PSSM2 Testing and Management

AlpacaTeddySJ

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Sorry to start another thread on this subject - I have a 12yr Warmblood who I now suspect is PSSM2 - developed hock arthritis (now treated), possibly from the PSSM - never mentioned by the vets but this seems to be the norm..

He’s a sweet lad that has never been quite right - always upright and nervous, rides like he has the handbrake locked on and struggles to canter and collect. I naively put this down to him being a lazy type for years as he didn’t show any naughty behaviour or lameness, and has been winning at BS despite this (never a pole down or a refusal), but early this year I called the vets because I suspected ulcers (scoped clear) and they found the bone spavin, and treated with arthramid. Whilst he was having some time off I did a lot of reading on horses in general, a lot about posture and the thoracic sling, and came across PSSM. (Working towards balance through movement pillars and general groundwork).

He really does meet every symptom of PSSM2 unfortunately but at least this gives me some hope that I can help him.

My question is regarding testing - what are people’s opinions on the PSSM2 test? I notice there are a load of variants, and I’m not sure if it’s worth either A: testing out a change in supplementation / management first or B: testing to find the exact variant and then catering management / supplementation based on the result

I’m not entirely sure of the different managements required for the PSSM2 variant types so if anyone could give me a starting point it would be really great.

I’ve just started him on ForagePlus natural vitamin E, and he usually has salt, magnesium, FP hoof and skin, yea-sacc, mint, garlic, Riaflex HA all mixed in a very small amount of grass pellets and topchop zero. Perfect baref

Currently lives out 24/7 on grass but in the coming weeks will be moved to living in on hay and dry turnout with hay during the day.

Some help would be really amazing - I’d love to really have the chance to get him happy and going well - he’s always tried his hardest for me despite probably being in discomfort :(
 

Tiddlypom

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Have you ruled out PSSM1? That should be first on the list. That's done from a simple mane pull. Current price £40.

https://www.animalgenetics.eu/product/Equine/PSSM.html

Currently a vet diagnosis of PSSM2 is based on symptoms, a -ve PSSM1 test and a +ve muscle biopsy.

It's always worth trialling elevated levels of vit E, as you are. It can be very effective in some horses.
 
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AlpacaTeddySJ

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I
Have you ruled out PSSM1? That should be first on the list. That's done from a simple mane pull. Current price £40.

https://www.animalgenetics.eu/product/Equine/PSSM.html

Currently a vet diagnosis of PSSM2 is based on symptoms, a -ve PSSM1 test and a +ve muscle biopsy.

It's always worth trialling elevated levels of vit E, as you are. It can be very effective in some horses.

I haven’t but given his breeding and symptoms, it doesn't look to be PSSM1 - he has never tied up/ had tremors or shown any of those type symptoms.

I’ll just have to bite the bullet and get the tests done. It’s a shame they are quite as pricey as they are. Obviously he’s worth it - but I swear these horses are walking bills!
 

planete

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I have unsuccessfully tried to find guidelines on how to manage the different variants as the people carrying out the tests keep harping on the necessity of knowing the variants in order to manage the condition effectively. I am afraid my conclusion is that it is trial and error until you find what suits your particular horse. The tests themselves are controversial as some symptomless horses test positive and some seemingly affected horses test negative.

Vets will only consider the muscle biopsy test as diagnostic but it is only accurate if done while the horse is symptomatic. I have used natural vitamin E supplementation and seen a huge difference in my small cob who tested negative for PSSM1 and showed no problems after loss of performance examinations but behaved like a bad tempered drunken sailor with wobbly hind end and keeling onto his nose when ridden.

I have just seen your reply. I would still do the PSSM1 test as you may simply have avoided obvious tying-up due to good management or a less aggressive form. Try and read as much as you can about the actual research without being swayed by some very active FB sites before deciding on your next step. The FB sites are useful for ideas on management but bear in mind that they often neglect more ordinary causes of under performance as well.
 

quizzie

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It's always worth trialling elevated levels of vit E, as you are. It can be very effective in some horses.

When trialling elevated levels of vitamin E, if you don't get a response with natural vitamin powder (eg Forageplus), at dose up to 10,000iu daily......then don't rule out Vitamin E involvement until you have tried the water miscellised version Nano-E. There are some horses who cannot absorb/transport/utilise the acetate version of vitamin E, which all the natural powder ones contain.
 

ycbm

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IMO there's no point in doing the PSSM 2 test because it hasn't been clinically approved as a diagnostic test and each horse seems to be different from the next in terms of what works for that horse.

