Need help interpreting bloodwork and hay tests #file-notice


Laura and Ero
 

Ero has moved and our environment is much calmer. I now have his updated metabolic results (including first time TRH Stim) and also have the on-farm hay tests (both last year's and this years). CH is updated. Looking for direction now that I have new data. 

I need help understanding the bloodwork. Glucose and Insulin values are lower, he ate hay only within 4 hours of being tested. I was excited about the lower numbers, but the IR calculator seems to indicate he's worse? Vet has no issues with these results, although says he needs more topline and overall muscle (add protein). Keep doing what I'm doing. She suggested I could stop soaking hay. Last time I received this feedback, ECIR disagreed. 

Hay tests. All hay is grassy mix (no alfalfa), grown on farm and consistently fed: one file, two tests/pages. Last year's hay is still being fed, but will soon be mixed and transitioned to 1st crop of this year. Both of these seem safe in terms of ESC+Starch and iron is okayish? 

Q - Are these hays safe and safe to start feeding unsoaked?
(Ero has been on soaked hay and an emergency diet on/off since January. When he refused the Equi-VM, I kept what I could including mag ox. I've recently been able to add in about at Tablespoon of Vermont Blend Pro, but not up to a full reco of 1/4 C.)
Q - Looking to have his diet re-evaluated. Dr. Kellon did this last time, but Ero no longer will eat Equi-VM. Dr. Kellon, any insights/recommendations?

Last note - Ero's May rads showed no rotation, but still some NPA in hinds. He's more comfortable all around (barefoot) but still unbalanced, and stabby behind. He's started again W/T in very light work. Hind feet were put into FormaHoof on 6/21/21. I'm not sure what MORE I can do for him. 

As always, thank you!

--
Laura and Ero

October 2020 | Colgate, WI USA 

Ero Case History

Ero Photo Album


Sherry Morse
 

Hi Laura,

Glad to hear you were able to get Ero moved.  I'd be happy with those bloodwork results as well, but I would also still be treating Ero as possibly EMS because of his breed and because he does seem to need tight management in terms of diet to avoid issues. 

With that being said - since his work schedule has been erratic I would be less interested in adding protein to his diet to help with topline and muscle and instead look to increasing exercise (as possible) to help with both of those issues.  As far as the hay tests - do you know what test (NIR or wet chem) was done on it?  At 8.9 ESC+starch for the 2020 hay and 10.3 ESC+starch for the new hay I would still be soaking rather than taking a chance on setting Ero off on another foot event.

I'll leave the trim comments to Lavinia, but if you've been reading any of Lynn and Relevante's hoof mark up commentary you know that NPA on the hinds can be a long journey to fix. 





Laura and Ero
 

Both hay tests are wet chem (trainer packages 603). I continue to get mixed feedback on soaking hay. Several say it's intended for emergency only and if he's stable, should NOT be soaking if starch is below 4 and overall hay is below 10. Others say if he's risky (which he has been, especially given low work levels due to endless injuries) .. then continue soaking. I've really tried to dial in his diet and weight since January, but he looks gaunt to me whereas he used to look much more regal. 

As for NPA, oofff! I feel we've made progress on his fronts. But the hinds have always been a challenge. Coupled with SI issues -- no one is sure which is the cause and which is the effect. But working more is hard if he's physically not comfortable. Our focus is correct movement (not extension) and relaxation. He was previously pushed too hard/fast by a dressage trainer. Learning the hard way. :(

--
Laura and Ero

October 2020 | Colgate, WI USA 

Ero Case History

Ero Photo Album


Laura and Ero
 

https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/files/Ero%20and%20Laura/Ero%20Bloodwork/EroMetabolicReults_June2021.pdf

The hyperlink to bloodwork was going to a wrong location (sorry). Correct link here (numbers also in CH). 
--
Laura and Ero

October 2020 | Colgate, WI USA 

Ero Case History

Ero Photo Album


Sherry Morse
 

Hi Laura,

Based on the picture from May he is hardly gaunt.  It may help to remember that a normal horse should be about 4.5 - 5 on the Henneke scale and I would rate Ero as a 6+ based on the pictures you've posted.  You noted in your CH update that the vet also rated him as a 6 and he still has fat behind his withers.  Fat IMO does not equal regal, it's equal to 'getting close to a disaster' so just something to keep in mind.  We have 2 PREs at my current barn and both are fat even though they are in regular work so there's a breed predisposition to that shape for sure and it's not helped by many dressage people wanting their horses to be on the chunky side. 




