In 2009, after being with us for about 2 years, I thought there was something not right with her responses to being scratched and groomed. Most horses have one or two what we call ‘sweet spots’. Those spots will elicit a body movement response that indicates pleasure with what is being done to them. In the case of Sadie, her reaction was extreme.
It didn’t matter where on her body you combed or scratched – she would wiggle with the ‘ah, that feels good’ response every time and her entire body would move. The other thing she did was a lot of rubbing herself on the fences and her belly when lying down. It finally soaked in that this was going on to the extreme – not just a little bit more than any other.
In the fall of 2009 I had her allergy tested. We had tried the regular approaches to this, both shots and orally, and nothing was working. The tests identified several things she reacted to. The testing lab prepared a protocol for her and I gave her shots every other day for 3 vials worth – several months. She hated to see me coming. The sad thing was that it didn’t help at all.
By early 2011, she was obviously miserable. I tried the oral antihist again to see if she could come back to a level where she could cope. It seemed to curb a little of the itching but nothing like I hoped.
The past two years, she has not developed a normal summer hair coat. It has felt ‘wooly’. At first I thought Cushings - I have had one horse with Cushings but the situation was not what I knew as a Cushing’s coat.
It was to the point that when I was at the barn for any length of time I was very aware of Sadie itching – she would rub the fence, legs on the water trough, turn and bit her sides or lie down and rub her belly.
She has rubbed both shoulders so the hair is turned backwards and shorter than the rest. This winter she rubbed hard enough and often enough so the shoulders looked black – the under hair showed all the time. She usually has significant rub marks all over the body. You can see a little of what I am describing in the accompanying picture - look along the neck and shoulder.
At the Ag Expo in February, there was a company selling a product called Equipride. The reps extolled its virtues and it sounded too good to be true. I spent about four hours total talking to them and bought some. I figured it was worth a try for Sadie. With the weather the way it has been I have only had her on it for two weeks. I had some antihist left and finished feeding it out.
Of course the reps said it is no problem to get the horse to eat it. Sadie didn’t like it. I had already been mixing her antihist in with beet pulp and Equine Senior and wetting it a little. I feed in a feed bag so once it is on she has to eat. I added the Equipride and got her started on it that way. Now I am just mixing Equipride and Equine Senior and dampening a little so it is mixed together.
Yesterday I was at the barn most of the day. Late in the day, I realized I had not seen Sadie rub or bite at herself at any time when I was up there. I talked to Dan when he came home and he said that she was better in the mornings when he fed. You don’t suppose ………..?
Today was another day I was at the barn all day and very conscience of Sadie. There was not one time she rubbed or scratched herself. Usually it will happen 2 – 4 times during the space of a lesson. Nothing – zip.
I went in her pen and used my hand to scratch her. The reaction was very low key compared to 10 days ago. Looking at the shoulders, the hair is not as disturbed as it has been. It looks like it is lying in a more normal manner.
I am so glad she is having long periods without itching and scratching. I am interested in seeing what she will grow as far as a summer coat. Stay tuned. Other stories/videos about Sadie's health at http://www.facebook.com/note.php?saved&¬e_id=10151399564915335&id=396146136773#!/note.php?note_id=10151244909770335 and http://www.facebook.com/note.php?saved&¬e_id=10151399564915335&id=396146136773#!/photo.php?v=3157956186961&set=vb.396146136773&type=2&theater