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Causes of the "tucked up" appearence? UPDATE! Positive PSSM

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  • Causes of the "tucked up" appearence? UPDATE! Positive PSSM

    My gelding has a once a month habit of pacing. It usually starts because he saw something scary.... then the pacing begins. He is on 24/7 turnout, but even locking him in doesn't stop it. We are doing some behavior modification with herbs and now Quiessence. He also does better when we seperate him from his submissive buddy.

    But, when these "episodes" happen, he gets all tucked up. Regardless of water intake, food, etc. he gets tucked up and has some mild diarrhea. After several days of being quiet he looks normal again. Any ideas? What generally causes a tucked up appearence.

    For the record, eyes are fine, two vets ruled out ulcers, no grain (beet, hay) and 24/7 turnout. Diet changes never cause these episodes. I have been journaling about this gelding for a year and have yet to find a common thread.
    Last edited by manyspots; Feb. 16, 2010, 06:03 PM.
    Gone gaited....

  • #2
    Tight muscles comes to mind.
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


    • Original Poster

      Interesting point JB. His hind end muscles are rock solid following these episodes. He is not a runner, he justs walks and paces.

      He used to not drink, and I had to give him extra beet and water in a sloppy mix to get some in him. BUT, he has been drinking these past few times, no less than usual, and has that same appearance.

      Stretching... or just let it pass?
      Gone gaited....


      • #4
        Oooh be very careful!

        How did the vets rule out ulcers? Scoping? My daughter's gelding had a bad reaction to bute and got ulcers. One of the very first signs was that tucked up appearance...REALLY tucked up!!! And the situation you're describing is stressful, he may be getting ulcers...and they're not fun.


        • #5

          Ditto the ulcers. My guy would tuck up like he was holding his stomach in or something. It's kind of a weird look. He's on Ranitadine now. And the runny poop too is a sign of ulcers.

          Do you do free choice hay? Is his pacing at all related to hay being finished or he being a wee bit hungry?
          Sorry! But that barn smell is my aromatherapy!
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          • Original Poster

            Both vets... the traditional and alternative medicine, said no way to ulcers. No scoping. Trad vet told me he is not a candidate. 24/7 turnout, free choice hay, no grain, not in training, etc. Alt vet checked acupuncture points and also did history. Both told me no need to treat, or scope.

            It always nags me though.

            The pacing occurs despite there being ample hay. He has a wonderfuk appetite and always has. He gets wild eyed and moves his buddy around as if he is trying to get away from what ever has upset him. These guys are in my backyard and I am the caretaker, so I watch their environment as well as what they are being fed closely.
            Gone gaited....


            • #7

              If you don't mind spending the dough, you could purchase 2 weeks supply of Ulcergard (there are lots of threads on it and you don't need a prescription). I gave my guy a half a tube a day for one month. Treat him yourself for two weeks and see if there is a difference.

              I too had asked my vet about ulcers and she pooh-poohed me. So I did nothing for a year! Then after reading all the threads on this site, I tried the Ulcergard for one month and saw a difference. I took the horse off of Ulcergard thinking the ulcers were healed and then he seemed to get them again about 5 months later. This time, I did not trust myself and called the vet. She came in and I told her all my testing and what happened, including all the symptoms. And, she agreed. She put the horse on one year of Ranitadine.

              Also, read many of the ulcer threads. There is one thread written by Auventura 2 or Auventura Two called We have ulcers. Now she gets blasted in there but some of the symptoms she gives, my horse had. So if you can get around the blasting and read for info...Try to find some of the older threads with symptoms. Some of the newer threads are not as informative. (There seems to be a different crowd on COTH.)
              Some symptoms: On and off feed, tucked up, general spookiness (?), preoccupied, poop that has a runniness to it (I was constantly wiping his as?!?!), colicky symptoms, on and off sickish, etc. Anyway, try to find some of the older threads.

              And my horse has the easiest life in the world. I was confounded that he would have these but he has them...(He did have colic surgery in 2007 due to his cribbing and we think it started then along with a treatment with DOXY for Lyme...)

              Good luck with your horse.
              Sorry! But that barn smell is my aromatherapy!
              One of our horsey bumper stickers! www.horsehollowpress.com
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              • #8
                Your vet can't rule out ulcers by saying that due to his feed/turn out he can't have them. ANY horse can have them, it is a proven fact and any good vet would have offered to try simple & inexpensive remedies... papaya juice, ranitadine (I get mine at Walmart 238 of them for a week is $17 - he gets 17 bid).