 

Hi, Laura.
As Sherry mentioned, the combined ESC+Starch in both these hays bears watching. Mixed feedback on soaking is a result of mixed effects of ESC+Starch on different equines. Some equines are extremely sensitive to ESC and require ESC+Starch that is low within the usual acceptable range. Just be aware that both hays are at the high end of the scale, with one slightly over the 10% safe cutoff. Conservative management would be to soak these hays. That is NOT mixed feedback. It's based on experience with sensitive equines. Ero may not require it, especially if he is in work and not tender footed.

There is the possibility of a second issue with these hays, and again, it may not be a problem with all equines and all clovers. I see you've fed mixed legume hay in the past.  But clover can, in some equines, cause them to become footsore.  You can search messages for more information on different clovers in hay, Red Clover being the most obviously problematic. Some recent examples: 
https://ecir.groups.io/g/main/topic/30446088#233263 
https://ecir.groups.io/g/main/message/243720 
https://ecir.groups.io/g/main/message/247865 
I emphasize this is based on the reactions of different equines. Some are more sensitive than others.

--
Cass, Sonoma Co., CA 2012
ECIR Group Moderator
Cayuse and Diamond Case History Folder                
Cayuse Photos                Diamond Photos


Laura and Ero
 

Sorry, I meant his hindquarters are guant and his general appearance is less-muscled. Yes, the vet puts him at a 6 or higher on the BCS, but I feel like I've done a good job on getting him dialed in with his feet and diet, since getting some pretty harsh feedback last fall. I dove in to learn as much as I could and fast as I could for him. He has a much reduced crest and has lost weight. I've found a barefoot trimmer and switched barns. Regardless, my vet's response is always the same. She also doesn't think he's EMS/IR and recommends a lot of Purina products, so I take their feedback with some hesitation. As for dressage - I've pretty much given up on ever getting through this. Competing is a lost dream. I just want him safe and comfortable. I can honestly say, I am doing my best. This journey has been hell and at 7, my expectations for his life are grim. 

--
Laura and Ero

October 2020 | Colgate, WI USA 

Ero Case History

Ero Photo Album


Laura and Ero
 

@Cass - I was trying to learn more about clover and will look into the links you've provided. Given that and if I have the option extended to me, which of these two hays would be a better choice to go forward with?

--
Laura and Ero

October 2020 | Colgate, WI USA 

Ero Case History

Ero Photo Album


Sherry Morse
 

Ah ok.  I think that probably what you're seeing is an overall lack of muscle from not being in regular work due to all the other issues.  However, don't give up on the dressage dreams quite yet.  If you can get the various issues sorted out he's certainly young enough to do well now that you're moving in a positive direction and you know what you're dealing with. 



 
Edited

Take heart, Laura.  At 7, he should just be getting started.  Can he be ridden at the moment?  Are you comfortable taking him out on a trail ride?  Walking up and down hills would be good for his hind end.

I would also agree that, if you feel he has lost weight on your program, you should continue that.  He looks like he’s carrying more extra weight than would be comfortable for him.  Go through your hay weights again to make sure he’s not getting extra.  The idea of the emergency diet is to give you a safe place to start while getting organized.  I test my hay and soak it when I am concerned it might pushing the 10% limit.  I’m trying to avoid an emergency by doing so.  Otherwise, I just balance the tested hay with mineral supplements and the recommended vitamin E, flax oil and salt.

I agree with your decision to move to a quieter barn.  Dressage riders tend to be competitive people (I know as I am one.) and full of advice (yup!), some of it more appropriate than others.  No one else is riding your horse, feeling what you feel and progressing with your skills and temperament.  We all pretty much need to follow our own paths, reaching out to others as we see fit.  In my mind, the dressage journey should not be about racking up scores and ribbons but rather, using the skills you’ve developed to ride the horse forward, straight and through.  The feel of the horse under me when all is good is better to me than a show score.  An Olympic dressage rider once told me that, now that she was done with the Olympics, she was going to learn to ride her horse through.  Her horse was considerably older than seven.

