Thursday, November 5, 2015

What's wrong with Paddy: The actual vet's assessment

Hindsight is 20/20, but it's also interesting how certain things can affect certain horses. Now that we have a clearer idea of what's going on, all the little clues that I posted about earlier this week fall into place.

Here's the bottom line:

Despite the fact that this would have been the third year he's been on it, Paddy's winter feed affected him metabolically in some way. We switched him back to his regular feed (Triple Crown Lite), and within 36 hours his personality was totally back to normal. The vet even joked about how sneaky he was being (he was trying to flip over a table of equipment and was mooching the vet tech for treats). So, no more Triple Crown Senior for The Padster. I need to find an alternative way of getting more calories into a hard-working Haffie - right now I'm looking at ground flax and maybe some soaked and rinsed beet pulp, or possibly a touch of alfalfa. I just have to keep it super low NSCs, because our guess is that was the trigger. Given the fact that he was his normal self, the vet said that Lyme or PSSM was highly unlikely, so we did not draw blood to test for either of those. However, if symptoms should continue, we'll definitely do that.

Nope, I'm not trying to escape. I mean, you left the gate open - what did you EXPECT me to do???

That crack I mentioned in the RF heel? It's MUCH deeper than we originally thought. I started digging around Tuesday night and basically sank 3/4 of an inch of hoof pick into a thrush-filled cavity. EEEK! I used a syringe (with no needle) to flush out the cavity with Betadine solution, jammed some anti-fungal goo in there, and packed an entire piece of gauze up in his frog (this both keeps the goo in and the dirt out, plus it helps get some air up in there - and thrush doesn't like oxygen). Let me tell you, it's disturbing to be able to pack a whole square of gauze in your horse's frog. When the vet came out, Paddy was positive to hoof testers on the RF heel, and was slightly short on that foot as well. There was no heat or swelling anywhere else in the limb, and he had no back pain, but his shoulder and neck were very stiff - as one might expect with a sore heel. So, we're now on a 2x/day flushing and packing routine, and even after just a day, it's looking so much better and he's moving more freely. The plan is to continue this for a week and hope it clears up and he goes back to being 100%, and if not, we'll reassess then.

Thanks to everyone who commented with their experiences! The combined knowledge of bloggers is pretty cool. I have to say, I'm glad it's not PSSM or Lyme, even though the sudden personality change certainly made those two options seem likely. I've had plenty of experience with metabolic issues with Saga, but never seen a personality change quite like that. Oh well, each horse is an individual - live and learn!

45 comments:

  1. In the field we like to call Haffies "gonna-founders." Which is actually not funny at all, but totally true...!

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    1. Yeah - Paddy's not a typical founder case (not fat, doesn't get grass), but some horses just seem to be more sensitive to sugars and fats than others. Lesson learned!

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  2. So glad you found it!! <3 Paddykins needs only the best.

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    1. Paddy only gets the best. Naturally. ;)

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  3. Woohoo! So happy you found out what's going on! I'm a big fan of alfalfa cubes and/or rice bran for extra "safe" calories. :)

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    1. Interesting... the research I've done says that rice bran is actually not a "safe" for an IR/metabolic horse, as it has between 20-30% NSCs, which is VERY high (it also made Saga, my other metabolic horse, lame within 12 hours). It's also high in fat, which some horses can't handle. Since Senior is also high in fat, it appears that Paddy might be one of those who can't do the fat.

      It's SO tough to feed these metabolic guys... what works for one doesn't always work for others. I've got to find a way to get Paddy a few more calories to keep up with the workload, so we'll just have to see.

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    2. Val gets a mash with soaked (no molasses) beet pulp shreds and alfalfa cubes nightly, which has kept him pleasingly plump. I tried rice bran when I first had him and it was no bueno.

      Glad you got the less bad diagnosis and caught the situation quick!

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    3. Aw bummer! D does REALLY well on high fat so thought I'd throw that out there! It's such a trial and error process for each individual!

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  4. So glad it is solved. For my cobs, which are easy keepers too, we use Alfalfa cubes year round and add soaked/rinsed plain beet pulp in the winter. The old guys and the stallion all get beet pulp, cubes and rice bran year round.
    Can't remember the fat content, but we used to give our old pony Triple Crown Low Starch and he picked up weight nicely even better than when he was on Senior.

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    1. Yeah, I've had great luck with beet pulp in the past so I might give it a go. I don't think Paddy's ever had alfalfa in any form (fat Haffie, anyone?) but that's another option and certainly easier. SO many choices!

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  5. Wow, way to play this off like it's nothing. You do realize the diagnosis is no more sugar? NO MORE SUGAR. Paddy must have a greater will to live than I do because my life would be over if I ever got diagnosis with something so horrible. ;)

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    1. Paddy never gets sugar anyway so it's not like he knows what he's missing. Cookies are still OK!

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  6. Glad you got to the bottom of it! And I'm so happy it wasn't Lyme or ppsm. :)

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  7. I'm glad Super haffie is healing and back to his old self!

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    1. Switching his feed back was like flipping a switch... depressed Haffie... normal Haffie!

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  8. Glad you found a simple solution. What about Coconut Oil and Rice Bran? I buy Renew Gold, add a pound of it to Ramone's rations and he's stayed nice and plump without anything crazy else.

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    1. Interestingly, IR horses can be affected by both sugar AND fat. I'm starting to think that it's the fat in Senior that did him in, because the NSCs are only 2% higher than his regular feed, but the fats are 18% higher. If fat is the problem, oil and rice bran are key things to stay away from!

