What the heck is going on? (long) Updated

Discussion in 'Horse Management' started by Cornflower, Nov 28, 2010.

  1. Cornflower

    Cornflower Well-known Member

    Ok, i need some help and advice, because this is getting silly. I don't think my boy is well, and i'm having a bugger of a time with it all. It's been going on for years, and for years, no one has been able to give me a proper diagnosis or any real help.
    He has a few problems, but my main concern is that he looks like crap and i think it's something internal.
    Yesterday i got a call from my agistment saying he wasn't well and was quiet, ate some of his own poo, as well as another horse's poo, and can i come down because we think he has colic.

    He didn't have colic. Breathing, pulse, temp normal. Pooing, gut sounds. Just quiet. He is brighter today, i even got a few winnies.

    Now this is a long story, going on for a while now, so i think it's probably best i just go through some symptoms and try to summarise everything.

    1) He looks like crap. Pot-belly, ribs showing, sunken at hips/flanks, no topline, sunken in either side of wither, dull-ish coat (shiny, but light and no dapples - he used to be dark chocolate with dapples every year).

    2) Feet are good, he's barefoot, but he's almost always tender after a trim. Wasn't this time though.

    3) Poos like there's no tomorrow. He's doing 10-12 per night. Lots of bits of hay in the poo, some up to 5-6cm long. All decent sized poos.

    4) Cannot put condition on him. But he loosed and gains weight easily.

    4) Flies all over him, very sensitive to flies, and they eat him alive.

    5) Generally doesn't look 'happy', looks depressed most of the time.

    6) Yo-yos on feed. Meaning, i get a feed, he improves (gains condition etc), then weeks later drops back again. Change feed, improves within 2wks, another 2wks later, and he drops again. Change feed, improves, drops again.
    Honestly, i've been through most pellet feeds out there.
    He even did this on FFS meal.

    6) Soreness. Back, lumbar, top of bum. Moves a hind leg wierdly. Twitches if you run your hand down along where the girth would sit. Girthy/touchy when doing up the girth.

    7) He's quite stiff too.

    8) Drags both hind feet in trot on the lunge as well as under saddle. But tracks up well in walk and trot.

    9) Has sores above the coronet band on both binds which will not heel.

    10) Did chew wood/trees. I haven't seen him do this in a while.


    - No colic. Never had it all the 8.5yrs i've owned him. No sand in manure.

    - Eats everything. Not much sets him off (makes him loppy). And he will start and stay there till he finishes, doesn't leave his feed bin.

    - Drinks

    - Normal Urine.

    - All poos always formed, good colour, no scouring (once in a blue moon maybe).

    - Had bloods done and kidney function was normal, blood count normal. Liver was slightly iffy, but not serious.

    - does not windsuck.

    - has been on oats, and did well on them.

    I really can't tell you much about how he goes under saddle, because he hasn't been ridden in years.
    He really hasn't been in any kind of work for a long time. If i long rein him every now and then, that's about it. So him dragging his feet is more a case of the muscles not being there and just being out of work.
    I haven't worked him because of my own health problems. But also with all the stuff with him, i don't want to work him if he's not well.

    Now, for the things i've done and outcomes.
    - massage - regardless of how often it's done, no change.
    - chiro - not much change, and even if there was some, goes back to previous.
    - saddle fit
    - teeth - done every 6 months.
    - wormed every 3 months.
    - drench + S&T shot annually. Never any sand.
    - acupuncture - good while needles in, same the next day.
    - vet x 4 - can't find much wrong.

    - slippery elm - no change.
    - Omoguard, chamomile, aloe vera, Yea Sacc earlier this year. After all this, his poos settled and he maintained condition, and wasn't so sunken in. Although it is now clear, that although i've kept up with Yea Sacc that he's been slowly going backwards since.
    - I spoke to the vet about how he was yesterday and asked if it could be ulcers, was told it's probably the heat.

    Something is up, and i'm about at the end of my tether now. Could it be ulcers playing up again? Could it be another digestive disorder? And if so, why didn't it show on the bloods?

    He's stabled at night, i have no choice he's agisted, and yes, he has plenty of hay during the night, and eats everything. He used to leave old season's hay, but is eating every last morsal of this new hay.
    He's also on 2 hards feed, chaff, lucerne and lupins.
    Also, Cell Provide, mag and cal supplement, rosehips, Yea Sacc, Tox Defy, salt.
  2. valdez

    valdez Well-known Member

    What happens if you take him off all hard feed and just give him hay??

    Have you tried a whole body detox product?

    What areas do the massage people notice soreness?

    Sounds like an ongoing massive head ache for you, cant say i would have persisted that long, would like to think i would but years without a ridable horse, wow, your a good owner!!!

    What was the initial symptoms that stopped you riding and started looking for an answer all those years ago??

