Horse Falling Down - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 08-11-2008, 09:31 AM Thread Starter
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Horse Falling Down

I have an 11 year old American Bashkir Curly Horse (very rare breed). His whole life he has been an easy keeper, sound, happy fat horse. Until this past winter, he dropped weight, sick, breathing fast and was very depressed. To make it short, after many vets and blood tests we found out my 11 year old has cushing's disease, and hypertrophic osteopathy (a very rare disease in horses)- the easiest way to explain it is there is a tumor or problem with his hear or lungs (which we can't find through ultra sound) and it is causing calcium build up on the long bones of his body, starting with his cannon bone. Anyways, he is on Med's and steroids and has been doing much better- put weight back on, not depressed, breathing normal and normal heart beat, he is not worked anymore just gets groomed and loved on. But just now he has started falling down... I don't know if he is just falling down or passing our because of lack of blood pumping to his head. It's only for a second, but is very weak upon standing back up and his legs are shaking but shortly after he is alright. I am very worried about him hurting himself as he falls, so far it has happened 3 times. Any advice, suggestions or know anyone that has had this experience or anything similar to it?
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post #2 of 7 Old 08-11-2008, 12:11 PM
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This is a really dangerous thing for you and him. The first thing you need to do is make sure that he is in a paddock that is safe--no sharp edges, no protruding nails, no boards that he could fall and get his legs caught under, well-bedded or plenty of sand, etc. And you have to always be on your guard when handling him so that you don't get yourself boxed in or react too slowly to get out of the way should he fall.

Next, if possible start taking his vitals in the morning and again right after one of these episodes. Start looking for any pattern to when/why he falls. Have your vet out to do an exam so that you can see if there is any change in heart or lung sounds that would explain the change. Possibly have bloodwork done as well. This isn't something that someone who hasn't seen your horse can just say "oh, it's probably x, y or z", so get your vet out straight away and get a fresh assessment of his condition.

I'm really sorry about your guy's problems.

Cindy D.
Licensed Veterinary Technician
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post #3 of 7 Old 08-11-2008, 12:29 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you very much for your reply! I am very aware of the danger, the first one happened 2 weeks ago and I was hopping it was just a one time thing, the other 2 happened yesterday- this is why I am taking more precautions now. His surrondings are all safe, but more than that I am worried about him falling on himself the wrong way and breaking a leg or something. We are in regular contact with our vet who comes out and does his vitals and checks on him; who has been wonderful and was knowledgable enough to know about his osteopathy. We have also been in contact with a larger univeristy vet, the problem now is that everyone is kind of at a dead end of what to do except open heart surgery, which still might not give us the answer and financially is just not feesable for me. I just want to keep him as comfortable and safe as I am able to. I know everything going on is extreemly rare- but was just throwing out on the net to see if anyone has been through similar situation and knows of anything I can't be covering. Thank you again!
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post #4 of 7 Old 08-13-2008, 01:07 AM
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Wow, what a scary thing for you and the horse! We had an ABC gelding for a couple years when my daughter was very allergic to horses, great guy! I hope the vet. hospital can figure something out before he really hurts himself.

Riverside, CA
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post #5 of 7 Old 08-13-2008, 07:51 AM
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I know absolutely nothing about this disease but hear it come up often. I def. need to do some more research on it just for my own benefit.

Only thing I can offer is luck on keeping him safe & him comfortable. I'm sorry to hear about the recent issues.

Is it possible he's having a seizure & not just falling down? Like I said I know nothing about this disease but the way you described it almost sounds like a seizure.

"It's not about waiting out the storm, it's about getting out and dancing in the rain."
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post #6 of 7 Old 08-13-2008, 07:55 AM
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It almost sounds like he could be having minor seizures. Good luck---he is lucky to have such a caring owner.

Everything can be achieved through patience!

I'd rather have a problem horse than a problem man. The horse I can work with. The man---I cannot help!
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post #7 of 7 Old 08-13-2008, 08:21 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for you comments and luck!

I do not know very much about seizers, and it very well could be that. 2 of the times where when something was approaching his head and it caused him to pull back and almost seemed like he lost his balance (he has always been very good with things around his head before), the third time was when he was out in the field by himself. I will have to read more into seizers because it is def a possibility- if you have any knowledge or experience about them please inform me! He is currently on steroids- could that have anything to do with it?

Yes, American Bashkir Curlies are a wonderful breed!! I can not talk good about them enough; I broke him and have been riding him for 8 years and he has been wonderful! The most trusting and easy going horse with such a great personality!!

As far as his desiese goes, cushing's is very common but not in a horse this young usually over 20, it's easy to maintain and plenty of research on. His Hypertorphic osteopathy is extremly rare in horses and hard to find information on. There are very few vet journals or case studies done. If you find any while researching please pass them along to me incase I have not seen them yet, the more knowledge I have the better! However it is popular in dogs- so if your interested I recommend reading up on it in them- it will provide you more information. Dogs are just alot easier to do open heart surgery than horses!
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