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Trying the EPSM diet

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  • Trying the EPSM diet

    My 21 yo mare is skinny and has been since mid-november. She has put on almost 150 lbs since then, but she is still skinny. I have been struggling to keep weight on her for the past several years. She was at a good weight for most of it, but when she stresses out she loses and she lost a lot back in mid Nov. that I haven't been able to get back on. And yes, she tends to get ulcers easily so she is on preventative for that too. I feel that getting rid of the ulcers is what has helped a lot so far with the little weight gain we have had.

    The more I read about EPSM on the threads here, she may be a candidate. Her diet now is Pennfield Sr., about 10 lbs. alfalfa hay, pasture (if you want to call it that) and I have added Omegashine into it for some added fat. I am thinking about switching her to diet #6 which is Strategy with the 2 c. veg oil, alfalfa hay (which I give her already) and the added vita E/Se. How much more vita E/se do you give. Would I have to have the vet do some kind of test to see?

    Do most people do the diet switch first to see if the horse improves or do they do a muscle biopsy too? Thanks for any advice. This has been a frustrating couple of years of trying to keep her at a good weight.

  • #2
    How long ago were here teeth done? At her age she is prime candidate for having PPID, or 'Cushings' disease. One of the common symptoms of that is topline wasting and/or metabolic changes that can result either in weight gain or weight loss. Diagnostic tests for that are described in www.ecirhorse.com
    Good luck and keep us posted!
    RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died, Death either by euthanasia or natural causes is only the end of the animal inhabiting its body; I believe the spirit lives on.


    • Original Poster

      Thanks for the link. I will look into it later today. She has had her teeth done regularly. As for Cushings, I thought Cushings horses mostly had a hard time shedding out, which she does not. More food for thought though....


      • #4
        There's now a test for EPSM or PSSM

        If you think your mare may have EPSM, you can send mane hair with folicles attached to the University of Minnesota vet school laboratory for a genetic test to see if she's positive. I did that with my draft cross mare. It cost $65 and took about two weeks. She was P/N for EPSM (although the U of M prefers PSSM).


        • #5
          There are 2 (and a 3rd is emerging) types of PSSM, type 1 is identified by the DNA test, but I thought that was only for QH types?? The muscle biopsy I have been told is costly, so it seems that most everyone just tries the diet, it is cheaper/easier.

          Please keep me posted, I want to learn as much about this disease as possible.


          • #6
            Just be aware that many horses can test positive for EPSM and be asymptomatic. So it's not necessarily *the* answer.
            That being said, according to Dr. Beth Valentine, who is apparently an authority on EPSM says that the related diet "couldn't hurt."
            So by all means - give it a shot.
            Six months will tell if you were on the right track or not.
            ... It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that Shwung


            • #7
              We put my horse on the diet sort of...no oils he won't eat them but did change to a low NSC and high fat and he is doing well on it....It can never hurt to try it...
              Mai Tai aka Tyler RIP March 1994-December 2011
              Grief is the price we pay for love- Gretchen Jackson
              "And here she comes. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's ZENYATTA!"