    Could he be depressed?
  3. Caroline

    Caroline Well-known Member

    How old is he, and what breed??:}

    Can you put up a photo of him by any chance?
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2010
  4. Merlin

    Merlin Well-known Member

    Hats off to you Cornflower for all you have done for this horse. I have no idea to be honest, horses with ulcers usually pick at their feed so doubt it is ulcers.

    Have you considered just taking the horse to murdoch and let them nut out what is wrong? I feel for you I really do :(
  5. SMR

    SMR Well-known Member

    Lol, I sound like a broken record...google EPSM.

    My horse had 9 out of the 10 things you've listed. The one I wouldn't say he had was the many poos with undigested hay.

    You need to rule out other problems before you exercise, but the diet is fine for all horses except those with IR. The diet has to be very strict - absolutely no grain and minimal sugar, which rules out nearly every pelleted feed and oaten hay.

    The fat content needs to be around 18 to 20% and a vitamin E and selenium supplement also helps.

    Yep, my boy was fed many feeds and appeared fine for short periods. He actually showed improvement on barley before he crashed after a month of being on it.

    This is a much more common problem than people are aware of :(
  6. Cornflower

    Cornflower Well-known Member

    Thank you :)

    He turned 13 last week, and he's a TB, 16.2h.

    He went on spell last year, and lost so much weight that he had to be bought in to be on a hay roll 24/7. All the other horses were looking great.
    I ended up bringing him back sooner than i wanted because he was also passing sand, and not doing well, and was getting beaten up.
    I haven't had him on just hay alone. Where i've agisted over the years, there was never the option of that.
    One agistment place, they were in yards 24/7, so they got heaps of hay to last 24/7, both oaten and meadown, with only small hard feeds for supps. Really, not noticed much difference.

    No, i haven't tried a detox product.

    Soreness always along back, lumbar region and at the top of the bum, both sides.

    Initially it was the soreness, so saddle fit was first thing, and it really just went from there.
    But over the years, i just feel more and more that something is going on inside. So the soreness isn't really the thing i'm most concerned about.

    SMR, but he scours on meadow hay, which i think is the rhy grass, and last time there was rhy through the oaten hay, he scoured like mad, then flat-out refused to eat it. Wouldn't even touch the bics. So what hay do i feed if i can't feed oaten or meadow?
    Also, it says you can do a muscle biopsy or blood test for it. Don't i recall you saying you can't so that here in Aust?
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2010
  7. SMR

    SMR Well-known Member

    Oh yes :( sorry, I had forgotten you have said this before. That makes it hard. Do any farmers make different types of grassy hay?

    Maybe the fat diet would still help to make him more comfortable (it helps more conditions than just EPSM)?

    ETA: yep, no tests are possible in Australia :( BUT they would only confirm it. If the diet and exercise help, there's no real need for the tests (although initially I would have liked confirmation).
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2010
  8. Cornflower

    Cornflower Well-known Member

    Well, one thing i've always wanted to try is vege oil for him, along with speedbeat. So maybe i could reduce the amount of hay he gets overnight, and give him 2 hard feeds. The 1st normal one when they come in. Then the 2nd one along with hay, would be with speedibeat and oil.

    It may have been toxins in the rhy grass. I would be happy to give it another go as he's on Tox Defy, so that should bind up the toxins.

    So what about the lupins?

    Caroline, sorry, just saw the photo request...i'll try to find something recent.
  9. SMR

    SMR Well-known Member

    Lupins are fine, but you would probably get enough calories from Speedibeet. I only use lupins if my horse needs an energy boost. I also use copra and lucerne chaff.

    Yes, I was thinking the same about the rye grass. Also, maybe his digestive system can't cope if his diet is unbalanced??

    My horse showed symptoms of having toxins in his system (yellow rough coat, very itchy etc) and so perhaps your horse scours if there is an imbalance in his diet, highlighted with rye grass??? Just thinking allowed...
  10. Debonair

    Debonair Well-known Member

    Cornflower... I FEEL YOUR PAIN!!!

    u mention accupuncture, does that mean Dr Bruce has seen him? (if so) did he mention leaky gut?
    this is only something i head of the other week with horses but i have it myself ( bruce also suggested Chip has it) i feel exactly like ur poor horse! food intollerances, cant put weight on, lethargic!
    Although Chips had his reaction in his coronets and chesnuts he looks bodily amazing at the mo!
    on the asumption its cereal grains, can you try lucern hay and mayb a clover hay or lupins?
    Chip is on 4 kgs lucern chaff a day. and still getting the meadow, his coronets not 100% but better that the severe break out on oaten/speedibeet/wheaten.
    its bloody hard! i dont know what else to suggest, just best of luck, hope you find a solution soon!
  11. Cornflower

    Cornflower Well-known Member

    Here are some pics. Sorry, they are all off my mobile, my normal digital camera is broken. Not the best angle on that 1st one.



    They were taken 26th Oct. Today, he has a bigger belly, like what people call a grass/hay belly. He's more sunken in with hip bones and last few ribs more pronounced today.

