(Pony PTS) Pony acting suddenly irrational/crazy-subsiding slowly-Vet is stumped - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 37 Old 05-28-2020, 01:35 PM Thread Starter
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(Pony PTS) Pony acting suddenly irrational/crazy-subsiding slowly-Vet is stumped

Hi~~ I have a medical mystery that has been plaguing me for a week now and I need your collective minds to brainstorm what could be the cause of my pony's symptoms.
Pony in question is a 13hh Welsh about 13 yrs old very very healthy and up to date. Gives lessons to children, former Hunter pony. SoCal area.

I'll try to be organized in my timeline of events:
Last Thursday: Hot day. gave a little girl a lesson on my pony. Girl got the pony tacked up, I did not supervise that, I was in arena setting up. Pony and girl did some ground pole grid work. Unremarkable, perfect. Set up the grid as crossrails. Girl asked for canter in a random place in the arena. Pony buckled one front leg and laid down, sternally. Girl stepped off. I RAN over, after several seconds convinced pony to rise up. Took off her tack. Let her loose. She acted normal, walked around a bit. I made her trot around. She briefly trotted but counterbent... odd! Then seemed normal just perhaps quiet. Hot day tho. Pony not sweaty. Re-tacked pony and had my teenager daughter ride her. Seemed ok. Did the grid raised, did bounces, never touched a rail. She's a pro at this and can do it in her sleep. Fine. Shrugged it off.

Friday: I didn't see the pony (boarded) but I called and I was told she was eating hay and looked ok. Hot day.

Saturday: Went to see pony- she was out of her mind. Spooked when she saw me! Acted confused. Staring at noises in the distance. Staring at horses giving lessons in the arena. Trotting around her pen with head high. Not eating anything/ much as far as I could tell. (She lives in a shared paddock with one other pony)
Almost seemed... Blind ??
I gave some peppermint oil and some probiotic/electrolyte paste. She fought me opening her mouth.
Other behavioral differences: frequent head shaking. Frequent lip-flipping. Refusal of grain or treats.
Tight mouth and chin.
I called vet, left a message.

Sunday: similar confused behavior, lip flipping, smelling/ dragging upper lip in dirt, head shaking. Looking off into the distance. Staring at nothing. Almost seems afraid. Irrationally resistant to head being examined. Refuses treats. Tight mouth and chin.
I led her in a circle on a hill to see if she would trip or stumble but she didn't.
Blind spot in her vision??? She can see, she isn't bumping in to anything... but sometimes I think she can't see normally.....
Gave a little probiotic electrolyte paste

Monday Memorial day: similar behaviors as described before, but lesser. More subtle. I let her out of her pen and she didn't go running off to pillage the grain containers like any pony normally would, she smelled the ground and walked cautiously. Ate a little grain, carefully. Is she getting accustomed to whatever is wrong with her??
Gave the paste again.

Tuesday: Vet came out!
Pony acted even more like normal, was calm for the vet while he haltered her and examined her. Said "there is nothing at all wrong with this pony". He thinks perhaps she just had a mild colic or blockage since it's been so hot and she's now over it. (Note- pony never rolled, looked at her sides, nothing like colic behavior) The exam was pretty brief but vet said her eyes looked fine, very beginnings of cataracts maybe. Said there is nothing that would cause sudden vision loss. Pony opposed opening of her mouth but vet said he doesn't blame her. Pony is normally more compliant.
I paid a exam and call-out fee and he left.
Pony ate her grain but not enthusiastic, picked at it. Admittedly it is very hot out. I only saw her shake/twitch her head once, lip flip once. Someone else said she was startling/spooking at random gate clanging noises but it was brief and more subtle. She doesn't like it when I reach for her head and violently opposes the electrolyte paste/hates opening her mouth.

Wednesday: more like herself, still not quite her normal confident sassy self. Didn't eat her grain after a couple bites. Better every day but not herself. Doesn't want me reaching for her head. I was there for a couple hours riding etc but I left her alone in her pen as the barn was very very busy.

Today: I'll go see her again this afternoon.

So everyone, what could possibly cause a pony to lay down one day, then totally change her whole personality and act fearful and ?vision loss? For a week now? I've owned horses most of my life and I've never seen anything like this, it's making me crazy

Thank you in advance for any ideas / experience you have~~
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post #2 of 37 Old 05-28-2020, 02:40 PM
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Hmmm, hmmm, hmmm.

