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Suspected PSSM-Vitamin E/Selenium Questions

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  • Suspected PSSM-Vitamin E/Selenium Questions

    After much research, COTH assistance, and a year's worth of journaling (30 pages in Microsoft word) about my NQR gelding I am seriously suspecting PSSM. He is an almost 9 year old gelding who has had:

    1) Grumpy grumpy attitude

    2) High sensitivity to most grain (cannot handle sweet feed, oats, high NSC pelleted complete feed, TC Low Starch, Rice Bran).

    3) Always been stiff behind at start of every work out, despite chiro care since he was 3.

    4) Unbearable pacing episodes for no apparent reason

    5) Strange stretching of his left hind leg or lifting and holding for no reason.

    6) Poor canter, despite slowly working up to it and doing a lot of stretching, suppling and conditioning. Does buck or bunny hop at start of every canter session. Sometimes does not loosen up.

    He is currently on 1 QT plain beet, 1 QT alfalfa cubes all soaked 2x a day. Also getting 4 oz. of Cool Calories and increasing (or about to switch to oil). Mega-cell multivitamin, Source, free choice grass hay, and Quiessence. He is off everything else he was on. So.... add just Vitamin E or do a Vitamin E/Selenium combo? He has NOT been tested for deficiency (will do with spring shots next month) so wondering if I should just do E for now?
    Gone gaited....

  • #2
    The first thing I would do is test for selenium levels........low seleniums aggravate PSSM...........My guy was having muscle spasms and his muscle were rock hard..........found out his selenium was low.........muscle twitching stopped after his selenium levels came up ......muscles remained hard.......added oil and the muscles softened.....but my horse has too much muscle involvement to ever be rideable.

    What really helps selenium levels for me is adding 3 capsules a day of 400 I.U. of Vitamin E......I went from 4 mg of selenium and a falling level to levels rising very quickly that I had to cut back to 2 mg..........I will test this spring to see where I am at.



    • #3
      I'm not a vet, but I have dealt with this myself so I know where you are coming from.

      The amount of Se you are likely to give in the next month, unless you go completely nuts and start pumping silly quantities into him (this is not an "if a bit is good, a lot is better" situation!), is extremely unlikely to push him over into OD status.

      Personally, if I suspected this were the problem, I'd start supplementing with Se and E now. 2mg a day 'til you get him tested. If he's "normal" or on the low side of normal when you test him, you'll still have a pretty good idea as to what's going on, and at that point can adjust the dosage. If he tests high, then you know where you are also.

      It'll take a couple of weeks for it to take effect, but if it is the problem, you'll be glad you didn't hang around.

      My horse is still on the lower end of normal test range when supplemented with 2mg a day. But, he's functional and comfortable with that, so I don't feel the need to push it, unless we are in really hard work.

      I'd add some magnesium as well. The combo makes a big difference in some horses, and can't hurt.

      Meanwhile, talk to your feed store--or even just look 'round the shelves. If there are several E & Se supplements for sale, it means that people are buying them, and you are not the only one in the area with the problem...

      It took me a while to sort out what was going on with my horse, too. My vet thinks I'm a complete kook, and I'm sure I come across as a crazy Munchhausen's horse mother to a lot of people, but he's happy, healthy and sound on his current regime, so I really don't care that much!


      • #4
        I ditto checking at the feed store for more info.

        We have a great local feed place and when I asked questions about supplements, and E and Selenium and yada, yada, yada that we can find ourselves adding each day, I was pleasantly surprised to be told that they have a bulk supplement they make that is specifically blended to suit our very selenium depleted area. I was able to to ditch the multi-vit and the added selenium and now just have to deal with the Vitamin E capsule, HorseShine and Paco gets his oil too. The best part? It's $19 for a 50lb bag and will last our three horses and two minis a whopping 200 days! They all look and act wonderful too.
        I Loff My Quarter Horse & I love Fenway Bartholomule cliques

        Just somebody with a positive outlook on life...go ahead...hate me for that.


        • #5
          Originally posted by equineartworks View Post
          I ditto checking at the feed store for more info.

          We have a great local feed place and when I asked questions about supplements, and E and Selenium and yada, yada, yada that we can find ourselves adding each day, I was pleasantly surprised to be told that they have a bulk supplement they make that is specifically blended to suit our very selenium depleted area. I was able to to ditch the multi-vit and the added selenium and now just have to deal with the Vitamin E capsule, HorseShine and Paco gets his oil too. The best part? It's $19 for a 50lb bag and will last our three horses and two minis a whopping 200 days! They all look and act wonderful too.
          What is the name of that supplement? I am in very low selenium area as well(MA).


          • Original Poster

            atr-Your last paragraph cracked me up!!! I know my vet thinks I am a nut too but the progress he has made since he saw him last year is remarkable. Unfortunately, we have had a bunch of set backs, diet issues, etc. until I finally THINK I have this figured out.

            About three days ago, I noticed a dramatic change in my gelding. He had been on Quiessence (magnesium supplement from Foxden) for 11 days and it was suddenly like someone flipped a switch. His whole body seemed to soften. In addition, this is the second day I have lightly lunged him (walk and some trot) and he looks better than yesterday. It was like he sighed in relief.

            He has also been on the beet and alfalfa combo since December 28th. I removed grain four days ago. Granted, he was only on 2 lbs. TC Senior a day.... but no more chances.

            So, no worries if I add about 1500 IU of E and 2 mg Selenium between now and spring shots? Great idea on the capsules!
            Gone gaited....