Muscular Wasting? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 10-09-2010, 11:24 AM Thread Starter
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Location: Washington State
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Muscular Wasting?

I'm concerned, though I'm not sure whether I should be. Our TB/Dutch Warmblood/Selle Francais/Hanoverian mare will be 17 years old soon. She's always been a bit of a tough keeper weight-wise, and I've always dreaded her getting older because I knew it would only get harder to keep her looking full and healthy.

Just last night I was scrutinizing her and have come to the conclusion that her haunches are starting to hollow out on the sides. I can feel her knobby hips pretty easily when I press on them. I don't feel that this is due to her being underweight however, as her ribs are not at all visible.

My biggest question is, can this be reversed? Is it a matter of her not getting enough work, or is it just a part of her getting older? I fear that she's going to be one of those older horses that is skeletal despite our shoving massive amounts of hay/alfalfa/beet pulp/supplements down her throat.
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post #2 of 6 Old 10-09-2010, 11:34 AM
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When you see muscle wasting in just one group of muscles you generally think something neurologic. The fact that you say her condition elsewhere is still good leads me to think it isn't just a weight management issue, although weight loss might show up first somewhere else and being a lovely WB, I bet her gluteals are pretty strong and might show loss before you noticed it elsewhere.

Her age makes me less suspicious of a genetic muscle disease but I suppose it is possible, there are a lot of them out there. There are literally hundreds of neuro problems that could be causing this, and they are all really tough to diagnose and treat.

I do notice that you are in a selenium deficient area (me too!) do you suppliment for this? If you have a batch of deficient hay, she could be suffering from that. I feed Northwest suppliment to make sure my guy gets all the Selenium and vit. E he needs- injections are not a good idea.
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post #3 of 6 Old 10-09-2010, 11:46 AM Thread Starter
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Yes, she's getting appropriate supplements for Selenium.

I'm not sure what's up. She's been acting peculiarly mellow and almost sluggish lately too. At first I thought it might be the heat of the summer... or just the fact that she's finally settling down and "acting her age". She's always been infamously hot and spooky so a little more calm didn't go entirely unappreciated on my part. But it's getting insane. She used to have nice clean canter departs, but now she sort of lazily "falls" into it if we make her.

I may have the vet out soon if she hasn't perked up or if I notice more muscle/weight loss. It isn't extremely noticeable... but I've been watching her like a hawk.
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post #4 of 6 Old 10-09-2010, 12:00 PM
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Start shoveling rice bran down her throat. It isn't proven, but a lot of people swear there is some compound in rice bran (specifically rice bran oil - which you can buy in concentrate called "Body Builder") that builds muscle. It's entirely non steroidal and they use it on the track and for a lot of young horses headed to auction. Some people also use it to get weight on older horses. I know all my vets recommend rice bran for old horses with weight issues. Beet pulp and ground soybean hulls are also good, but rice bran is the best.
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post #5 of 6 Old 10-09-2010, 12:23 PM
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Rice bran has made a world of difference for my TB. I had him on beet pulp (6 lbs a day) and 3 oz of Cool Cals (fat suppliment) and 3 lbs of purina equine senior and he did Ok. Switched it up to rice bran and senior and his weight took off. Now he is on Ultium and rice bran and he is looking amazing.
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post #6 of 6 Old 10-09-2010, 03:38 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the tips, I'll look into rice bran perhaps.
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