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signs of pain in horse

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1 signs of pain in horse on Mon Dec 26, 2011 9:11 pm

uno

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Some of you may remember that this fall teen horsey girl bought a former racehorse and we managed to find out who he is by tracing his tattoo.

The poor fellow looks like he's on death's door. He was never what you'd call fat, but when she bought him, he was lean but okay looking, having spent all summer on pasture. We took him to a stable and put him on hay (no pasture) and he began to lose condition and continues to lose condition. He now looks like an SPCA case.

We took extra hay to the stable and they made sure he had feed infront of him 24/7. He is a very pokey eater, munches a little, gapes around, stares into spcae, eats a little more. He does not behave like a hungry horse. But he has continued to lose weight for the last 3 months at least.

HIs teeth were done in September (he was in BAD shape!)HE has been wormed twice since September. He got thinner and a few weeks back developed the squirts. His poo was normal, mostly firm and shaped, not cow paddy at all. BUt after a poop he'd lift his tail and expel water. His tail and hind legs were saturated. We clean him up. This squirting went on for quite a while and seemed to hasten the weight loss.

In desperation we brought him home where he is now getting beet pulp 3 times a day, senior horse pellets (he's only 10)some oil and mineral salt tossed in the pulp. Even through his winter fuzz every vertabrae in his spine, all the way to his tail, stands out in jutting clarity.

He does not seem depressed, lethargic or different. But tonight I was ever so gentley rubbing his shoulder blade and my hand glided over his ribs and BOING his head goes up and begins to bob. Hand off, no bobbing. TOuch the ribs, head up. He does not step away, swish a tail, pin an ear or attempt to bite. He just thrusts his head up and bobs it.

Is this pain? Is this a reaction to a cinch? Is this a learned behaviour? MAybe he does it because the rubbing feels good? I cannot read this horse. I felt awful thinking I had hurt him, but was alarmed that such a gentle flat palmed circular massage could cause pain!

The squirts have cleared up, thankfully. It will take months of beet pulp for him to gain the 300 pounds he needs. This horse has been vetted and had us and the stable owners doing everything we can to help him along and I still look like a horse neglecter! Any ideas?

2 Re: signs of pain in horse on Mon Dec 26, 2011 9:25 pm

abpride


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My guys tend to do the head bob in pleasure.
more of a head bob thank you kind of thing.

I have used Calf manna with huge results for thin animals that land at my door while working with rescue.

HUGE results.
Horses,dogs and rabbits etc....the onlt animal that should not have it is sheep.
Give it a try,im sure it will help big time to get those pounds back on him.
I would start him on a pound twice a day.
move up a bit if you can.
easy on the gut and does not make them hot.

3 Re: signs of pain in horse on Mon Dec 26, 2011 9:27 pm

coopslave

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Uno, this is tough as there can be a few things. A sore horse can be a skinny horse for sure.
I would personally investigate stomach ulcers. Our mare had trouble with them last year, and weight loss was the first thing we noticed. She never good REAL skinny, but she always looked very racy fit. I think we got it under control before it got out of hand.
Here is what a vet told us. Signs - runs, they often have diarrhea - thin, they can only eat small quantities as when they really fill up it gets sore, they quit eating before every one else and eat slowly - can show soreness in stomach area, our mare didn`t like being touched around her stomach when it was really bad.
She was in full work and looked very muscular, but we could tell something was not quite right. She was getting the best of feed, beet pulp, step eight-high fat, supplements for joints and body, but was beginning to wast away. I am glad the vet picked up on it.
We put her on ulcer guard (will check for sure that is the one) it is not cheap! You have to give them a 3 week course of it, but you do see results pretty quickly if that is what is troubling her. You have to get the good expensive stuff, I can`t remember the active ingredient, but could look it up for you. The cheaper powders just do not work when things are bad. We have her on a powder now as a preventative, but would not hesitate to put her on the $$ stuff if we need too.
Just something that struck me as I read your post. I hope you find out what it is.

Actually, now that it is mentioned, we did use calf manna to help her get the weight back on. We don`t feed it now, she is fat!

