Horse with unknown med issue(s)? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 07-14-2016, 09:59 PM Thread Starter
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Horse with unknown med issue(s)?

This horse has been a hard keeper for a while, but recently the weight has totally dropped and there seems to be no way to put it back on. Vet has been out, several times. Dentist too.

-18ish year old gelding
-QH type
-Vet said he has very mild signs of PSSM
-Dentist power floated him, took teeth out. He quids hay (balls up) so he gets very little hay into his body. Problem gets worse when the hay is softer and better (2nd cut).
- Very skinny, muscle wasting
- Drinks a lot, pees a lot
- Lethargic, lazy
- Recurrent diarrhea at random times (not always at time of change in food)

Horse has been on a lot of different diets to gain weight.

- tried a supplement of selenium and vita E
- Is on WeightBuilder now with no change
- About 2.5lbs of beet pulp per day
- 4 quarts of grain
- probios in morning and evening
- 1.5 quarts of alfalfa per day
- daily hand-grazing (but cannot eat it bc of quidding/balling up food problem)

I am thinking cushings at this point, but vet never suggested it. Will get him tested. Any ideas at all?
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post #2 of 6 Old 07-14-2016, 10:54 PM
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Are you sure on his age? A lot of his symptoms match up with what an old horse can experience but he's not really that old, I'm talking more in the 25+ age range.

I'd have the vet do a full work up including blood work & fecal count (for worm load). An extra meal or two of soaked hay pellets in addition to what you're already feeding won't hurt. It also may be time to switch him to a senior feed vs grain as well. If he can't chew hay he's probably not getting the most out of his grain either. You need the results from the Cushing's test to really know the best diet for him though.

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post #3 of 6 Old 07-14-2016, 10:56 PM
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If the horse is positive for PSSM, here's an article that may help you understand what diet he needs to thrive.....

What Diet Is Best for Horses with PSSM?By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · December 21, 2015

Polysaccharide storage myopathy (PSSM) is a genetic disease that can cause muscle cramping and stiffness. The purpose of this exercise trial was to determine the effects of four diets varying in starch and fat content on blood glucose and insulin concentrations as well as on indicators of exercise-induced muscle strain and damage in horses with PSSM.
Horses had greater blood glucose and insulin responses when they were fed a traditional high-starch diet (sweet feed composed of 45% corn, 45% oats, and 10% molasses). As the proportion of starch was lowered and proportions of fat and fiber were raised in the diet, blood glucose and insulin responses after a meal decreased. The most even plane of energy use was found among horses eating Re-Leve®, a low-starch, high-fat commercial concentrate made of soy hulls, rice bran, soybean, corn oil, wheat, and pellet binder. While the amount of post-exercise muscle stiffness varied among horses on all diets, horses on the high-starch diet exhibited the most muscle stiffness and those on the Re-Leve diet exhibited the least muscle stiffness.
Results of this study indicate that horses with polysaccharide storage myopathy benefit from diets such as Re-Leve that are lower in starch and higher in fat and fiber than traditional sweet feeds. Low-starch, high-fat feeds tend to minimize large fluctuations in blood glucose, and horses eating these rations will experience fewer and less severe episodes of muscle damage and stiffness.
Although the cause of muscle stiffness in horses with PSSM is not completely understood, simple dietary modification can allow these horses to train and perform with little or no discomfort.
This report of KER's 2004 research was published in Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine.
Read the entire research paper, titled The Effect of Varying Dietary Starch and Fat Content on Serum Creatine Kinase Activity and Substrate Availability in Equine Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy."

......What Diet Is Best for Horses with PSSM? | Equinews

I suggest you google Diet for PSSM horses and read up on what the research has and is discovering about feeding your horse. Your vet should also be able to point you to a nutritionist who could help fine turn his feeding plans.
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post #4 of 6 Old 07-15-2016, 07:45 AM
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Well, if the vet has made the suggestion of PSSM and you did not follow through with blood-work and change the diet to reflect that....
Has the horse been tested for PSSM through a biopsy, hair root sample or blood-work?
If not, the horse needs to be so you know definitively a answer and a feeding regime to fit that actual need made.

Aside from a diet needing changed...
What you are currently feeding the horse is not enough food to sustain his daily needs let alone give him enough nutrients to thrive.
Low starch high fat diets seem to be best for horses with PSSM tendencies.

So, personally what you feed would not keep a pony healthy in weight let alone a horse.
A horse needs to consume at a minimum 1% in roughage a day...
You feed 4 pounds of roughage {beet pulp & pellets} so that = a 400 pound horse???
So that is a pony's weight not a horse...

4 pounds of roughage {beet pulp & alfalfa} a day
4 quarts of grain. What is your "grain" ???? How much does it weigh???

So, to want the horse to thrive it needs to be fed.
Your hand grazing is for hours a day spent doing this? {my horses actively graze 8-10 hours a day and I still feed them 5 pounds of hay minimum a night}
You make claim the horse quids and get nothing from grazing, then you need to fill what he is missing with another form of food.
Diet Adjustments Provide Relief for PSSM Horses | Equinews

You make claim you think it is Cushings....
Has the horse been evaluated by the vet for this?
Have you done any testing for this?
Cushing's Disease Diagnosis |

Yes, your horse may exhibit some signs for Cushings...
Does not mean it is Cushings...yet if it is then there are things you can do so the horse can thrive, be happy ....
It is not cheap nor easy to have a Cushings horse nor a PSSM horse...

Bottom line is you need testing done and once the answers are in then you need to feed appropriate foods so the horse can thrive....
You need to spend the $$ to get the answers.

In the meantime....
If the horse has had dental work and teeth removed he may not be able to eat hay so needs different foods he can eat.
I would look into Senior feed fed in amounts for a horse unable to eat hay...then feed him hay even if he quids it he is getting something from the time spent chewing...
He needs calories which currently he is not getting in adequate amounts since he isn't deriving any good from the grazing...
When was the horse last wormed?
Was a fecal done or did you just gave a tube of wormer?
Some health conditions enhance the horses chance of worm overload and signs/symptoms of what you describe...are you aware of that?

There are many "things" your horse could be suffering from.
Without sufficient testing you don't know what he has, what he needs treatment for and what foods fed will be his friend or his enemy.
Your vet said PSSM, you wonder Cushings, I would wonder if a thyroid condition not necessarily Cushings is possible or a combination of things including bad worms...
All are big "?" right now with you guessing....
You need to stop guessing and start finding answers...
It is fine to reach out here for suggestions but a good equine vet is going to be your friend in finding results specific to your horse...
Good luck.
yes, my opinion.
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post #5 of 6 Old 07-15-2016, 08:46 AM
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What is WEIGHT of 4 quarts of your grain, brand name, protein and fat level? He probably needs to be on a low NSC%, decently high protein, HIGH fat grain. And a fairly LARGE amount of it. My hard keeping horses often get 6 qts a feeding!!! With 2-3 meals. Free choice hay. I prefer triple crown senior for hard keepers. But there are other options.
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post #6 of 6 Old 07-15-2016, 10:52 AM
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You need to get those tests done ASAP and either eliminate them as a cause or manage the horse accordingly if either come back positive
One other thing comes to my mind with the symptoms you describe is a type of cancer occasionally seen and more so in older horses called Lymphosarcoma Horse Cancer.
I have had experience of one old pony that had this and the symptoms were identical to those your horse has so worth considering
Lymphosarcoma Horse Cancer
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