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  9. phew what a relief! i'm super glad it's not lyme or PSSM either. the metabolic stuff is no fun, but seems to be fairly manageable all the same. we have a chronic-founder case at our farm who stays healthy and happy on nutrena safe choice feed, tho he's older and not really in work so idk if it's the appropriate choice for Paddy.

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    1. Safe choice is quite high in NSCs (22%, I think?) so is not as "safe" as the name implies. We'll keep him on TC lite and hay, and then gradually add in one thing at a time and make sure it doesn't adversely affect him.

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  10. Such good news! Hopefully you guys find the right diet for poor Paddy. And hoping that his cavernous foot gets better quickly!

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    1. Paddy thinks his diet should include all the things all the time.

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  11. oh good that it is not THAT bad! go paddy, get well soon now! <3

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    1. He's sad that he doesn't get to eat the delicious senior feed any more. Boo.

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  12. YAY! I'm so glad the vet had answers and you (and we) aren't stuck waiting for test results and not knowing what is going on.

    Woohoo!!! *hugs*

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    1. Me too! Although the "what can the Haffie get into" test was very successful.

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  13. My welsh d mare is a feeding challenge, I have ended up going with lots of grass hay (I spend my life hunting low sugar hay!), unmolassed beet pulp, small amount of soybean hull pellets and tiny bit of alfalfa chaff(do you feed chaff in the us?). I struggle over our cold green wet winter so she goes out on holiday on 40 acres of unimproved pasture in a herd, running around plus unrestricted low sugar grass does wonders for her. Painful for me as I have to trudge that muddy wet hilly property to find her

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    1. Oh yikes, you sound like you've got the same problem! I've never seen soybean hull pellets here, or alfalfa chaff, but we do have chopped alfalfa - maybe that's the same thing? I wish I had 40 acres for Paddy to hang out on, but alas, we only have two.

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  14. Such a relief that a change of feed as such an immediate positive impact. Fingers crossed the foot funk heels up asap and you're both back on track.
    I know nothing about feeding, am very lucky with two easy keepers and i don't compete so peak fitness is rarely achieved. *blush*

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    1. Oh, Paddy's an easy keeper too, but even an easy keeper needs a few more calories in "winter" when he's working hard. I think he'd like to get his extra calories in the form of cookies, but that's not happening. ;)

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    1. It's way better than any alternatives!

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    1. Vets are awesome. If only they weren't also so expensive...

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  17. What an easy fix!!! You must feel so much better. :0)

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    1. Yes, it's nice (??) to have my mischievous Haffie back. Now if we can just get his foot all better, we'll be back on track!

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  18. Yay!! And I feel you on the thrush crack, it's crazy how they can sneak in there when things get wet, despite your best efforts. >:(

    If you're looking for calories, well, it seems my "type" includes "metabolism of a rabid chinchilla while in work," so I've done lots of research and experimentation (uh, Strategy, just NO - I hate learning things the hard way, sigh) there.

    Short version: flax is awesome, although sourcing can take some asking around, as is Cool Calories (99% extruded vegetable fat, Encore got it for a year to get back to 'normal horse shape' - note: just because it smells like cotton candy does NOT mean it tastes good. What, I get curious...). Those along with rice bran pellets are my go-to for lovely, lovely fat without any unpleasant side effects. We were going through bags of the CC so fast, I finally just added them to Encore's SmartPaks until he didn't need it anymore -- too many trips to the feed store!!

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    1. Yeah, adding fat is pretty easy, and I love flax. Triple Crown makes a nice stabilized flax that I've used before. Problem is, IR horses can't have fat. Soooo... yeah. What do you do for calories with a horse that can't have fat or sugar? Argh!

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    2. Well, dang, Paddy, way to make life complicated! TC s oil is lovely although out of my income demographic. Ya know, I might just call or email the nutritionists at TC , I ve worked with them both in person at 3DE s and through customer service and especially the guy who is head of their nutrition science dept is not only helpful but sharp. In a good way! He came to one of our USEA AR annual meetings, I learned a lot. And I like that they are adult enough to suggest non-TC products if needed. There is also a good nutrionist at NCSU. I wish I could specialize in ALL THE THINGS, LOL - but hey, if he has any problems with hydrology or sedimentation, I can totally solve those! ;)

      I'm not entirely unconvinced that there's not some grand equine plot to throw crazy things at us so when they rip their shoes off, we are relieved that there's a problem we know how to fix. :/ But fingers crossed for an answer soon, happy that happy Haffie s back!

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    3. Well, dang, Paddy, way to make life complicated! TC s oil is lovely although out of my income demographic. Ya know, I might just call or email the nutritionists at TC , I ve worked with them both in person at 3DE s and through customer service and especially the guy who is head of their nutrition science dept is not only helpful but sharp. In a good way! He came to one of our USEA AR annual meetings, I learned a lot. And I like that they are adult enough to suggest non-TC products if needed. There is also a good nutrionist at NCSU. I wish I could specialize in ALL THE THINGS, LOL - but hey, if he has any problems with hydrology or sedimentation, I can totally solve those! ;)

      I'm not entirely unconvinced that there's not some grand equine plot to throw crazy things at us so when they rip their shoes off, we are relieved that there's a problem we know how to fix. :/ But fingers crossed for an answer soon, happy that happy Haffie s back!

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  19. That's really interesting -- I've never had an experience like that where feed affected a horse so much. Good to know!

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    1. Some horses are very sensitive, I've discovered the hard way.

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  20. Yay it's "just" IR? ;)

    Such a pita to manage, but at least you guys already know some things that work for him.

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    1. Luckily we're on a dry track anyway, so it's much easier for me to manage than it would be at some boarding facilities. But yeah, it's not the most fun thing. Still, good to know, and we'll make it work!

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