I had an Appaloosa stallion that I raised. Yes, who keeps a horse as a stud for 14 years when they don't intend to breed him. But he was a special case, a trustworthy teddy bear that had some ornaments. I wanted to geld him late because I wanted him to get those gorgeous cheeks :) when he was 3yrs old he started losing condition and fast. He wasted away to skin and bones, but was getting plenty of groceries. The vet came out, ran labs and all were fine. He and the whole practice were stumped and recommended we consider putting him down. At the lowest weight and condition he stayed there for 2 weeks and finally began putting weight back on. He would be great for a long time with nice muscles and then he would do it again. There was no pattern at all. He would go 6 to 18 months between these episodes. After his second episode and more labs that were good we then managed him on our own since he never seemed at an energy loss and other than appearance he was never out of sorts. He was by a zippo pine bar and bright eyes brother bred stud and oUT of an appy mare that had poco Bueno on her papers. We bought the mare in foal and she was ,supposed to have performance points. Realized after she foaled that she was actually unbroke. The woman we got her from decided that she was going to repossess the pair since we complained that the mare was not as stated. She cashed our check, but when dealing with people with more money than brains you should remember that you will always get screwed. Woman inherited millions of dollars, enough to spend 2 million on an appaloosa stud and not bat an eye.
Anyway, she stated that our contract was for the foal only not the pair and that money we paid was for leasing the mare from 9 months pregnant until foal was weaned at barely 3 months (5 months) the mare was a horrible mother and was abusive to little Gizmo. She was good til he was one month old then she seemed to be trying to wean him. She had to be hobbled so she didn't hurt him.
Anyway, she did the same thing when he was born, all through the topline muscle just gone. We were concerned but she didn't go to the extreme your mare has, or her son did as well and she went back to Florida as soon as Gizmo was weaned.
unfortunately, we decided to let Gizmo go to a friend of the family. He did the same thing that he has always done and turned into skelator pony and she had him put down. She knew about this strange condition and that he pulls out of it. I wish I had been informed prior to her making that choice, yes it looks alarming as hell, no it's not contagious and he always came back to himself. I would have brought him home in a heartbeat! Gizmo was the sweetest critter :(
Sometimes an owners lack of care ends up better than some overzealous owner ready to jump the gun and save their horse from any suffering. If people chose the care for their family with the same Gung hoo - kill them so they don't suffer- attitude , there would be headstones that said, "Here lies Fred, his wife cut off his head because his finger looked a little red, poor Fred, he only had a papercut and now he's dead"... lol
Plus side is, some "well-meaning " person didn't put her down when they had the chance. Down side is becoming a self taught equine nutritionist, supplement guru, and amatur veterinarian.. there has to be some sort of Appaloosa skeleton in the closet when it comes to this...
As for safe Choice, it gets Pokey hopped up like a 2 year old in a cotton candy machine. .. even though the vet recommended it I only use ,it as a small portion of his feed due to ease of feeding. I double checked my scoop (kids plastic cup) and he gets 3 cups 2x daily. Far under the recommended amount. But I make him a special mix and it's a small part of big picture when it comes to his feed. I think they make it a "hot" mix so it seems like seniors are "feeling their oats" and puts more pep in their step so it seems like it's working well for the horse. I don't agree that it is a good thing, I'm sure many people think it is though. ...