EMS in a fjord - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 01-12-2018, 05:25 PM Thread Starter
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EMS in a fjord

Hello, I have a fjord mare that was just diagnosis with EMS. She had laminitis and that is now under control. The vet said she has a slight rotation in her coffin bone. What does a slight rotation say for the future of this horse? Can she be ridden fully when not lame. She needs to loss weight and I in the depth of winter. I exercise her when weather permits, I had my hay tested and its all good. I feed Triple Crown Lite 1 pound in am and pm to get all her medications and supplements in, also to balance her diet as the hay is restricted. I currently feeding 15 pounds a hay a day. Most of the time I feed in 3 different feedings. Has anyone have a horse with EMS, what did you do to keep the horse on track. I'm also wondering about feeding amounts of hay in certain temperatures? Should I increase her hay on really cold days. The goal of the vet is to lose weight as quickly. She is always in soft ride boots in the front. Several supplements and blanketed in severe cold weather and/or left in a stall. I research the use of straw to be given to help with the reduction of hay and found that this is very dangerous for horses, I also reviewed this with 2 equine vets they agree it is dangerous to a horse. I appreciate your thoughts and any experience. thank you
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post #2 of 9 Old 01-12-2018, 06:30 PM
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I wonder if the vet really means your mare is insulin resistant and does not actually have equine metabolic syndrome?

I had a horse diagnosed with EMS; he passed from strangulating lipomas seven years after his EMS diagnosis. I called the vet after he lost about 80# in six weeks and I didn't have him on a diet. He never had any degree of laminitis or founder.

I Still have a horse whose diagnosed insulin resistance is in remission. This has foundered twice since his diagnosis in 2012, both times severe.

Metabolic issues can make a horse lose energy quickly when being worked. They start out with their normal energy, then all of a sudden they seem to hit a brick wall and lose all their "go".

1. What is the NSC and WSC value of your hay? Those figures will be on your hay analysis. If they aren't that means your hay was tested for cattle, not for horses; there is a huge difference in what is tested for bovine or equine.

2. "Slight rotation" is by whose definition. Ask your vet for the degree of rotation and how was it measured. Was it measured from the dorsal wall or was it measured from the ground? There's a big difference in numbers, depending on the method used.

I would not ride the horse until new X-rays are taken in the spring and let the vet make that decision and also as to the amount of riding the horse can tolerate.

It is not good to starve a horse thin. They need 1.5%- 2% of their desired body weight in forage every day. By forage, I mean pasture and hay. If your hay tested low in NSC value, with your frigid weather, you could probably get away with feeding her a little more. Three times daily is terrific, if you can keep doing that in this weather.

While some metabolic horses can tolerate some alfalfa, most can't -- most cannot tolerate any sort of legume forage. It's best to feed Timothy, or something similar that is grown locally.

Here is the link to Dr. Eleanor Kellon's website which has a lot of good information. Ecirhorse.org

Here's a link to a paper written by the University of Minnesota; they have done some studies in conjunction with the University of Michigan.

https://www.equine.umn.edu/research/...bolic-syndrome

Here is another link that talks about cold weather laminitis in these types of horses and how to combat it --- something I would discuss with your vet:)

Cold Weather* - The Laminitis Site

^^^Thats a lot of reading and a lot to absorb - most of which wasn't written when my EMS horse was diagnosed in 2007.

Not all metabolic horses react exactly the same to treatment and diet because their metabolisms are all different. One thing they all have in common is:

Limited grazing time
Keep their NSC intake as low as possible
Have your hay tested and hope you don't need to soak it in the frigid winter.

You need a class A farrier who will work with your vet. I have learned the hard way that while a farrier can be great, he isn't that great if he doesn't understand how to keep my foundered horse as sound as is humanly possible.
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A Good Horseman Doesn't Have To Tell Anyone; The Horse Already Knows.

I CAN'T ride 'em n slide 'em. I HAVE to lead 'em n feed 'em Thnx cowchick77.
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post #3 of 9 Old 01-12-2018, 06:56 PM Thread Starter
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Walkinthewalk thank you for your information. I am sorry for the loss of your horse. The vet did blood work, insulin levels were 56 with normal being below 30. He also check for Cushing which was negative, but was positive for EMS. So my fjord has both EMS and insulin resistance. My NSC and WSC are in recommend values. The rotation was 2 cm with the coffin bone he measure it on the X-ray. But I am not sure how he measure it from what point. I am feeding a grassy hay as fjord do not do well on Alpha hay. I weigh the hay with each feeding and do feed three times a day, most days. My mare cannot go on pasture anymore per vet instructions. Fjord can only be on pasture for about 4 hours a day or they gain to much weight. Growing fjord can have more. I will have further X-rays done as you suggested. Currently I am feeding 1.5% of ideal body weight. The fjord should weigh about a 1000 pounds. The vet wants weight off fast so I am exercising her on a lunge line at walk and extended trot. It winter here so I do not canter for safety reason. The extended trot burns more calories then a canter. My farrier is trimming my mare every 4 weeks until the vet tells me to go to 6 weeks. I assume that will be after more X-rays. I am seeing the vet every 6 weeks. The vet wanted me to cut her down to 12 pound of hay a day. But I did not feel that was enough. I debate weather I should feed more with extreme cold weather. I want to keep her healthy but I also want to keep her warm. I have research and research to find so many different opinions. I just want to do the best for my fjord, the rotation of the coffin bone really concerns me about riding her in the future.
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post #4 of 9 Old 01-12-2018, 08:16 PM
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If she's sound enough to lunge she should be sound enough to be ridden in the future. I sure hope she's sound if you're lunging her..

A lot of these are questions for the vet. 12 lbs of hay as a short term is perfectly appropriate. 1.5% of body weight for hay is an appropriate minimum, but 1% can be fed as a short term diet. If your vet, who has seen the horse in person, recommended it I would not be concerned. And 1,000lbs may be an average for the breed but that's not necessarily the ideal body weight for YOUR Fjord. You can put it in a hay net so it will last longer (they make "slow feed" hay nets designed to help with this).

If it's extreme cold you can feed her more, but the reason to feed more is to help keep her warm, if overweight and otherwise healthy with a thick coat (I assume ;)) then no need to feed more. On the flip side a little extra one day here and one day there won't make a huge difference in her weight. You can also put a blanket on her which would be ideal vs shutting her in (assuming it's just cold and not stormy). If vet has ok'd exercise then the more LIGHT exercise the better (eg lots of walking is ideal, not saying to gallop her on cement as that would be horrible for her feet... but low impact exercise? the more the better)
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post #5 of 9 Old 01-12-2018, 09:12 PM
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It sounds like you are fortunate to have a vet who stays up-to-speed on metabolic issues. The Univ of MN has worked with the Univ if MI for quite a few years studying metabolic issues.

When Duke was alive I had all three of my Walking Horses enrolled in a study thru the Univ of Michigan. Walking Horses are on the Predisposed list. My third Walker was and still is healthy and was the control horse in their study. I didn't get paid anything and I covered all my vet's expenses that involved the study but I was thankful to be able to contribute something for the future of other horses.

Being confused due to seeing so many opinions is common, lol,lol. That is mostly because each horse is different, each person's setup is different, so we all have to figure out how to accommodate these metabolic horses within the confines of our pasture spaces. Then there are those folks who have metabolic horses and have to board. Some barn owners bend over backward for the horse, others don't seem to care.

If your time is tight, at least read the link in "cold weather laminitis". It may help you prevent another bout over the winter.

try not to stress over the coffin bone rotation and riding:). Spring is a long way off:). I can't stress how crucial a knowledgeable farrier is. Every four weeks to trim is good. That allows the farrier to keep the hoof at a proper shape. If too much time lapses between trims, a farrier can't make any progress in the rehab process.

He shouldn't need to do much more than some rasping in this cold weather. He also shouldn't be taking anything off the sole, unless it is showing that it wants to shed. We still keep a decent toe callous on Joker but there is a fine line between too much toe callous and just the right amount:)

If you are seeing wall separation, my vet has me use thrush products with Gentian Violet in them but check with your vet:). Any supplement Joker gets is run by vet first --- he is also very savvy on metabolic issues, so anything I feed Joker has his ok.

Monitor your mare's hoof temperature.. Just feel her hooves every day. If they start to continually feel cold, she is having circulation problems. My vet had told me not to worry about cold hooves if it only lasted a day or two but longer than that, he wanted to know. Or, if they were cold a few days, then warm, then cold, etc, he wanted to know.

When Joker, my IR horse, foundered in 2012, he rotated so bad, it was a miracle he didn't sink, and he had passed a hoof tester test with flying colors a week previous. His insulin readings were more than three times normal, Cornell Univ marveled he was still alive. He is rideable but not for more than a hack around the property, or if I could get him to a groomed trail as he also has some old leg and back injuries.

My IPad is not being nice so I can't give you links, but Google "Magic Cushion for laminitis".

When the pictures come up, you will see "Magic Cushion Xtreme" in a gold label and the original "Magic Cushion" in a blue & black label.

I use the blue & black label and can't say enough good. The gold label has a higher dose of capsaicin in it. The stuff packs around the frog, and stays there until I change it.

If the vet would ok its use, I would pack the hooves then put a double layer of wax paper over it, before putting your boots on. It is sticky & gooey and will ruin your boots.

Getting the weight off isn't easy and it honestly seems like there isn't enough exercise to help the horse get the weight off. It's a Catch 22 once the horse has foundered.

Joker stayed on an herbal compound the vet recommended for a very long time. Once his insulin stabilized the weight came off. I can see three ribs, even thru his winter hair and that's where the vet wants him.

Today's weather was wind, rain/sleet and 28(F) so Joker went out in a blanket to conserve calories. Actually both horses wore blankets for turnout, they are in their early 20's and don't need to work to stay warm:). They still spent part of their day in the barn and were ready for jammie land by 4:30 PM.

I tip my hat to you as your temps are unbelievably cold.
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I CAN'T ride 'em n slide 'em. I HAVE to lead 'em n feed 'em Thnx cowchick77.
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post #6 of 9 Old 01-12-2018, 09:34 PM
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I restrict my horses' hay year round given that they are smallish easy keepers. @walkinthewalk is the in-house expert on anything metabolic so I have nothing to add to that part, I just wanted to say that I use slow-feeder nets with 1" holes. It takes a long time to get through those nets, so they don't have to spend too much time on an empty stomach. I am also treating a horse for ulcers, which is something that might very well happen if you are not using slow feeder nets, because if your horse is anything like mine, it can wolf down a flake of hay in a matter of minutes. Ulcers are pretty hard to eliminate once they've established themselves, and are very expensive to treat. I feed 5 times a day, and have a few haynets on hand, so sometimes they get the 1.5" haynet with one flake, along with a 1" hole haynet somewhere else for later (they will inevitably finish one, then go to the other).
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post #7 of 9 Old 01-13-2018, 12:01 AM
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post #8 of 9 Old 01-17-2018, 07:42 PM
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Hi, I'm a hoof care practitioner & rehab specialist, with (unfortunately) a lot of experience with laminitis/mechanical founder/IR etc. As usual, Walkin has already beaten me to some great info. I will ask though, - to Walkin too, because IME it depends which 'experts' you talk to as to definition - what is the difference in your/your vet's eyes, between IR & EMS? It can be used interchangeably.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tina123 View Post
The vet said she has a slight rotation in her coffin bone. What does a slight rotation say for the future of this horse? Can she be ridden fully when not lame.
As others have said, probably, if managed well, but depends on specifics. Generally, unless it's been so chronic that a fair amount of pedal bone has already eroded away, or the damage has allowed for too much other bone remodelling/arthritis etc, then it is absolutely possible to return a horse to complete soundness. There is a fantastic, very informative book(among many other sources) called 'The Pony That Did Not Die' from a farrier & rehab specialist, which is also available in digital form, which is available at www.barehoofcare.com that I highly recommend.

You could also check out the link in my signature for what's required, & post hoof pics here, and if possible, the xray would be helpful. There are a few of us here who can give you some good info on specifics.

Quote:
I exercise her when weather permits, I had my hay tested and its all good. I feed Triple Crown Lite 1 pound in am and pm to get all her medications and supplements in, also to balance her diet as the hay is restricted. I currently feeding 15 pounds a hay a day. Most of the time I feed in 3 different feedings. ... The goal of the vet is to lose weight as quickly.
Echoing Yogi too that I would only exercise her if she is sound for it - boots may permit this. I'd also be extremely cautious about exercising her if the mechanical distortion of her feet is not in hand & she is trimmed in such a way as to avoid further mechanical stress. That said, exercise is vitally important, and regardless of weather, if she's sound to do so(never force a sore horse), I would ensure she was getting as much 'low grade'(as in, good long walks, as opposed to lunging or speed work) exercise EVERY day as possible.

Also echoing re feed... *Maybe* 15lb/day in 3 feeds is enough, but I wouldn't want to feed under around 2% of *desired* bwt daily, of which 15lb would only amount to enough for a 750lb pony. I'd also want to ensure the horse doesn't go hungry for long periods at all, which I'm guessing she would, if you're feeding 3 meals a day & restricting. Yes, weight loss ASAP is important, but not at the expense of a healthy gut - 'crash diets' are especially bad for horses, not just because, like for us it causes the metabolism to go into 'famine mode', but because of the way a horse's digestion is, periods of empty stomach/hunger cause problems such as ulcers, acidosis, and that of itself can also cause further laminitic 'episodes'.

If your hay has been tested & is low enough sugar(which is the biggest issue with straw or other cereal hay - can be very high sugar/cals), it is often OK to allow the horse free access to hay in a 'slow feeder' - eg. small holed net. If it's too high sugar, you can also soak & drain the hay first in fresh water, to leach out some of the sugars. If the horse isn't exercising much/at all & just standing at the hay all day, then this may still be too much, but that's what I'd aim to start with, and if you have to restrict, still ensure she's getting enough over night etc, to not go empty stomached.

That Triple Crown Lite looks OK as far as energy/NSC is concerned, and if you have had her diet analysed that those nutrients/amounts do indeed balance well, maybe the best option. But generally generic type feeds don't have a great nutritional balance, and extra vitamins(as opposed to minerals) aren't generally necessary. High iron for eg is a general prob, esp with feet, and this feed has added iron. Ca/Mg ratios may also be problematic, if the horse isn't also receiving extra Mg. Personally, having managed many fatty-boombahs, I prefer to just use a handful of lucerne(just a handful won't tend to be problematic unless she's seriously sensitive to it) or speedibeet or such, as a 'carrier' for appropriate supplements/meds.

Quote:
The rotation was 2 cm with the coffin bone he measure it on the X-ray. But I am not sure how he measure it from what point. I am feeding a grassy hay as fjord do not do well on Alpha hay. I weigh the hay with each feeding and do feed three times a day, most days. My mare cannot go on pasture anymore per vet instructions. Fjord can only be on pasture for about 4 hours a day or they gain to much weight. Growing fjord can have more.
2cm sounds to me like a major degree of rotation! But it does depend a bit on how he's measured that.... and whether you meant 2 percent, not 2cm out of whack. Again, if you'd like more specific advice, pics & xray necessary. And I'd want to correct those mechanics before doing any serious exercise or riding the horse.

I suggest you learn more about pasture risk, sugars in grass, etc. Depends what kind of 'pasture' and the weather, time of day etc, as to how rich/sugary it may be, as to whether it's dangerous to let your horse graze growing grass. The benefits may well outweigh the dangers too. Grass loses nutrients but doesn't lose sugar content when not growing/cut/dried, so hay isn't necessarily any less 'rich' in sugars than growing grass(which is why I mentioned possibly soaking high sugar hay). Grass also gains sugars with photosynthesis/sunlight, and uses those sugars over night to grow, so, weather dependent, it is generally low sugar & safest to allow grazing in the morning and it's highest in late afternoon/early evening.

And the last sentence I quoted above... do you have a growing youngster you're worried about too?

Some info I've found helpful; [COLOR=Lime][B]www.horseforum.com/horse-health/hoof-lameness-info-horse-owners-89836/
For taking critique pics; [COLOR=Lime][B]https://www.horseforum.com/members/41...res-128437.jpg
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post #9 of 9 Old 01-17-2018, 09:44 PM
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Hi, - to Walkin too, because IME it depends which 'experts' you talk to as to definition - what is the difference in your/your vet's eyes, between IR & EMS? It can be used interchangeably?
When Duke was diagnosed in 2007, the large animal vet called him "cushingnoid" --- meaning not Cushings but similar.

I switched to the new equine vet shortly thereafter, mostly because he had a better variety and higher caliber of diagnostic equipment. He said Duke's illness was not insulin resistant, some vets called it "peripheral Cushings". "It" is an endocrine issue and eventually got the name of "Equine Metabolic Syndrome".

There is such a fine line between EMS and IR, that even some vets transpose the terms but it's incorrect to do that.

@loosie This Wikipedia link (I know) at least has references at the bottom. It describes EMS vs insulin resistance much better than I can:)

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equi...bolic_syndrome

Also, it is interesting to note that Duke never had a single laminitic issue. What he initially had was a loss of energy, drastic/rapid weight loss, and he laid down a LOT; something that really scared me because he was the strong alpha leader.

I never needed meds to stabilize Duke and he didn't wear a grazing muzzle (I tried that once and Duke somehow managed to get it off and fling it thirty feet I to the neighbor's hay field, lollollol)

All I did was shorten pasture time and take all the horses completely off grain and anything that used soy as the protein source.

To reiterate, Duke was diagnosed in 2007 so imagine my shock, after having put everyone on his diet, that Joker was diagnosed as severely insulin resistant and foundered pretty bad in 2012. 2012 was when I started getting the hay tested. Joker went on a high dose herbal supplement, thru the vet, instead of Thyro-L and it worked to get his weight off (about 125 pounds).

Anyway, there is a difference between EMS and IR but it is so slight many folks get confused and rightfully so:). I hate this metabolic stuff. I wish I was still dumb as a rock pile about it, as that would mean I wasn't dealing with it:)
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A Good Horseman Doesn't Have To Tell Anyone; The Horse Already Knows.

I CAN'T ride 'em n slide 'em. I HAVE to lead 'em n feed 'em Thnx cowchick77.

Last edited by walkinthewalk; 01-17-2018 at 09:49 PM.
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