Pain or attitude? No access to equine vets - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 28 Old 11-08-2017, 07:48 AM Thread Starter
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Pain or attitude? No access to equine vets

Ok, I know I should be getting professionals in but there simply are none within 1000kms. All I have are general purpose and livestock vets. No saddle fitters or chiropractors. Unfortunately :/

So, I've posted about this before, and the general consensus was that my mare is the testing type and things she does are basically non-events. But...I'm still wandering. Maybe she's in pain and trying to tell me something in various ways.

Before I continue, I would like to emphasize that she is never dangerous and I can correct all her tests. But they keep coming.

Is there any way I can confirm that she is just giving me attitude? I know I'm asking a lot.

Anyhow, her current set of "symptoms" are:

- girthy and complains when she sees the saddle. This only happens sometimes, at other times she falls asleep and I literally have to wake her up for her to take the bit.

- slightly gate sour. It's like a slight gravitational pull to the gate which goes away when she is fully focused (when we are jumping or I'm riding her very forward)

- refusing to go nicely off the leg into trot. Walk and canter are fine. Strangely, her canter departure has improved immensely in the last month (how weird is that?)

- not standing for mounting. This is a new one, she used to be rock solid.

Anyhow, I had other people ride her and she always starts of as good as gold for them. She seems to be a bit apprehensive of a new rider and once she figures out they will not beat her, she starts up with her antics. The progression is exactly the same regardless of the rider experience (except, of course, experienced riders handle it better but she still tries to get her way).

Also, I don't ride with a crop. When I do, her work ethic is impeccable even if I've only ever hit her once. I would ride with a crop but she gets quite stressed out and fearful so it is very unpleasant and I don't enjoy it at all. Her schooling also suffers as she doesn't learn anything because she is hyper-focused on the impending doom - as she sees it. Poor thing.

I am first and foremost an animal lover and would hate causing pain to her. This is seriously impacting my enjoyment in riding. I keep getting stressed out by her behavior because I always have this thought at the back of my mind that she is hurting. And I'm spending a lot of time and money on something that I'm not really enjoying at the moment.

If you have any ideas, I would be very grateful.
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post #2 of 28 Old 11-08-2017, 08:06 AM Thread Starter
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Sorry, just forgot to add that I bought her a new saddle last winter because the old one was rubbing her hair off at the back. I had my BO and several experienced horse people look at the saddle fit and they seem to agree that it fits. I also did just about any test I could find online and it seems to fit.

I looked at the sweat pattern and there are no dry spots if she had a good workout, but I also got off after about 10 minutes of riding, just as she was starting to sweat (I kept feeling under the saddle), and she did have some dry spots. I have no idea on how I would go about getting a better fitting saddle. I would still be in the same position of not being certain that it fits.
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post #3 of 28 Old 11-08-2017, 12:08 PM
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Have you had one of the non-horse vets out to look?
When vets do their training in most countries they have to cover all types of animals and then go on to specialize (or stay in a mixed practice) so those vets won't be entirely ignorant of horse ailments
At least they can do ultrasounds and X rays and take blood to test for other possible causes
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post #4 of 28 Old 11-08-2017, 01:50 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jaydee View Post
Have you had one of the non-horse vets out to look?
When vets do their training in most countries they have to cover all types of animals and then go on to specialize (or stay in a mixed practice) so those vets won't be entirely ignorant of horse ailments
At least they can do ultrasounds and X rays and take blood to test for other possible causes
Yes, I had two out, they both said she is perfectly healthy. Neither of them thought they would be able to see anything from x-rays because they didn't know what to look for. I guess you have to know which angles to aim for if you suspect something... They both palpated her and there was no reaction and I never had any either.

As for blood tests, they said something to the effect of not being sure that cow or sheep tests they had would be appropriate and they didn't really know which horse tests to order because there are no specific symptoms they could observe :/ All in all, it didn't really seem like they were too enthusiastic to take my money for something they weren't sure they were able to perform - which I'm grateful for.

I asked around and all vets are basically like this around here. They treat horses for common mammalian ailments but anything horse-specific is beyond their expertise. I've seen this with other horses at the yard as well. If an antibiotic or a steroid can't fix it, there is not much more they can try.

Thank you for you time.
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post #5 of 28 Old 11-08-2017, 02:01 PM
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I guess you could try the bute test, while waiting for a vet more knowledgeable with horses.
Give her some bute an hour or so, before riding, and see if her attitude changes
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post #6 of 28 Old 11-08-2017, 02:11 PM
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could you, just for an experiment, ride her in the old saddle for 3 or 4 rides?

This might help you determine if the saddle is or is not an issue.
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post #7 of 28 Old 11-08-2017, 02:30 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Smilie View Post
I guess you could try the bute test, while waiting for a vet more knowledgeable with horses.
Give her some bute an hour or so, before riding, and see if her attitude changes
Bute is just a painkiller, right? It won't mess with anything else, I suppose.

Thank you, I will try that.

(Sorry, this might be obvious to you guys but it isn't to me)
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post #8 of 28 Old 11-08-2017, 02:34 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
could you, just for an experiment, ride her in the old saddle for 3 or 4 rides?

This might help you determine if the saddle is or is not an issue.
Good idea, thank you.

She was testing me before the switch but the mounting issue and the trot issue came in afterwards - between 6 and 9 months later.
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post #9 of 28 Old 11-08-2017, 02:43 PM
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Mares are such interesting critters. Thank you for trying so hard to listen to her.

The bute test is a good idea in most cases. Bute is just a painkiller. However, it IS hard on stomachs, so if you have any reason to suspect ulcers, devil's claw or comfrey might be a gentler option.

Girthy, restless to mount, unhappy to trot, all say to me ulcers might actually be a possibility, now I think of it. Of course all of the above could just as easily be attitude, but still. Not all horses with ulcers will display the more clinical signs like a poor coat or trouble keeping weight on. If you can find a vet who'll prescribe omeprazole (with or without scoping) you could give that a shot, or there are a lot of people having a lot of success with lecithin. You'd also want a grain free, low sugar diet (high fibre, high protein, highish fat) in conjunction with that.

Good luck!

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post #10 of 28 Old 11-08-2017, 03:22 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by blue eyed pony View Post
Mares are such interesting critters. Thank you for trying so hard to listen to her.

The bute test is a good idea in most cases. Bute is just a painkiller. However, it IS hard on stomachs, so if you have any reason to suspect ulcers, devil's claw or comfrey might be a gentler option.

Girthy, restless to mount, unhappy to trot, all say to me ulcers might actually be a possibility, now I think of it. Of course all of the above could just as easily be attitude, but still. Not all horses with ulcers will display the more clinical signs like a poor coat or trouble keeping weight on. If you can find a vet who'll prescribe omeprazole (with or without scoping) you could give that a shot, or there are a lot of people having a lot of success with lecithin. You'd also want a grain free, low sugar diet (high fibre, high protein, highish fat) in conjunction with that.

Good luck!
I was thinking about ulcers as well. What threw me off that idea is that she looks really healthy, all glossy and shiny, with those spots coming in with her winter coat. Her appetite is more than healthy - we have to limit her intake a little bit. BO has spread her feeds to six times a day (she's an angel).

As far as feed is concerned, we only have hay - no fancy concoctions, so she's stuck with that.

Thank you for your time, I will try that as well. I assume that those drugs will not mess with anything if she doesn't have ulcers?
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