4 Re: signs of pain in horse on Mon Dec 26, 2011 9:48 pm

fuzzylittlefriend

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Omperazole is the active ingredient in ulcerguard/gastrogard. Apparently u can get a liquid equivalent compounded from one of the compounding pharmacies in Ontario. The price is supposed to be way better then the name brand stuff.

My question is are you 100% sure on the tattoo? My girlfriend had one that we argued over his age. The defining letter was hard to read and he was either 8 or 15. I was leaning to 15 as his teeth looked more aged. She told everyone he was ten!

Ulcers are tricky to diagnose. I think most people run the treatment and see how they respond but could very well be a possibility as you have taken care of the usual weight loss suspects.

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5 Re: signs of pain in horse on Mon Dec 26, 2011 9:52 pm

coopslave

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fuzzylittlefriend wrote:Omperazole is the active ingredient in ulcerguard/gastrogard.


Ulcers are tricky to diagnose. I think most people run the treatment and see how they respond but could very well be a possibility as you have taken care of the usual weight loss suspects.

Thanks FLF, I didn`t want to put the wrong thing down. This is our first run with this trouble so it has been interesting.

You are right about them being tricky to diagnose, even the vet said that. He said she presented with enough to give the treatment a try and within a week we saw a change. Took the full course to really make a significant difference and now 6 months later she hasn`t had ulcerguard again and is fine and fat. We will see what full work and showing in the spring brings.

6 Re: signs of pain in horse on Mon Dec 26, 2011 10:01 pm

Guest


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Aloe Vera juice (available at Walmart I believe) will aid in soothing/healing gastric ulcers and is pretty cheap. Just pour it on their feed. Since it sounds like you are very diligent and aware and working to fix the problem, you'll likely do other things too, but this might be something you could add in as a simple and effective hom eremedy to soothe a sore system. Just something to add to your arsenal. <3

7 Re: signs of pain in horse on Mon Dec 26, 2011 11:15 pm

uno

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Thanks all!

I wondered about ulcers, living the high stress lifestyle of the race horse. We have had him home less than a week so it's way too soon to tell if he'll gain any weight now that the squirts have cleared up. I am introducing the beet pulp and senior pellets slowly, in small quantities, because I didn't want to shock his system in any way. He's bad off as it is, doesn't need me making it worse! If there is no noticeable improvement in a month or if the squirts come back, it will be reasonable for us to try the ulcer remedy. I will keep in mind the calf manna.

This horse is currently for sale although I have told horsey teen that I feel it is wrong to sell him looking like this as no one should be riding him in the state he is in! Someone is coming tommorow to look at him but I have told teen that I will hold horse here for the next month BEFORE I release him to any new home. I don't care if they do have the $$$ in their hand!

Interesting note. This horse is not local, is from Alberta. At the stable he was at(here in BC) there were water issues. Beavers have moved in, built dams, flooded acres and acres of what used to be pasture land. Many of the people there now have contaminated water since their well heads are underwater, thanks to these busy beavers! None of the people in this area can drink thier own tap water, and it is not legal to shoot beavers, although everyone wants to. THe other horses are not bothered by the water, but the other horses are local, and perhaps have been exposed to this sort of water before. Could it have been a water borne bug? He's had the squirts on and off for weeks and weeks there. But here 3 days...no squirts. Same hay. They were feeding him our hay, he's eating the same hay here. Can horses be sensitive to water? Seems unlikely, but all of the people now have to drink bottled water.

We are 99% sure of tattoo. Found former owner/breeder/trainer and yup, pretty sure this is the guy.

8 Re: signs of pain in horse on Tue Dec 27, 2011 6:26 am

Amy

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Maybe he is 'out' somewhere and needs a horse 'chiropractor' I have seen amazing improvements in horses that need chiro/massage thereapy.

9 Re: signs of pain in horse on Tue Dec 27, 2011 7:33 am

CynthiaM

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Uno, maybe you should head up to Riva's remedies today, perhaps she is open.

