Horse advise on heart problem?? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 11-13-2010, 05:29 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Puyallup, WA
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Horse advise on heart problem??

Hi all. I'm new here and was wondering if I could maybe get some advise from someone who may have heard of what I'm going to try and explain. It'll be kind of long.
I have a very sweet 7y/o TB gelding. Sweet as pie and I've had him for around half a year or so. Broke to ride, got him as only partially sound in the hind in, seemed to be short strided we though to an injury even though past owner said she thought it was arthritis.
Anyways, he's always been fine unless my other horse picks on him at night. This last fridayI went down to the pasture in the AM to feed and he was standing off in the back corner of the pasture. Thats not like him, he's always waiting at the gate. He was bobbing his head up and down non stop, wouldnt eat, and was shaking. Definately something wrong. He wouldnt walk more then maybe 2-3 steps at a time and stop and bob his head.
I went home and tried calling the vets and I couldnt get someone out there so went back to check on him. He had laid down in the muddiest part of the pasture on both sides. He had mud in his eyes, ears, etc. Not good. I'm thinking colic of course. I called the vets all over again and finally found a differant one that dropped all his appts to come out and see him. He had thought it would be colic too.
He came out and checked his gums, all white without a HINT of pink, and checked his heart...His heart had one beat...
With a normal heart beat it goes bump, bump. He only had the first one. I was told only 1 valve was pumping blood and that my horse shouldnt even be alive. He had normal stomach movements and was going to the bathroom, when he peed though he stretched all out weird with his back legs on his tippy toes. He wasnt dehydrated and was drinking alot of water. The vet had no clue what happened and couldnt believe the horse was still standing in front of us.
He could only walk a couple of steps because his heart couldnt handle any more then that, and the head bobbing he said may be because his ears were numb from being cold and was trying to get feeling back. His legs were ice cold and he had NO body heat at all.
I threw 2 blankets on him which held the little bit of his bidy heat in and rubbed him and checked on him every 2 hours as he was getting worse and I expected every time I went out there to find him not standing. AWEFUL experience.
The next morning I come out and hes warm and happy again! Hes eating and following me around again. The day after, he was acting totally normal again, stealing the other horses hay from under the stall wall and trotting after me to try and get the hay faster.
The next day I noticed that the bottom of his back legs around the ankles are very swollen. Im thinking from the loss of blood for the day and it coming back? I hosed them off and ran cold water on them and it didnt get worse, now theyre close to normal.
Now the weird thing is on both his stomach and his side are weird lumps...I'm not sure how to describe them. Ones about my arm length long and about 4" wide straight down his stomach from maybe his rib cage to lower stomach. Maybe an inch thick. The other one is on one side about half way up. Its smaller in diameter but sticks out maybe 2" in the center. I dont know what this is?? The vet doesn't know and I cant afford the hospital for him. I had thought maybe this all happened from something like eating something bad, or something like a nail and having internal bleeding, but if it was that, wouldnt he be slowing down instead of speeding up? He's eating like a monster, more then ever, and actually seems to be gaining weight which is good because he's been a hard keeper even on pasture. Yes at only 7. Vet thought his teeth were fine. Anyways, enough of my novel. Any advise? Im thrilled he's alive and kicking and comfortable, but I wish I knew what was going on! I still think one of these days Im going to find him sick again or worse. Thanks!
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post #2 of 6 Old 11-13-2010, 05:52 PM
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Generally when a heart malfunctions to that degree, it is caused by either an electrical problem between the brain and heart or it can also be caused by trauma. Is it possible that he got kicked in the ribs by the other horse and that caused his heart to putter around only half working? Now keep in mind that I have no vet training or medical training but I have heard of things like this happening in humans, so it is only natural to assume that it's possible in horses too. I am very happy that he seems to be okay now and I pray that it was an isolated incident and you never have to go through that again. Unfortunately, the only person who could likely tell you what it was for sure (and whether it's something you need to worry about) is a vet after they have run a bunch of tests. Even then, they might not find anything wrong.

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post #3 of 6 Old 11-14-2010, 09:29 PM
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Wow, that's bizzare. Anywhere you can take him for an EKG? I had one done for my horse with a heart murmer. They're not too terrribly expensive and will save you any guessing.

You just have to see your don't have to like it.
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post #4 of 6 Old 11-15-2010, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by smrobs View Post
Generally when a heart malfunctions to that degree, it is caused by either an electrical problem between the brain and heart or it can also be caused by trauma.

Just to clarify, the brain does not control the electrical impulses of the heart- it is the SA node in the heart that initiates electrical activity. This is the reason brain dead people don't need pace makers, the heart continues to beat on its own.

While I'm not questioning your vet (really) as I wasn't there and didn't examine the animal, I too am baffled by the heart rate he picked up. I am honestly suspicious of it was simply that he couldn't hear the other beats OR the rate was sooooo slow that he thought it was just one beat-as it is physically impossible to only live on a single beat. Agree with the poster above who stated it is likely an electrical problem which can be caused by many things. The pale mucous membranes is pretty suspicious too, I think this horse needs (at a minimum) a complete blood count, blood chemistry, and an ECG.
tealamutt is offline  
post #5 of 6 Old 11-15-2010, 12:08 PM
Join Date: Oct 2010
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The bumps might just be that he got kicked. My mare had a big bump on her hip, that if I pressed, she got angry. I figured it was her hip messed up and called the chiro (it ended up being her other hip out of place). Anyway, she said she just got a good kick and it was swollen.

I watched her get kicked in the side the other day by a new mare, and on Saturday, she had two raised bumps in the shapes of hoofprints. It was just swollen.

However, I'm no vet. Those are just my two cents.
Poseidon is offline  
post #6 of 6 Old 11-17-2010, 09:09 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Puyallup, WA
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Well, he's still doing fine it seems. His legs are still a little swollen around the ankles but with all the mud I cant really do much. As for the lumps on his side I found out they may be edemas? Anyone had any luck with these? I did some research and it said that they tend to go away once you fix the problem as to why they have them. Know problems are circulation and heart problems along with plenty others. I know his are probably due to the heart problem he had.
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