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Something is up...
For the past week or so, my horse has been a little aggravated during grooming. He is fine with his neck and legs, nothing unusual there, but when I start brushing his ribs and belly, he swishes his tail a lot. Today when I was grooming him, he was even picking up his back feet on either side and holding them there, like he was warning me. I didn't reprimand him at all, just talked to him, tried to soothe him a bit. When I was done, I walked around to his head and his expression was just not normal. He looked unhappy, uninterested, just grouchy. This isn't like him, he usually loves being groomed.
Instead of going for a ride today, I decided to just do some free lunging in the arena to kind of further assess this situation. He didn't want to leave my side, he followed me around like a scared little puppy. Once I got him to start working, he looked the same as he did in the aisle, just not happy at all. I asked him to trot and he only made a few laps before I stopped him. He was so tense, something is not right, he looks like he is in pain.
He is eating and drinking normally, grazing normally, he isn't being disrespectful or aggressive, he's just not himself though. The bugs are getting bad here, but there aren't many in the barn where I was grooming him. Could it be bites that are causing him to be irritated? But the that wouldn't explain the tense trotting... Also, his winter fur is still hanging out on his ribs, does it cause irritation if it isn't brushed out by a certain time? I try to get as much as I can when I groom, but it's really on there. I just don't know... I called my vet and he told me to keep an eye on him for a few more days and if he doesn't improve, to call back and make an appointment.
So what now? I board outside of town, so it's not far, but I have to work all day for the rest of the week and I can only be there a few hours a day. I let my barn owner know, but I can't expect her to check in on him several times a day, can I? He is in a huge pasture on the back of the property, he isn't exactly within view of the barn.
I feel like I should have the vet out anyway, just to be safe, but he didn't seem overly concerned... I'm just scared to wait and see, what if it's something serious?
What do you guys think? What would you do?
Ulcers. Your vet should have mentioned that if you described everything you just wrote. Call them back and ask about ulcers.
Perhaps you might want to have him scoped for ulcers? If he's acting irritable, and sensitive around his belly, there's a good chance it could be. A huge amount of horses have ulcers, and I know that my trainer's view is: If you trailer you horse anywhere, he probably has ulcers. That may be a bit extreme, but that's a view held by her and several veterinarians alongside her. It's better safe than sorry, anyhow. :)
I told him I thought it might be ulcers, but he didn't seem to think so because he is eating and drinking normally. My horse is a pig though, I think it would take a lot for him to want to skip a meal. I just had him moved to a new barn 3 weeks ago, so the stress from moving, getting used to the new herd, new stall, new people... I'm really leaning towards ulcers, too.
Maybe new vet now too? Especially after a move a good vet should never dismiss ulcers when a horse has all the classic symptoms.
Sounds like ulcers to me. It might be a good idea to get a second opinion from another vet.
Horses will often still eat and drink normally if they have ulcers - certainly didn't affect my mares appetite at all but like yours she also got really bad tempered about being brushed in the same places
Also consider a heavy worm burden, maybe she'd had encysted worms that have emerged or are now emerging - happens at this time of year, they'll cause ulcers and discomfort as they do and can cause colic from blockages if in high numbers
Yeah, I am pretty disappointed in my vet for just shrugging it off like that. I'm going to call back tomorrow and insist that he come out and take a look. If he gives me any guff, I'm finding another vet. I might talk myself into skipping the first step all together, but my vet has never done anything like this before. I'll admit, he isn't the most thorough vet I've ever dealt with, but he has never steered me wrong in the past. Still, I don't want to take any chances, especially if he is in pain and it's a fixable problem.
My barn owner is keeping a close eye on him. She texted me 3 pictures of him today while I was at work, let me know when and how much he ate (every bite), what his mood was like when he came in (normal), and she even let me know that he pooped. :lol: He is well taken care of there, she loves him almost as much as I do!
So quick update, I called my BO's vet yesterday to get a second opinion and she said that it definitely sounds like Riley has ulcers. If it's not ulcers, she said it's also possible that he could have back pain, or some lameness somewhere that is making him grouchy. She is coming out to the barn on Monday for another horse, so she said she would take a look at him when she is there.
Hopefully all goes well, from what I have been told from my BO, she is a great vet. I am familiar with her a little already, she volunteers her services at a horse rescue in my area so I've seen her there from time to time. This isn't just a private little project rescue, either. They have over 40 horses there in a range of health conditions, she works her butt off for those guys. She seems like a very dedicated and caring vet, I think I'm going to like working with her.
Good news that you seem to have found a good vet you can work with, one of my biggest reliefs when we came here was to be able to find one that I had confidence in very quickly. He & his staff feel like friends as well as a vet practice, he knows all my horses by name and all their little quirks
Hope the call out goes well and puts your mind at rest
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