The Horse Forum

The Horse Forum (
-   Horse Health (/horse-health/)
-   -   I'm having trouble finding PSSM info/ answers. I need help... (

Lopin N Paint 04-12-2013 10:53 AM

I'm having trouble finding PSSM info/ answers. I need help...
Anyone with any PSSM experience?

In short: my horse got really ill last end of summer/ early fall.
After many tests he came out with low vitamin E and tested positive for mild PSSM (type 1 p/n).
After doing a lot of research (my vet wasn't a huge help) it really fits with his past quirks.
Poor muscle development
He is funny about saddling and is a bit girthy. He shys from the saddle at times.
Being 'lazy' and seeming uninterested
His seemingly goofy and clumsy personality
He has always been a bare to back up... His feet just don't move really fast.

I always thought this stuff was him. Otto is deaf too so I always figured that had something to do with seeming uninterested.

Anyway, we put him on supplements and got him well again. He lost a lot of weight and muscle though...

Since returning to training again he seems 'OK'. I am fearing a relapse though and have read about exercise intolerance in PSSM horses and I fear my guy may show signs. He does not tie up, but after working w/t/c on the lunge he hangs his head and looks just not right. He has put on weight but still shows a very poor top line and ill thin looking neck...

Do horses recover and return to normal work? Or will this be a constant battle that will keep my horse from returning to moderate work?

I'm wondering if he does have exercise intolerance? His poor muscling could be because he was sick and had 3 months off (winter happened and the vet and my trainer and I all agreed end to just give him time off through the cold to get better). How long do I give him? I'm afraid I'm going to hurt him.

I want to do what's right by him, I can only afford the money and time to keep one horse at a time. I ride 4 times minimum a week usually for 1-3 hours at least consisting of training broken up with chillin while watching other horses school and trail riding. (Of course I don't ride Otto like that, I'd work up to it). But if my dude can't handle the riding I think it's more fair to find him a more suitable living arrangement for him... As much as this would pain me to do it...

Disclaimer: Otto has only been back in training for 2 weeks! And I'm really not sure how much muscle horses put on in the neck and top line through feeding alone? I am just afraid going back into work he will again start going down hill. Last summer we was in training for a month then POOF things got bad really fast. It seemed to me like the more fit he should have been getting with constant consistent riding the worse he actually got muscle and attitude wise (he just gets zoned out sorta?).... I'm afraid this will happen again...

I am paying to keep my horse in constant training at least till this winter. I had some time off (had a baby the end of Dec) but I really want to get back into it now... This has been a huge set back, and it hurts watching the horse I love fall ill like he did. Like I said, I want it to work, but not if he won't be able to take it.

I also hate to say it... And I don't want to sound like a horrible person... But I am also afraid I'm going to sink money and time and spend my summer, like i said i really want to get back into riding now, and in the end just get disappointment and have to start all over. I hope that doesn't make me sound like a terrible person! :-(

Anyone have any advice?

I know I need to keep communication open with my trainer and see how she feels about him, and talk about his attitude, make sure we are all on the same page... Just looking for some outside advice too :lol:

Dreamcatcher Arabians 04-12-2013 11:16 AM

Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy - CVM - UMEC, University of Minnesota

Here's an educational link about PSSM, it has some interesting info and tips on feeding and exercise.

Lopin N Paint 04-12-2013 11:38 AM


Originally Posted by Dreamcatcher Arabians (Post 2206241)
Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy - CVM - UMEC, University of Minnesota

Here's an educational link about PSSM, it has some interesting info and tips on feeding and exercise.

Thank you... I have no idea how I missed that...


13. Can my horse be cured?
When the described diet and exercise routines were followed we found that all horses improved, and >75% of horses stopped tying-up. PSSM horses, however, will always be susceptible to this condition and if their exercise schedule is disrupted. If they become ill from other causes, they may again develop clinical signs again. If this occurs, they should go back to the fitness program described above using longeing or round pen work. Many horses with this condition are happy trail horses, successful pleasure horses, and useful ranch horses. The greatest difficulty in owning a horse with PSSM is the time commitment to keep the horse fit and the moderate expense of special feeds.

This section is what I was looking for... And not really what I wanted to read if I am reading it correctly my horse could relapse at any time. I board so while I have Otto on an exercise plan, proper diet to manage him, and did everything my vet suggested I only have so much control and sometimes I can't ride for a week here or there, and sometimes I like to ride all day!

I get the feeling (and have been) from what I read my lifestyle may be too erratic, unscheduled, and too active for this horse to handle... :cry:

I talked to someone that recommended finding him a home as a companion and light trail horse. At the time I shrugged it off because the horse had seemed fine up until the point where he got ill. And of course I really like him. But the more I read about it the more I think back on the little things that may have been warning signs of this disease... :-( now I'm thinking this may just be the best thing for Otto...

deserthorsewoman 04-12-2013 11:46 AM

Don't give up just yet! There is somebody here on the forum who is just rehabbing two PSSM horses. I'll get her to this thread.
In the meantime check Draft horse, mule, oxen power, back to the land and sustainable living - Rural Heritage online ( I think).

Dreamcatcher Arabians 04-12-2013 12:05 PM

From reading the article I would think finding him a home that can ride him SOME everyday would be better than only intermittently. What I got from the article is that they are better off exercised consistently rather than intermittently. We used to call this "Monday Morning Disease" because the owner's of the horse would come out and ride on the weekends and then the horse stood all week. These horses would tie up on Monday Morning after being ridden all weekend. They did better with consistent riding and of course, now we know about dietary changes too.

deserthorsewoman 04-12-2013 12:10 PM

Hmm....I heard it differently how the name came about.....horses worked all week, Sunday was day off, but still full ration of feed given and Monday morning horses tied up
Both makes sense, tho;-)
Consistent work and/ or 24/7 turnout is a must for PSSM horses.

