Horse bites at sides - any ideas?

Discussion in 'Horse Health' started by coymackerel, Feb 1, 2009.

  1. coymackerel

    coymackerel Full Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2008
    Messages:
    34
    Likes Received:
    1
    My horse bites at his sides (see photo). He does this 2 or 3 times a week. He will also bite at my foot occasionally when riding, and is often jiggy or resistant to being ridden. This is a horse with disrespect and problem behavior in the past, most of which we've worked through, so not sure if this is a pain issue or not.

    I've had him to the chiropractor who adjusted his ribs. Had his saddle fitted. I'm careful to put the saddle off his shoulders and not girth him too tightly. Makes no difference. Tried different saddles - no difference. Vet says he's okay, could possibly need to be scoped for ulcers but he has no other ulcer symptoms. Barn manager says it's a behavior issue.

    Ideas? Suggestions?

    (click image to see larger)


    [​IMG]
     






  2. Horse_Addiction

    Horse_Addiction Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2009
    Messages:
    360
    Likes Received:
    23
    My mare did that alot during the summer last year. I thought maybe she had a mild case of colic or something. But she didn't. I only ride her bareback so I know it wasn't a saddle issue. Someone suggested to me it was bug bites and they irritated her...I still don't know for sure. I am quite interested to see any postings someone has in regard to this if they may know a cause for this...
     
  3. shenanigans

    shenanigans Senior Member+

    Joined:
    May 2, 2008
    Messages:
    1,858
    Likes Received:
    408
    My mare does this often too, but it does get worse in the summer when the bugs are out.
     
  4. JBandRio

    JBandRio Senior Member+

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2005
    Messages:
    65,636
    Likes Received:
    29,953
    Do a little research on ulcers :)
     
  5. coymackerel

    coymackerel Full Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2008
    Messages:
    34
    Likes Received:
    1
    JB- I did quite a bit of research on ulcers. He has no symptoms except the biting. Appetite is fine, manure is fine, weight is fine, no colic symptoms. He has plenty of energy and runs around and plays in his pasture.

    When I asked vet and barn manager about the biting they said horses with ulcer pain typically bite under their stomachs and further back than this.

    Have you seen this with a horse that had ulcers and no other apparent symptoms?
     
  6. coymackerel

    coymackerel Full Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2008
    Messages:
    34
    Likes Received:
    1
    I showed the picture to a vet and he said that this kind of biting is usually from frustration if it's in the absence of other signs of ulcers. The frustration could be due to a number of things like too much stall time, too much or the wrong kind of training, etc or it could be a leftover learned behavior from prior episodes of frustration.
     
  7. Pally

    Pally Senior Member+

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2008
    Messages:
    1,405
    Likes Received:
    42
    I have also heard of this being a form of "self-mutilation"......

    Does this always occur in the stall? What is his turnout schedule? Can he see other horses? Any changes to routine lately (herd mates, etc)? These sorts of questions might give you some insight.
     
  8. ryu2832

    ryu2832 Senior Member+

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2005
    Messages:
    3,062
    Likes Received:
    167
    Yes, they can show only one symptom and it can be ulcers.
     
  9. coymackerel

    coymackerel Full Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2008
    Messages:
    34
    Likes Received:
    1
    He's on turnout day and night (weather permitting). Gets plenty of hay and two flakes of alfalfa daily plus grain, which he vacuums up in record time. No changes in herdmates. It seems odd to me that he would take out frustration by biting at this exact same place every time. I looked at some of the other horses at the barn and several of them have this pattern of biting as well. I guess I will just keep a close eye on him and see if anything changes.
     
  10. Pally

    Pally Senior Member+

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2008
    Messages:
    1,405
    Likes Received:
    42
    Well some acts of self mutilation are likely just a stereotypie like some horses crib or stall walk.....it is repetitive in nature and doesn't necessarily "make sense" to us, it's just ingrained. So just like some horses crib on the same post all the time...maybe he bites himself in the same place.

    But other horses having the marks is just strange and I have no idea. Self mutilation is not common....Even if it is ulcers and other horses have them too, it would be very odd for them all to show it the exact same way. Weird. Do you have a goat eating them or something ....lol?
     






Share This Page