                There is stuff that I hear is GREAT called Stomach Soother. Personally I find the papaya juice is great to PREVENT tummy upsets - it will not heal them, just helps to prevent. We do 1 cup over each feeding (including when we do bran mashes, soaked alfalfa cubes and beet pulp).

                Is your beep pulp free of all molasses??? That can easily cause ulcers in a sensitive horse.

                I did not find that Quiessence did anythiing for my guy. I used it for 6 month and there was no change. But, I have a friend who swears by it. Each animal is different.

                I am still shaking my head at your vet saying that he couldn't have ulcers. Even little peptic ulcers can cause this type of reaction. If you can't put the money into scoping (I can understand $$ issues, believe me), try the Stomach Soother, Paypaya Juice, Ranitidine, something like that. I bet you will see some improvement, again, not a cure, but improvement!

                Papaya juice - get it at your local health food store or in your regular grocery store's natural food section. I pay about $3.29 for a half gallon

                Do a search for Stomach Soother. Several on line places carry it now. Not sure of the cost, sorry.

                Finish Line carrys U7. I got a case of that (and it ain't cheap). Used that plus another 3/4 of a case and don't see anything more than what I saw from the Papaya. That is $64/gallon. My vet said none of igredients she read lead to anything that was supposed to treat ulcers. It had honey and a bunch of yummy smelling sweet stuff, but not worth the money IMHO. Thakn goodness I WON the 2 cases ;-) or I would be seriously PO'd!

                Best of luck, but please don't rule out ulcers!
                Last edited by oppsie2; Jan. 11, 2010, 01:20 PM. Reason: where to get...


                • Original Poster

                  OK-to address some things mentioned:

                  * Only ever feed molasses free beet pulp. He is highly sensitive to food. In his nine years on this planet, I have realized I cannot feed him sweet feed, high NSC complete pellet, and TC Low Starch. Does OK on TC Senior, but holding his own on beet and Cool Calories right now. Actually, weight wise he looks the best he has in a long time.

                  * I have also done nothing for a year after talking with two vets. Is it OK to just treat him with Ranitidine? I honestly cannot shell out the money for ulcergard right now. I know I should... but if Ranitidine is a cheaper alt, then I am for it!

                  * He has been on U-gard powder, and then U-7 Gastric Acid since April. Doesn't seem to do much, I fed the U-gard as a test. The U-7 I got free at Equine Affaire (three months worth.) Never saw any changes for the worse or better while he was on it.

                  * I have read Auventura's threads on ulcers. I agree, any horse can have ulcers. It's just so frustrating being told no, no no... and not knowing anyone who has actually treated (around here).

                  I am throwing my hands up and ready to try at this point!

                  He is 1050 lbs. How many pills/mg would that be per day? And how many times? I can pull the threads to.... I am a COTH addict
                  Gone gaited....


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by manyspots View Post
                    Both vets... the traditional and alternative medicine, said no way to ulcers. No scoping. Trad vet told me he is not a candidate.
                    Mine shouldn't be a candidate either, but he is DEFINITELY ulcery. 24/7 turnout, quiet herd, stressfree life (worked lightly, long periods of no work), free choice hay, low carb grain, alfalfa, etc. Had a vet check that acupressure site, she said "eh, nothing special."

                    His mentality seems like it might cause internal stress, so even if they rule him out based on external stresses, didn't that make him a candidate? I think it's a contributing factor in mine. He will often become a little OCD/neurotic - has spent hours walking circles around the round bale for reasons only he knows, for example.

                    My other horse will get that tucked up look when he's hurting. He is sensitive to changes in his feet and it's obvious when something is up. Still eats and drinks well, just has that appearance. Alievate the pain and he is back to looking normal (for him) again in 24 hours.


                    • Original Poster

                      LarissaL-that is exactly the behavior I am talking about... walking around the roundbale is the equivalant of what my guy does! It is baffling too... you split he and his buddy up and pacing stops. I still haven't figured out that behavior yet.

                      If I start Ranitidine tonight (looks like 10-12 150 mg pills 2x a day?) should I quit his other supps?

                      He is on:
                      Quiessence - for pacing/anxiety
                      TCM herbs (1/2 dose) - for pacing
                      Cool Calories
                      Gone gaited....


                      • #12
                        It can also be other things that are bothering him besides ulcers (although I would certainly try the ranitidine for a couple of weeks). My guy was nqr while working, crabby, didn't like being brushed, had that tucked up trot. I figured it was probably ulcers because I've treated for that before, but he was diagnosed with equine herpes. It's the equine equivalent of shingles. He's on supplemental lysine now and it seems to be doing the trick.


