Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Well, talked to Gus's BO tonight. She didn't want to pull his grain entirely and kept pointing fingers back to me... the reason why he has IR is because he has been on glucosamine products for nearly 9 years and because I keep giving him treats.

Come on now. That can't possibly be the reason why he his IR. He was on glucosamine at the recommendation of her YEARS ago, after an injury he sustained while she was working him. I saw it happen. Vet recommended a glucosamine product also and he started to develop some arthritis in that joint (left stifle).

Anyways, she also made mention to the numerous treats he gets daily. You know, the one tiny treat he has in his supp container... that too causes IR.

God. It's just annoying. Was able to get her to agree to limit his grain to 1/2 pound twice a day now, instead of the 2 1/2 pounds he was getting. I'm going to try to get all pelleted supplements and then we can cut all grain. It's just frustrating to be getting blamed for my horse's illness, when all along it's probably been other contributing factors.

He's one horse who we always thought may have had Cushings. Curly hair. Heavy. Lack of energy. The list could keep going on. Fortunately, at this time he does not have any of those issues... but honestly, who knows when everything happened?

Had a nice ride tonight though. Walked for about 20 minutes and did a couple laps in the trot. Seemed to be moving pretty decently. A slight hitch to both hind legs, but nothing significant. The mud is horrendous out at the barn. We've probably had nearly three inches of rain since Monday. Rivers are flooding and some roads have been washed out (gravel roads). Glad the horses won't need to be evacuated, but still...

Gringo doesn't seem to have improved much at all with the shoes being pulled. Which is guess is somewhat good news. I am thinking about just keeping the shoes off. They weren't helping him at all... and why waste my money if it's not working? Still probably going to have Dr. N back out to redo the nerve blocks. It's worth a shot, at least.

We'll see. I hope this spring is a better one the previous years.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Just doing my homework.

So, nearly a week has pasted since I found out that Gus has insulin resistance. I have been so busy over the last week doing as much research as possible to further educate myself on this horrible condition. It isn't a death sentence, but it's not exactly good news either.

Gathered from The Horse magazine, here's a bit more information about what exactly insulin resistance (IR) is:

Insulin resistance is a reduction in sensitivity to insulin that decreases the ability of glucose to be transported into the body’s cells from the bloodstream. While the body can compensate for a short period of time by increasing insulin production and secretion to maintain normal blood sugar levels, the end result is abnormally high circulating levels of glucose.

It is currently speculated that diet, breed, age, and body condition all contribute to the development of insulin resistance. Specifically, horses over 20 years of age that are either “easy keepers” or obese are more at risk than their younger, leaner counterparts. Horses fed diets high in sugar or starch (e.g., high-concentrate diets) rather than high-fiber/high-fat diets are more likely to be insulin resistant, even if they are not obese.

It should be noted that not all fat horses are insulin resistant, and not all insulin resistant horses are fat.

To diagnosis IR, a quick and easy test to screen for insulin resistance is a blood test that ensures blood glucose and insulin levels. Elevated blood insulin and/or glucose levels are highly suggestive of insulin resistance. In many horses blood glucose levels are within the normal range while the insulin levels are elevated. This is not unexpected as horses can initially compensate for the insulin resistance by increasing the secretion of insulin; hence, the increased circulating insulin levels in the face of normal blood sugar levels. It is only once the body is no longer able to compensate that both the insulin and glucose levels are elevated.

I've been really researching IR and have finally gotten most of my questions answered. I contacted ADM Alliance, the company that makes the feed that Gus is currently on - Patriot Feed Easy 12%. The equine nutritionist/research veterinarian they have on staff stated the 12% has not been tested, but is likely in the ballpark of 16-20% sugar/starch content. That is WAY higher then what Gus needs to be on. Like I've mentioned previously, the total percentage needs to be around 10% (and that includes forage also).