IF your vet thinks it could have been mild colic, perhaps try 5-7 days of a sand clear type product. Even if you aren't in a sandy area. It's like a human taking metamucil for a few days.

Another easy thing to try is to pony or lunge your pony followed by cold-hosing his shoulders. For one week.

Sometimes, we can tack a horse up in a way that can cause bruising in a shoulder. Even with experienced horsemen. And, oddly, the horse often doesn't move in a lame way. I've heard old horsemen call it a "burn." But it's actually bruising that only hurts with downward pressure.

I've seen this turn even the most easy going horse into a bucking and ducking horse. But easily fixed.

It would be great if either of those help your good pony. Best wishes.
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Last edited by boots; 05-28-2020 at 06:01 PM.
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post #3 of 37 Old 05-28-2020, 04:43 PM
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Hmm, I'm inclined to say something neurological maybe? Or a kick to the head? Or maybe snake or spider bite, causing head inflammation? Severe headache....

Only time I've seen irrationally berserk behaviour, where horse went from calm to terrified, reactive, bolting trying to escape something when loose, occasional stumbling... To calm again but off her feed & headshy, the horse just keeled over & died. Owner had autopsy done & brain aneurism was found.

Hope she continues to recover.
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post #4 of 37 Old 05-28-2020, 06:08 PM
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An infected tooth maybe? Or a mouth injury?
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post #5 of 37 Old 05-28-2020, 06:23 PM
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Floating tumor?

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post #6 of 37 Old 05-28-2020, 09:46 PM Thread Starter
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Update today, Thursday:
Pony seemed normal and ate hay but only carefully.
Then, later, my daughter and I were in the paddock with her trying to fly spray her and she got scared, as if she didn't know one of us was there and then was surprised? She shook visibly all over. For a few minutes. Almost looked like a seizure. Terrified. My daughter tried to talk to her and hug her and reassure her untill it passed. She never went back to her hay net to eat. 😞
I caught some of it on video, I'll send it to the vet after I figure out how to
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post #7 of 37 Old 05-28-2020, 09:51 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for replies!!
I was thinking possibly the infected tooth could be what this is.. she is violently opposed to anyone touching her mouth! I can't give the electrolyte probiotic paste without a huge fight and 2-3 people. I couldn't give it today at all.
Doesn't explain really all the confused/fearful symptoms though, does it?
I guess this leaves something neurological... But she isn't off balance or tripping or one sided, at least as far as I can tell and the vet turned her around on a lead and said she seemed ok (not a thorough neuro exam)
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post #8 of 37 Old 05-28-2020, 11:58 PM Thread Starter
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Update#2 :. The vet replied to my videos I sent him of pony shaking this evening, and said it looks like some type of neurological muscle tremor. He doesn't know what. Possibly kicked in head by the other pony? (No injury I can see) or a poisonous insect? He says she can see, and that she's scared because the tremors make her feel out of control. He said to give 10cc oral banamine and "wait and see".
So did these tremors happen in the days before and I didn't really notice them? I don't know.
I'll keep updating for anyone's interest.
Wish I could upload videos of the tremors
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post #9 of 37 Old 05-29-2020, 12:06 AM
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It yells neurological to me. I would be consulting a vet who specializes in equine neurology. Or just a vet who is very well known for doing good, thorough neuro exams. Would be expecting manual manipulation of limbs (leg placing test), observation at walk and trot and turning, pulling tail while standing/walking (sway test), back palpation, etc. Not just turning around at a walk.

When she laid down, was it more of an intentional lay down? Like, girl asked, pony said "eh, guess I'll lay here"? Or was it, girl asked, pony went to pick up, stumbled, fell down? Second thought was that lay down was actually a genuine stumble and she tweaked something that a chiropractor might be able to tend to. It doesn't necessarily explain all her symptoms, but an animal in pain who expects to be in pain can act very, very strange sometimes. A small tweak in a very wrong spot might even cause compression of the spinal cord, which would in turn be a source of the neurological symptoms.

What I'm really wondering is if the lay down caused the symptoms or if the lay down was one of the first symptoms of an overarching disease.
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post #10 of 37 Old 05-30-2020, 07:33 AM
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I'm going to side with your vet....possible small bowel blockage.
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