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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Rusty is having odd symptoms lately, and I can't help but think they're connected. Here is the list:

  • frequent tail lifting as if he is going to poop, but nothing is happening (I examined his anus for melanomas and cannot see anything)
  • smelly, dirty sheath (I have cleaned it numerous times, and it was cleaned by a vet, but it gets gross again within days)
  • very reactive to having his right hind leg picked up - to the point where I have to be careful not to get kicked. Left hind leg is not as bad, strangely. No obvious sore spots, wounds or reactivity to me touching any part of the leg as long as it is on the ground, just when I pick up his hoof for cleaning.
  • reactive if I press down firmly on a spot in his lower back, he flinches when I press down in this specific spot
  • orange pee (very noticeable now that we have snow, and next to Harley's pee which is yellow )
  • general grumpiness, doesn't want to trot when ridden in the ring, when out on the trail, will suddenly lurch forward into a canter but it feels like his hind end kind of go out from under him a bit

He was seen by two vets recently. I brought up the sheath issue, and he was thoroughly examined and cleaned by vet # 1, but no follow-up or explanation as to why this keeps happening. At the time, the other symptoms weren't really present. Vet # 2 examined him and said he has ulcers so we treated him for those last fall. He showed improvement in attitude, so when he got grumpy again recently, I put him on omeprazole and sucralfate again, thinking they had returned. But after about 2 weeks of that, he isn't improving, and the other symptoms are still very much present, possibly worse.

The plan is to bring vet # 2 back, but he travels 2.5 hrs to get to me and it's expensive, so I have to make it count. Should I ask him to take a culture from his sheath? A urine sample? My riding coach is thinking it's kidneys and suggested an herbal kidney flush, but agreed that it would be good to get the vet out. I'm wondering about a yeast imbalance or UTI? Not looking for an Internet diagnosis, just ideas I can throw out there for my vet so if any of these symptoms sounds familiar, I'd appreciate your kind input!

Please keep in mind that we don't have access to a lot of equine vets here so I am very limited, and there is no way to realistically have Rusty transported to a vet college for diagnosis.
 

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My vet would ask what color is the stream. If the stream is orange then that is an issue. If it is just the puddle then that he says is sign of a horse not moving around enough and producing something that as it oxidizes turns orange of orange red.
 

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It looks like you already know what to tell the vet with everything you wrote on your op. See what the vet recommends and if you don't like it get another opinion if possible. Is the vet coming out the one you like better than the first? By the way I love your horse's name Rusty, my very first horse was named Rusty :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yes, that's what I'd heard too @QtrBel, so the colour never worried me. Not sure about the colour of the stream as I don't see him pee often. I mean, he pees, it's just not that common that I'll be right next to him when it happens.

Also, I forgot to mention he did have a chiropractic adjustment recently and the vet who did it did not feel he was out of alignment. The adjustment was minor as he couldn't really find anything to fix.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It looks like you already know what to tell the vet with everything you wrote on your op. See what the vet recommends and if you don't like it get another opinion if possible. Is the vet coming out the one you like better than the first? By the way I love your horse's name Rusty, my very first horse was named Rusty :)
Vet # 1 specializes in chiro, whereas vet # 2 seems to be good at diagnosing difficult problems (he has found solutions to ongoing problems that other vets couldn't figure out). Neither is local to me, so both are expensive. I just think vet # 2 is more likely to get to the bottom of this.
 

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I would think they would draw blood to make sure the kidneys are functioning properly. Also should probably check the white blood cell count. It could be as simple as a urinary tract infection. Something is definitely off. Is he eating fine? Have you done a temp check?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I would think they would draw blood to make sure the kidneys are functioning properly. Also should probably check the white blood cell count. It could be as simple as a urinary tract infection. Something is definitely off. Is he eating fine? Have you done a temp check?
No temp check. I can try, but have never checked his temperature before so I don't know how he'll react, especially if he's icky back there. Blood work is a good idea! Thanks.

He's eating fine.
 

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I'm curious is this just recent as in days? I just took some time to mull over it. The gelding that colicked recently ... the old boy... it was the same story with his owner as money was tight in making it count The vet that had seen him 10 hours earlier said he expected a full recovery which made it harder when I went and checked on him a few times in the night. He was just lifting his tail and bopping his head down every now and then but not regularly. It was "off" but not enough for the owner to warrant having emergency call out especially as the vet earlier was so optimistic and unconcerned. Even the emergency vet I rang said it could probably wait until morning given his lack of symptoms. A couple tail raises and head bobs wasn't enough but it just didn't feel right. I later learned that she'd begun a new stool firmer for his chronic winter diarrhoea only days before but unsure if related. In any case... that pony was so stoic. The vet was so optimistic. And it resulted in disaster. So I'm even more paranoid now.

Everything you wrote sounds like something funky is going on somewhere and bloodwork would need doing. Is it possible to have the cheaper vet draw the blood but you send it to a lab for a panel that vet #2 would suggest? Begin with that first and a phone consultation. Go from there? I know many vets/practices that do this for me. UTI/kidney stones in people would come to mind as a comparison. I never really thought but is low-grade constipation a thing in horses? Where they have gut motility but not 100%? But the sheath thing makes me think an imbalance or infection somewhere. Good luck taking his temperature I think it has to be done >.< And while you're at it get his respiratory/heart rate if you can.
 

