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Feed

I totally agree with the Purina Senior. My boy had ZERO top line and wasn't filling out at all no matter how much I fed him and worked those muscles. I switched to Purina Senior and he's filled out completely! He isn't as hot as he was either with all that sugar from the sweet feed!
 

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"Keep him on the tri amino. I'd also add a fat supplement. I like Manna Pro Senior weight accelerator. The Nutrena product is Topline Balance (or close to that) I've used it with the Manna Pro. I've also used the Pro Add Ultimate. Max out the amino acids basically with good feed , low sugar and high fat. The better quality not necessarily quantity protein the better off your horse will be. Walking as a prior poster mentioned is a good start . If you have hills all the better. My mare that was a walking bag of bones took 3 YEARS on good feed and forage with light exercise to develop any sort of topline. It was 5 before she was back to what I consider prime condition. Some never fully recover."


PSSM responds to low starch, high fat and quality protein. Just because the recommendation has been for adding fat I am sure you are underestimating our ability to read and comprehend your situation as well as our reasons for giving that suggestion. If it helps to detail things then I will. You stated this horse was a rescue. You also stated you have only had him since this summer past. You say he was a rescue that was skin and bones. He can have no topline for one of three reasons or any combination of the three - in no particular order - build, starvation or pssm. I have and have dealt with all three. Most horses will do well on the pssm diet. Fats are a necessary part of a healthy diet provided it is the right fats with a good level of Omega3. You also want to address gut health and provide Vitamin E and C. Manna Pro provides a small amount of the E but also addresses the O3, probiotic and C. Depending on your feed you may need more Vit E. It can be added to a feed like Strategy Healthy Edge to up the fat level. Ideally you would want 20 - 25% of the calories for a PSSM diet. The Senior feed is made with a good level of the amino acid profile necessary to build muscle (topline). You feed to the level you need. If you aren't looking to gain weight you feed the recommended amount. You need more calories you add extra. It is a good place to start. You say you have had him on tri amino which is great but it may not be enough. It may be that there needs to be even higher levels and supporting nutrition provided. Topline Balance or ProAdd Ultimate can do that. Forage can be either alfalfa or grass. It can be one, the other or a combination. If you feed only alfalfa you have to balance it but it is the better protein source.



I offered my advice based on this horse being a rescue. You could count the vertebrae along my mare's spine when I got her. You could also pace your hand on her side and her ribs stuck up further than my fingers. It took YEARS for her to build a topline. YEARS. Not months. It all depends on the horse, how long they were undernourished and how extensive their nutritional deficiency was along with stress factors that can cause a host of other issues. I also have drafts and have had/have those with PSSM. They can look like your boy in a matter of weeks if I am not ultra careful about ensuring the needs are met. ALL of their needs, especially the good fats in high levels. Even the easy keepers which makes it a challenge to keep them from packing on the pounds. They do best with no stall time and 100% freedom to move and premium forage. When my pastures start declining if I am not watchful I end up behind the curve and have to add extra supplementation wise. The products I mentioned are lifesavers. They also do the job they are supposed to do. If they are working then you have to be mindful that changing their routine or giving them time off is a trigger to start the PSSM cascade as is shorting them any way nutritionally. That is one reason many cases are cropping up in the 5-8 year old range. Feed levels are reduced. The horses are cut back on feeds supporting growth and unintentionally shorten on fats but added sugars are being supplied. And their work load is decreased because they are considered trained so unless they go into a work program their activity level is also decreased. My last experience is with a horse that has no topline due to her build. She will never have a topline because the supporting structure isn't there.
 

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All the posts aside from the first one have been combative. WHY?