If it's trial and error anyway, you might as well save your testing fees and use it to test the commonest things that help.
.
 

AlpacaTeddySJ

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IMO there's no point in doing the PSSM 2 test because it hasn't been clinically approved as a diagnostic test and each horse seems to be different from the next in terms of what works for that horse.

If it's trial and error anyway, you might as well save your testing fees and use it to test the commonest things that help.
.


Thanks, I was also thinking along these lines from things I have read. Any suggestions on what things to try as a starting point?

As a side note, I've just sent off for a PSSM1 test - given the price as it has been said, it's no hardship doing it.
 

ycbm

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Thanks, I was also thinking along these lines from things I have read. Any suggestions on what things to try as a starting point?

As a side note, I've just sent off for a PSSM1 test - given the price as it has been said, it's no hardship doing it.


Vitamin E for sure. Amino acids next. Warmth. Alcar worked wonders for mine, it's not "supposed" to! . I know someone who starts exercise sessions with faster work (the horse is willing).
 

paddy555

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Thanks, I was also thinking along these lines from things I have read. Any suggestions on what things to try as a starting point?

As a side note, I've just sent off for a PSSM1 test - given the price as it has been said, it's no hardship doing it.

PSSM1 test
10000iu vit e
250g rug
exercise daily, even just 30 minutes long reining will do but daily whatever regular exercise you can do
see if there is enough protein in your diet. There may not be. Info on protein on the FP site if you need it

have a read of the MSU site, there is some info on there about warmbloods.

Do it for 2 weeks, keep a daily diary especially noting the weather conditions, cold, wet, windy etc and see what you come up with.

ETA I forgot to add have a good poke now of your horse's bum before you give vit e or anything else. Record how soft or hard the muscles are over the hind quarters. Repoke in a couple of weeks after doing the above and see if there is any difference.
 
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SEL

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I know a number of people who've had the PSSM 2 tests done and I'd say the same as the posters above - you may get an answer in terms of a positive result, but getting to the bottom of what it actually means and how to manage it are much tougher.

In general what I've seen from all of them (& I can think of P8, P2, P4 and K1 off the top of my head) is general muscle health is key. Warmer than average, antioxidants such as vitamin E, movement with faster work after a decent warm up being particularly helpful, good rest days following faster work, low NSC diet with decent levels of protein.

I have a problematic P1 mare whose issues are thought to be muscular related because we've scanned and x-rayed pretty much the rest of her and I've often been told I should do the P2 tests to get to the bottom of why she isn't right. Trouble is I can't work out what I'd do differently even if she does show up for one or a handful of P2 variants and until I know what exactly they are and how they affect the horse I think I'm just throwing money down the drain (& she has already thrown quite a lot of my £££ down there!)
 

ycbm

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Out of interest can someone tell me the symptoms of horses with pssm?

PSSM 1 and 2 are different diseases. PSSM 1 can be definitively identified by a cheap DNA hair test.

There isn't a definitive list of symptoms which identify the diseases. All the things that it causes can be caused by other things, except perhaps tying up. Any one horse usually has some symptoms not others.

Some are lazy, some are forward (maybe through pain) and some explode. Some lose muscle bulk, others not noticeably so. Many are spooky, not all. Many need to be kept very warm. Others don't. Some tie up, especially after a rest period, others need regular rest periods. Ditto lameness, hard muscles, flabby muscles, muscle tremors, sweating, worse with grass sugars etc.
.
 

SEL

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Out of interest can someone tell me the symptoms of horses with pssm?
Mine has type 1. She was diagnosed at 5. I'd backed her that summer and then turned her away for 3 weeks in a field whilst I was on holiday and she just wasn't right under saddle when she came back into work. I had no idea about the PSSM and the fact that she'd spent 3 weeks filling her muscles with an abnormal polysaccharide

Felt like riding with the handbrake on. If you insisted she'd explode. She understood the upward transition to trot for instance but would do a couple of steps then stop. I took her out hacking to see if that would help and she had a meltdown, ended up shaking and drenched in sweat. Vets investigated ulcers and we treated those but she was overweight so I left her unrugged for most of winter and she became pretty nasty to handle. Until I popped a rug on when she literally changed overnight

I came across a description of PSSM by accident and knew immediately. She'd never moved well behind and that handbrake feeling is typical of the condition.
 

AlpacaTeddySJ

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Thanks for all the info so far everyone :)

Can people please share some feeding advice that has worked on their PSSM2 horses?