    SMR, he does get lucerne chaff. Same amount (volume wise) as oaten chaff. Maybe give him more lucerne and less chaff?
    He wasn't itchy, he just scoured and refused to eat it at all. Even in his stable.

    Deb, yes, Dr Bruce. He was the one who said ulcers due to where he was sore. They are apparently pressure points for ulcers. He also said bowel. No, he didn't mention leaky gut. He did do him for a while, but it was just too expensive and no real result.
  12. Marlee

    Marlee Well-known Member

    Oh Cornflower, I didn't realise when you were helping me with my old boy that you had one that was just as bad although obviously for different reasons. I really know how you feel, I'm going round in circles with my boy so I understand your total frustration.

    I have been adviced to try something called Active8 so that will be the next thing to do but I wouldn't have a clue if it would help your poor horse or mine. I hope you find out something soon. Best of luck with him.
  13. kp

    kp Well-known Member

    I don't envy your problems with this horse. They can really be a perplexing puzzle sometime. Given the amount of feed changes you have been through I would start to look somewhere else. In your first post you said his liver was a little bit off. Did the lab run further tests to say the liver is not a problem? I know I had a horse a few years ago that had liver problems and I had to run I bunch other tests to guage the extent of damage. He was like your horse, just not quiet right, but no-one could put there finger on the problem.
  14. Cornflower

    Cornflower Well-known Member

    Marlee, that's ok, no one knew :) Active8 is just supplement of VitB's, selenium, copper etc, so it's really only helpful if your horse is lacking these.

    Kp, no, no further tests were done, and i'm honestly not 100% happy with the ones that were done. I feel like the vet has sort of had enough of me, you know... just not taking the time, not being thorough. They weren't cheap either
  15. horsescomefirst

    horsescomefirst Well-known Member

    well to me the horse looks in very good condition apart from the ribs showing!! if he had SO much wrong he wouldnt look this good in the coat would he?? :confused:
    i dont know how much you feed him but just looking at pics he looks like he gets heaps of hay and roughage and not enough of the grain/pellets etc!! he looks like a massive horse!!

    his coat in the pics look like hes glowing!! :)
  16. Marlee

    Marlee Well-known Member

    Yeah Cornflower, apparently it's good for respiratory problems and also boosts the immune system. I'm at that desperate stage, you know how it is.

    Your boy has a beautiful shiney coat in those photos, I used to think that was a sign of good health but have noticed when my boy was at his worst he had the best coat.

    I do have a friend that had problems with her two horses, couldn't keep weight on and once she moved them all that stopped, they were stressed by something where they lived.
  17. Blackbat

    Blackbat Well-known Member

    I will second the suggestion about a horse being affected by where they live. Seeing how my old horse changed according to different agistments was amazing. The worst was bring kept in isolation in tiny yards at night and let into tiny retic paddock during the day. I stuffed him with all the feed possible plus teeth, bodywork, rugs etc interventions... But he was depressed, sour faced, horrible rough coat, bony, and would just stand in a corner all day not moving or grazing. Nothing I did helped him be less sad, he just tried to avoid all contact and stay miserable. It was a very high energy agistment, lots of quad bikes, feeding times, shouting, uptight high strung people and horses.

    I tried keeping him in paddock agistment on a hay roll and twice daily feeds, he was better but the herd he lived with was young and bossy and he got picked on. He looked slightly less crappy with more space and more friends.

    But the ultimate solution has come by having a wonderful friend agist him at her place, a big paddock with a couple of relaxed happy horses and most of all, living again with his boyfriend of 23 years. At this moment, he is fed absolutely nothing, not even hay, he gets his flymask on and a pat, and is a fat, shiny, dappled joyful thing. Not bad for a toothless 29 year old. Breaks into a trot just for fun. Best of all, when I visit he is happy to come over and sticks around while I trim his feet, brush him, pick grass seeds out of his gums, no ropes or restraints. His needs are met with a spacious wildgrass paddock, a good friend and happy atmosphere. When one of those factors is missing, he is a miserable pony and his body falls apart.
  18. Maree4

    Maree4 Gold Member

    It sounds like you have done sooo much for your horse and that is comendable...I just wanted to ask if you have had bloods done and wondered if he may be anemic, (low iron). This ended up being my boys issue, and I too had him drenched thinking he was slightly colicy. His coat was disgusting but he didn't loose weight.
    You may have already done this I just thought it may give you something else to look at..**)I wish you all the best it is sooo frustrating.
  19. Blackbat

    Blackbat Well-known Member

    PS, I just got the photos up, your horse looks lovely for an older tall TB that's out of work. I wouldn't be too alarmed about his condition just yet. I've seen much worse considered normal.
  20. Zegger

    Zegger Well-known Member

    Could it be stress ? The reason why he is no gaining weight or even depression as apparently horses can get depression ...... dont hold me to that though...

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