As said we aren't mind readers, and ANOTHER thing to keep in mind is we don't know you. When you say you've "done all the basics" how do we know what that means and what that includes, people have very different ideas of that. I knew a place who rescued a mare I now own, they fed her up and she looked fine but they did nothing to address her ulcers or her very severely compromised teeth, but she LOOKED good, and I'm sure they would say she was in top condition. You also mentioned several things that are less then ideal (what you're feeding in particular) especially for a rehab project (alfalfa IS ideal for a rescue). Saddlebreds, as a breed, often struggle with poor toplines, NO ONE said that is what the problem is, or that there is NOT a medical issue, simply that he may ALSO have some breed specific issues going on, or that his conformation is enhancing a medical issue. No one is telling you what to do just making suggestions based off research and experience, which for lots of people on here IS significant. No one is saying their suggestions are the best, in fact most of the posts are asking for more information. You can't start at the end and not expect someone to ask about the beginning, I would also be concerned about the quality of the answers if they did just start blurting things out!

You also posted one small and (for me at least) sideways photo from an awkward angle showing yes, a bony spine, but also a bony hip *and rump* and a neck that doesn't look too filled out. Now you say that picture isn't even current. I know I asked for more pictures to try to get a more accurate understanding of what was going on.. If I showed you my elbow and told you I was fat with poor muscling you would probably laugh at how absurd it was to show you that picture and expect a response. Yes, completely different, but the lack of information is not.

I am glad you and your multiple vets have a diagnosis that you did not 24 hours ago. Personally I don't think it sounds at all like EPSM, which part of it is classic? I'd be curious to learn more about the similarities since I am not seeing them with the limited information given, nor how the treatment would be that different from what was suggested? I almost wonder if you mean something else. Would love to learn more, and maybe even to be corrected- it is something you should be able to get a definite diagnosis for and treat and that would be fantastic.

Please don't be rude towards people trying to help you with the lack of information you gave them to work with. No one assumes you're stupid, in fact I saw a bunch of people trying not to assume, surely that's ideal?..
 

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The horse is underweight. Having a big belly does not mean the horse is fat. It means that the horse has a lot of hay in his gut.

When a horse (or a human) does not get enough calories, they will turn muscle into glucose for energy. The muscle wasting is most likely the horse's defense against dying of lack of blood glucose.

This is probably not your fault; you bought him in an emaciated state. When the green grass comes out, he will very likely get better.

I would not ride him unless you put tons of padding over that backbone. He will get sores and the riding will cause him pain and therefore he will probably not behave.

I think that the senior feed is a good suggestion.
 

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The horse is underweight. Having a big belly does not mean the horse is fat. It means that the horse has a lot of hay in his gut.

When a horse (or a human) does not get enough calories, they will turn muscle into glucose for energy. The muscle wasting is most likely the horse's defense against dying of lack of blood glucose.

This is probably not your fault; you bought him in an emaciated state. When the green grass comes out, he will very likely get better.

I would not ride him unless you put tons of padding over that backbone. He will get sores and the riding will cause him pain and therefore he will probably not behave.

I think that the senior feed is a good suggestion.
I do agree, however I don't think we can say for certain from that picture that the horse is underweight. He appears it, however he does appear to have a topline that looks worse then it should for his weight. Is it weight? Or damage from severe weight loss? It IS possible that the horse has a muscle disorder like the gelding I mentioned previously (put on weight well overall but still poor topline). So I wouldn't be quick to say he IS underweight personally.
 

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I also wouldn't say "classic" PSSM, because most I've seen are more muscular type horses, especially because it tends to run genetically in some heavily muscled QH types. Also, PSSM is often very difficult to diagnose, often insidious, mistaken for behavioral problems, and there are a number of varieties as well as many different ways it affects horses. So if a vet said "classic" PSSM I'd have to wonder about their broader knowledge.

The reason I would say it "could" be, if there are other symptoms especially, is due to @Espy's horse who ended up with a similar level of muscle wasting. That being said, I've seen more photos of horses with muscle wasting like that due to EPM or EMND.
Here is a photo of Espy's horse that had PSSM2:
She didn't make it for long even though Espy did everything possible to help this horse. If you get a diagnosis, depending on the type of myopathy, you could look into ALCAR which is another possible treatment. However, dietary changes are usually less helpful for PSSM2.
 
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