Cresty, lumpy neck


Helen Temps
 

My Peruvian/Morgan cross mare was IR (tested 4 years ago) when she became foot sore. Her thyroid level was also low at that time, and she was also started on Thyroid. ( I took her off that after about 6 months as she was frequently breathing hard and stopping on trail to catch her breath.  I have been on thyroid for 30 years so know the symptoms of an overload .  That issue was resolved once off thyroid med).   I caught the laminitis very early, she only needed bute 1 day and was then OK.   I immediately pulled her off pasture and adjusted her diet to grass hay only, put her in a dry paddock until weight loss achieved. She was then retested with sugar level on high side of normal 6 months later, but still within normal numbers.  I have been able to maintain her weight since then at a manageable level.  I feed grass hay available 24/7 in a slow feed net.  I am supplementing the "Just add Oats" diet from "The Natural Vet" site.  Salt/vitamin/mineral supplement in 4 oz crimped oats with an ounce of soy based oil to hold powder. About 2 weeks ago I also started adding Chaste berry to try to help with her metabolism. Her cresty, lumpy, hard neck will NOT go away. I know some of that large neck is breed.   My vet says she would have to be almost starved to loose those fat deposits. I am so glad I found this site!   She's a big barrelled horse, 14.3 weighs right at 1000 pounds.  You can easily feel her ribs, slight fat deposits by tail head, all weight seems to be carried in her neck.    I will add Vitamin E and flax as recommended. Should I switch to the beet pulp rather than the oats?  Will she ever lose that hard, lumpy neck?


Paula Hancock
 

Hi Helen,
Welcome to the group!  It sounds like you have made some positive management changes for your girl--good for you and lucky for her!  From the information you have provided so far, she is likely insulin resistant and probably not completely under control at the moment.  She has some of the IR symptoms of cresty neck and fat deposits near the tail head.  Those symptoms should reduce when her insulin is controlled enough.  The secret to success is to figure out what she needs and then figure out how to do it.  The way to reduce the fat pads and crest is to control the sugar intake and the insulin levels in the blood.  Starvation diets are counterproductive.
For interpreting test results, lab normal ranges for insulin include horses that are on high sugar diets.  We have had better success using the IR calculator to determine whether the horse's insulin is under control or not. It is the current best practice for evaluating insulin status.  If you enter your lab result numbers and units into the calculator, it will do the work for you and give the result.  If you don't have the actual test results, contact your vet and request a copy.  If you haven't tested her recently, that will be very helpful
https://www.ecirhorse.org/ir-calculator-leptin.php

Oats are too high in sugar for an IR horse.  I know people say oats are all natural and how can that be bad for a horse, but if it has too much sugar, it has too much sugar not matter what someone says.  An IR horse has trouble handling sugar and it causes their insulin to go high, putting them at risk for laminitis.  Feed and supplement companies name a lot of their products as if they are safe for IR horses, but most of them are not.  Rinse/soaked/rinsed beet pulp can be an excellent choice depending on what she needs.  More information below.

 In order to help you more specifically, we ask all members to fill out a case history on their horse/pony.  You need to join the case history subgroup here:

https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory 

and then all of the information you'll need to fill out the CH is in the wiki here:  
https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/wiki 

If you have any trouble, just ask and help is available.  It can be a bit daunting at the start, but the better we understand your horse's situation, the better advice we can provide.

Below is a general summary of some details about our philosophy called DDT/E, short for Diagnosis, Diet, Trim and Exercise. You are already implementing some of this, which is great.  Please make sure to review the different sections to see what else you can do to help your horse.  It's a lot of information, so you may want to keep a copy of this email so you can refer back to it.  

 

DIAGNOSIS: The 4 tests that we recommend are ACTH, insulin, glucose and leptin.   The ACTH is for diagnosing PPID; the insulin, glucose and leptin is to diagnose IR and if IR is controlled with the current diet. PPID (aka Cushings) is treated with the medication pergolide while IR is managed with a low sugar+starch diet. If a horse is both, medication and diet will be needed to effectively treat/avoid issues.  Details about how to get the tests done correctly are here in the DDT diagnosis file: https://ecir.groups.io/g/main/files/2%20DDT%20-%20%20The%20Diet%20Diagnosis%20and%20Trim%20Protocol

 

DIET:  The diet that we use is a low carb, (less than 10% sugar+starch) low fat (4% or less), mineral balanced diet.  We use grass hay, tested to be under 10% sugar + starch, with minerals added to balance the excesses and deficiencies in the hay, plus salt, and to replace the fragile ingredients that are lost when grass is cured into hay, we add ground flax seed and Vitamin E.  This diet is crucial for an IR horse, but also supports the delicate immune system of a PPID horse.


