Strange Episodes in Cushing's Horse - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 17 Old 08-21-2019, 12:19 PM
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@gottatrot This was a few years back so I'm a little rusty and I was not living at home at the time, he was fine then he "colicked" the next day he didn't seem any better vet came out and couldn't find any major issues, it was probably about 5 days before we started him on antibiotics only symptoms were tummy upset and "not himself" (so antibiotics were not the first thought!) vet never tested (or did any labwork) because she wanted him on antibiotics either way and he responded very quickly. He did have mostly daily episodes and it was mostly but not exclusively around feeding time, not outright "colic" but laying down mid meal or walking away some rolling and up and down but no real upset the way one would see with a true colic.

It was definitely a lesson learned that not everything presents in the way you would expect it to! It doesn't sound exactly the same as your mare but similar enough I thought I would share, and the moral of the story works for anything, good to rule out obvious causes first but sometimes thinking out of the box is good. It was really my mothers observation that he "lost his sparkle" (also an Arab lol, the guy in my avatar) that started the antibiotics, I didn't think too much of it because of course he wasn't himself with constant discomfort!
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post #12 of 17 Old 09-06-2019, 11:59 PM Thread Starter
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An update:
I figured out what was causing these episodes. They are choke/esophageal obstructions. I've seen it happen twice more, and apparently it is painful and she likes to lie down because it seems to either relieve the pain or help the obstruction move through.

My mare doesn't try to cough or move the bolus along, but I saw how it happened both times so discovered what it was. She was eating her vitamin/hay pellets and stopped suddenly, put her head down and seemed to try to push the food out, and then after that attempt would not eat but either stand with head hanging or lie down. Now that I have seen it start, I can see the ear twitching and such are her responding to the discomfort.

Thankfully, the obstruction moved along on its own after a few minutes each time.

I've begun soaking her pellets now, apparently the small size along with the vitamins were causing them to jam up inside since her teeth are short. So far haven't seen an issue with hay or grass, I guess it is the pellets that create the issue.
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post #13 of 17 Old 09-07-2019, 02:53 AM
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Poor horse!
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post #14 of 17 Old 09-07-2019, 06:00 AM
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If she's choking and you're there to witness it, Vets advise massaging the throat and neck on the left side starting at the top and working down to help move the obstruction. And removing all feed and hay, but make sure they have fresh water. Also soaking her feed to where it is more like a watery mash, and feeding soaked hay pellets instead of hay. Horses that choke are at risk of aspiration pneumonia, so you might want to discuss ways to prevent it via feeding methods.

If the choke doesnt resolve in 30 minutes, a vet usually needs to treat by tubing to move the blockage. Hope this helps.
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post #15 of 17 Old 09-07-2019, 07:57 AM
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Nice, I'm glad that you got it figured out and it's something that you can prevent.
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post #16 of 17 Old 09-07-2019, 08:45 AM
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So glad you got it figured out.
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post #17 of 17 Old 09-08-2019, 06:00 PM
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Originally Posted by gottatrot View Post
My first guess is that she is having complex partial seizures relating to the Cushing's, and gets some kind of aura that makes her feel she should lie down ahead of time. I guess if that is the case, I'll just monitor her as long as she doesn't progress to having grand mal seizures. If she does start those, I would have to put her down to keep her from going out in a bad way.

Are there any other explanations? I was considering a few things...

-Since this is around feeding time and her teeth are getting worn down (she just had her dental float recently and still has chewing surfaces, but the teeth are short): I wondered if she could be getting some kind of wad in her esophagus that caused pain as it went down. Maybe this pain would make her want to lie down until it passed, and the staring off and twitching is related to focusing on that.
I have seen her have to cough up a wad of hay a couple of times in the past several years. I'm there when she eats most nights though, so it is a rare thing.
This one I think is unlikely, judging from how horses and donkeys normally behave when they choke, which is not to lie down, but to stand rigid craning their necks and trying to swallow; and I've not seen them go down with that, even when obviously sweating in distress. Plus, no such behaviour ever from Romeo - neither typical choking behaviour or what you are describing - even though he was cudding and spat out about half his wads towards the end of his life. (For anyone who hasn't seen it, horse skull with no teeth left in bottom jaw here:

PS: Having read your subsequent explanation: Well, there's another example of individual difference in responses! I've seen quite a few chokes, including a near-terminal one when the first vet didn't remove the obstruction, but only push it closer to the stomach, but had never seen a horse with choke lying down!

-Some kind of intermittent heart arrhythmia that causes her to feel strange or have chest pain, so she lies down until it goes away.

Feeling faint, for whatever reason? Episodes of low blood pressure, given that Cushings can affect a lot of homeostatic mechanisms?

Is she ever sweating or showing other signs of serious pain with this? (ask I, at n= 2 here ) ...dizzy or woozy would be more my guess than pain, but how's her coordination going down and coming back up?
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Last edited by SueC; 09-08-2019 at 06:10 PM. Reason: PS!
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