Only Sweats on One Side

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Only Sweats on One Side

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    11-01-2007, 10:07 PM
Only Sweats on One Side

Hello all!
Sorry this is going to be a long post, but I want to be as descriptive as possible so you might be able to help me.
I currently manage 36 head of horses at a dude ranch, so I have to know my stuff, but this guy's got me stumped:
"Dan" is an aged Arabian gelding, around 20 years old. He's was in pretty good health, other than the fact that he's a narcoleptic. (Stange, I know..) One day I saw him in the AM and he was a little sore on his right leg, and it looked to be in the knee. He has had some problems with that leg before and just worked out of it in a couple of hours, so I didn't really pay much attention to it. I went to feed again in the PM and noticed that he was barely weightbearing on the leg, so I caught him and brought him into the barn. He was shaking all over and sweated up something fierce. He was non-weightbearing on the front right with a lot of heat in the shoulder. But another issue had arisen - his left hind stifle was also stiff and very hot. His breathing was hard and fast, temp was 99.5*F and pulse was just above normal. We gave him some intravenous bute and waited to see what would happen. He got slightly less sore on his knee, but started walking like he was drunk, just putting his feet wherever they would go. His breathing was still laboured.
It was a Saturday night, and we tried calling 3 or 4 different vets, but none could come out. The one vet told us to give him more bute and leave him until morning in a box stall. We felt bad just leaving him, but we were stumped as to what caused this acute pain. But we had no choice, and put him up in a box stall for the night, telling the vet we'd call him out in the morning if there was no improvement.
I went and checked on him the next morning and he was still shakey on the shoulder and hot in the stifle, but otherwise he was doing much better. His temperature was still slightly elevated at 99*F. I gave him some oral bute and left him. The next day we came back and he was weightbearing on the legs and sound at a walk. At a trot he'd get sore, but nothing too terribly bad. The only thing really wrong with him was that he was all sweated up - but only on the left side. Well, it's been a week and a half since then and he's been on box-stall rest since, with a few hours' turnout lately. Every morning we go in it's the same thing: he's sweated up from the left stifle to his girth line and to his back in a triangle shape.
Any idea what it is/what might have caused it? I am at a loss, I have no idea what's wrong. The vet says it might be a pinched nerve, but my teensy budget at the ranch (I just work there, I don't own it) and my mean non-horsey bosses won't allow the vet to come out. What do you think?
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    11-01-2007, 10:40 PM
Patchy sweating can be due to nerve damage, neurological disease or even Cushing's disease. Really with a 20ish horse with such random signs (lameness in two diagonal legs and patchy sweating) it may or may not all be related.

One thing to consider with this horse is that what may be called narcolepsy in horses is most likely recumbent sleep deprivation and this may be the factor that ties it all in together. Do you ever see this horse lay down? If not, she may be not be able to lay down for some reason---pain, balance issues, insecurity in the environment....
    11-02-2007, 12:26 AM
:P Looks like the vet covered it
    11-02-2007, 12:39 AM
Hi, Ryle,
Yes, the vet mentioned nerve damage; I was wondering if there was anything else that could be wrong.
As for your question: yes, he does lie down. In fact, the day that we brought him in I saw him lying down, and it took a lot to get him up.. and his tongue was sticking out. We tried loud noises, and yelling at him to stand up, but it finally took physical force (we did not beat him!) to get him to stand up - not sure if he's just lazy, or if something was wrong there.
Thanks for your help!
    11-02-2007, 02:15 AM
A friend of mine's horse had the same sweating problem, hers was in the shoulder only and it was a pinched nerve.
    11-02-2007, 02:16 AM
A friend of mine's horse had the same sweating problem, hers was in the shoulder only and it was a pinched nerve.

She got my chiro to have a look and sorted it out, no problems now.
    11-02-2007, 11:36 AM
With the fact that it's so hard for him to get up, I would bet that he doesn't lay down to sleep nearly as much as he should. And even though horses can rest standing up, they do need to lay at regular intervals to finish a sleep cycle and really get rested.

If the vet hasn't already, maybe you should have the horse checked for neck and back pain. Many older horses have issues with balance, abnormal gait, etc triggered by pain in the neck or back because just about any movement of the body affects those two areas. Older horses may have changes in the vertebrae that cause impingement on the spinal cord. You can try the carrot trick to see if the horse can reach it's nose around all the way to it's side. This may give you some indication if there is a problem with the neck.

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