Musculature gone completely - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 09-08-2017, 10:23 AM Thread Starter
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Musculature gone completely

Or, at least, almost.

My horse had a bad, bad case of worms (I believe they're called red worms in English, I'm not sure), the most dangerous kind out here. The type that not only attacks the intestine, but the blood vessels are subject to them as well. I've been boarded at this place for a year now, and she might've even had them for so long. Owner of the only other horse there doesn't believe in deworming or cleaning poop, so here we are. So on and so forth, and now I've got a horse that should be free of worms, but she looks a mess.

It's a mess boarding there just as well, but that's another matter. What's important is that the other owner keeps feeding my horse until she drops dead (behind my back) because he thinks the lack of muscle is lack of healthy weight. Now she looks a thousand times worse, with a big, big potbelly and ribs showing up top. It looks awful. She looks like a two year old who's sick.

Got a few vets out and a very good chiropractor, after which she's gotten much better in her movements again. The only thing is, I'm not sure how to go about getting that back muscle to develop again. I have no arena, so it will have to happen outside. I could possibly do some in saddle work outside, but what? I'm very careful with her, because I'm afraid if I put a saddle on that the muscles won't develop. I've been walking her by hand for two weeks (my vet said that was the only thing to do, really) and now I have the go ahead to ride. But what?

She expressly told me I couldn't do long distance for the moment (what she was doing prior to this) but I have no idea what else to do. All her musculature came from outside training for an hour or two each day. She looked really fit before this mess.

I've got my head in my hands, I really don't know what to do...

Here's her in July, when she had an abcess and she started deteriorating.

The horse you think is the oldest, is almost always the one that is still three years old in his mind.
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post #2 of 10 Old 09-08-2017, 11:15 AM
Green Broke
 
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Has your veterinarian drawn blood on this horse? Is there something else going on health-wise? I'd be looking into PSSM with this horse, too. Lack of topline musculature is a symptom. This horse does look underfed, to me, in the picture. She lacks all bloom and condition, so perhaps her diet is lacking. Feeding all she'll eat won't matter if it's wrong for her nutritionally. What does she get for food?

Worms also tend to cause issues in horses who have underlying health problems moreso than healthier horses. Is there anywhere else you can keep her? It doesn't sound like your current place is ideal at all.

Gentle riding won't hurt her unless she's so thin the saddle doesn't fit. Her muscles will develop just fine if she wears a saddle unless there's something else going on with her health-wise. Slow work with gentle hills, walking over poles, backing up, transitions will help develop her topline muscles.

She's such a nice-looking animal otherwise. I hope you can get her sorted out.
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post #3 of 10 Old 09-08-2017, 11:52 AM Thread Starter
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He did, and she's negative for PSSM, luckily. He did find the traces of worms, and the other vet that came around told me she had everything (she's also a chiropractor) a horse with red worms would have. With the bad manure management, it's not suprising. Her muscles had seized from the pain and she only got better about that after the chiro was done with her. She had lost a lot of weight in the picture due to an abcess at the time, but both vets confirmed she wasn't actually underweight weight-wise, but muscle-wise. The second one gave me feed that might help her - she gets the Cavalor fibreforce now and a garlic and herbs supplement for her intestines. She does very good on that, and as always gains weight when she looks at a blade of grass sideways.

If I feed her just a tad too much, she blows up. She's already far over the meter now, sadly, and way too fat. Fattening her up doesn't help with the topline though... She just looks like and old, fat horse now. Sorry I don't have a recent picture of her!

Her back had gotten a bit more toned after the chiro came, and the saddle still fits properly, she said.

I do hope so as well! It's been awful with the first vet being very wishy-washy and unreliable. He didn't even send me other blood results at all, except "She's PSSM free" and "She has worms". Never calling that one again :/

The horse you think is the oldest, is almost always the one that is still three years old in his mind.
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post #4 of 10 Old 09-08-2017, 04:11 PM
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I'd wonder if she's insulin resistant. Many who are tend to still have a cresty neck, but a potbelly, ribby, with loss of musculature along the topline. Not all horses with this issue are roly poly butterballs.
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post #5 of 10 Old 09-08-2017, 05:03 PM
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Do keep in mind that there are several forms of PSSM (or more accurately called MFM) that can cause muscle wasting, not just PSSM1 which is the one most people test for.
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post #6 of 10 Old 09-09-2017, 03:01 AM
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I would suggest looking at high protein feeds, giving this horse a lot of turnout, if turnout not possible, going for long hacks at walk, walk/trot in hand or on lunge over cavaletti, doing some groundwork exercises specific for back and hindquarter developments. THe sessions don't have to be very long, the can be 20-30 minutes in hand. The hacks can be longer, just letting the horse walk walk walk!

THat is all of course if she is sound.
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post #7 of 10 Old 09-09-2017, 04:58 PM Thread Starter
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Cherrij, thank you for the tip! I went out today with her for the first time in a month (was tied down to work in the "arena" aka the pasture for a week or two, vet said that would be a bit safer before I went out for her muscles) and she loved the work and could very easily handle what I gave her. Lots of uphill and downhill work at the walk, transitions, backing up and because she loves the exercise, boosting off while backing at a fast trot for a meter or two. Going to keep it steady and slow!

This is her now, so everyone knows what I'm actually dealing with as of this day ;

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The horse you think is the oldest, is almost always the one that is still three years old in his mind.
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post #8 of 10 Old 09-09-2017, 06:07 PM
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With the muscle loss both on the topline and hindquarters, I wouldn't rule out PSSM2/MFM. A bad bout of worms could certainly be a trigger to kick off symptoms. I can PM you if you want to know about testing and there is a sticky on this board with more info (but not about testing).
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post #9 of 10 Old 09-10-2017, 10:12 PM
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She looks good to me. If they lose weight too fast, they lose muscle and fat. If she is healthy and sound- exercise, exercise, exercise. Get that muscle built up.

My insulin resistant mare was on a diet for a long time. She still has a hay belly, but I'm ashamed at how her topline looks. I think she needs more protein and exercise.
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post #10 of 10 Old 09-11-2017, 03:24 PM
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How old is she?
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deworming , haflinger , muscles , musculature , worms

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