Oldhorselady 04-12-2013 12:16 PM

Hello. I have been dealing with two horses in the same type of situation as far as their symptoms.

My percheron has been tested positive for EPSM. She is around 17-18 years old and I have owned her for 2 years. When I adopted her, it was the day she was to put down. She could no longer stand on her own. I didn't know, nor did anyone else, that she was EPSM positive. Her hooves were in horrible shape as well. So, it was probably a combination of the two things that made her unsound. She is also sway backed and had no topline. At the time, I attributed all of her ailments to being older and neglected, probably arthritis etc. She is also a huge horse. So, I figured her energy level was slow due to all of those factors. I have had her on the EPSM diet for a couple months now, after being diagnosed. She is also on constant turnout and gets exercise daily. The diet is messy and can be a pain, but it is something I have no choice in doing. It takes commitment.

I also have a stock pinto, the one that started me on this whole journey. I adopted her at 2 1/2. I thought her hind legs were wonky. The vet said she was just growing into her legs. She is a draft cross, so unperfect conformation was also a factor. When I tried to introduce lunging to her, it was obvious that something was so off with her. I call her 'noodle legs'. She would knuckle over the hind legs and they would get tangled up. She would bunny hop. Some people thought she was gaited. Her cadence seemed to be off all the time. It seemed like she didn't know what to do with her body and it frustrated her. I had multiple professionals look at her....vets, chiros, massage therapist, trainers etc. Nobody could pinpoint anything. Some people thought it was her neck, then her back, or her hips, or locking stifle, or stringhalt, maybe neurological....on and on. Her personality is very friendly and willing. I started her under saddle last summer and it consisted of getting on and riding. No gymnastics at all. She has not been diagnosed with EPSM, but she is being treated as such and had improvement.

With all this being said, you situation and mine are very different. I am dedicated to these two horses for their lifetimes...which will be a long time with the pinto since she just turned four. I am not looking for a speed demon or a horse to get into heavy training with or compete on. I am older just wanting trail riding horses. These two horses babysit me and I can always count on them for their temperment and not wanting to be athletic. I can trail ride for hours, do fun, non-competetive gymkhanas etc. But that is about it. I also will always have to stay on top of their getting the exercise they need and diet. When finding a boarding facility in the future I will always have to have a place where they will not be stalled.

They are great horses for the 'right' owner. That all depends on their symptoms too I guess. Mine have showed improvements with their movement, but I also know what their limitations are and stay very intuned to that....I can't follow the other trailriders cantering up and down steep hills....I have to find an alternate route or get off and lead my horse, at least at this point. I don't expect miracles with my horses' improvements, but accept all the small miracles I'm given. I would say my horses would be good grandchildren horses or husband horse (as long as he doesn't want to cowboy on them). Like I said, good trail and fun gymkhana type big expectations, especially with speed. So for someone like me, they are perfect. However, it sounds like you are needing more of a horse for what you want to do. This is all from just my experience with my two horses. Maybe there are others out there that break through this disability.

deserthorsewoman 04-12-2013 12:29 PM

OP, why don't you tell us a little more about his living accommodation, his exact diet, his symptoms? Oldhorselady has a detailed feeding plan, maybe some tweaking if your horse's diet is helpful. Not trying to change your mind but sometimes one doesn't see the forest for all those trees, ya know;-)

Lopin N Paint 04-12-2013 12:48 PM


Originally Posted by deserthorsewoman (Post 2206889)
OP, why don't you tell us a little more about his living accommodation, his exact diet, his symptoms? Oldhorselady has a detailed feeding plan, maybe some tweaking if your horse's diet is helpful. Not trying to change your mind but sometimes one doesn't see the forest for all those trees, ya know;-)

12 yo reg paint
15.3 hands

Uninterested, lethargic
Clumsy, feet get tangled, trips often in soft sand footing even with IMHO great farrier work.
Tied up once while he was ill but has not tied up since then
After working he shows what I think is exercise intolerance, he goes back to just standing in one spot outside , head low, looking sad
He has tested positive for Type 1 P/N so he has it

He started showing symptoms after he was in training for a month... It seemed like the more he was ridden the worse it got... He was to the point where he lost a TON of weight and was barely standing before the vets old figure it out. We thought he wasn't going to make it.

Lifestyle right now:
He is up to date on farrier, shots, teeth done in Nov
He gets hay free choice Timothy grass hay, it's clean and looks of good quality
He gets a probiotic and vitamin e supplement daily
He gets (vet recommended) purina ultimate grain
He is barefoot too
He gets turnout at night only (just not enough room for 24/7 turnout here)
Turnout is a dry lot, no grass yet.

That's at the trainers. He can only stay here till the weather gets bad come winter.

Conformation could also have something to do with it? He's kinda a mess but we love him!

Lopin N Paint 04-12-2013 01:02 PM

Oh btw we have an indoor at the trainers, so that really helps!

Edit: Oh, btw he stocks up in the back ALL THE TIME. You can ride him for an hour, put him up, and an hour later he is all stocks up again.
Vets says its unrelated and we are still not sure why it happens. Even with turnout he still stocks up because he just doesn't more around a whole lot.

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 02:57 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome