Join Date: May 2009
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Education time. PSSM is a genetic disorder seen in Quarter Horse lines (therefore also affecting Paints and Appaloosa's with QH lines) and it stands for Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy. In a very brief summary, basically the horses do not utilize fats and carbs in their muscles properly (to much carbs, not enough fat) and it results in a horse that is chronically "tying-up".
And that about sums up MY knowledge of it. Which is where you guys come in. I'm worried Jynx may have it. I don't even know if she can BE tested for it - they're talking muscle biopsies and our vet population is so woefully lacking when it comes to horses, it's sad (Shay-la was instructed to trailer her horse to another PROVINCE to get x-rays on her bloody hips for crying out loud).
I'm hoping I'm just being paranoid. I worked Jynx most of the winter, and we never seemed to encounter any problems. We did walk, jog, lope, etc. for 10-20 minutes at a time and she would become normally damp from her thick coat, but I didn't notice anything serious. She's always been quite lazy but it's easy to tell the difference now that I've experienced a horse tying-up.
So anyway, last week Jynx tied up. Why is this weird? She does not eat ANY grain. Upon research, many people are quite befuddled by this knowledge as typical tying-up seems to be associated almost exclusively with to much grain (whereas PSSM is often noticed by the fact that the horses don't eat grain and are still tying up). She gets a free choice alfalfa mix, and we have mineral blocks in the pasture.
I took her for a ride for the first time in about 4 weeks and after about 10 minutes of light work (a bit of jogging, two loping circles), I experienced my first "tying-up". She was absolutely drenched in sweat, puffing like the devil, and having difficulty walking. I am stupid and have never experienced tying-up, so I spent the entire ride home going "What the heck is wrong with my horse?!" I thought she was being lazy, and in retrospect I feel like an ass for making her walk home with me on her.
It wasn't "severe" as I have read. She had difficulty walking normally, and was very stiff and slow but able to move. At first I thought she was colicking because she wouldn't eat the beet pulp I offered her and she's a PIG. I checked on her several hours later, and she was back to her old self.
Should I be worried? I have started her on an electrolyte supplement as I feel this could be a basic mineral imbalance. I took her for the exact same type ride this week, and she was 100% fine. She was barely even damp and we probably worked harder (she was being silly, so I lunged her in the field and she decided she'd rather canter wildly in circles for many minutes).
If this was PSSM, would I be experiencing this constantly? In the six months I've been working and riding her, often times very hard in the round pen, I have NEVER experienced this. I am only concerned because she is primarily QH bloodlines, and she does not eat grain, so the typical issues of tying-up are not present here. She also gets a mineral block, but it is entirely possible she does not use it and is causing a mineral imbalance.
Any advice would be great. I just don't want to be doing damage to my horse if she needs to be put on a proper nutritional plan due to having PSSM.
I hope God tells her to smash her computer with a sledgehammer.