--

Martha in Vermont
ECIR Group Primary Response
July 2012 
 
Logo (dec. 7/20/19), Tobit(EC) and Pumpkin, Handy and Silver (EC/IR)

Martha and Logo


 
 


 

Hi, Laura. I'd choose the first hay, SWF- MIXED CLOVER & GRASS- JULY 2020. 
That's based on the assumption there's clover in both and that you want to limit soaking (we all want that!).
--
Cass, Sonoma Co., CA 2012
ECIR Group Moderator
Cayuse and Diamond Case History Folder                
Cayuse Photos                Diamond Photos


Eleanor Kellon, VMD
 

Laura,

Your horse is borderline for IR and insulin not high enough to cause problems. There is no evidence of laminitis. His major obvious issues are obesity and flat palmar angles with poor ground clearance.  That may also mean he has DDFT strain but either way the solution is to grow more foot and higher heels. Muscle definition comes with work and  getting rid of all the fat on top of it that hides it.
--
Eleanor in PA

www.drkellon.com 
EC Owner 2001


Laura and Ero
 

@ Martha - light walk/trot under saddle, some lunging and in-hand. He’s not very balanced at the canter and has slipped a few times so we’re effectively starting over (also to get him through and out of the BTV training he had). Hoping FormaHoof helps support the hinds and still looking for boots that fit the shape of his fronts.  Trails to come … wanted to give him time to settle in, get his feet sorted, and bloodwork done. 

@Cass - actually much less clover in the 2021 bales, but will continue to soak especially if/as these start to get mixed. 


@Dr Kellon - agree on hooves and angles, hence the FormaHoof to help with heel height and hopefully better angles overall. Anything more to be considered as it relates to DDFT strain? I’m starting back slow.  Would you change his diet with this new hay?

--
Laura and Ero

October 2020 | Colgate, WI USA 

Ero Case History

Ero Photo Album


Maxine McArthur
 
Edited

Hi Laura
I agree with Martha —don’t give up on those dressage dreams quite yet. Ero is still a young horse—at 7, he’s only just finishing growing.

You said you haven’t ventured out on the trail yet, but you may be surprised how much some handwalking outside the arena can help develop his fitness, particularly if you have hills—starting with gentle inclines of course. Handwalking builds his fitness (and yours), it helps your relationship as you’re spending undemanding time with him, it’s a change of scenery from the barn, it sets you up for when you start riding out, and you can add various strengthening exercises as he gets fitter. You can also progress to long-reining down the trail, which is more like riding but allows his back muscles to develop before you put weight on them, which should help with SI issues. 

You mention that Ero had some damaging training experience in the arena, so getting out on the trail might also help to soften any residual connection in his mind between work and pain. 

I handwalk my horses at least once a week instead of riding—we usually do just a couple of miles, but it’s very good for all of us. 


Just a couple of thoughts for your consideration.
--
Maxine and Indy (PPID) and Dangles (PPID)

Canberra, Australia 2010
ECIR Primary Response

https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/files/Maxine%20and%20Indy%20and%20Dangles 
https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/album?id=933

 


Kirsten Rasmussen
 

Hi Laura, I'd be thrilled with the June bloodwork!  Was this on soaked hay, or the new farm's unsoaked/soaked hay?  Was he turned out with the other horses and moving around more?  Whatever you and he were doing, keep doing it!

I'm glad he transitioned well to his new home.  I hope you both are happy there.

Don't give up on your dreams just yet, but be prepared to adjust them for something that you haven't envisioned yet, it could be even better!

--
Kirsten and Shaku (IR) - 2019
Kitimat, BC, Canada
ECIR Group Moderator
 
Shaku's Case History
Shaku's Photo Album


Laura and Ero
 

@Kirsten - phew!! I was happy with the bloodwork too, but the calculator ratios went up (and in the wrong direction) so I wasn't sure how to interpret. All are improved (lower) since January, but I've been heavily micro-managing his diet since then (aside from several fencing incidents where he had access to spring grass and various injuries). I'm trying really hard to do things right, including finally moving him (dry lots are hard to find here!).  Regular exercise has been the hard part for us, but I'm hoping we have a fresh start. 

Ero has been on soaked hay since January. This bloodwork was done with Ero in his stall all morning eating the new barn hay (July 2020 grass/clover mix). He's been eating this soaked for the past the past month and had this hay 4-6 hours prior to testing, no grain (aka 'minerals or flax').Temp was ~70 degrees. 

Requested a re-balance of diet with these new hays. He is turned out in a drylot (no grass) daily, still solo as we need to sort out the feeding so just buddies over the fence, and I'm hoping to get him back moving under saddle. We walk a lot in hand. My dreams these days are to have a sound, happy horse that moves without tension or pain. 

Thank you!
--
Laura and Ero

October 2020 | Colgate, WI USA 

Ero Case History

Ero Photo Album