If your horse is/may be IR or PPID, until you can get your hay tested and balanced we recommend that you use the emergency diet.  Details about the emergency diet can be found in the "start here" file:  


https://ecir.groups.io/g/main/files/1%20Start%20Here   

 

There is lots of other helpful information in the start here file so recommend that you read the entire file.  The emergency diet involves soaking your hay (if not tested and known to be under 10% sugar+starch) for an hour in cold water or 30 minutes in hot water.  This removes about 30% of the sugar content, but no starch.  Make sure you dump the soaking water where the horse(s) can't get to it. 

 

What you don't feed on the IR diet is every bit as, if not more important, as what you do feed!  No pasture.  No grain.  No sugary treats, including apples and carrots.  No brown/red salt blocks which contain iron and sometimes molasses, and interfere with mineral balancing, so white salt blocks only.  No products containing molasses.  No bagged feeds with a combined sugar and starch of over 10% or starch over about 4%, fat over about 4%.  So the list of safe carriers/feeds includes but is not limited to rinsed/soaked/rinsed beet pulp, Ontario Dehy Timothy Balance cubes (ODTB's) also now being sold by Triple Crown as Timothy Balance Cubes, Nuzu Stabul 1, and soy hull pellets. Unfortunately, even bagged feeds that say they are designed for IR and/or PPID horses are usually too high in sugar and/or starch (usually starch), or fat.  It’s really important to know the actual analysis and not be fooled by a name that says it is suitable for IR/PPID horses.

We do not recommend feeding alfalfa hay to IR/PPID horses as it makes many of them laminitic. Although it tends to be low in sugar, the starch is higher and does not soak out. Protein and calcium are also quite high, which can contribute to sore footedness and make mineral balancing very difficult. 

We like to use the #603 trainers package at EquiAnalytical for hay testing:

http://equi-analytical.com/ 

  You can also purchase a hay probe from them, but sometimes your local coop or extension service will have one that you can borrow.  Once you get your hay tested look here for help with getting it balanced:  

  https://ecir.groups.io/g/main/files/6%20Diet%20Balancing/3.%20Getting%20Help%20With%20Mineral%20Balancing.pdf 

Trim: A proper trim is toes backed and heels lowered so that the hoof capsule closely hugs and supports the internal structures of the foot.  Though important for all horses, it's essential for an IR and/or PPID horse to have a proper trim in place since they are at increased risk for laminitis.  Look on the following pages of our website for more information about a proper trim.

  http://ecirhorse.org/index.php/ddt-overview/ddt-trim  

 

 http://ecirhorse.org/index.php/laminitis/realigning-trim 

After any potential triggers are removed from the diet, the trim is often the missing link in getting a laminitic horse comfortable.  Sometimes horses with subclinical laminitis can be misdiagnosed as having arthritis, navicular, or a host of other problems as the horse attempts to compensate for sore feet. Unfortunately, I know from personal experience that a horse can have subclinical laminitis and not appear lame.

You are encouraged to post hoof pictures and any radiographs you might have in the PHOTOS section of the case history group so we can to look to see if you have an optimal trim in place.   Go to this section of the wiki to read about how to get a hoof evaluation, what photos are needed and how to get the best hoof shots:
https://ecir.groups.io/g/main/wiki#Photos-and-Hoof-Evaluation-Help

 Exercise: The best IR buster there is, but only if the horse is comfortable and non-laminitic.  A horse that has had lamintis needs 6-9 months after a correct realigning trim is in place before any serious exercise can begin.  Once the horse is moving around comfortable at liberty, hand walking can begin in long straight lines with no tight turns. Do not force a laminitic horse to move, they will begin to move once the pain begins to subside. Resting their fragile feet is needed for healing to take place so if the horse wants to lay down, do not encourage it to get up. Place feed and water where it can reach it easily without having to move any more than necessary. Also need to be extremely careful about movement while using NSAIDs (bute is one) as that will mask pain and will encourage a the animal to do more than its fragile feet are actually able to withstand. We recommend limiting the use of NSAIDs as they will interfere with healing after the first week or so of use. 

