Mare with arthritis or attitude?

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Mare with arthritis or attitude?

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    03-28-2012, 01:28 AM
Mare with arthritis or attitude?

Hello, I have a 12 year old mare who I got from a rescue about 7 months ago. Our first two months were very good, she showed no signs of being lame. Then randomly she started limping and was diagnosed with arthritis. She has been on a daily dose of bute and some days she does great while others she is in pain. The hard part is knowing the difference. I see her out in pasture playing with the herd, and then when I take her in and saddle her, or work her, or even touch her hip area, she tries to bit and pins her ears. I need some advice!
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    03-28-2012, 01:43 AM
Did the vet diagnose her with arthritis?
    03-28-2012, 01:46 AM
Yes. About 3 months ago. She's on bute and MSM
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    03-28-2012, 11:43 AM
I would be cautious about a daily dose of bute - it can cause tummy problems.

My senior mare has arthritis. One thing to consider is the riding surface and what activities you are asking her to do under saddle. And she may be making herself sore from playing hard in the pasture.

I can't ride my mare in the arena at our boarding facility - the ground is too hard. Even lower level dressage is hard for her. However, you take her on the trail and the lameness is gone and she is one happy girl. So think about the activities you plan on using her for and make sure its within her ability. And days you ride she will need a lot of warm up. We do a lot of walking, then try a bit of bending, then graduate up to "walk 5, trot 5" (strides).

You might ask your vet about joint injections. You might also consult a chiropractor and make sure her saddle fits as well.

You might also find a good liniment for the affected area. I have a hand massager like you get at Bath and Body Works, I apply liniment and massage gently.
    03-28-2012, 11:48 AM
I agree about the Bute... If you absolutely HAVE to give it to her daily, think about giving her body Sunday's off, and leaving her in a soft grassy paddock on that day. My mare (20 years old) has some arthritis in her knee. I give her MSM & Grandflex daily. She does fine out on the trails, but the vet gave me bute to keep on hand if it is ever needed.
    03-28-2012, 12:30 PM
Well she is on a daily dose because out In pasture this winter she was miserable everyday. But now that it's warmer I will take her off the daily dose and just give it to her when working/riding. The vet told us that she can get like 4 scoops of bite a day (she's only on 1 now) but I'm so scared that's going to mess with her stomach, and I don't think it's fair to do that to her just so I can ride her, so I'm thinking about making her just a pasture horse. If I make her just a pasture horse then I have to find her a new home because I'm a college student and am boarding her and can't afford to pay the fees for a horse I can't even ride.
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    03-28-2012, 02:04 PM
Don't give up on her just yet. Just do some research, and see if you can find something that works. Exercise is good for arthritic horses, unless she's just not capable of doing what you need her to do. Then it's understandable. I was luckily able to find something within my horse's ability despite her problems.
    03-28-2012, 02:59 PM
You ask pain or attitude? - perhaps the pain leads to the attitude!

A simple experiment is to dose the horse with bute for say 2 weeks,
The horse's pains will disappear - so record the behaviour during that two weeks.
Then you withdraw the Bute completely and wait - if the pain comes back, then the behaviour will most likely change, thereby indicating pain. It is called a Bute test

Bute is known to attack the stomach lining - so you have to counter the impact.
Readily available fresh green grass helps but there are some additives which can offset the chemical reactions which are going on in the stomach. Check the internet.

But if pain is evident then it is important to identify the location and the possible cause. That is usually a vet's or a chiropractor's job. 'Hip' pain can lead to riding issues. You really need to find a cause and a cure asap.
Or as you say, you turn her away to pasture. But an irritable, bad tempered mare which comes into season can be a risk to other horses.

This is one of those scenarios which horse owners without insurance dread. Hopefully a friendly vet can come up with a few answers quickly.
Allow your horse some slack for being in pain - but take care she might strike out.
Make sure her head is secured when you are grooming her.
    03-28-2012, 03:38 PM
Yeah I understand its just she's been on bute now for a while and some days on it she's great, and other days she is mean. I know she has arthritis because the vet and chiropractor already diagnosed her, so she's been seen and she is arthritic in her back right hip. My problem is she gives me attitude everytime I put the saddle on even when she's acting like she's not in pain. So I wonder if not she is just saddle sour because she was rode when she was sore and we didnt notice. So now I don't know how to correct that problem because if she is sore but not showing other signs besides the saddle, I don't want to push her with the saddle, so where do I go now?
    03-28-2012, 05:15 PM
Well, is the arthritis going to go away????
Or can you allow for it by giving her a pain killer before you ride? - tricky
Or do you call a saddler?
Or do you buy some pads?

You took on a poorly horse - that is some commitment.
But no doubt she came cheap.

'Where do you go from here??' What a question.
I suspect herein lies the reason why the previous owner discarded the animal.

The big question to be answered in your shoes must be - 'Is she worth it?'
You have bought a dependent. But she must not be aggressive.

Now you have to learn to judge her sensitivity.
You have to learn to feel her pain. &
You have to find a pain killer which will not kill her thru ulcers.

From an armchair, few of we viewers can help you. But one thing is for sure, this horse will teach you sensitivity and that teaching will make you a better rider.

Some folks would pass her on......... -- Sorry, -- but you must choose.

But if you take her on, remember you must make the decisions in life for her.

It is tricky, Roni but be advised that many of we horse owners find ourselves in a similar predicament.
Welcome to the club (and the H/forum).

PS Follow your instincts.

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