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Discussion on Use of Depo-Provera in a gelding

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TRACEY LOMAX (Saxon)
Posted on Thursday, Aug 24, 2000 - 4:58 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi, all. I have read the discussions dealing with the use of Progsterone to treat behavioural problems in mares, but my situation is slightly different.

My gelding, Toc, has always been a bit of a handful. He is also very dominant, and will kick and bite other horses. He dominates mares, and I have watched him try to herd them away from other geldings. He will quite confidently tangle with a stallion, and if he meets other horses, he does the whole squeal and kick out with the front foot bit. He is not a rig, as far as I know, but I understand that he raced as a colt, and was cut when he came off the track (aged 4).

My vet has suggested that Depo-Provera could assist in toning down the aggression (my main concern) but I was wondering the following:

1. What side-effects are there?

2. Will it change his personality (which I adore, apart from his aggression towards other horses)?

3. Will it alter his muscle development - he is developing a gorgeous crest, and is looking stunning?

4. How long will the drug last?

5. Will it work or is there a possibility that his behaviour is not hormonal but learned (ie a remnant of having been a colt for so long).


I have also noticed that the aggression is much, much worse when I am around - he chases off any horses or dogs who are near me, and even insinuates himself between me and other people. Any ideas as to how to handle this.


I know I've sounded light-hearted in this post, but the problem is actually quite big - I battle to control him at shows, where he will kick other horses, or on trail rides, and he has bitten my other gelding on more than one occasion, not badly yet, but enough to cause bleeding.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM (Dro)
Posted on Thursday, Aug 24, 2000 - 6:24 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

None of your questions have been formally studied. The physiological questions you ask will be highly dose dependent and the behavorial changes vary tremendously from individual to individual. The frequency of redosing and length of time administered will all effect the outcome also. In short, you will be experimenting.

Unless you make a lot more than most folks, you will find your budget will make it difficult to administer enough D-P to have any effect and any undesired effect will likely be slow developing and reversible upon discontinuing treatment. If you are think progestanes may be helpful I recommend you start with daily Regu-Mate at the recommended doses for estrus suppression, and give it a month: it is far more potent at the recommended doses. You will still be experiemnting but with a medication that if you do not like the effects, you can stop instantly: with DP you are stuck with what has been injected until it wears off. Let us know how it works for you.
DrO
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TRACEY LOMAX (Saxon)
Posted on Thursday, Aug 24, 2000 - 6:39 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks for the response, Dr O. The injection has already been given - 3 mls. It wasn't that expensive : R95,76 for the injection (plus the visit fee) which translates as less than $15,00.

I will find out about regu-mate, if I find that he is better on the Progesterone, and if it is cheaper. Do you give regumate orally or in injectable form? From your post, I would presume orally.


I will definitely let you know if his behaviour improves. I have a show on 17 Sept, and that will be the telling time.


Thanks for your input.
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TRACEY LOMAX (Saxon)
Posted on Tuesday, Aug 29, 2000 - 6:17 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hello, Doctor O. I just wanted to let everyone know that Toc had his Depo-Provero shot on Thursday, and I have noticed the following:


1. He is less aggressive towards Piglet in his stable. Before, he used to do the whole rearing stallion thing when it was feed time. Now, althogh he will swing his head and gnash his teeth, it is a damn side better than it was.


2. He and Piglet spent the day together in the garden on Sunday with no problems. They grazed head to head and went around together happily. I had one incident when the two of them took themselves off into the paddock, and had an altercation over the hay net, but at least they could graze together, which Toc would previously not allow. Hopefully, it means that I can put the two of them out together in the same paddock once the grazing comes through and I'm not putting hay nets out.

3. I rode Toc at a friend's yard on Saturday, amongst her ponies, who were having a lesson, and he completely ignored them. No more napping, kicking out at them, trying to bite them, or anything. He concentrated on his jumping, and was great. On the way over there, he and Piglet walked next to each other without incident, which was also great.


Maybe it's too early to tell, but hopefully we've turned a corner!


Tracey
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM (Dro)
Posted on Tuesday, Aug 29, 2000 - 11:19 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Tracey,
I meant to get back after your last post as I had done a little more digging and it slipped my mind: over here a 1 ml dose of Depo-Provera (the dose for an average size women) runs over 50 dollars US wholesale to the pharmacy. The average cost of one treatment in the US of 3 to 5 mls runs hundreds of dollars. There may be a cheaper generic that I have not seen however.
DrO
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TRACEY LOMAX (Saxon)
Posted on Monday, Sep 11, 2000 - 7:27 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi, Dr O.


Just to update you, Toc's behaviour has been impeccable, but I am now very worried, as he appears to be very depressed. I am not sure if his is related to the dP, and have requested blood tests. Could there be a correlation?


Tracey
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM (Dro)
Posted on Monday, Sep 11, 2000 - 8:06 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I have not seen or heard of any such untoward reactions. Makes me wonder if there has been another reason for the recent calmer behavior. I did not see much for results from DP even with much larger doses than you gave. I quit using it 5 years ago after half a dozen attempts at modifying excitable or aggressive behavior in show horses.
DrO
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TRACEY LOMAX (Saxon)
Posted on Monday, Sep 11, 2000 - 8:20 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Now you really have me worried that there is something dreadfully wrong with my horse! I'll let you know what the blood tests say.
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Julie Markich (Julieann)
Posted on Monday, Sep 25, 2000 - 12:08 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

This might not be of any use to you but i know that depo can cause depression in humans. i will be getting my shot (for me)in the next day or so i will re read the info that comes with it and see what i can find.
Good luck i hope it is something simple!
Julie
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Julie Markich (Julieann)
Posted on Monday, Sep 25, 2000 - 12:14 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

This might not be of any use to you but i know that depo can cause depression in humans. i will be getting my shot (for me)in the next day or so i will re read the info that comes with it and see what i can find.
Good luck i hope it is something simple!
Julie
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Bonita (Bonita)
Posted on Monday, Sep 25, 2000 - 10:36 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Tracey - You mention that as far as you know, your gelding is not a rig. Has your vet done any testing in this direction?

Several years ago I purchased/rescued a very well-bred 6-yr. old registered quarter horse "gelding" from a local sleazy auction. Even his registration papers, which I traced and were definitely his, stated he was a GELDING. While his ground manners were fairly decent, he was extremely vocal and mounted everything in sight - to the point of even chasing a 2-yr. old right through a fence just to get on top of him. Though he wasn't quite as aggressive as your guy sounds, I had my vet do a couple of testosterone-level tests on him, which unfortunately turned out "normal to slightly elevated" which the lab felt was consistent with a gelding.

I initially tried Regumate, but did not see enough of a change in his behavior to justify the expense. Although I realized I could be throwing money away if nothing was found, I took him to our local equine clinic where they put him completely under and performed a laparoscopic examination. Lo and behold, regardless of the initial "normal" blood tests, the surgeons found and removed a normal-sized testicle in my gelding's abdomen. In addition, with him upside down on the operating table, they noticed that there was only one faint scar where whomever gelded him had removed his one normally descended testicle - leaving the other one for a sap like me to have removed (it ended up costing me around $1,000).

However, although he will probably always be more vocal than most, I now have a friendly, tractable guy who is for the first time in his life getting the training and attention he deserves.

Just wondered if your vet has investigated this possibility, as $1,000 - while certainly not pocket money - may be cheaper in the long run than a lifetime of medication.

Bonnie
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