                        • #13
                          When you say his hind end muscles are "rock solid" do you mean "good as gold" or "hard as a rock"?

                          FWIW, some horses don't like 24/7 turnout. Lots from the track really learn to love their stall. I have had a few OTTB's and a few WB's. Right now I have one of each and both like to be out for about 2 hours then would rather come in and eat hay in the cool, fly free barn. The OTTB paces and loses lots of weight if he is turned out for too long. Could be giving your horse ulcers.

                          Agree with all PP's. Any horse can have them. Just because they are supposed to be happy out roaming and grazing doesn't mean they are.


                          • #14

                            I agree about U-7, it did nothing for my guy. Not sure of the dose for the Ranitadine. I have a prescription with SmartPak and he gets 10 tablets a day. I do not have the bottle handy but there are threads all over in regards to this that might have the numbers for you.

                            Interestingly, my vet put my horse on a prescription for an entire year?!?! But since he has been on it, he has been more my old guy than ever.

                            Thanks whoever mentioned Stomach Soother. I might give his body a break from the Ranitadine since there is no riding and try that for a month since I know the symptoms he gets. I was also curious about Succeed but I understand it is incredibly expensive.

                            I too agree with the one poster about 24/7 T/O. Some horses like being in the barn, it's their down/private time.

                            Good luck.
                            Sorry! But that barn smell is my aromatherapy!
                            One of our horsey bumper stickers! www.horsehollowpress.com
                            Add Very Funny Horse Bumper Stickers on facebook


                            • #15

                              PS: I would take him off all the other supplements personally. You never know, they might cause an acidity in his stomach. I have stomach problems and taking my vitamins is an ordeal. I can't take them all in one fell swoop. I have to take one pill every hour or boy, does my stomach hurt.
                              Sorry! But that barn smell is my aromatherapy!
                              One of our horsey bumper stickers! www.horsehollowpress.com
                              Add Very Funny Horse Bumper Stickers on facebook


                              • #16
                                In my experience the "tucked up" appearance is clenched abdominal muscles, usually because there is some pain (mild colic, for example, or even just the "nervous stomach" like you might get before speaking in public or going for a medical exam of some kind. You can see the tension in the muscles.

                                Of course, the solution is to find out what's bothering him or figure a way to break the response with drugs, medication, a different kind of management, etc. And for that part I have no advice!


                                • Original Poster

                                  Interesting point about stomach issues and the supplements interacting... I had been considering pulling him off everything. I am afraid he is going to be climbing trees... but that is the chance I take .

                                  On a side note, he is actually happier outside than locked in. He was a non-socialized show horse for the first four years of his life, and on limited TO until he was 7. We switched barns then he came home, both 24/7 situations he has actually gotten much better!

                                  He is a little more relaxed tonight... but still baffles me. Eating with gusto, drinking, but tucked. Off to Walmart I go tomorrow!
                                  Gone gaited....


                                  • #18
                                    I'd have to agree with so many here and say ulcers and it sounds like he is suffering mild episodes of tying up.

                                    I would run blood to see if he's lacking anything by way of electrolytes
                                    Check his ck levels
                                    Ensure that his hay is not alfalfa
                                    Treat for ulcers immediately

                                    Tucking up is pain related and causes a great amount of stress

                                    Do you ever notice him urinating during those pacing times?


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Ulcers even though this only happens once every 4-6 weeks and lasts for exactly 3 days?

                                      This morning, which is day 4, he is quiet, personable and is usual self. Pacing has been over since yesterday afternoon and spookiness disappeared overnight. This his exact pattern each and every time.

                                      I had considered tying up, but he didn't seem to fit that profile. No urination during pacing (other than stopping and urinating in their usual "spot"). He has been on some alfalfa cubes with his beet since the weather got cold and he showed no adverse reaction. No change in behavior... same pattern stuck despite the few cubes twice a day. My hay is timothy/orchard blend from one supplier and I have an entire year's worth. So no change there. His gelding stablemate is on a near identical diet with no issues.

                                      Do you think next time he has an "episode" is a good time to draw blood and see if there is an underlying cause?
                                      Gone gaited....


                                      • #20
                                        Yes, next time there's an episode, talk to your vet about the optimal time to take blood, as I think it takes several hours (36???) for muscle damage to show up (well enough) in the bloodstream. I can't recall if there is benefit to taking blood asap, or if that's going to be misleading.
                                        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET