Mental Symptoms - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old Yesterday, 06:02 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Mental Symptoms

We have a 20 year old horse who most days will exhibit signs of intense concentration on things in the distance and overly focus on these things and become agitated

He will also pace his shed when upset

Vets have seen him and can't really put their finger on it - Cushings was borderline and not really proved

Could it be something else

Thanks
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post #2 of 11 Old Yesterday, 06:18 PM
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Do you suppose he could be experiencing dementia like in humans? In people it can cause the same symptoms ei. confusion, staring off blankly and agitation. Also, not knowing exactly where one is. That with early cushings could even bring more problems. Just throwing that out there. Does he seem better if you go out with him and talk to him and pet him, assuring him all is ok ?
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post #3 of 11 Old Yesterday, 06:23 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks

He is still like it when you are with him.

Dementia did cross my mind, but I am unaware of it in horses - how would you diagnose (and treat?)
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post #4 of 11 Old Yesterday, 07:04 PM
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I don't have the answers to your questions about horses. I am relating though to what you are saying and the symptoms my father had when dealing with his dementia. Sometimes my father was confused about what was happening today but, he could sit and talk to you about what he did in his youth. If he was out of his home he would get agitated and want to be back at home. He would get lost easily even in very familiar areas. At 20 a horse is getting later in life and it would be at an equivalent time in humans that such things happen although early. We all age differently whether human or animal. Some people are old at 50 and others are still young at 75 and above.
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post #5 of 11 Old Yesterday, 08:29 PM
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I have read that horses don't usually get dementia. Take that for what it's worth...

"Saddle fit -- it's a no brainer!"" - random person
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post #6 of 11 Old Yesterday, 09:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leachim View Post
We have a 20 year old horse who most days will exhibit signs of intense concentration on things in the distance and overly focus on these things and become agitated

He will also pace his shed when upset

Vets have seen him and can't really put their finger on it - Cushings was borderline and not really proved

Could it be something else

Thanks
To me that just sounds like he sees something in the distance that is bothering him and he can't identify it or it worries him. My mare does this a lot when there are animals going through the woods on our property. Sometimes I will spot a fox or an elk or even a house cat. Other times I never see what she is looking at, but I know she sees something. It never crossed my mind that it was a mental health problem. It doesn't have to be anything overly dramatic to us humans either.......a ribbon of plastic fluttering when the wind blows or something that somebody moved that is in a different position than before. That's what it sounds like to me based on your description. I mean, I can picture my mare doing the exact same thing when I'm reading this.


Have you tried walking him over the direction he's looking just to see if you can figure out what he's looking at? My mare was really "looky" at my chickens when I first got her and once I walked her over to see them she quit fretting about them.
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post #7 of 11 Old Today, 01:11 AM
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fwiw, my horse occasionally colics from ulcers. When it happens, he becomes very still and looks like he's staring off into the distance at something. Then after a minute or two, if it's a worse episode, he will start getting agitated.


So is he actually looking at something, or is he just kind of 'zoning out'?
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post #8 of 11 Old Today, 04:22 AM
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Does your horse live alone? Have you had him a long time & this is new behaviour for him, or have you only got him/moved him recently? Perhaps he is agitated about something physical, as suggested above & 'zoning out', or perhaps it's normal 'mental stuff' that he's stressed about being alone - which is not good for his physical health either. Is it possible too he could hear or smell horses in the distance?
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post #9 of 11 Old Today, 04:36 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the messages

He doesn't live alone and this has been going on for months. When he gets agitated, he becomes difficult to handle and there has been serious talk of putting him down.

When out in the field, he is normally ok, but when agitated he will run round and round.

Just wondered if it could be a deficiency of something / poisoning, but when talking of the brain, there is no easy answer (if it is the brain)
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post #10 of 11 Old Today, 10:06 AM
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Not sure what could be causing it but here's a little slightly related giggle story for you.

The other day my horse was extremely agitated and began prancing and running in a small circle near his gate screaming his fool head off. Every couple of seconds he would stop and stare across his field and the farm fields opposite very alert like. I stood watching him trying to figure out what was causing his issue. The culprit? A plastic bag blowing in the wind probably two football fields away. Bag disappeared horse returned back to normal (well his version of normal haha)

~ Hope is never light years away ~
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