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Dr. Taus
Dr. Taus, Veterinarian
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Experience:  Veterinarian with experience in equine and small animal medicine.
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I have a 8 year old reining bred regisitered quarter horse

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I have a 8 year old reining bred regisitered quarter horse gelding.NO Impressive breeding anywhere in bloodlines. When I ride him for more than an hour he develops body twitching. First starts with slight agitation tail swicthing, small bucks, will do the full body shake 2 or 3 times right in a row.Threatens to rear, pops up,then he will start with swing his head around and nudge your foot a few times.this is when I know he is going to start twicthing.Its starts on his sides like if bugs are bitting him just a few big shivers.Then he starts all over his withers are in constant twitching under the saddle ,his sides.he gets agitated.Once he starts it doesnt stop.He is fine in a ring or a trail ride an hour or hour and half but you get past that you can guarente it will start.He cant or doesnt stop until you quit with him.Even if you get off and let him he continues.If we are an hour from home he will twicth the whole time.Sometimes he drops to his knees gets back up drops again. We have had saddle fitter check the saddle not that,chrioprator looked at him no problems.Last trail ride we gave him 1cc of Ace before we left didnt help when he started we gave him another 1 cc didnt help. He has been on a top of line vitamin and mineral protocal for a year didnt help. He is well broke with no behavour issues what so ever.I have noticed when he has an episode its starts at about the hour and half mark but him we ride him the next day after an episode he starts within 15 minutes or so.I have owned him 3 years and he has never done this without being ridden and never in the ring or trail rides under an hour as long as its the first day.He is in good shape and only get vitamins and minerals and grass or hay My vet suspected magnesim defeceny but the year of vitamin and minerals has not helped he has no muscle weakness lameness,or stiffness, just this body twitching or shivering all over after an hour and half exercise.this is not hard exercise just trail riding at the walk.you He does this everytime once we hit that time period. Genetic testing is out of my price range my vet quotes around $500 to test him for certain things.Do you have any ideas to narrow down the problem or feeding program that may help,or test we could do or medicine we can give. This gelding is beautiful gentle and loving has no vices or bad habits and I am postive this is not behaviour.because when he starts he tries his best to give you an indicaton somethig is not right.small bucks tail twichting first before he actually starts twicthing.He is very handy and good launch me if he wanted and it was behaviour.My friend rode him last time I rode behind to watch and you good see it coming about 10 minutes before he got fully into it.Tail swiching agitataion which never shows up any other time.Belly twichting like getting flies off then the bucking poping up start then the twicthing same order every time.He has been doin this for 2years,Got any ideas?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Taus replied 11 months ago.
Hi there,
It certainly sounds like a muscle problem. Although he's not Impressive-bred, there's some evidence out there to suggest that Impressive's sire might actually have been an HYPP carrier too, and in some cases, we can see HYPP without documented Impressive in the bloodline. Without a genetic test or a muscle biopsy, it's hard to say exactly what's going on, as there are a variety of muscle disorders that can cause tying-up-like signs and can look like what you are describing.

That being said, I find that a low potassium, high fat diet is helpful in many of these situations. No alfalfa, grass hay only, limit grain, and if you feed grain, consider adding a product like rice bran that is high in fat. It's hard to make a diet palatable with more than about 12-15% fat, but some horses do well on up to 30%. Grain supplements for these horses are marked as "cool calories"-- I personally like Nutrena XTN, but there are a lot of brands out there.

Another thing you can do is carry a little of a high sugar product like Equine Senior with you when you trail ride. When you hit that 90 minute mark and you expect him to have problems, give him a few handfuls. This shifts potassium into his cells and can help give him some relief if it is HYPP. If you get to a point where it's a little more financially feasible, consider having a muscle biopsy or test for HYPP.

I hope this is helpful. If so, please rate me positively, and don't hesitate to let me know how else I can help.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.


I am satisifed just have a question as I have a brain injury so need things very plan. Does HYPP usually flare its head with exertion? as my guy only does this with work.And just to make sure I understand your advise.I give him something with sugar only when or just before he starts his twitching and not at the start of the ride for prevention.Sorry to have to ask again but its is hard for me to follow instructions unless I hear them a few times Lennor

Expert:  Dr. Taus replied 11 months ago.
Not a problem! These kinds of things can be pretty confusing anyways.
Except in very, very severe cases, HYPP shows up with exertion or stress. You can sometimes see it after a long trailer ride or something stressful like that too. So you might not see any signs out in the pasture or with light riding in the arena.

Wait to give him something sugary until right when or just before he starts twitching. If you give it at the start of the ride, it might be gone by the time he starts having trouble.


Dr. Taus, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 412
Experience: Veterinarian with experience in equine and small animal medicine.
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