A couple of weeks ago, my oldest gal's horse (quarterhorse) was kind of not feeling too great. He had a bit of a loose bowel movements for some time, not the squirts, but you could tell stomach distress. He was what she called "cinchy", meaning, if you touched his one side he would flinch (I don't know much about this stuff at all though). I went to Riva's and purchased a product called Equi something or other. Daughter had asked me to pick up the product that had chickweed, yellow burdock and another herb, can't recall what it was. But it was pretty much the combination of the three. The gal knew exactly what I was requesting and sold me the product. I think it was something like $60 for the 6 week supply. Expensive, but it helped the horse, he is feeling so much better. And come to think of it, in the fragments of my mind, I recall her mentioning something last summer about the vet thinking he had ulcers. Go figure.....this may be an avenue to follow with the gelding. I know you believe in these alternate medicines, you may want to take a trip up there and talk about what is ailing your horse...might be cheaper in the long run than trying all sorts of things. I can't believe the ailments that horses get, I was shocked when she said Molson had an ulcer!! Go figure, come on, how could a horse get that full of stress to get an ulcer, smiling....guess they worry about things too. Good luck, Uno. I also liked for you to be telling us that you won't sell the horse until he is well, this is you, and I love that part of you. Have a wonderful day, CynthiaM.

10 Re: signs of pain in horse on Tue Dec 27, 2011 9:31 am

Arcticsun

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my boy bobs his head when im scratching something really itchy, if it is supergood he will flap his upper lip, then eventually stretch his neck waaaaay out and if I really keep digging he may have a huge shudder, bend his knees lean into it. That is know when I got it goooood. If I keep going the grunting and farting starts. I usually stop by then.

Try some massasge and maybe heat there. See what happens.

And I am thinking that as you have had his teeth floated that an ulcer would be very posible. Try rubbing his face, especially along the teeth and gums area, and see if you find a hot, swolen or sore spot. Abscesses, things jammed into the gums etc can cause the picky eating and stress also.

11 Re: signs of pain in horse on Tue Dec 27, 2011 11:35 am

uno

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Arctic, once we did have a horse with a tooth problem, it had broken off under the gum and was sitting in there, must have hurt like hell.

I did not notice any change in her face, eating, poop, nothing. How I did notice a problem was the smell of her breath. Horses have a certain smell and I take note of all smells coming both from nose and mouth. I know this must sound stupid! But any change in those smells, I notice, and phone the vet and say, my horse has stinky breath. Which sounds a lttle nutty, but is actually a valualbe way of keeping an eye (nose) on changes.

I have not noticed any changes in this guy's smell. But if there is not some improvement...further investigation will be undertaken. He sure gets excited about his beet pulp! Didn't know horses could stand on their head but this guy does in his ecstatic glee over his mushy beet pulp.

12 Re: signs of pain in horse on Tue Dec 27, 2011 11:50 am

Arcticsun

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ooooooo beet pulp, it is like crack for some horses!

Yep, I sniffed my horses, and dogs, breath. It tells me a lot and helps me look for bad teeth or bad digestion.

13 Re: signs of pain in horse on Tue Dec 27, 2011 12:56 pm

smokyriver

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I wonder if animals can get beaver fever like people can? Just a thought as some of his symptoms are similar to what people get who have contracted beaver fever. I would worry about ulcers, or something worse and totally agree that if he is in very poor shape you do not want him rode. Good luck with this guy, hopefully you can figure out what is bothering him. Something definitely is!! When bobbing his head is he kind of tramping his front feet also? The head bobbing is sometimes just a sign of boredom, but can be a sign of a horse being uncomfortable, especially if he is tramping some? Does he bob his head when trying to eat? What type of hay did you have him on? He could have an allergy to the hay which is causing issues with him.

Edited to add: YES horses can be sensitive to water!! We had one horse in the past that could not drink our well water, but could drink the runoff water, so we would collect water all year for him, then during the winter he would be moved to a friends place. The vet said his body could not deal with the amount of iron in our well water.

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14 Re: signs of pain in horse on Tue Dec 27, 2011 1:44 pm

fuzzylittlefriend

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I find this interesting as cynthia mentioned her daughters horse had loose stools as well. I am wondering if there might be a horsey bug going around. My old mare had simialr signs in early november. She had cow patty poo that stunk and was awful. She was not finishing her food and normally she is a hoover sucking up every last drop. She was laying down a fair bit as well. She does have pretty severe arthritis and I know can be fairly sore sometime and goes through phases during the year where she lays down alot but this was not normal. I was feeding her as much as her 4 year old son whom is much larger then her so that was also worrisome. I ended up putting her one Equine Biotic 8 thats made by omega alpha. Its a probiotic that also has some of the homeopathic remedies cynthia mentioned; slipery elm, marshmallow root and I think the burdock as well. It took about 5 days then her stools became normal again and the stench went away. Shortly after her stools were normal I also put her on new equine antiinflamatory thats easier on the gut and ment for more long term use then the standard ones. She is now like a new horse. Back to her old self cleaning up her food and pining her ears at the boys. So I am not really sure what was going on but its cleared up.

