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PSSM in Quarter horse.

I know there are other threads about Pssm, but the mare I have has been tested and does have PSSM type 1. She does not fit the typical PSSM horse. Shes hot tempered, not an easy keeper by any means and she does not do well on alfalfa, at all. I have her on strictly bermuda grass hay, and bermuda pellets. Im about at my wits end with trying different things. Ive researched this extensively and i know that all horses are different but there are so many supplements that claim to work. Ive fed DMG and see no sign of improvement even over a month. She lives in a dry lot, in Arizona.Her pen is pretty big. Not exactly sure how big but its not a pasture size pen. I was told by one vet that once they tie up that they need time off for her levels to go down and to change their diet. Which i did and I’m seeing some improvement in her symptoms, as I’m starting to ride her again, but I’m still noticing slight quivering of her flanks. She has been off for about a month with 2 months of the changed diet. She is not getting any sort of added fat, just plain bermuda and bermuda pellets. Im not sure where to go from here. Im not sure if there is a vet or anyone that has dealt with this and can give me some insight as to what works. I do not want to add 50 different things to her diet, if she is still having symptoms. I just want the necessary things. She also has access to a mineral and salt block all day and has hay in front of her all day long. She is supposed to be my next barrel prospect, so i would like to hear what people have done and use. I know they hay is different over here in Arizona since it comes from California as well and nutritional value is different.

Is there a particular reason you haven’t added fat yet?

With some of the EPSM/PSSM horses, it’s enough to reduce the sugars/starches in the diet, treating them more like an IR horse. But for many, the fat has to be there as well.

My sister’s gelding has PSSM. Our vet told her it is best for him to be turned out as much as possible so he is able to move around. Also to he needs to be kept in shape. She also had her put him on Purina Ultium as he needed to be on a high fat diet. Since changing his diet and being able to be out 24/7 he has not had an episode since the first one, when he was diagnosed. I think that was like 2 yrs ago. My sister is a member here if you would want to pm her. Her name is Levi&Mystery428

No particular reason, other than i didnt know if that would make things worse or not? I guess im having a problem finding a type that i can use on the bermuda pellets. I want to try and refrain from using oil, but i will if i need to. I dont think corn oil is the way to go, as ive read it has inflammatory properties. Whether thats true or not? I was going to go for Cool Calories and flax seed(stabilized). She may need more fat as shes a hard keeper as it is. Any suggestions? She seems to be super sensitive to the sugars and starches.

As far as turn out goes, i dont have a pasture and i would probably only turn her out at night in the arena, here in arizona as its 105 and hotter some days. There is limited shade by the trees in the day time. Would that be beneficial at night? I mean she stands around during the day whether she is out or in her pen.

Heard alot about people using ultium but the NSC are higher than the 10-12%.

I wouldn’t use corn oil either. While there’s nothing fully conclusive, there’s at least some evidence its high Omega 6 is not healthy, and with an already compromised horse, no reason to risk things. For that reason, no BOSS either.

Cold-pressed flaxseed oil would be the best, but it’s also the most $$, by a lot.

As mentioned above, Ultium has been used with success for more than a few horses. It’s not that high in sugars, but only a trial will tell if it’s too high for your mare. I would definitely go that route, or any other higher fat/low(er) sugar feed, particularly since she could use the calories, before going the oil route.

I would also look to adding Vit E, and I would be testing her selenium level to see if you need to add that too

Adding flax would get some fat in the form of O3 into her - always good.

I am not sure why you are avoiding adding fat? My TB gets 2 cups of soybean oil per day (and has for, oh…I don’t know…2 years now?). I would also add vitamin e if I were you. The supplement Elevate is a great vitamin e supplement. I give my horse 5000 IU of Elevate per day (5 scoops). Another thing to try is a supplement with magnesium in it. That really helped reduce my horse’s hard muscles and the visible quivering.

Not avoiding adding fat! I had her on all kinds of things previous and i took it all away and im leery of adding something thats not 100% just fat due to the fact that i know she is very sensitive to grains. I had her on safe choice special care previously with flax and omega shine with only half a flake alfalfa once a day and free choice grass. She had previously been on all alfalfa when she very first tied up. So i took all that away and fed just bermuda and left her off for a month and now im trying to ride her again. While her symptoms are alot milder than before, i noticed she was quivering slightly.

DON’T ADD FAT until you read the studies on fat metabolism in quarter horses (Dr Kellon I believe) - as I recall it’s a breed factor so not limited to PSSM quarter horses, but obviously becomes more of an issue then, re the high amounts of fat added to diets.
L-carnitine sticks in my mind so you can likely use that as an additional keyword in your searches.

Ask your vet to pull copies of the relevant papers for you or ask for a consult with PSSM specialist etc.

Check out the PSSM Forum on Facebook. Pretty knowledgeable (and helpful)group of folks. Their file section has lots of info.

As far as vitamin e, selenium and magnesium go. How much are we talking about feeding? Loading dose? How much is too much? Selenium i know can be dangerous if fed too much.

Not avoiding adding fat! I had her on all kinds of things previous and i took it all away and im leery of adding something thats not 100% just fat due to the fact that i know she is very sensitive to grains. I had her on safe choice special care previously with flax and omega shine with only half a flake alfalfa once a day and free choice grass. She had previously been on all alfalfa when she very first tied up. So i took all that away and fed just bermuda and left her off for a month and now im trying to ride her again. While her symptoms are alot milder than before, i noticed she was quivering slightly.[/QUOTE]
Were there any other feeding combinations you had tried? I just ask because neither of these involved significant fat, so don’t want to start mentioning things you’ve already done :slight_smile:

Se - you really have to test her blood to know how much to add. Maybe it’s quite normal. Maybe it’s a hair below the low end of normal, which would mean adding less than if she’s quite a bit below normal.

