

                      It's cheap, it has few side effects and hot damn--I was FLOORED with the change in Blush. Floored.

                      Ah, here's the Very Long thread about Blush and her issues: http://www.chronicleforums.com/Forum...d.php?t=161628 I talk about gabapentin quite a bit in there.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        That is really interesting and definitely sounds like it could be my guy. I talked about it some with the vet/chiro when she first started treating him. He raced for 6 years, and I remember the vet/chiro saying that it didn't matter that he had just been in a field for the past year, he had been sore for so long that he didn't know how to be anything else.

                        What was the dosage on that for equine use? I think I might give the vet a call and see what she says about trying it out.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          We used the 2.5 mg/kg dose that is described here: http://avmajournals.avma.org/doi/abs...rnalCode=javma dosed BID.

                          It's use in equines is relatively new and dosing from 1.0 mg/kg SID to 15 mg/kg TID has been used by various vet hospitals.

                          If your vet would like to speak with either of my vets about using gabapentin, I would be happy to hook you up with their phone numbers. Just shoot me a PT.

                          Walgreens has the best price I found. You'll need to purchase a $20 ($25?) prescription card (yes, for your horse! I have one that says Blush Horse Kaye!) and then it's about $40/month for the 2.5 mg/kg BID dose for a 1300 lbs horse.

                          I suspect a LOT of horses come off the track with this condition. I know a lot of the OTTBs from my past were very sore and very sensitive like Blush was before gabapentin and I was always told that's just how TBs WERE.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            OK, so the medicine is Rx? Also, I just got finished reading your thread. Really fascinating stuff. I am wondering if we should start with the Robaxin too - in case it's more of a case of muscles that are locked in spasm. Did you see any difference in your horse on that? Mine doesn't seem quite as hot about things as yours is - I can touch him, but if I press or massage at all, he gets angry. I can set the saddle pad on his back and he's not a fan, but I am pretty sure that's more because he knows the saddle is coming.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by evans36 View Post
                              Thank you everyone!!

                              JB/ambar - very interesting about the Se... I didn't realize that was the case. Vet didn't seem to be that concerned about the Se when we were discussing his diet. I will speak with her again next time she comes out about just running a test to see.
                              I think it's always a good idea to check Se levels when dealing with muscle issues. If nothing else, you might quickly rule it out. IMHO, if he shows anything lower than mid-range (yes, including the low end of normal), *I* would see about adding Se and see what happens.

                              As far as stretches - I've never tried to do a back lift like that, but I do the ones where you scratch under the belly to get him to lift the back, and he actually seems to enjoy those. He can and will do them, so the stretch probably feels somewhat good. It's really just when I start to touch on his back that I get the hairy eyeball.
                              If he seems to enjoy that stretch, it could be muscle or it could be tendon related. If you can find a good myofascial therapy person, that might be really interesting.

                              I just have this gut feeling that it's his feet, and the more I think about it I can't afford to attack everything at one time right now, so even if I fix something else, the feet are still going to be a problem. I think fixing them first is going to ease the rest of the road, anyhow. So we'll see how he continues to move after this trim. This was the first time that someone has taken anything off his underrun heels and really rounded the outside of his sole. Most of the flare in the front feet and all in the back feet was gone after 1 trim. He was a bit sore that day, but that's normal for him. At this point I'm thinking I'll give this a couple trims along with the massage (since that's free - woohoo!) to see if we're getting anywhere, and just have the vet/chiro out to adjust him and talk about drawing Se when I can afford it.
                              Great plan. You're right, if the feet are out, nothing else will fix - maybe you can manage, it will be continual management. OTOH, while I wouldn't put it past a hoof issue to affect just the back, it's odd that it isn't (continuing?) to affect the ends of him. But who knows, it could be just how *he* deals with hoof discomfort, and dealing with it primarily in his back, however he might be doing it, could keep it from migrating to his front/back end.

                              Keep us updated!
                              ______________________________
                              The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by evans36 View Post
                                OK, so the medicine is Rx? Also, I just got finished reading your thread. Really fascinating stuff. I am wondering if we should start with the Robaxin too - in case it's more of a case of muscles that are locked in spasm. Did you see any difference in your horse on that? Mine doesn't seem quite as hot about things as yours is - I can touch him, but if I press or massage at all, he gets angry. I can set the saddle pad on his back and he's not a fan, but I am pretty sure that's more because he knows the saddle is coming.
                                Yes, it's RX and no--I really didn't see much improvement on the robaxin. I saw a very tiny amount. It was not worth the expense. I saw more improvement on large doses of lysine. But all of that PALED in comparison to the change on the gabapentin.

                                Comment

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