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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Pepper is a 14 year old mostly foundation Quarter Horse mare. She's 15.1hh and has a lovely personality. Recently, I figured out (with much speculation and much help from forum members) that she has EPSM.

Purchased for $500, Pepper came to us with terrible teeth, terrible body condition, and terrible burrs in her mane and tail (these were more heinous to brush out than anything else). Her EPSM symptoms were interpreted as general laziness and mysterious lameness for about one and a half years, by vets and farriers alike. EPSM was never even considered. Pepper is on 10 acres of pasture 24/7. Her list of symptoms were:

- Strange lameness/stilted gait that seemed to come from nowhere, disappearing some days and being terrible others.
- Reluctance to trot or increase above a leisurely walk. When she did trot, she limped terribly.
- Reluctance to stretch or yield her hind
- Atrophy on her back and hind
- Reluctance to cooperate with the farrier

This fall, after a bad drought this summer and the grass shriveling up in August, to remain shriveled the rest of the year, these symptoms disappeared. Pepper was a new horse. I attributed it to farrier work and a pair of shoes.

This winter, due to the cold snap, I figured I'd feed the horses sweet feed to get their supplements and as a treat. After two weeks of sweet feed, Pepper's symptoms escalated to:

- Kicking her right hind leg up, randomly, at nothing. I thought it was due to the leg straps of her blanket, but she did not stop when the blanket was removed.
- Extremely stilted gate, especially on the hind
- Wobbling
- Arching her back and "tucking up" her belly
- Reluctance to move
- Cocking her hind foot "at rest" constantly, even while eating
- Camping her front legs under
- Standing with her hind feet extremely close together
- Depression

This thread is to compare photos and monitor improvement.

Pepper's new diet is:

1. Triple Crown No Starch
2. Rice Bran
3. Canola Oil (Cocosoya oil ordered today, we'll see when that arrives; oil and the rest of the following were fed to her pre-diet)
4. MSM
5. SmartMuscle
6. Grand Hoof Pellets

She hates it all. Hopefully the cocosoya will be good.

The following photos are day one of no sweet feed. They are in consecutive order.


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54 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
UPDATE: This journal is now defunct. Pepper's results show PSSM n/n. What?? Here's the story behind that grand adventure.

Pepper's tying up may have been due in part to starvation. She ate her (TOO BIG) ration of sweet feed/pellets well, so I didn't notice that she likely wasn't eating her hay (especially since she was fed with two other vacuum cleaner ponies). Perhaps the unsoaked beet pulp pellets I originally mixed with their feed caused disturbance to the tooth (it caused ulcers in my other mare, so I ceased that practice swiftly and without mercy). After a visit to the vet's that lasted three days, it was determined that Pepper had a loose tooth. I knew this, but the previous vet I had left it in after extracting the loose tooth next to it because "some teeth are better than no teeth."

The current vet fiddled with the tooth and ultimately stated that due to weather, the tooth would have to be pulled around March. When Pepper got home, the previous vet was proven quite wrong. No teeth are, indeed, better than an inflamed and painful "some teeth".

Pepper came back from the vet's (at this point I was certain she had PSSM1) and was tied up exponentially worse than before. The pain caused by this loose tooth being disturbed caused Pepper to go from eating very little to refusing to eat anything more than the hay dust at the bottom of the wheelbarrow. She was depressed, in visible pain, losing considerable condition, and had runny stool. She refused to eat soaked alfalfa cubes, even drenched in Cocosoya. Only hay dust. Day after day I'd put out half a bale for her, and day after day I'd return to see the bale tossed about but otherwise untouched. She was a 15.1 stocky, thick boned quarter horse that weighed 950 pounds. Not quite skeletal, but about a noticeable 3 on the Henneke.

After posting in the PSSM forum on Facebook (HIGHLY recommend to anyone who thinks their horse may have PSSM of any type), someone brought up possible kidney issues due to PSSM. I then became certain Pepper had kidney failure. Thanks, internet.

After only two days at home, Pepper went back to the vet's. I thought she was going there to be euthanized or, the less possible outcome due to her condition, be put on a slow drip and have her kidneys flushed. The first thing I asked the vet to do was blood work. After fifteen minutes of waiting in the lobby, shaking and hoping for the best, the results came back. Pepper was in excellent condition.


After repeating to the vet several times in amazement that I thought my horse was going to die and I was SO GLAD she wasn't going to die (which I now realize was morbid, but I meant it in genuine cheer; amazing), Pepper was staying the night to have that stupid tooth yanked out for good. And, lo and behold, it was! Woohoo.

Now, after around a week being back at home, Pepper is no longer tied up and is, gasp, eating. And how! She's gained around 50-75 lbs. (extremely rough estimate lollll) and looks like a regular horse! She's reestablished her place in the pecking order and ran and bucked for the first time in over a month. She'll also eat her pellets, and only wastes about 10 bucks worth of them per feeding (I say this mostly in jest; she does an okay job up mopping up the 400 dollars I desperately threw at supplements. I'm not bitter). And all it took was 1000 dollars in vet bills!


The 500 dollar horse with the 1300 dollar mouth. Sounds like a solid book title to me.

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also: it's PSSM, not EPSM. unfortunate title mistake. unfortunate indeed.

This journal has been closed due to prolonged lack of participation by the author. Journals that have no active participation by the author for a period of time greater than 18 months will be considered abandoned and will be closed until the author asks for them to be reopened.
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