Magnesium deficiency in Autumn?

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12 January 2017
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Hi all,
Is this a time of year when magnesium deficiency can show itself? Over the past few days my horse has suddenly become more tense and stressy for no clear reason and I'm wondering if this could be a cause. I remember him acting similarly this time last year and have known him to get more spooky in spring. Can it cause behavioural changes that quickly or would they be more consistent over time if this was the cause? It's one of those days I really wish they could talk!
Thanks!
 

Orangehorse

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I have always understood this to be a problem with spring growing grass. Of course if you have had lots of rain and it is still warm the grass will grow quickly, but you would have to ask a more knowledgeable person than me - your vet? - about this, and if the same applies to the autumn flush of grass.
 
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TBH, even if he could talk, I doubt your horse would recognise that he had a magnesium deficiency. People struggle to recognise that they have vit/mineral deficiencies.

Why don't you try giving him a magnesium supplement and see if his behaviour improves?
 

Orangehorse

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The thing about magnesium deficiency is that it leads to the "stupid spring behaviour" that we are so familiar with. Farmers will give their sheep and cattle High Mag minerals/salt licks as an animal that is either growing fast, or producing milk is very susceptible to magnesium deficiency and in a lactating dairy cow for instance can lead to manic behaviour. Nearly all dairy farmers would have witnessed this, and we had a case in a young growing beef animal - it went mad and then dropped dead.

Since horses are not under anywhere near the stress, a magnesium deficiency can show up as scatty, silly behaviour.

Of course, there are other reasons why horses misbehave and get silly connected to feeding!
 

Shooting Star

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Yes mine shows signs of deficiency both in spring and autumn when the grass flushes so is on magnesium at these times of the year, he?s been noticeably nuts the last week or two even with the magnesium.

Fire breathing dragon because there were fallen yellow leaves (I.e. autumn :rolleyes3:) laying on the green grass was one of the ?highlights? of the behaviour this week! He also becomes sensitive to groom / touch.
 

SEL

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I moved yards 2 weeks ago and the draft horse has grass. I have had 2 weeks of silly bucking, prancing draft horse (who even fell over mid performance - that frightened me). He's on one of those little 10ml scoops in the morning and gets some in his balancer in the evening.

Still bouncy, but hopefully not in the ridiculous sense. I'd try 2 scoops and if still no difference then it probably isn't a deficiency!
 

MyBoyChe

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Mag deficiency is caused by the grass flushing and growing quickly, so yes, a spurt of growth in warm wet autumn weather can cause a deficiency in horses at this time of year. My pony doesnt seem to react in the spring but often for a couple of weeks in September he gets a bit daft.
 

KautoStar1

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magnesium deficiency in horses is very rare and most diets contain sufficient levels of mag anyway. Additionally, there is no evidence that magnesium at the level in commercially available supplements has any calming benefit at all.

More likely to be a spike in grass sugars giving him a sugar rush.
 

pippixox

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I think it?s the sugar: often a September flush. Especially as we have actually had a bit of rain recently and then sunny days. All 3 of mine are on edge this morning, farting around and spooking at nothing!
I also find with season changes the girls seasons start changing and this effects my boys!
 
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Thanks for the replies.
I bought some magnitude this morning and typically he seemed nearly back to his normal self anyway when I went up! He's been on a diet of only grass recently and I've found some data suggesting our area is low in magnesium so I'll give it a go anyway and see if I notice any difference.
 
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Did you notice any difference after feeding the magnesium? My horse is being a bit silly atm and wondering if it’s a deficiency. He’s also having muscle tremors on his hind end has anyone heard of this being a sign of mag deficiency?
 

laura_nash

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magnesium deficiency in horses is very rare and most diets contain sufficient levels of mag anyway. Additionally, there is no evidence that magnesium at the level in commercially available supplements has any calming benefit at all.
Do you have any evidence to support your statement re the rarity of magnesium deficiency in horses? I am not aware that there has been any large-scale study to test for this in leisure horses in the UK?

My understanding is that fast growing grass in spring and autumn may have higher levels of nitrogen and potassium and this imbalance can cause mild magnesium deficiency that can be resolved by temporary magnesium supplementation in horses (and cows, sheep etc) rather than there being a lack of mag in the diet generally.

Also I don't think anyone is suggesting a commercially available calming supplement containing magnesium, so far as I am aware we are discussing feeding MagOx. There is no suggestion by anyone that magnesium has any direct calming effect on horses in the way that valerian, for example, does. Purely that it might help those that are experiencing temporary and out of character "silly" behavior in a grass-fed horse that is out on fast-growing grass.
 
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Did you notice any difference after feeding the magnesium? My horse is being a bit silly atm and wondering if it’s a deficiency. He’s also having muscle tremors on his hind end has anyone heard of this being a sign of mag deficiency?
I think he has improved but can't be sure it's due to the magnesium as he's not the most consistent anyway! He's still had the odd silly day but I've put those down to bad weather. It's not made him worse anyway so I'll keep giving him a scoop a day for now.
I've read it's important in muscles and deficiency can cause spasms so may be worth a try, not experienced this myself though.
 

MyBoyChe

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LaurenBobby, my previous horse used to suffer from muscle tremors. It was as if he couldnt stand still almost, he would kick out occasionally and was just very very edgy. Once I added some magnesium to his diet he settled completely, in his case it was definitely a deficiency caused by our pasture. It does have an effect on the nervous system so a deficient may show as muscle tremors/spasms
 

Pinkvboots

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I think it may be just a grass rush mine have been a pair of twits charging around the field for no reason, and my field definitely looks greener it's been warm and we had a ton of rain yesterday.
 
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Myboyche how long did it take for him to calm down again after adding the magnesium? I’m starting to worry it might be something more sinister so going to call the vet in the morning to ask their advice
 

Louby

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I moved yards a few months ago, things were going great then a couple of changes have I think affected my horse.... but this morning she was the cow from hell, I was going to work her but decided we would clash big time so eventually managed to get her in, gave her a feed that she didnt eat, stressed and was a PITA so I chucked her out again. Tonight a totally different horse??? I left the yard this morning and was behind a lady hacking on a jogging bucking horse, she stopped to let me past and I said hope your ok, Ive had similar problems this morning, we both said something in the air. I do think the seasons affect thm, plus the rain and warm temperatures giving us a flush in the grass. Well Im hoping its this lol as I am dreading riding my once sweet 4 yr old now turned into a fire eating dragon!!
 
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