E - if she tested pretty low, you could be looking at in the range of 5000IU (and I wouldn’t supp Selenium until you re-test in a few months, as increasing E might well pull the Se up). But the vet might suggest 10,000IU for a short period of time. Or, you might be looking at 2000 or 4000 IU/day

Mg - I’d be looking in the range of 15-20mg to start, and tapering down if you can, adding a little more (maybe 25mg) if you’re not seeing changes.

But, you want to make the changes as one at a time as you can. I’d do the E/Se blood test and see where things are, supplementing if necessary, re-checking in a few months, THEN possibly think about adding Mg if it seems like there is room for improvement.

No thats about as far as i went with feeding. I cant just go all out on supplements cause i have a tight budget. Im trying to keep it as simple as possible. I felt like i was spending alot of money on those things and i wasnt getting any results.

Simpler IS better :slight_smile: It’s so much easier to start from a hay-only diet and work up, than start over.

So, if it were me in your shoes I would get the E and Se tested first. See what you have. Figure out with your vet if you should supp E and/or Se, and how much. I would start Ultium or whatever other higher fat feed you can find that’s lower in NSC, and see how much E/Se it provides, in the amount you end up feeding to get/keep her in good weight, then see if you need to add more. Vit E can be cheaply supp’d with human capsules you just pierce.

Most likely any changes you make are going to take a couple/few months before you can decide if they are doing good things, so be prepared for a fairly long road, especially if it ends up being a combination you need, since you’re going to make changes as 1-at-a-time as you can.

My vets find Kellon’s research deeply flawed, and many horses that are PSSM/EPSM are genetically the types that get insulin resistance anyway, even if they never are on a high fat diet.

My two get a very simplified diet. Try soaking the Bermuda pellets with just enough water to cover them. If they fluff up, they make an excellent “base” for your two to three cups of oil. I use Mountain Sunrise Timothy pellets, as some pelleted hay takes forever to soak and loosen up while these take about fifteen minutes. I feed orchard grass hay and a tiny bit of alfalfa to the one - the other has photo sensitivity issues with alfalfa, so she gets Tri Amino for protein. Without it, she looses her top line. I also supplement 2500 Vit E. Even overnight turnout should help, and I like to keep the water at one end and throw feed at the other to get them moving around.

Don’t forget tincture of time. I went through the EPSM/PSSM learning curve about eight years ago with my TBxQH and everything I found then indicated that it takes 4-6 months for the diet changes to fully take effect, and that there is often a relapse/episode partway through.

With my guy we had a miserable two months before he started to turn the corner - and we’d never had any major issues before then. Five months out I had a different horse.

Working forward from tying up is the most difficult period because you are working with less muscle handling the glycogen, and are more restricted in how much exercise they can handle. The more exercise they get, the more glycogen they can handle (which translates to more tolerance starch/carbs in the diet) but you can’t start there. It is such a delicate tightrope to walk in the beginning.

Good luck. :yes:

There are two protocols with PSSM: High Fat, and ALCAR. High Fat (as mentioned in a post above) can take MONTHS to show any noticeable improvement.

The easiest (and most cost effective) protocol to try first is ALCAR, which can be purchased cheaply at www.mybesthorse.com, and is much easier to manage than oil. ALCAR works differently than high fat, and (to overly simplify it) allows the horse to process the starch instead of storing it in their muscles. If it’s going to work (which it seems to do in a majority of horses), and improvements can be seen within days.

You still want the horse on a low starch diet, and supplementation with Vitamin E is recommended. For my PSSM mare, I have her on ALCAR, Vit E (around 5000 IU/day), Magnesium (5000 mg/day), and Omega Horseshine (which also has trace Se). I use a cup of Ultium as a way to deliver all the supplements. My mare is symptom free, and puts in a lot of work each week doing dressage, jumping, and training for endurance. I tried the High Fat diet first, but my mare started to refuse to eat the oil, and she really didn’t show much improvement until I switched to ALCAR.

If you are on a strict budget, I would start with ALCAR and Vitamin E, and add other supplements as your budget allows.

My vets find Kellon’s research deeply flawed[/QUOTE]

On what basis? have you read the research papers?

  • sorry if this sounds aggressive, it’s not meant to be - I felt that at least Kellon is doing & publishing, is passionate about changing life for the better for these horses, has some interesting ideas, is willing to publish against or at least question “conventional wisdom
    Site has gone a bit commercial but so is KER etc

Here is a highly qualified source of published information ( in peer reviewed scientific journals) from a passionate researcher who follows all the rules of good science, is highly regarded by her peers, and who is changing life for the better for horses with PSSM.

Why do you believe that ‘conventional wisdom’ needs questioning? As someone who spent a lot of time questioning conventional wisdom myself, I do see the need from time to time. Especially when the Powers that Be are making incorrect assumptions and leaving out critical bits of information. But PSSM is being investigated by some really good scientists and I think they are doing a great job. Please note the very extensive bibliography at the end. This is not a issue that is being ignored by good scientists. What aspects of this science do you think are questionable?