Horses for sure could be susaptable to becomming overloaded with ecoli or salmonella. Especially if he was already struggling he might not be able to take care of it like another horse could. I am not sure it would clear up that quickly but the beet pulp for sure would help the hind gut flora act more normal.

I feel for your horse grocery bill as the TB's are notorious hard keepers. My girlfiend does the same as you the beet pulp and senior feed and he does well with that. I had one that I evented as a teenager and the summer I was 16 he was eating so much ( as I was riding a ton) and he barely maintained his weight. He ate free choice hay, 2 flakes of alfalfa and 3 8 quart buckets off 2/3 pellets and the rest sweet feed. It was insane! This was before the time of the high fat and extruded feeds which I think he would have done well on today.

I had been to a lecture once that talked about ulcers in horses. They figure that any horse thats traveled, showed, moved places or switch feeds ( even sources of hay) have developing ulcers. Some just are more sensitive to them or they develope further then others. This what we have cause by domesticating them and trying to mimick their natural diet. And of course you have the sensitive TB aspect thats not a big help!

Very Happy

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15 Re: signs of pain in horse on Tue Dec 27, 2011 2:00 pm

uno

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Smokyriver, when he bobs his head he does not stamp, does not pin an ear, does not swish his tail, does not move off. He just stands there. I was rubbing him again today and began to wonder if maybe (as someone else suggested) this was a happy bob instead of an unhappy bob. Since I have never had a horse do this, I am confused as to how to read him!

I am wondering more and more about the water situation, which seems too simplstic to me. But for weeks he squirted at the stable, within three days of being here, NO SQUIRTS. The hay has not changed, since the stable fed him our hay! And I don't see beet pulp as stopping the squirts.

It is important to explain that his poo was never very ploppy. Mostly looked normal, just a bit wet, but frequently he'd lift his tail and watery gunk would squirt out. This is what saturated his legs and tail. At no time was the odour offensive or rank, just regular horse poo smell. (I can't believe we talk about this stuff!) I did not know that a horse could maybe be so affected by water! I have wondered about beaver fever too. But not sure if animals got it or just humans? ANd beavers.

16 Re: signs of pain in horse on Tue Dec 27, 2011 2:27 pm

Arcticsun

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Well, I think that his problem might be that he is a Thoroughbred.

I have had some, I used to break and start them for the track, and I have to admit, they were waaaay more work then any other breed I have ever worked with.

17 Re: signs of pain in horse on Tue Dec 27, 2011 4:23 pm

abpride


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Horses get Giardia ,pretty much any living mammel can get it.(In people it is called Beaver fever.

Couple of questions:
Was this horse at your place for a time and doing well ?
Did he only start this when moved?How long after being moved did it start?

My boy had bad ulcers when I got him.
No one told me he was a problem horse when I bought him.
I bought him sight unseen.

When he was unloaded from the trailer I knew we were in trouble.
Super thin,squrting out the back end and shaking so bad I thought he had some funky brain thing going on.
Meds,awsome hay 24/7 and no one chasing the poor thing around(they did that so they could see how pretty he moved,since the idiots had him so freaked out they couldnt ride him)
No stress,calm handling and he has gained at least a 100 lb since the 3rd of Oct.

I found out afterwards that he was a barn eatter(I was shocked when the lady I bought him from asked me a couple of weeks ago if I still had a shelter.
Didnt have a clue what she was talking about.
She then went on to tell me he ATE every board,post and any wood he could get near.
He has NEVER touched a thing here,so not sure whats up with that.

Horses can stress over nothing,TB tend to be worse .
Giardia is easy to test for,poop sample.
Ulcers,well just start the treatment as it can be hard to know if they have them or not.

