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So I have a 21 almost 22 year old TWH. For a couple months now she has been sick. She had a cough all winter. We went to the vet and he gave her antibiotics for it. During the time of sickness she lost a lot of weight. Also during this time she lost her best friend or 13 years. The cough is now gone and the vet recommended a protein supplement to use to help her gain and keep weight on since she is older now. Now that the cough is virtually gone and she is much more energetic and runs alone with her new pasture mate. However I have noticed that she doesn’t look like normal. I have attached some photos of her spin. Toward the end if you notice it starts to stuck up. Her hips aren’t jutted out anymore and she looks to be at almost perfect weight except for there. She also has some white snot that comes out when she gets excited but I have been told that is normal? We will be going to the vet soon to get her teeth filed but the date of that is still unknown. I thank you guys for all your help!
 

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I think you are meaning her "spine", no?


She has a bit of what is called a 'hunter's bump', I believe. She could have some issue with her sacro-illiac connection, but if she is running and moving without issue, then perhaps this is just her normal conformation.
 

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I have a feeling she is still not feeling just great yet...
Snotty nose could be from allergies or a respiratory infection...
It isn't "normal" though, or at least I will say my 21 year old doesn't do that when he is romping around with the other horses...nor do any of my other horses. :|

Her back, spine visible could be because she has lost muscle tone from being sick during the winter and her age just makes it hard to replace the tone she lost.
I see a bit of her pelvic bones {hip} showing yet...
Her butt appearance makes me think she is not fully weighted back where she needs to be...
She is angular where her butt should be more softly rounded and her tail head is still slightly visible...
I think she is showing a bit of her shoulder point too...

The last bit of weight is the hardest to get back on the frame...and that is what you are facing.
She actually looks a bit belly bloated to me...
When is the last time she was wormed and with what and did you do a fecal on her recently?

I would get her re-checked sooner rather than later though with the snots seen to be cautionary.
Have those teeth done now so she has the entire summer to regain what she lost as she is older and sometimes it takes monger for our older buddies to gain what they lose from sickness.
Let us know how she does with that vet check...
She is a beauty.
:runninghorse2:....
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Sorry I meant spine yes! And thank you guys a lot! I figured it was still from weight loss too. I’m trying to save up money now to get her back to the vet. I should have enough by the end of this week and then I just need to find a time avaliable! I’ll make sure to let the vet know everything going on with her when we schedule! Also her stomach has always been like that for some reason. The vet didn’t see it as a concern. She was just wormed in May. Thanks a lot you guys it’s been a really rough year.
 

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When you get to speak with the vet ask if your horse would be OK to have alfalfa cubes soaked...a couple of handfuls one-time a day...
That made all the difference in the world for my horse...he now has rounded where before he had angles and his coat has a deep natural sheen and shine.
Your horse with the sheen mine has developed from the alfalfa cubes would be breathtaking. :cool:
I buy store-brand cubes from Tractor Supply so not expensive to do this...
:runninghorse2:...
 

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She looks poorly cared for. Not a reflection on YOU since you obviously have been caring for her but she's older and I don't think completely back on her feet yet and it shows.

The "snot" picture I wouldn't be concerned about, but given her history I would talk to your vet.

Her weight looks "ok" but she has a large tummy and poor topline, have you done a fecal recently? How's her feed? If everything is good I would maybe try to get a LITTLE more weight on her but it's mostly muscling.

I would definitely have a good talk to your vet, but also realize at her age it may also be what it is and you just have to do what you can to keep her in as optimal condition as possible. She just had really lousy luck and may just be showing her age all at once which isn't uncommon. That said, I think with time and tlc she will look at least somewhat better then she does now, just not sure if she will get back to "before".

Definitely reevaluate feed and such, protein is great, but you need to look at the whole picture. I would try some alfalfa..what is she currently getting? I think there may be a few puzzle pieces that are missing that may make a big difference.

Are you riding her at all?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the answers! I get paid tomorrow so I will also be calling the vet tomorrow and she will be scheduled a vet appointment as soon as possible! I’ll make sure to bring all my concerns to the vet! Thank you all for you help and I’ll make sure to mention her feed routine too! I’ll make sure to post how everything goes when we go!
 

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One thing to mention is it looks like she has some DSLD going on. See how her pasterns are level with the ground? I noticed it before but pulling up the thread noticed it again in the front legs too. It could be nothing but worth asking the vet about. Another thought it any pain (arthritis or whatnot) could cause additional stress which could be part of the problem with her condition. Ulcers can cause a horse to look unthrifty. Not saying she's in pain but just something to think about. Yes thank, updates are wonderful!
 

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Her body weight looks okay to me. What I think she lacks now is muscle. This is very common in older horses, especially when they're coming back from being underweight.