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I'd have Vet #2 out sooner rather than later. Him lifting his tail and not pooping and the off color pee does it for me. If he has a stone it could cause the discoloration (blood in urine). The tail thing bothers me because when a foal does that, he likely hasn't passed meconium and is struggling to poo. Your guys description is very much in line with that. As for the sheath.....some geldings are just gross. Since you're having issues with the off color pee though, I wonder if he's not getting wet up in there and stuff is sticking more. Has he been that yucky since you got him or is it new?
 

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I am guessing recurring gas colic - but very mild. If you envision the horses digestive tract it moves upward to the pelvis and anus. My guess is that he has bad hind gut gas and is not moving around because it is firm and it hurts so his urine is a darker color and he lifts his tail to pass gas but can't. This can happen with some types of hay or grains that can cause gas.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Have been out all day, will do his temp tonight. @Kalraii, not new as in days, more like weeks, but seems like possibly getting progressively worse. He has colicked before so I'm watching him, but he is pooping, and the poop is normal. When he colicked, he had really small stool. It's normal right now. I do find they are not drinking as much lately since it's cold and I had to switch to heated buckets. They don't seem to love the warm water. So everytime I refill it, I also walk out and offer them fresh, cold water.

@DreamCatcher Arabian, his sheath wasn't bad until the vet cleaned it out about 4 months ago. It seems to be getting a lot more dirty a lot faster now, as if the vet disrupted his normal balance. That said, I mentioned it to his previous owner and she says he's always been prone to a messy sheath.

@tinyliny yeah, I'm wondering about a bladder infection.

@cashon, so if it's mild gas, it would likely be diet related yes? He just gets hay (a mix with some timothy, no alfalfa because it doesn't grow well around here), timothy hay cubes, a sprinkling of beet pulp (because he likes the taste), salt, a custom mineral mix and recently, I started him on a probiotic. Could the probiotic be causing gas?

Will call the vet tomorrow. I was going to wait until we got to the 2 week mark with the ulcer treatment, but it's likely going to take him a week or two to get out here.
 

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I can't offer much on all that's going on with Rusty, the raised tail would suggest gas. I do know from following Horse Vet Corner on FB that in the winter with snow on the ground, horse urine interacts with the snow through a chemical process that causes it to change color, even red. Many owners have asked about it, thinking it was blood, but according to the Vets is just a chemical reaction and nothing to worry about. It's called "Pyrocatechines which is plant metabolites that oxidizes to red year round, but is more noticeable in snow because its white. If your horses urine is yellow when urinating it's normal, if its red coming out before it hits the snow then you need a vet out." Hope this helps.
 

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@Acadianartist - Yes, the probiotic could be causing gas. You aren't feeding anything else that is not part of a forage based diet for a horse and it could be the probiotic is causing other gut flora to mass produce. The gas pains would cause pain in the loin etc of the horse and discomfort in his lower and upper stomach area - the gas is in his hind gut where most digestion takes place. Horse vet corner is a good place to start and I wonder if there is something that can help with gas in a horse. For cattle there is something you can drench with to help with bloat - but - different species and different digestive tracts!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
His temp and everything else is normal, got a call in to vet # 2, but haven't heard back yet. They're swamped. More than swamped. Phone consults aren't usually done, and he'll want to see Rusty anyway. However, I'm not even sure he can come now, because our whole province just got downgraded to orange phase due to Covid-19 which means people aren't supposed to leave their regions (it's complicated) and he's in a different part of the province. May have to bring in a local vet instead - they are not equine vets, so it will be even more important for me to ask a lot of questions and make a lot of suggestions! So all of your thoughts help a lot! He continues to lift his tail and be generally reactive to having his hind end messed with. Can't say whether is pee is orange before it hits the snow as I haven't had a chance to watch him pee. If he does when I'm around, I'll be sure to have a bucket handy, lol.
 

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His temp and everything else is normal, got a call in to vet # 2, but haven't heard back yet. They're swamped. More than swamped. Phone consults aren't usually done, and he'll want to see Rusty anyway. However, I'm not even sure he can come now, because our whole province just got downgraded to orange phase due to Covid-19 which means people aren't supposed to leave their regions (it's complicated) and he's in a different part of the province. May have to bring in a local vet instead - they are not equine vets, so it will be even more important for me to ask a lot of questions and make a lot of suggestions! So all of your thoughts help a lot! He continues to lift his tail and be generally reactive to having his hind end messed with. Can't say whether is pee is orange before it hits the snow as I haven't had a chance to watch him pee. If he does when I'm around, I'll be sure to have a bucket handy, lol.
1107035

Is this what his pee looks like? Or more like this?
1609898156379.png

Or more red like blood?
 

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Could you not take him to the vet with a trailer (even if you need to borrow)? Around here, it's a long time to get an appointment if you want a farm call (or an arm and leg) but if you drive in it's not too hard to be seen quickly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Could you not take him to the vet with a trailer (even if you need to borrow)? Around here, it's a long time to get an appointment if you want a farm call (or an arm and leg) but if you drive in it's not too hard to be seen quickly.
I have a trailer, but Rusty doesn't do well in one. He has hurt himself before trying to scramble over the divider so I don't want to risk it. I plan on doing some trailer training next summer, but there is no time (and we never go anywhere, so there was no need). Even if I could, I'm not sure I'd be allowed because of Covid. The clinic is over two hours away, in a different zone of our province and we are not supposed to be crossing zones.

He is coming next Monday so not a terribly long wait.
 
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