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Discussion on Tail Sensitivity

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Nadia F
Member
Username: Nadia

Post Number: 28
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Thursday, Sep 23, 2004 - 8:51 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

My 13 yo TB gelding seems to have developed a sensitivity in the past month or so. The first time I noticed it, I was brushing his tail, mainly brushing the end of the tail, squeezing the hairs as best I could to prevent hairs from being pulled out as I worked through some snags. I was standing by his left hip and his back feet suddenly hopped toward his front. It gave the appearance that his back end was going to drop down. I jumped away from him as I wasn't sure if he was going to fall or kick or I wasn't sure what. It didn't strike me as being a kick, more like I pulled a hair and it hurt and it was a protective kind of stance he had for a few seconds. About 2 weeks ago, I was brushing his tail again, and he did it again, this time, after tucking his tail, he "dropped" and was immediately "stiff". (Trying to describe this nicely...) It happened a 3rd time, the back end hop, including the "stiffness", 2 nights ago, while brushing his tail again. I know I am trying as hard as I can to not allow the tail hairs to be pulled, but I can't prevent it entirely. Is this just a tail sensitivity or could there be a neurological situation occurring?
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 11238
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Thursday, Sep 23, 2004 - 6:11 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Nadia, it sounds like pain to me. A thorough exam of the tail needs to be undertaken and if negative consider radiographs maybe something is going on with the caudal vertebrae.
DrO
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Rick Obadiah
Member
Username: Onehorse

Post Number: 48
Registered: 9-2003
Posted on Thursday, Sep 23, 2004 - 7:07 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Nadia,

When you report your horse 'dropped' and got 'stiff' are you saying he dropped his penis? If so (and I'm not making fun), perhaps your touching his tail is causing sexual arousal. I don't dispute Dr.O's analysis that it could be pain, but it could also be an arousal response.

I had a friend whose horse actually 'dropped' everytime she got on him ... it didn't happen when other females or males rode him ... only her. At first it was funny (he was a stallion), but it was also a little bit frightening because he became harder (no pun intended) to handle. In researhing this she found that there are many reported cases of this type of behavior betweeen equines and humans. In fact, she reported the behavior to the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in New Bolton because a professor there was actually doing a study on this.

I think if you go to their web site or do a 'web search' on Sexual Behavior of Stallions you will find several papers published by the U of Penn's veterinary group.

Anyway, just a thought.

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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 11241
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Friday, Sep 24, 2004 - 8:22 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hello All,
It did not occur to me when Nadia said he dropped and got stiff she might be talking about the penis. Is this what you meant Nadia?
DrO
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Nadia F
Member
Username: Nadia

Post Number: 29
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Friday, Sep 24, 2004 - 8:54 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Rick and Dr. O:
Yes, that is what I meant. This is new behavior for him and the reaction is immediate and has only happened when I was brushing his tail. He is a gelding (has been for many years-not sure when, but probably around 2?) He is now having some other issues, but I think this is unrelated as he had these episodes twice before this problem.

Last Sunday, he got his foot through the reins (I was not attentive and let him eat some grass after riding and he pulled his head up before I realized what happened.) The reins were pulled up behind his left leg/shoulder. He panicked and backed up in a circle for about a minute. He put alot of weight on his hind end in that minute. He finally stopped and let us fix the reins. He seemed fine when I turned him back out into the pasture that afternoon. Two days later -
I started to ride him and when trotting, it felt like his left hind was dropping (not putting much weight on it). I immediately got off and lunged him. He was moving a little stiffly in his hind end (muscle-like, and it looked like his left hind wasn't extended as far as usual. He's been put in a small paddock for the past 2 days so he won't run around and make it worse. I saw him last night, somewhat sweaty and hot in his hip/ joint area. I looked a few other horses to see if it was affecting them at all (hot/dry day, but hadn't cooled off yet - air not moving outside at all). He seemed much more sweaty than the others. He attitude seems good, but seems to be walking stiffly still. We walked around the arena - he didn't want to trot, I asked him to just to see how he is doing. Seemed more stiff than 2 days ago. Walked in arena about 10-15 min, put back in stall. I massaged his hips and legs - feeling for heat, not easy to do since he was rather sweaty. After about an hour, I felt around his hind end - tail and muscle area around it felt very hot. Muscles are tight. I have a vet coming out tomorrow for fall shots - figured if he wasn't better by then, she can take a look at this.

Thanks for your input.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 11247
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Friday, Sep 24, 2004 - 6:28 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Let us know what the vet finds Nadia.
DrO
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Nadia F
Member
Username: Nadia

Post Number: 30
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Sunday, Sep 26, 2004 - 9:16 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

While I was waiting for the vet, I noticed that the area just above his left hind fetlock was a little swollen and hot. The vet checked this and we are treating it as a sprain right now - but it might be bowed. We'll see how he does this first week. If he's not getting better, we'll do an ultrasound to see how bad the damage is. He'll be getting bute for a week, cold hosed and wrapped daily for 2 weeks. I feel horrible that I caused this as I shouldn't have let that rein incident happen.