OK, that gives you the basics of our DDT/E philosophy. There is lots more information in our files and archived messages and also on our website.  I find it helpful to  review our ECIR horse website to get a better understanding of the general approach and then ask specific questions via email.

 http://ecirhorse.org/  


We ask all members to sign their first name, horse's name, general location, date of joining and link to the case history and photo album every time they post.  It really speeds up responses.  You can set up an automatic signature so you don't have to remember to do it, instructions here in the Wiki:

It is a lot of information, so take some time to go over it  and feel free to ask any questions. If you are feeling overwhelmed, don't worry, you will catch on! Once you have your case history uploaded, we can help you help your horse better.
--
Paula with Cory (IR) and Onyx (IR/PPID)

 

Bucks County, PA, USA

ECIR Primary Response

NRCplus 2011  ECIR 2014 

https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/files/Paula%20and%20Cory

https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/album?id=1624

https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/files/Paula%20and%20Onyx



Shevawn Romine
 

I have same question on Missouri Fox trotter - do some breeds have more of a cresty neck and thus it would never go away?    


Paula Hancock
 

On Mon, Jun 5, 2017 at 11:20 am, Shevawn Romine wrote:
I have same question on Missouri Fox trotter - do some breeds have more of a cresty neck and thus it would never go away?    

 Hi Shevawn,
The neck is different on different breeds, and for horses at different levels and types of training.  A horse whose insulin levels are out of control can have fat deposits along the crest.  If the horse's insulin levels are controlled and the proper weight maintained, those fat deposits should go away.  For some more advanced case photos, see:
https://ecir.groups.io/g/main/album?id=1642

If you aren't sure about your MFT, you can tell a lot by getting the recommended bloodwork and reviewing the information and symptoms at:
https://www.ecirhorse.org/insulin-resistance.php

--
Paula with Cory (IR) and Onyx (IR/PPID)

 

Bucks County, PA, USA

ECIR Primary Response

NRCplus 2011  ECIR 2014 

https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/files/Paula%20and%20Cory

https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/album?id=1624

https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/files/Paula%20and%20Onyx



celestinefarm
 

I saw a great before and after photo yesterday of a horse's crest and fat neck on the Vermont Blend website that was linked here yesterday. I think sometimes, if all you see is fat horses or incorrectly trimmed feet, your eye becomes adjusted to that look and it's difficult to discern what is correct and what isn't. These photos on the testimonial page are a great eye trainer of what should be. https://customequinenutrition.com/pages/testamonials
--
Dawn Wagstaff and Tipperary   

Saline, MI  2003

Tipperary Case History


Sandy Carr
 

Dawn....agree!  I've been looking at the mess of a job of trimming my EX-trimmer has been doing for 4 years. Now looking at a correct trim I am amazed.  Of course, the EX-trimmer says the horse never presented her with the opportunity to build depth in his sole or grow enough toe to back it up --- in 4 years.  Wow, it's the horse's fault? Sad.
--
Sandy

 

March 2017, Corona, New Mexico, USA

Case History:  https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/files/Sandy%20and%20Andy . 
                        https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/album?id=6171 .


celestinefarm
 

I had another opportunity a couple of months ago to participate in a clinic with Dr.Bowker at his farm in Mason, MI. It was a continuation of the previous lecture material he provided in the fall clinic I attended and then we had cadaver feet to trim under his direction and supervision. Additionally there were two professional farriers there who were extremely helpful in guiding me in trimming. Most of all, the opportunity at lunch to wander out behind the barn and study the feet on Dr. Bowker's herd. Most are in maintenance phase, which gave me a great visual to remember.
I trimmed a cadaver foot that was grossly overgrown, it was good to be able to go to Dr. Bowker and him show me where the toe should be and how much more I could trim off. It allowed me to get after my own horses toes more without fear of cutting into live tissue.
--
Dawn Wagstaff and Tipperary   

Saline, MI  2003

Tipperary Case History