Monday, July 13, 2015

The Super-Official Health Plan Update

I've seriously started writing this post five times in the past week. Never could get into it or anything. Blech.

Anyways... Lady is doing better in some ways.

The Good:

  • She is sound about half the time.
  • She's putting on a little bit of weight. She's just ribby now, not so hollow.
  • Her attitude is amazing - she's a lot happier and much more perky.
  • She's interested in "work" again.

The Bad:
  • She's still coming out stiff and lame half the time.
  • That left front hoof continues to be sore. Can't figure it out.
  • She doesn't want to put on weight properly. Very odd for her.
  • She still can't go out on pasture like I would like her to.
  • She has almost no topline left and almost zero muscle in her hindquarters. :(
The Questionable:
  • She is drinking a lot of water.  A. Lot. Of. Water.  This is an Arabian who doesn't drink much.
  • She calls to her buddies. But when she's let out, she doesn't go see them over the fence and when she's with them, she doesn't stay with them. My horse is a social-bug! Weird.
  • Her feet look kind of funny shaped - even for her.

So things are kind of making me unsure about how to proceed. Since the silly horse is moving around of her own accord in her paddock and pasture, I feel like she's okay to be in some light exercise as long as she doesn't limp the whole time. With her whole topline being such a mess, it doesn't seem to be a good idea to ride her or stress her back though. 
Her laminitic issues plus the high water consumption and topline issues are making me think Cushings, but I'm trying to avoid that thought. 
The current lameness issue with her front foot could be an abscess trying to come out - or at least that is what I'm hoping. 

So what is the current/new plan?
  1. She stays on the grass restrictions - hay almost exclusively with 6 hours of pasture/socialization time maximum per day. It's usually 2-3 hours and some days none at all.
  2. Keep a hay as free-choice as possible. Keeps stress down for her and she's happier. :)  Also, two small grain feeds per day - if she doesn't gain weight on that, something's wrong.
  3. Lunge/exercise for at least 20 minutes 5 days a week, including some hill work. Hopefully she starts to put on a bit of muscle. This is the plan for the next two-three weeks.
  4. If none of these things cause improvement by the end of July, then the vet is going to run bloodwork and see what we can find. I would love to not have to do the tests, but if that's what it takes, then we'll do it.

It's definitely not fun having a horse that's NQR, but at least we have a plan and as long as she's happy, I can't get too depressed about it.

Anyone else have any experience with any of these issues? :)


  1. good luck :( sounds like a good plan and i hope she starts to improve. if not tho, at least blood work will give some answers (hopefully)

  2. I'm sorry. :( Excess water consumption, topline wasting, and laminitis issues all point to classic Cushings. The good news is it's very manageable now, and the pergolide is relatively cheap and easy to feed.

    You might consider soaking hay to get additional sugar out of it in the meantime, especially if it's being fed free-choice, and you might consider a low-carb grain.

    Water consumption, topline wasting, and low energy/low immune system were Tristan's initial Cushings symptoms. He is dramatically better since starting on the pergolide, and I've never regretted testing him at the first hint of a problem.

    1. I was actually hoping you would reply, Amanda ;) I'm still trying to come up with a good way to soak hay - very awkward thing to do, lol. When did you first think that Tristan was having a problem?

    2. Soaking hay sucks. There's no two ways about it. There are people who have come up with good systems on the COTH boards. The best one I've seen so far involves a large muck bucket and a small hole hay net - so you can just lift the hay net right out of the bucket.

      Tris spent the summer of 2014 just a little more lethargic than I thought he should be, and no matter what I did, he did not gain muscle, fitness, or a topline. I wavered back and forth all summer, and then in August had the vet out to check on his foot anyway, so asked her what she thought of him overall. She said she absolutely wanted to draw blood for Cushings. He just had a sort of older horse look to his face that had come on gradually - not as apparent to me but immediately to her, since she saw him only periodically. Once she made that diagnosis his summer of drinking water buckets dry and having eye and allergy issues made a lot more sense.

      The difference this summer is night and day. He's fitting up beautifully and gaining muscle SO much more easily. I'm thrilled.