I also mentioned his tail problem, but she had never heard of anything like this, but has heard of this type of reaction (stiff penis) when a specific person rides their horse. When the vet got there, we stood in the arena and talked about his leg problem and he got stiff (but no back foot hop), without any tail brushing - seems to be happening more often now. It goes away after a few mintues. His attitude is normal - he's not excited, tense or scared, if anything, he's just content standing there. In light of his ankle injury, we didn't spend alot of time speculating on that. I also noticed that he seems to be rubbing his upper tail alot lately, too - snarled hair. I started using a different mane and tail detangler around this time. I'm going to stop using it and check his tail for ticks, etc. I looked closely at it about a week ago, but couldn't see anything, but I didn't really spend alot of time as he was somewhat jumpy about me touching his tail.

Could his hurt tendon in any way affect his caudal vertebrae? I assume these issues are unrelated.

Thanks.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 11254
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Monday, Sep 27, 2004 - 8:23 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Considering there is no neurological deficits I too think they are unrelated.
DrO
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Nadia F
Member
Username: Nadia

Post Number: 31
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Monday, Sep 27, 2004 - 8:43 am:   Edit PostPrint Post


In regards to this injury, I know it is rare to have a sprained or bowed tendon in a rear leg. Do you think that the rein incident caused it? This happened last Sunday – he was turned out in his normal pasture for 2 days before he had some lameness symptoms (I didn’t see him until Tues night). He was in a small paddock since Wed, vet saw him on Sat. The swelling is not that noticable. Has too much time passed before he was started on the cold treatment? I have hosed him 2 days now – no noticable difference in his swelling (not that I really expect much yet). I have then wrapped his leg/ankle area with a quilted pad and standing wraps. During the day here, it is very warm in the sun (he has shade, but it's still warm). I feel that putting this wrap on is trapping heat in his leg/ankle. I can’t see that this is preventing any swelling since it a week has already passed since the injury. Should I continue this treatment or have the ultrasound done now instead of waiting another week?

Do you have an opinion on any of the cold therapy wraps –

cold flex compression wrap
cooler wrap
single tendon wrap by Ice Horse

Thanks.

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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 11267
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Tuesday, Sep 28, 2004 - 5:11 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

With regards to the specific treatment of your horse Nadia, there seems to be some uncertainty as to what is going on so this must be assessed by someone who can examine the horse. If after a thorough exam ultrasound is indicated, have it done.

I am not familiar with any of these products and have been known to use a small plastic bag of frozen peas or corn: inexpensive, they conform well to oddly shaped structures, and reusable if you return them to the freezer quickly.
DrO
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Holly Zukowski
Member
Username: Cowgrl

Post Number: 361
Registered: 6-2004
Posted on Wednesday, Sep 29, 2004 - 3:58 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

My mustang also is sensitive to having the top of his tail handled. I noticed he is rubbing somewhat and breaking the hair off. When I looked at the roots, I saw a lot of dirt and scurf had accumultated before he swung his body away. I was able to bathe his tail but he wouldn't allow any scrubbing of the affected area nor does he like me to use a brush on it. Since the bath the dirt has returned and he's resumed rubbing.

He's on a regular worming program (this year is Ivermectin) and is fed clean timothy and out on pasture a couple of hours a day.

I used Johnson's Baby Shampoo on his tail the last time; would a medicated shampoo be the way to go with this? He's got a lovely long tail except for the top.

Thanks.
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Shirley A. Johnson
Member
Username: Shirl

Post Number: 142
Registered: 2-2002
Posted on Wednesday, Sep 29, 2004 - 4:48 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Holly,
As Dr. O will tell you, try to find out why he is rubbing all of a sudden. Does he rub off hair anywhere else? My vet sold me Relief Shampoo when my mare had skin problems, and it did help for several days. Also might try dusting Gold Bond Medicated Power in the itchy areas. It will not attract dirt/dust like ointments. Good Luck, shirl
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Patricia K. Wilt
Member
Username: Patricia

Post Number: 13
Registered: 2-2000
Posted on Wednesday, Sep 29, 2004 - 6:48 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Holly,

My mustang rubbed a huge spot of hair off his tail last year. Our vet was at the barn to see another horse and I asked her to look at him - I was embarrassed to find that I had missed a clump of ticks near the end of his tail bone! If he will allow you, you may want to look closely to see if you find any ticks. They are not always easy to locate, so you really have to get under the hair and poke around.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 11277
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Thursday, Sep 30, 2004 - 6:40 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Holly, whether or not medicated shampoos would help depend on whether you have a local problem. Often the broken hair, cracked and scaly appearance to the skin is caused by the scratching and not the other way around and the scratching may have a number of causes, see Equine Diseases » Skin Diseases » Overview of Scratching & Rubbing, for a complete list.
DrO
PS I will move this discussion out of Nadia's discussion over to the forum about itchiness.
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Nadia F
Member
Username: Nadia

Post Number: 33
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Saturday, Nov 6, 2004 - 11:00 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

An update on my horse. I stopped using the new mane and tail detangler. This one has an SPF8 ingredient in it. I decided not to use anything for awhile to see if he was irritated by it and just needed to heal. He no longer seems sensitive to my brushing or rubbing his tail. I have used my old spray twice to help with some snarls, and he doesn't seem to be bothered. I think the new stuff was irritating to his tail.

His lameness problem ended up being his hocks. No tendon problem.

Thanks!
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