I did hear a little bit back from the vet. She does recommend switching "grain"... to something like Purina's Wellsolve L/S (see: It's total starch is not more then 7% and the sugars are around 4%. Not sure if I want to go that route... would be easier to have both boys on the same feed. But we'll have to see. Anyways, she's going to be sending me more information (so she says) so we'll have to see what else she recommends.

I did send an email to Gus's barn owner (BO). She replied back that with this. Only edits were to remove names:

I would wonder how much would change if just the large volume of treats alone were withheld- his other diet is the same as N's, who has completly recovered from laminitis and has maintained wonderfully on this diet. The only addition To N's is Quiessence. He gets almost no treats. The interesting thing to me is, except for a small amount-the hay inside and outside came off the same fields and from the same grower. You'll have to show me exactly what bales you pulled samples from. Have you pulled his glucosimine?

We'll need to talk some more on this next time you're out before we change anything.

I was a bit frustrated, to say the least. Gus does not get a large volume of treats. He gets one small treat each evening with his PM supps. True, that treat is a molasses and sweet feed "stud muffin" like treat that I personally make monthly, but that alone should not have caused these issues. There were many factors contributing to the IR diagnosis... Anyways, the treats will be pulled asap as will his glucosamine. Thinking about pulling the MSM because studies have show that it can hinder the reversal of IR, or something along those lines.

The horse "N" is Gus's pasture buddy. He definitely has metabolic issues, and they are supposedly under control, but she doesn't test him regularly, that I'm aware of. And like I've mentioned before, what may work for one horse will not always work for every other horse. All 25+ horses at the barn are on the same feed - Patriot Feed Easy 12%. It's a decent enough feed, but not every horse can tolerate it... and it's become obvious that Gus is one of those. All I want is what's best for Gus. I owe him that. I owe him a lot more, but I do the best I can manage. True, it's not a lot... but I certainly try hard.

That's why both boys will be moving again come May 1st, at the latest. The BF's parents said I could move both boys there... $350 month in the summer months and $425 in the winter months, to cover the cost of increased hay and electricity (for the tank heater). So, overall, I'm pleased that thing will be changing... I'm hoping that the BO and I can come to an agreement in the mean time for Gus. Either no grain or something like that. I can probably get to the barn nearly every day for his supps... and I can feed those with some of Gringo's "grain" as it's very low starch and sugar.

Well see what happens. I'm worried about talking with the BO because I'm afraid she'll keep disagreeing with me on the correct course of action for Gus. This grain that he's on is horrible for him... and that needs to stop pronto. Hmm.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Hay Analysis

So took Gus's hay in to be tested. He typically gets two different types of hay throughout the day. One he gets in his stall at night and the other he gets outside with his pasture buddy in the mornings.

Here's the indoor results:

And the outdoor:

Looks like the indoor is better hay, sugar wise, but it's still higher then I'd like. Soaking it would reduce the sugars by 1/3 to 1/2... which would then then bring the sugar down to around the 7% range. Way better then the nearly 12% it is right now.

The BO still thinks that I don't need to change anything. The vet isn't on board, yet either because she still hasn't returned any of my emails. Really frustrating but well, perhaps she's just busy. I really don't know.

Gus seems okay right now, but it's very scary to think he's borderline laminitic. His insulin resistance is totally out of control, technical word is "uncompensated". It's really just lovely.

Still trying to decide if I should got the beet pulp route for a couple months and then switch Gus to Progressive ProAdvantage Grass (what Gringo is currently on). I'm thinking that it would be better to do the BP first... but it's hard when no one agrees on anything and I'm just looking out for the best interest of my horse. So, we'll see.

(To see the results better, click the picture.)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Insulin Resistance

Yippee, skippy. Just found out last night that Gus is insulin resistant. His glucose levels were within the normal range at 116 (52-121 mg/dL) but the insulin was very much elevated at 37.0 (0.5-10.0 ug/dl). So, I have a metabolic horse who's not Cushings, which is a good thing, but now we need to take a serious look at Gus's diet.

