My gelding is Dr. Jekyll in the spring/summer and Mr. Hyde in the fall/winter..

Discussion in 'Horse Health' started by apndi, Nov 23, 2018.

  1. apndi

    apndi Senior Member

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    Background on my horse: My gelding is around 20 years old, Morgan/Quarter Horse. Has had one major health scare almost 2 years ago but has fully recovered, and otherwise is healthy. He last saw the vet a few weeks ago for a sheath cleaning and he is due for a hoof trimming. When the vet saw him, she said his weight is great. He lives with one other horse, a mare, and they get along fine. He has 24/7 turnout with shelter and is not ridden often. He is getting hay along with grain + Acti-flex Senior and whatever green grass remains in the pasture. We live in NC, not in the mountains, so winters are fairly mild compared to other places; it ranges from 45-60 degrees average during the day and 20-40 degrees at night. He becomes a mammoth in the winter and I've never seen him shiver so I don't think he is cold.

    He is very sweet when it's warm. You can love on him all day and all night and he will want more attention. Come winter, he can barely tolerate people being around him. He can be rather unpleasant to deal with from November-March. He doesn't actually DO anything, no biting or nipping or kicking. He just makes a lot of grumpy faces and head swinging when petting, brushing, standing near him, etc. I've always just ignored him when he does this. There are times where no one will be standing near him at all, and he'll suddenly put his ears back at nothing for no apparent reason. This started maybe 5-6 years ago. It took me a few years to catch on to the fact that it seems seasonal, and then I asked the vet about it. She said from how his back legs seem a little stiff and his age, it's possible he has arthritis in his stifles or hocks that is aggravated by the cold and recommended I start him on Acti-flex Senior. He's been on it for nearly 2 years now. It seems to help his attitude a little bit but not by a lot.

    Is there anything else I can do for him to help ease arthritis? I've never dealt with a horse having arthritis before. I am willing to ask my vet for more solutions besides an oral supplement.

    Could his foul mood be caused by anything else?
     
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  2. PyroTekNik333

    PyroTekNik333 Senior Member

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    I would try him on equioxx for a few weeks/month and see if that helps him.

    If it doesn't I would start thinking maybe something hormonal or an allergy of some sort.
     
  3. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    Older horses often do this and it's usually a health issue causing discomfort. I'd consider the possibility of Cushing Syndrome or dental problems, two common sources of discomfort. I'd have a dentist vet do his teeth. He may have some teeth that have broken or otherwise started to decay.
     
  4. manesntails

    manesntails Senior Member

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    He's old, he doesn't get ridden or handled on a regular schedule, he knows he can boss you around, so you have what you have.

    For the arthritis, unless you can manage to keep him warm, he is going to get stiff in winter. The Actiflex only gets absorbed to a point as all oral meds get eliminated through the intestines. You could also do MSM powder in the feed.
     
  5. LoveTrail

    LoveTrail Senior Member

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    I have heard some PSSM horses have issues with cold and have to be blanketed heavier than a normal horse. Some shiver, some don't. Some variants of it start later in a horse's life.

    Maybe try blanketing for a trial for a week or so and see if that makes a difference? Assume he already has his full winter coat so would just do a light blanket, like maybe a sheet.
     
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  6. apndi

    apndi Senior Member

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    Thanks, I'll look into Equioxx!
     
  7. apndi

    apndi Senior Member

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    I don't think it's his teeth, as this only happens when it's cold, otherwise it would happen all the time. He did get his teeth done within the past year and he doesn't seem to currently have issues with chewing beyond normal aging but I will certainly see if he needs his teeth done again. he most likely will by the spring. I didn't think of Cushings but I will look into that as well. Thank you!

    I will look into the MSM. As for the rest, just because he isn't ridden often doesn't mean he is never handled, and I'm not sure why you think he thinks he can boss me around only during certain weather conditions. When it's warm he is fine. That's why I believe this isn't an attitude issue, but a health/discomfort issue. Thank you for reminding me of the MSM, though, I thought I read somewhere that Acti-Flex has a half dose of MSM or something so some people supplement with additional MSM.

    I've been looking into blankets to buy him, just in case. At the very least, for the occasional day when it's 35 degrees and raining. I know nothing about PSSM and never considered it so I will do more research on it, thank you!
     
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  8. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    I didn't recommend MSM or say anything about him bossing you in certain weather conditions.

    As to it not being his teeth because he only misbehaves in cold weather, eh, I'm not so sure. Horses are sometimes very quiet in the hot weather even when something is bothering them like teeth.

    It could be as simple as he is just fresher in the winter and so he acts differently.

     
  9. apndi

    apndi Senior Member

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    The part about the MSM and bossing me around was part of my reply to manesntails' reply to me. Sorry if I used the reply function wrong, I haven't been on here in forever so I might've messed something up.

    It does get very hot here in the summer so it could be that he simply feels mellower when it's hot. I actually hope that's the issue, but I suppose I'd have to rule out physical issues first.
     
  10. manesntails

    manesntails Senior Member

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    She has me on ignore, and can't remember that fact. My quoted posts won't show up for her, so she assumes she is being spoken to.

    When a horse has manners, no matter the time of year, he has them. If you ride and handle a horse infrequently, that can cause them to test you, especially when they aren't feeling like being bothered due to stiffness and discomfort, so they act out. A horse handled regularly is having his manners training reinforced regularly, not handled as much, they get slack in their willingness to cooperate. That was the point.
     
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