Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Suddenly Girthy

Alright, I'm looking for some thoughts/ ideas/ advice here... Maggie has gotten girthy all of a sudden. Like, within the past 2 weeks. I thought at first that she was just getting peeved at me tightening it up too much/ too fast, but there actually seems to be more of a sensitivity somewhere on her belly. She's never really like having her underside brushed, but she's always minded her manners in the past. Now though, when I start to curry or poke a certain spot on her left belly/flank region she'll give a good tail swish and even lift her leg to threaten a kick. When I tighten the girth she tried to nip me too. I can't feel anything out of the ordinary in that spot - no lumps, bumps, or cuts that I can tell.


I had read once that girthiness could be sign of having a rib out of place and needing a chiropractic adjustment. Even though having a rib out of place would have nothing to do with that spot on her belly, I didn't ride her all weekend just incase (hence the lack of a more exciting post today.) We were having the vet out for spring shots yesterday anyway so I signed Maggie up for a chiro session as well, which I wanted to get done anyway to see if she was sore anywhere and give her a nice fresh start for the show season. She was just a little tight in the right poll and the left SI joint, but really in good shape otherwise! So that was good to hear, though the vet had no explanation for me for the sudden girthiness. This isn't a normal behavior for her, so SOMETHING must be painful/irritating. 

"I has no idea what is going on!"

My first thought (before I got obsessed with her ribs) was ulcers. I don't think you can ever rule those suckers out, but I do feel like it would be weird for her to have developed them now. She hasn't travelled anywhere since October, she's had lots of time off sine then, and she doesn't have that heavy of a workload right now. Plus, I still have her on KER RiteTrac which she's been on since last summer and is supposed to prevent just this sort of thing. My plan right now though is to get back to riding on Thursday (she's been completely fine under saddle by the way, no changes except for when I'm just tightening the girth). I think I won't change anything for maybe a week just to see if the chiro did perhaps help anyway. If nothing changes, then I might play around with other gut supplements or possible even do a maintenance dose of GastroGuard and see if that helps at all.

It is the Spring and she is a mare, but she's never been particularly moody before. Plus I feel like if she were just being a mare about it then she would react more generally to me poking her belly and instead of specifically in one spot.

Has anyone dealt with a sudden onset girthiness/ belly sensitivity? Any ideas for me?

24 comments:

  1. My gelding has gotten girthy before, once when someone accidentally cinched him up too quickly and pinched him. Make sure you haven't done it too quickly (: Once was when he had a bean, which is obviously not her problem, lol! I'm always more careful in the Spring because a lot of times, with the shedding their skin is more sensitive. Maybe she's uncomfortable or itchy from the weather? Mine was also cinchy when he foundered, make sure she's not getting too much grass too quickly if you already have some! (:

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    1. I've been trying to take it nice and slow when cinching her up and also making sure her hair isn't getting pulled by the girth - I think the girthiness is a symptom of whatever is bothering her further down on her belly, since she reacts to it when I'm grooming. She is shedding quite a bit now, so perhaps that does have something to do with it! I'd say she started really shedding about 2 weeks ago too...hmmm. The vet did check her umbilicus and udders and said they were totally normal, no nothing equivalent to a bean lol :) And no grass at all yet here!

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  2. Did you check your saddle and girth really well? Something could be pinching. That wouldn't explain the one spot on her belly that is sensitive but they may not be related so it's worth checking out. You could also try feeding alfalfa and/or aloe to help with any possible ulcer sensitivities. Other than that I'm not really sure. It is kind of strange. I hope you figure it out soon.

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    1. Saddle fit/pinching was my first thought and everything seems ok, but I am certainly no expert! The vet/chiro didn't find any soreness in her saddle area though. Maggie would probably get crazy fat on alfalfa, but the sloe could certainly be worth a try!

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  3. It doesn't have to be much alfalfa. Just a handful of alfalfa chaff or soaked pellets before you ride. It helps buffer the stomach against acid. I don't think it can heal an ulcer that is already there but it can help prevent them. I'm pretty sure aloe does the same thing though so you can definitely go that route instead. I hope you can figure it out!