I've got a lesson tonight on either H or S, not sure which yet, but I'm going to definitely be chatting with the BO about Gus's diet. Looks like the best plan of action would be to switch to beet pulp and start soaking Gus's hay, least until I can get the hay analyzed.

But I guess we'll see what happens. Waiting to hear back from the vet again about her suggestions.

As far as Gringo, well we're pulling his shoes this week (tomorrow, exact) and waiting a couple weeks and then rechecking the nerve block. Dr. N wasn't happy with the first one but wants to be sure he can be totally, and successfully, blocked before we think about the neurectomy. So, she's basically rethought things since she saw Gringo last.

Definitely will keep this blog updated.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The videos have finally arrived!

After many problems, I finally went to the Sprint Store to figure out what the heck is going on. I had done an update on my phone, because there was one out there, but still couldn't transfer media (primarily videos). Well, finally figured out how to do that. Yeah! So, without further adieu, here's come new videos of the kids.

These first couple are of Gus. They were taken yesterday by my mom. So, please don't judge their quality on that. Plus, my Blackberry doesn't take superb video, but it gets the job done.

So, here's Gus at the walk:

And the trot:

So, what'd think, besides the obvious? I know the videos are crappy... especially at the trot. He looks like he's got super fast legs, but in reality we're going quite slow. Anyways, neither video has been edited at all - cause I haven't got a clue as how to do that yet.

And, here's Gringo's videos. He's still (quite obviously) lame. These were taken on the first of March. So just a couple more days older. I plan on getting more videos as time allows... plus I definitely want to keep a log of his progress.

This is him walking in from the pasture:

And this is walking outside, up the hill:

And this is coming back down the hill:

So, there you go. Still have two very lame horses. Oh the joy. Thankfully Gus can be worked under saddle lightly. And I really do think he enjoys the light walk/trot work.

Other then that, Gringo has his spring vaccines done this past Wednesday. All went well. We also did a PD block on the left front. He blocked successfully, which means he is a candidate for a neurectomy. Dr. N is going to talk to another vet to see if he'll do the surgery. Of course we're waiting until the ground unthaws before anything drastic happens. Also, there's a possibility that his shoulders are bothering him. You'll notice in the previous videos posted that he walks really stiff-legged, kinda like a soldier. Who knows what's up.

And, we changed him shoes again. Added a bar shoe on the left front with just Equipak. J also added some drilled in studs for traction. The other hoof is sporting the same St. Croix Eventer with a snow-rim pad again. No Equipak or studs for that shoe. He's not any worse, or any better.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

It's winter again!

Brrrr. It's absolutely FREEZING outside again. Went to see both boys today. I did take 5 videos of Gringo today, but I'm having issues uploading them from my Blackberry onto my computer. Once I get those kinks worked out, I'll be posting the new videos.

But, he's still lame. The videos show that. Dr. N will be out on Wednesday to do spring vaccines, test for EIA and do a nerve block. Then, on Thursday J will be back out to reset his shoes. I think the plan is to switch to bar shoes (least on the left front) and then add drilled-in studs for traction.

Gus was okay today. He's now turned out with Novi because there was a new boarder... and no more private turnouts. So... least things are going okay. He's been with Novi before and they got along fine, I'm really just worried about this spring, when MUD season hits. I'm really, really dreading it.

I rode today in my Stubben Woton. First time I've sat in that in quite a while. Gus was ok, definitely more off then he was the other day, but I'm not sure if it's due to the cold (frigid cold snap, again), lack of pain meds (has been off them now for just over a week) or the saddle (it props me up differently then my Kieffer does). Who knows?

Anyways, if he's not any better on Tuesday or Wednesday, I think I'll be adding back in the Previcox. I also ordered from fenugreek, shavegrass, chaste tree berry and grape seed extract. Both boys will be started on all of the herbs, with the exception of the CTB, that's just for Gus (to see if it helps with cribbing as it's a dopamine inhibitor).

Hopefully I'll have some new (and good) updates here shortly. We shall soon see.