Equine depression? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 02-22-2013, 03:10 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Columbia, MO
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Equine depression?

So I brought Lakota home in December and she's been doing awesome getting accustomed to her new life. The past month or so, she's been acting weird. She coliced pretty bad but we figured it out and she's been doing better.

The thing is, she's been losing weight lately. I've been giving her extra grain and hay in the evening time, and she's turned out on a round bale with a horse who she's really connected with. They're two peas in a pod.

She's just been acting sad lately. She sometimes won't eat all her grain. She isn't excited about being turned out onto her round bale. She has been standing alone away from the other horses a lot lately. When I'm out there, even after we get done riding or doing groundwork, she just stares at me by the gate like she's sad that I'm leaving.

The other day I brushed her and put her halter on and hopped on bareback and took her for a ride in the pasture and just let her graze for about an hour. She seemed really happy to be doing so. She always seems happy to see me and to have something to do.

The other day I went out there and she was off standing in her shelter facing the back wall all alone while the other horses were eating hay. I'm really worried about her because she's not eating and she just seems so down.

My BO called me this morning and said she's been acting strange and that she left half her grain and one of the two flakes of hay in her stall last night. She said when she turned her out onto the round bale, she just walked past the hay and straight into the shelter in the corner and just stood there all alone. She went out there to pet her and try and get her to eat, and she nibbled, but she just seemed down she said.

She lived her whole life (she's 9) in the same place where she was born, raised, and trained. She was kept in a pasture with her 2 babies that were 2 and 4 years old. I think she's maybe sad about missing them. All the other horses are mean to her except the 2 that she's kept to pasture with. The haflinger follows her around and seems to really like her, and the other horse is her best friend and will protect her from the other horses that pick on her. It's like she's an outcast or something.

If anyone has any advice, I'd appreciate it. I'm going to call the vet and ask her if she has any suggestions for the weight loss, and I'm going to see her as much as I can. In the beginning I was out there 5 times a week, but I've been sick for the past week and a half and I haven't seen her in a week.

Thanks for the advice.
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post #2 of 9 Old 02-22-2013, 03:22 PM
Join Date: Apr 2012
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Maybe she has ulcers or something upsetting her ago
When she eats. My grandmas horse has them and he loves alfalfa and nice green grass. Apparently soothes them
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post #3 of 9 Old 02-22-2013, 03:42 PM
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Definately have the vet check her out. It seems odd that she should spend a month with you, apparently happily, and then get homesick. If the vet says she's OK, maybe try removing the haflinger, see if there's a change for the better. Facing the back wall of the run-in says that she wants to "shut out" something (ever been to a show on a late Sunday afternoon)? Horses tend to do well in pairs, perhaps she is worrying about the haflinger following her all the time. Hope this helps, and I wish you the best!
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post #4 of 9 Old 02-22-2013, 05:45 PM Thread Starter
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My BO removed the haflinger as of today so we'll see. I hope she'll start doing better.
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post #5 of 9 Old 02-22-2013, 07:21 PM
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At least you have the weekend to be out there and see if it helps. You've apparently got a great BO! Keeping my fingers crossed and wishing the best.
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post #6 of 9 Old 02-24-2013, 01:24 PM Thread Starter
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I just wanted to update about the situation. Things have gotten worse, and I think it's something physical. She's acting totally bizarre and even the vet is stumped.

My BO called me last night saying Lakota was acting really strange. She said she was lethargic and not eating and just standing alone in the shed again. She said when she went out to grab all the horses for evening feed time, Lakota had been rolling in the shed and was covered in manure.

She led her into the barn because she wouldn't come on her own and she said she just walked right into the wall, like she couldn't tell that it was there.

She called the vet and the vet said to give her banamine and see if she starts to feel better. She gave the banamine and kept checking on her. She said for about an hour, Lakota stood facing the corner of her stall not eating the grain or the hay she had in her stall. An hour later she had nibbled the hay and grain and was facing the other horses now. The vet said there wasn't much she could do until Monday because she wants to do bloodwork and get to the bottom of the problem, rather than treating the symptoms.

So we are scheduled for Monday morning to do some diagnostic stuff.

Then this morning I got a call with an update. Lakota had completely destroyed her stall. She somehow snapped the rigid plastic feeder attached to the wall in half. She ate a good portion of the wood in the stall, and she tore apart and ate a rubber grain bucket.

When the horses were turned out, she kept trying to squeeze between these two boards into another stall rather than walk out the open stall door, and nothing would get her to stop. The BO tried pushing her, spooking her, and swinging a rope at her, and nothing would make her back up. So she left her for a while, and when she came back and cracked the door to come in, Lakota just charged her! She said she did it twice and didn't respond to the check bumps that normally get her to back up.

Once she finally got the halter on and turned her out into her dry lot (which had a gate open into the pasture so all the horses could play today) she just walked back and forth pacing in the dry lot, and never went into the pasture.

I'm leaving to go out there in a few minutes. The vet said to take a digital thermometer to take her temperature because maybe she has a fever. But she said all the puzzle pieces aren't fitting together right. Some symptoms fit with one problem, while others fit with another. Until we have some labs to look at, we don't really know anything. I really hope everything is going to be ok.
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post #7 of 9 Old 02-24-2013, 02:36 PM
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Thats very strange. A full blood panel would be my next step, as it could be a deficiency or metabolic problem. I'd also check her eyes to make sure they're functioning, then scope her for ulcers. That is some bizzare stuff that she's doing, and she could very well hurt herself. So sorry you and Lakota are going through this! Has she shown any signs of injury/been out during a storm or anything lately?

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post #8 of 9 Old 02-24-2013, 11:16 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Columbia, MO
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Sweet sweet Lakota died in my arms today. I'm absolutely devastated and angry at the world. This whole year has been nothing but ruined life plans and death.

I went out and found her wheezing, bleeding from her mouth, stumbling around with no sense of balance at all. By the time the vet got out there she had a fever of 105.5 and had fallen to the ground. The vet did a tracheotomy to open her airway and gave her shots of banamine and steroids to reduce fever and inflammation. An hour and a half later she was breathing better but her fever hadn't gone down. She started to stiffen up and her breathing slowed down and I sat next to her holding her head as she died. My BO, me, and the vet literally watched her soul leave her body.

The vet says things just don't add up and don't make any sense. She said she's going to talk to other vet friends and let me know if they have seen anything like this before. I have a huge hole in my heart even though she's been with me only a short time.
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post #9 of 9 Old 02-24-2013, 11:22 PM
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Oh dear DixieKate! I am so sorry for your loss.....hugs to you. I hope the vet can give you some answers. Big hugs.
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