I wouldnt trade this horse for anything now,Awsome boy.
Still needs a few more pounds on him,still a freakcase to handle some days.
But we are working on that.
I wish you good luck
I am sure you will figure it out and he will blossom under your care.

18 Re: signs of pain in horse on Tue Dec 27, 2011 6:33 pm

smokyriver

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I would say the head bobbing is a happiness or contented thing. I would try to get his manure tested just to see if he carries the beaver fever bug. It seems to me if he got ill after the beavers had moved in and caused water issues, he could very well be suffering from this. I know when my hubby ended up with beaver feaver he lost 40 pounds fairly quickly (within 2 weeks). If it does the same thing to horses, this could very well be your issue. The only other bad thing is the timing of it hitting him as he will be a little harder to put weight back on being that it is winter. Good luck with him!!

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19 Re: signs of pain in horse on Tue Dec 27, 2011 7:27 pm

uno

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abpride, to answer some of your questions, he started going donwhill as soon as we got him. But he came off pasture and went on hay. Also, he was not being ridden when we bought him then horsey teen daughter rode him pretty regular and hard to see if he was going to lame up. He never lamed up. But he went from grass to all hay, from no work to regular arena time.

HE has just been getting slowly skinnier and skinnier with intermittent squirts. Weird.

He shows no signs of illness or pain....other than this head bobbing which is why I made this post in the first place.

BUt today some people came to look at him (he's for sale although his listings are currently down) and the lady was rubbing and loving on him and scratching him and he stood there like a tree and then when she hit that spot, his head shot up and he bobbed it. SHe took this as a sign that it was a happy spot, an itchy spot. His hip was cocked, his eyes were droopy, just the head went up. When he did that to me I thought agh, I hurt him!

This lady also left some penicillin and told me to give it to him in case he had some sort of infection. At this point, now that the squirts have stopped, I do not want to do anything to compromise his gut. If he continues to eat well, drink well and not squirt, I see no reason to give him antibiotics at this point. It's wait and see.

abpride, I think this guy needs more like 300 pounds, he's a big boned TB, over 16 hands, I don't think 100 pounds would make differnce. I was hoping he'd gain it quicker than you indicate. I gained at least that much over Christmas myself! And if you can lose 40 pounds from a bout of beaver fever, I'm going to go ut and get me some of them germs! I need a dose of weight loss, quick like!

20 Re: signs of pain in horse on Tue Dec 27, 2011 7:49 pm

abpride


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My little horse is only 800 lb at 14 2 hands haha
100lb pounds is huge.
This is gain on hay only as his mental state can not handle grain of anykind.
Nice slow gain while being ridden hard 2 to 3 times a week (20 to 28 kl)
He is a wreck mentaly Sad but getting much better.

I put him on Alfalfa grass mix,he came with wonderfull looking ,smelling Brome mix.
But even my rabbits refused to eat it,so had me worried that was his squrt problem.
Changed hay,ulcer meds and a new place seems to have done it.

I would look at changing his hay to get him fixed up.His hay looked awsome,but it can be as simple as to much nitrogin.

PS Giarda is a Parasite,you really dont want to have that floating around in your system hahaha




[

21 Re: signs of pain in horse on Wed Dec 28, 2011 3:57 pm

smokyriver

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You really don't want beaver fever!! Poor hubby was quite ill for quite a while and still worries everytime he goes to the mountains on a packing trip that he may end up with issues again. He really was ill when he had it!!!!

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22 Re: signs of pain in horse on Wed Dec 28, 2011 4:04 pm

coopslave

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I have had beaver fever and crypto. I think the crypto was worse, but they are both AWFUL!!!
It is interesting that a horse may have gotten BF. The baby calves can get crypto, but it doesn`t seem to affect the mature cows or horses much.

23 Re: signs of pain in horse on Sun Jan 15, 2012 12:37 pm

Hillbilly

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The head bob is most likely, as suggested, a positive reaction.
The most important thing to note, is the skin where you touch him. Does he twitch it when you touch him there? No twitch generally indicates no pain. Horses have incredible muscle control of their skin. Watch them when they have flies on them. They can twitch almost any part of their skin they choose.
I think the rest of your issues have already been touched upon by previous posts.

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