Grass Sickness

Joined
28 November 2012
Messages
2
Hello,

6 months ago I sadly lost a horse to 'suspected' grass sickness. She had all of the clinical signs apart from two. She was 20 years old, whereas grass sickness is far more common in the first 6 years of life, and she had a very low heart beat, again not in line with grass sickness. However, the conclusion was that because of all the other signs being present grass sickness was the most likely cause. The vet mentioned that it could have been the case of a couple of things hit her all at once- she was also diagnosed with a very high level of cushings a couple of weeks earlier.

My other horse has been out on loan and is coming back within the next few weeks and I have to now make the decision whether to put her into this field as well. She has never been in this field before. She is 14. I am extremely worried that if it was grass sickness she may get it as well.

Has anybody got any advice or had experience with this? Do you think it would be safe to put her into this field.

Thanks
 

applecart14

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12 March 2010
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6,270
Location
Solihull, West Mids
so sorry to hear of the death of your mare. Atypical myopathy is like grass sickness and follows the same kind of symtoms. It may have been that.

I can't offer you personal advice, but from what I have read you should avoid anything that causes soil disturbance, ie. mechanical pooh collectors with the sweeping brushing action, or works that have taken place on the field which have caused soil disturbance, i.e. laying of pipes.

Also the following should be avoided: Animals undergoing stressful situations appear to be predisposed to the condition. These stresses include recent purchase, mixing with strange horses, breaking, castrating and travelling long distances.

Animals that are slightly overweight appear to also be predisposed.

Worming more frequently than is necessary has also been found to be a risk. Horses should still be wormed regularly and the wormer rotated each year. Other risk factors include increased numbers of horses on the pasture, mechanical dropping removal, anything that causes soil disturbance, harrowing, and the presence of birds on fields.

Here is a link to an interesting article about this disease. http://www.horseandcountry.tv/news/...fter-several-atypical-myopathy-cases-reported

Also with both grass sickness and atypical myopathy horses should not have access to streams or stagnant water from streams, and they should be supplied with hay in the fields if they do not come out of the field for the night.
 

patchandloopy

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18 January 2005
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675
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Somewhere far far away
I am really sorry to hear of your loss :( My mare is a recovering case after contracting GS in June 2012. There is no reason to say she will contract GS but there will be a risk, personally I moved my mare vowing never to return her to the 'sick' pasture land.

I found an army of support on facebook - there are two pages, The Grass Sickness Nurse and Equine Grass Sickness Awareness. The Grass Sickness fund also has a website - http://www.grasssickness.org.uk

In terms of her managment, I would suggest, feeding her a probiotic 2 weeks before the move and continue this for a few after you have moved her, try and keep her stress levels low as possible and introduce her new field slowly and gradually. There are lots of cases and advice on the website page, but lots of us going through the same sort of thing on the facebook pages and we help each other through every challenge GS posesses.

One main thing I would say is make sure you feed her hay everyday (forever) so her consumption is not just grass.
 

lachlanandmarcus

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29 November 2007
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5,762
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Cairngorms!
If you avoid soil disturbance, watch the weather (EGS website has advice on the weather patterns that seem to be linked), bring in for a period every 24 hours (or at minimum pen up to feed hay for a couple of hours) and avoid stressful scenarios then the chances are you will avoid it

If its any help about 8 years ago our neighbours lost a horse to GS. They only have the one field so no chance of avoiding using it. Their remaining horse and the replacement they bought have both been problem free touch wood, they are on the same land. The changes they made was stopping harrowing and now collect poo, bringing in overnight.

I hope this helps and that you do have better luck this time.
 

forever broke

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10 January 2013
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173
So sorry to hear you lost your horse to this. I also have a GS survivor, he got it may 2010. The facebook groups mentioned by patchandloopy weren't around then but I've joined them since and they are wonderful for support and advise.
We couldn't avoid using the same fields but (fingers crossed) have had no more cases since mine and he's also back in the same field. We try to feed hay and avoid soil distrbance. Also avoid ivermectin based wormers and I feed a probiotic whenever my lad's gut may be put under stress (changing feeds, moving from winter to summer paddocks etc)
 
Joined
28 November 2012
Messages
2
Hello,

Thank-you all so much for all of your advice and comments.

I will definitely take all the advice that has been given here, I just want to give her the best chance possible.

If anybody else has any more advice or information on GS, I really appreciate everything I hear.

Thanks again,

Annie
 

applecart14

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Joined
12 March 2010
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6,270
Location
Solihull, West Mids
Giving hay/bringing in to give hay and avoiding soil disturbance seem to be the key factors here.

What I would say is that if anyone is unfortunate to lose their horse(s) to GS then please, please, please contact the GS organisation or complete the form on this link
www.grasssickness.org.uk/egsf-caseform.aspx?pageID=19 I hope this is the right link, I work for the Council and our Internet firewall content filter has denied me access as it doesn't like the word 'grass' and considers it suspicious. Think it thinks I am looking for drugs on my lunch break!! :) :)

What I would say is that people who have lost horses to GS should complete this form on this link. www.grasssickness.org.uk/egsf-caseform.aspx?pageID=19

Whilst I appreciate that this might be upsetting to owners who have just lost a horse this information could be crucial to the GS organisation who can collate the information gathered in order to formulate a way forward in respect of their research into this terrible disease. If people have historic experience of GS they can still supply this information. The more quality information the organisation has the quicker they can reach a solution.
 
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icemaiden113

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Joined
23 August 2004
Messages
717
Location
Derbyshire, UK
having lost 1 horse to grass sickness we did all the above - no soil disturbance, hay out, still fed hard feed etc etc but unfortuantely lost another to grass sickness on the same area as the previous. had 2 horses together but only 1 affected. we will never use that grazing area again now! - Good luck
 
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