I’ve read a lot use high fat/protein feeds? Mine have been low sugar/starch feeds since doing more reading on the barefoot stuff (also on FP hoof & skin). I’ve also got a few bags of FP pea protein at the moment so I’ll start on that, but then I’ll try their top line with more amino acids.

I’ve reached out to ForagePlus who were helpful as expected, and I’ve seen a lot of people post about Equifeast?

What about Coolstance copra etc as a base? Or just stick with anything and then add the fat/protein/vit E?

Any suggestions / share what currently works for you would be great :)
 

ycbm

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Well vitamin E and alcar worked for mine but alcar is apparently "not supposed" to help PSSM 2 horses!

He was on a high fat diet, which took the handbrake off and calmed him down and resolved his rock hard bum muscles and tremors. But within a couple of days of changing from fat to alcar, you could see his muscles deflate like a popped balloon. They must have been pumped up with water or something, because the tone from then on was very normal.

It's supposed to be progressive but at 7 his had not progressed. I don't know how he's gone on since then because the person who bought him didn't answer when I asked.
.
 

AlpacaTeddySJ

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I’ve just sent off for the type 1 tests and I’m trying him on 8,000iu vit E alongside his equidiet equidgel to start with.

He’s been off all summer, but has been living out 24/7 on hilly fields (with a young one chasing him around) so he’s not terribly unfit. My arena is unusable for the next few weeks so I have started hacking out for about 30-45 mins a day, it’s on the road mostly flat - does not break a sweat at all and is rearing to go... Plan to do this 5 days a week for about 2 weeks then introduce some light walk/trot schooling.
He’s also now living in at night and out all day.
I keep reading that ‘you should be very careful when bringing PSSM horses back into work’ but with no further explanation? Obviously the major factor is common sense but can anyone expand on this?
 

ycbm

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My understanding is that advice is given because with at least type 1 the muscles fill up with stuff that shouldn't be there if the horse had not been exercised. To much or too hard work too quickly can result in tying up.
.
 

SEL

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My understanding is that advice is given because with at least type 1 the muscles fill up with stuff that shouldn't be there if the horse had not been exercised. To much or too hard work too quickly can result in tying up.
.

^^^ yup That abnormal polysaccharide that collects in the muscles damages the fibres so you need to work slowly and carefully to rebuild the muscle.

It is the main reason why a PSSM horse going out of work for some reason or other is a lot, lot harder to bring back into work than a 'normal' horse. I think it was Dr Valberg who said start trot work on the lunge (run beside if you don't want to do circles) so you can see how they move without the weight of a rider and that will help you assess if they are ready for trot under saddle. Despite all the PSSM 2 arguments Dr Valberg still has the best info on line about bringing PSSM horses back into work.

I also wouldn't ride straight from the stable if you can avoid it nor put your horse straight back in the stable after riding unless you're sure you've had a decent cool down.
 

ozpoz

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Warmth is crucial and there are so many muscle myopathies becoming known now that I haven’t bothered to test. I am not ashamed to overrug this particular horse. Always a good warm up and cool down, careful observation of grass growth, too much sugar is a bad thing. No Alfa or soya, an oil rich diet suits mine. I give 1 scoop daily prokalm as I find it keeps his muscles soft and he has started on Equilibra balancer on advice of vet physio and is feeling very jolly, in a good way.
 

Hormonal Filly

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I’ve just sent off for the type 1 tests and I’m trying him on 8,000iu vit E alongside his equidiet equidgel to start with.

He’s been off all summer, but has been living out 24/7 on hilly fields (with a young one chasing him around) so he’s not terribly unfit. My arena is unusable for the next few weeks so I have started hacking out for about 30-45 mins a day, it’s on the road mostly flat - does not break a sweat at all and is rearing to go... Plan to do this 5 days a week for about 2 weeks then introduce some light walk/trot schooling.
He’s also now living in at night and out all day.
I keep reading that ‘you should be very careful when bringing PSSM horses back into work’ but with no further explanation? Obviously the major factor is common sense but can anyone expand on this?

Have you had your PSSM result back yet? I sent mine off the same day and it was logged as received on 6th October. Hoping for it any day.
 

Hormonal Filly

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Not the only one then. I have been checking it but no update for me yet, makes sense if they’ve been delayed! :(

I tried emailing but never seem to get a reply, so just tend to call them. If no result tomorrow I’ll call again. Usually in my experience results have been emailed first thing in the morning.
 
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