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    1. You could also feed a handful of tums before you ride, or 30cc of liquid Maloxx. It won't heal ulcers if they are there, but it would help buffer the stomach as an alternative to alfalfa.

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    2. Good to know! Thank you!

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  4. You seem to have all the likely reasons sussed out yourself. Is she equally cinchy from both sides? That might tell you something... not sure what though!!
    Have you someone nearby who would do an equine massage? Maybe it's a muscle tightness that the chiro didn't catch. Good luck & well done you for being such a caring owner, there's plenty of people who would give the mare a sharp slap and tell her to get on with it

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    1. Hmm...I'm not sure if she's equally cinchy on both sides...I will have to pay close attention when I go to ride on Thursday. I want to say she does react on both sides, but she may react more on the right side...but that may just be because I mostly tighten it on that side...I usually get it snug and up the proper number of holes on the left during the tacking up process, then do the tighening the rest of the way on the right side. Hmmm.... Thanks!

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    2. Now that you mention it I do that too! Tighten it mostly on one side and then do the other. I was actually told not to do that because it leads to pinching or uneven pressure or something uncomfortable. I can't remember for sure. It's so annoying going up a hole or two on one side and then the other and back to the other, etc. so I haven't been doing it, but I might try it because Chrome has been a little girthy too. Whichever way you do it make sure it's tightened to the same holes on both sides. I think that's the most important thing. I don't know if that helps or not, but your comment made me think of that so I figured I would share. It can't hurt anyway. :)

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  5. Another easy test for ulcers/girthiness is giving a handful of Tums. I buy them in bulk at Walmart and feed 10 to Tristan. He gobbles them right up. Doing them ~15 minutes before you girth up might be an interesting test.

    My first thought was that the hair is pulling as you cinch up, and/or shifting and rubbing in ways that you can't see on her skin. So many funky things go on with their hair during shedding season, and their skin is more sensitive.

    You might try clipping the girth area, putting a very little bit of show sheen on just the spot that she's sensitive, or using some preventive anti-fungal/skin moisturizing stuff on that spot.

    In short, it would make me nuts too, it's so specific and weird!

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    1. Ooohh yes, clipping the girth area would be a good idea. And show sheen on her belly too. I have been waiting until it gets a little bit warmer to give her belly a good wash, but maybe this weekend I'll finally be able too! I think it *might* starting getting warm enough now too that I don't have to feel guilty clipping her girth and leaving her without a blanket

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  6. I really liked this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fr05hMmLCY4) which shows pressure points you can touch to help diagnose ulcers. Might give you some help narrowing in the problem!

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    1. That was REALLY interesting thank you!!! Also, I wish maggie stood as well as those horses lol. Took me like a minute into the video before I could tell if the first one wasn't a statue lol

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  7. Bobby gets like this sometimes when he gets a little muscle sore from using his abs too much. A good rubdown over the girth area like a massage therapist would give you does wonders for him.

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    1. I didn't think of that! More pony pampering may be required...

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  8. I've had problems with Indy being cinchy. It sounds like you're ring out all of the major issues first, so that's good. I did the same and when everything else was ruled out, I decided to try a Total Saddle Fit girth. I didn't really think it would make that much of a difference, but figured with their 110% money back guarantee, I had nothing to lose. Since I started using it, she hasn't been cinchy at all and her attitude towards being ridden has improved immensely. I'm not saying that it will definitely help, but it could be worth a try.

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    1. I've been thinking of trying one anyway - I'm very intrigued by the anatomical girths in general, but not totally convinced that they won't just put the pressure on a smaller area. Guess I'd have to try for sure! I totally forgot they had a guarantee, so hey why not?

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  9. my mare has gotten sassy about a girth that pinched and a saddle pad that rubbed... otherwise i'ts mostly a learned behavior for her.

    also - if you're going the anatomic girth route i have one for sale 46" pessoa lightly used that doesn't quite work for my mare :)

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    1. Maggie is a 44 max unfortunately :( Mostly I'd be looking for a dressage one at the moment anyway ;/

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    2. gotcha (and i happen to be looking for a dressage girth too so no help there). wishing you the best of luck in figuring out a solution!

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