Dehydration? In heat? Bug bites?
My mare, Ricci, has been acting very strange lately. I first noticed the difference Monday night. I got to the barn at about 815 to feed the girls, and I noticed Ricci was particularly "droopy." My horse is never "droopy." She had her nose to the ground, and just looked exhausted. She would even sit there with her nose in her grain bucket, not eating.
My first thought was the heat. It has been pretty hot the last few days, at least hot for here. It was in the upper seventies and it wasn't very breezy or anything. And I thought maybe she wasn't drinking enough water for how hot it was. Before anyone rags on me, my horse has access to about 100 gallons of water throughout the day. There are buckets in all the pastures and in her run-in stall to the barn.
Apparently, Ricci is also in a flaming heat, and that could explain her mood swings. Now, I can never tell when Ricci is in heat. It's not my lack of knowledge or anything, she just doesn't get mood swings, or behaves any different than she does on an average day, so her being in heat like this is, in itself, confusing and very unlike her. So she keeps peeing, and standing there like she is going to pee but isn't. Her udders are also swollen, and she can be "milked" although she is almost always milk-able.
So she has been following this fine in the morning, droopy at night pattern. Since she keeps peeing, I imagine she is pretty dehydrated, especially since it's been so hot and sunny, so in the evening she isn't feeling so great. I am pretty sure that that's the problem, so I'm soaking her grain. I was also thinking about hosing her down as often as I can to help keep her cool. And yes, she has access to the shade as well.
I started her on corn oil about a week and a half ago and while I don't think that the oil is the cause of this, it's the only thing that's changed, and the only thing I can change again so I'm going to take her off it for now to see what happens.
I'm also very concerned about the being "in heat." Like I said, it's very unusual for her to be like this. In the three years I've had her, she's never been like this. She is 17 now. Is it normal for a horse's cycle to be inconsistent? I know a woman doesn't have to be, but is that ok with horses too? Do horses ever hit a "menopause" stage, where they stop coming into heat? If so, when should I expect it? I also had a vague idea of giving her something like an anti-inflammatory? It's not something I necessarily want to do, but could it help with anything? Make her more comfortable?
Another thing is the bugs. For some reason, the bugs SWARM poor Ricci. She gets welts every once in awhile too, usually a bump no bigger than a thumb nail. They aren't tender or anything. Could the bug bites be a cause for the "droopiness?" Maybe an allergic reaction? Can I give her an antihistamine? Like Benadryl? Or is there something else that would be better? I'm hesitant to give her a medicine that makes people drowsy. =|
I'm just at a loss. Has this happened with any of your horses, or a horse you know? Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. And sorry for the long post.
Temps in the upper 70's really shouldn't be an issue. I wouldn't expect dehydration or heat stress from just that and being in heat. However, if there has been a change in her water---new treatment by the water plant or of a well, different cleaner used in water trough or buckets, any change in the environment that would prevent her from getting to the water as much during the day---there could be a dehydration and an impaction colic risk.
I really woudn't expect the issue to be from the corn oil either.
I would recommend a visit to your vet for a bit of bloodwork and an exam. And that you start playing detective and look changes in the environment including pasture mates that could be causing these changes. It is possible for colic to build over several days.
It sounds like colic to me, when my horse had it he was real droopy.
Kinda funny, if we are in the 70s during the day, it means a cold front is coming through! I get up at 6 in the morning to ride because it hasn't hit 80 by that time!
Have you noticed any change in her manure? For us, we keep free choice salt blocks, or use electrolytes in feed, and if its really hot then they get a bucket of gatorade at night. If its more than that, call a vet.
The upper 70's is HOT for my location, and it's usually always really breezy and it hasn't been, so yes, heat is an issue. It has been pretty mild lately and then the other day it just got HOT.
I'm really not sure about colic. She's never colicked before, knock on wood, and she's been in the same pasture for pretty much her whole life, so while it's likely that something in her environment could have changed, it would be really weird for it to change now, and not ten years ago. And like I said, the corn oil is the only thing that's changed. All the other horses are fine, and as far as I know, colic doesn't just go away. My horse is completely fine in the morning and late evening, as long as it's cooler out. She is just in heat and peeing. Her stomach isn't tender, it's making all the typical grumbly noises it's supposed to. I also rode her the other morning and she did great. She's eating all her food at her normal pace. I just don't think colic fits the whole picture, at least not a kind of colic I've ever seen.
Flitter -- Her manure looks the same, and she's still passing it all like usual. She has access to one of those red mineral blocks. And gatorade, huh? What's that do?
This morning I gave her some soaked grain and hosed her down, and I'm about to head out to hose her down again since it's about 80 degrees now. I really think she is just dehydrated since she keeps peeing out all the liquid in her body, I really just want to know if any other people have experienced this.
We recently had a mare that was peeing a lot. She was generally not feeling well either, droopy, as you are describing. Turned out she had a urinary tract infection. I never would have guessed! A course of antibiotics snapped her out of it and she did fine after.
You might want to have a vet check your mare.
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