Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Mare Mysteries

Lex was a Good Witch again yesterday, even though she got no turnout (deeeeeeep breaths) and I didn't lunge her. Well, she was a good witch under saddle. But she was a very, very bad witch on the cross-ties. I need to use your brains to help me figure this out until I can get her to VA next week and see what changes and get a vet to look at her.

Here's the deal: Lex has always liked being groomed. Starting about two weeks ago, though, she has HATED it. She is especially sensitive over her loin/stifle on the right side. In fact, lately she's been cow-kicking at me when I groom her there. She clearly doesn't enjoy being groomed on the left side, either. She was much worse yesterday.

It could just be that fun "mare-ish behavior" people talk about, but I've had her for a year and this is new. Here are the ideas I have, and I want to know what you think:

1. Ulcers: She is in fine weight and her coat is good and she's eating like, well, a horse. But horses can have atypical presentations for things like this, and she does have some of the risk factors: inconsistent turnout, inconsistent hay supply (more deep breaths), being a TB, being a mare, grain I don't love, etc. I just got a six-pack of UlcerGard that she starts today in preparation for her move, so we'll see if that helps. Mary is also verrrrrrry careful about ulcers, so her horse management program is built around avoiding ulcers. Ulcers will heal on their own if the conditions that caused them are gone, so hopefully with six days of UG and a better environment, we can get her feeling better in no time. (As you know, I'm Evidence-Based Medicine Guy. UlcerGard and GastroGard work. Generic omeprazol doesn't, and neither do Smartpak things like SmartGut or other pelleted supplements like Neigh-Lox. Makes me and my wallet sad, but I'd rather spend more on something that works than less on something that doesn't.)

2. Estrus: She could be in season. But we're talking about two weeks of reacting badly to brushing, not two days. And, like I said, she's never done this before. Problems related to estrus come and go with the cycle. I suppose it's possible that she decided when she was in heat that she would be cranky about brushing forever, but… I dunno.

3. Ovarian cyst: This is what I'm afraid of, because the answer is Regumate and/or surgery. I don't want to do either, though I'd try Regumate first since I will be the one feeding her for the next several months and won't have to make anyone else do it. I'm not gonna have kids anyway! :D We've already done surgery once and I don't relish doing it again, especially given that this is supposed to be our Summer of Jumping, but whatever she needs, she'll get. And this kind of surgery will require considerably less time off than her last one, I think. I need to do more research on cysts to see if they are only symptomatic during estrus.

4. Lyme's disease: This seems unlikely to me, but whenever a horse is "weird," it's a possibility to explore.

5: Back pain: Ehhh. She's being fabulous under saddle. I don't think that's it. Now that people have the kissing-spine hammer, everything looks like a vertebral nail, but this horse isn't stoic. If her back hurt, she'd buck me off.

That's what I think. What do YOU think?


  1. haha love your answer about regumate, I gave my very studdy gelding regumate one year and my trainer wouldn't let me give it to him and I was like "WTF not, I don't want kids, great excuse not to have them!"

  2. I am no vet but I would say try the ulcer path first. And with the move coming up, I would suspect that she will need some time to get back to normal anyways :)

    Also we have been having hot/cold weather.. not sure what your weather is like but that can really mess with them too.

    Sounds like you have a great plan :)

  3. I suck at this kind of diagnosing stuff, no I'm no help there. But just keep on keeping on -- only a few more days! <3

  4. Based on other atypical horses I've seen, including my own, I vote for ulcers too. Lily did this + epic bucks under saddle and extreme belly sensitivity while on stall rest last year. Her appetite was good and her coat was shiny. She was 100% back to normal after a week on the generic omeprazole paste AbGard. We did a full month of treatment just in case.

    Sounds like a great plan overall! And yay for the move coming up soon!

  5. I like your plan. Ulcers are pretty easy to explore and for young mares especially, the first heat cycle of the year can be really, really hard.

    Hope you get it figured out. I'm sure you will, because you're doing an excellent job and Ms Lexi is obviously quite communicative.