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Learn About PSSM

Learn About PSSM

Learn About PSSM

Real Life PSSM Stories
  •        fr-FR            English (UK)

Colby’s Story

   My daughter in law got my mare on a trade when she was 18 months old.  When we realized she had Impressive breeding we had her tested for Hypp.  We breathed a sigh of relief when we found out she did not have it.  However, when she was about 22 months old we went out one morning to feed and she was lying on the ground and couldn't get up. 

   Four of us tried to pull, push and encourage her to get up but she wouldn't.  Obviously called the vet but in about 10 minutes she just stood up and acted like there wasn't a thing wrong with her.  Vet came and he couldn't find anything either.  At the time, I kept thinking they must have been wrong about her Hypp status.  

Started her training here at home when she was 2 and she accepted everything very well and was easy to do the basics on.  However, our home arena is small so I took her to a boarding facility so there was more room to ride and expose her to other horses and situations.  While there I began to notice certain little things about her that seemed different from most horses. 

   First, she really did not like to be groomed with anything except a very soft brush.  She also would pin her ears and grind her teeth when you put the saddle on.  If you saddled her and didn't walk her a little she would hump up when you got on.  Everyone at the ranch just thought she was spoiled but I really never let her get away with anything because she is smart as a whip and will capitalize on anything if she gets away with something.   The next big thing I noticed was she had a lot of issues with being just slightly lame.  First one foot and then another and so on.  That has gone on almost all her life.  She was barefoot at the time but I rode her everywhere including the mountains on trails, in shows, working cows, etc.  Every time she got her feet trimmed she would be tender footed for almost a week but I didn’t think too much about this.  Her heels also started getting contracted.  While all this was going on, I was working on canter leads and she would pick up the left without any problem but took her a really long time to master the right lead.  She also would cross fire a lot even when being longed.  Sometimes she would bunny hop on her hind feet, especially if she was running really fast at play. 

   The trainer thought it was just because she was so short backed that it was hard for her so we just kept working on it and she finally was able to do both leads very well.  Once when I was on vacation and my daughter in law was taking care of her she turned her out and when she was walking her back to her corral she just froze and wouldn’t move.  She was 4 at that time.  They tried everything to get her to move and finally got her back to her corral and gave her some bute and the next day she seemed fine.  Daughter in law had never seen a horse tie up so had no idea what had happened to her.  Everyone just thought it was one of Colby’s little idiosyncracies.  Her pet name was the Princess because of her sensitivities to everything. 

   Some specific cues that all was not as it should be included:
   1) When riding in the mountains she always had trouble going downhill.  It seemed like she had no idea where her foot feet were going to land.  She never stumbled on the hills but she sure did when we were just riding around on the flat.  I always told her she should learn to pick her feet up and she wouldn’t stumble so much.
    2) A second very noticeable symptom was that she would sweat at the drop of an exercise session.  She would be sweating profusely before any other horse we would be riding with even broke a sweat. 
    3) She has always had short strides but she is also very short backed so that seemed reasonable.  I never had to teach her to slow jog because it just came natural to her which I now know is a symptom of the condition.  When she turned 6 she had come home because she had a bad case of hives and they just wouldn’t go away so the vet thought a change of environment might help her.  Had her blood tested for allergies and decided to find a feed that didn’t have any of the ingredients she was allergic to.  As it so happens, it contained barley and molasses plus I was giving her oranges off our tree.  When the hives were gone I took her back to the ranch and again she was turned out and when my husband went to get her she couldn’t move again.  By then I was starting to put 2 & 2 together and realized she was tying up. 

  I, then got on the internet and discovered a condition called pssm.  I vaguely knew about this because we had another horse at the ranch who they suspected had it due to his hard muscles.  My mare has more muscles than most stallions and they were bulging.  People would comment on how muscular she was even as a 2 year old.  I read everything I could on pssm and decided to have her tested and you guessed it, she is n/p1.  The new feed and oranges with all the sugar is what caused the last tie up.  At first I put her on the oil diet but she gained a lot of weight and I was afraid she would either founder or get IR from the oil.  Then I found a diet which had something called ALCAR rather than oil. Next I found the EPSM group on Yahoo and Dr. Kellon who is the one who advises the ALCAR diet. Colby has been on ALCAR for 1 ½ years along with 3000mg natural Vit. E, 1 TBS 60% Mag Ox, 2 TBS iodized salt and Triple Crown Lite as a means of getting her the supplements.  Her muscles are now soft and she doesn’t appear to be in any particular pain at the moment.  She is now 8 ½ and thankfully seems to be in decent control. 

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Fun Facts


May 21, 2019

Horses 278,224

5 Panel NN 4558

PSSM1 nn 8813
PSSM1 pos 3047
PSSM2 pos 766

HYPP nn 9317
HYPP pos 4866