You can help her by giving her the building blocks for muscle - that is to say, protein and the correct balance of amino acids. Once she is getting those, you can do some gentle work over ground poles (and raised poles, not jumps though) and up and down hills if you have any. Encourage her to stretch her head and neck down and forward, be patient, and be understanding that due to her age she may never have an amazing topline - but you CAN improve it with the right nutrition!
 

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One thing to mention is it looks like she has some DSLD going on. See how her pasterns are level with the ground? I noticed it before but pulling up the thread noticed it again in the front legs too. It could be nothing but worth asking the vet about. Another thought it any pain (arthritis or whatnot) could cause additional stress which could be part of the problem with her condition. Ulcers can cause a horse to look unthrifty. Not saying she's in pain but just something to think about. Yes thank, updates are wonderful!
Even though we call the disease DSLD, after the ligaments in the leg, it is a systemic disease, and will cause loss of the tissue all over the body. This may be a contributing cause to the spinal protrusion. Your vet may not know anything about it (mine didn’t, and he put my mare down from it last year) so you may have to educate yourself via google and Facebook.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
About the DSLD she has had ligament injuries in both back legs about 2 years ago? I’m not sure if that could have anything to do with it but she has pretty much always had fetlocks close to the ground. She doesn’t really seem to be in any pain with them. Attached is a photo about 2 years ago of her. Sorry it’s nit the
 

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Even though we call the disease DSLD, after the ligaments in the leg, it is a systemic disease, and will cause loss of the tissue all over the body. This may be a contributing cause to the spinal protrusion. Your vet may not know anything about it (mine didn’t, and he put my mare down from it last year) so you may have to educate yourself via google and Facebook.

Good luck!
Huh, I'm not sure if I knew that or not.. I've known some horses that had it but appeared in good condition otherwise. However this mare has a build that will really accentuate muscle/topline loss. My gelding has a similar big boned build and has a lot of notable muscle loss (from Cushings, doesn't seems to be your problem but may be worth throwing out). I think a different horse would maybe hide a poor topline better.
 

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Even though we call the disease DSLD, after the ligaments in the leg, it is a systemic disease, and will cause loss of the tissue all over the body. This may be a contributing cause to the spinal protrusion. Your vet may not know anything about it (mine didn’t, and he put my mare down from it last year) so you may have to educate yourself via google and Facebook.

Good luck!
Agree with this.

Also, have some blood work pulled to see if she has Cushing's or insulin resistance, which TW can be susceptible to.


Overall, I think her weight looks ok for her age; it is not good to have TW or other generally easy keepers get overweight.


As horses age, it is harder to keep the weight over the back. If you are not already doing so, Purina Senior helps keep horses weight up as they age and especially if they can no longer chew hay.


Please pad her back with a nice gel or memory foam pad over a regular pad to protect her spine.


I like this Lami-cell pad from Jeffer's for cost and comfort. Just place it over another pad to cusion the back and protect the spine.
https://www.jefferspet.com/products/blk-lami-cell-full-shock-memory-pad
 

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My mare did almost this same thing last winter. Lost a good deal of weight and I had to help her put it back on. Whey protein isolate is good for helping put on body condition. Give it some time and see if it fills in. A hunter's bump, as mentioned, might be what she has. A good friend told me that it can stem from hind hooves being too long (literally in length while looking at the bottom of the hoof) -- usually that means long toes or too short of a heel. Discuss with your farrier? =)



She looks really great, give her a chance and don't worry too much! Keep up the exercise, make sure she's getting protein (amino acids), and antioxidants vitamin C and E. Manna Pro Senior Weight Accelerator is a great product that can help you here.
 

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As she puts on weight, she should gain muscle. But the topline loss is common in older horses. I would be ashamed to post pictures of my old girl - her topline is gone. If they are only protein deficient, or calorie deficient, they can regain the muscle back. My old mare has lost her topline but even on a good diet that muscle isn't going to come back. I don't want her "fat" as that will strain her legs, but i don't want her too skinny either. No ribs showing. She has Cushings and DSLD. I had planned on putting her down this summer, but she's still going strong, so perhaps we will have one more year. Or she could pass tomorrow.

It does look like the early stages of DSLD. I would make sure to avoid iron overload and make sure copper and zinc requirements are met. There is no treatment, so monitor your horse for progression. Suspect DSLD anytime you have 2 ligament injuries in different legs, unless there is an obvious accident. I once met a breeder trying to sell a foal from a mare with obvious DSLD. She kept insisting it was an injury.

Some DSLD horses stay sound for a relatively long period of time, others go very lame. They have suggested it is linked to cushings disease. Perhaps get your horse tested for cushings and on treatment. Cushings does cause topline loss as well. It is not proven that treating Cushings will prevent DSLD progression, but i am curious that it might.

Your horse doesn't look like it has Cushings disease but it could just be starting.
 
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