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  1. #1

    Default Sensitive to being brushed

    My horse has all of a sudden become very sensitive to being brushed although I'm brushing his coat in the same way I've always done. I've had him 7 years and he has always been fine, never nasty, never bites/kicks. But since about 6 weeks ago he has become very unpleasant. I usually start and the top of his neck and work my way along his body, neck, withers, side, belly, flank, hocks, bottom. But now I only get as far as the neck, and side and he is proper whipping round to bite. When he actually made contact with me the other day I cried out, and the look on his face was one of utter horror that he had hurt me. Most of the time when he does make contact with my skin he just touches me with his teeth, he is not deliberately trying to hurt me, just saying 'ouch Mum'. Of course I chastise him, but I am not stupid and realise that he is trying to tell me something. So I am trying to get my thinking cap on to work out why he is this way, as I know horses don't change without a reason.

    It has really upset me to see the change in his attitude as I totally love him to bits and hate to think he is upset about something which I am too thick to work out on his behalf.

    I wondered if it was the change in his coat with the winter approaching and the brush I was using has suddenly began to hurt him although I've been using it for at least ten months. So I've dug out a real soft dandy brush. He is still reacting the same way. Not sure if this is because of 'learned behaviour' or not. Incidentally he does not do this when my friend brushes him as she has tried to do this to see his reaction one morning although I didn't see as I wasn't there. It makes no difference if I brush him with a firm push, or a soft push onto his body. I usually put quite a bit of pressure on, I certainly don't irritate him by 'tickling him'.

    He does have issues going on with his suspensory ligament and coffin joint both of which are being treated. He is in less work than before but this has been the case for over three months now. He is going out in the field and is being ridden (walked) daily for an hour every other day, 20 mins other times. Think I might ask other people to groom him and watch what happens.

    Anyone any suggestions? Are any of yours finding brushing a pain at the moment??
    Last edited by applecart14; 05-10-11 at 10:05 PM.
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Sensitive to being brushed

    Quote Originally Posted by applecart14 View Post
    My horse has all of a sudden become very sensitive to being brushed although I'm brushing his coat in the same way I've always done. I've had him 7 years and he has always been fine, never nasty, never bites/kicks. But since about 6 weeks ago he has become very unpleasant. I usually start and the top of his neck and work my way along his body, neck, withers, side, belly, flank, hocks, bottom. But now I only get as far as the neck, and side and he is proper whipping round to bite. When he actually made contact with me the other day I cried out, and the look on his face was one of utter horror that he had hurt me. Most of the time when he does make contact with my skin he just touches me with his teeth, he is not deliberately trying to hurt me, just saying 'ouch Mum'. Of course I chastise him, but I am not stupid and realise that he is trying to tell me something. So I am trying to get my thinking cap on to work out why he is this way, as I know horses don't change without a reason.

    It has really upset me to see the change in his attitude as I totally love him to bits and hate to think he is upset about something which I am too thick to work out on his behalf.

    I wondered if it was the change in his coat with the winter approaching and the brush I was using has suddenly began to hurt him although I've been using it for at least ten months. So I've dug out a real soft dandy brush. He is still reacting the same way. Not sure if this is because of 'learned behaviour' or not. Incidentally he does not do this when my friend brushes him as she has tried to do this to see his reaction one morning although I didn't see as I wasn't there. It makes no difference if I brush him with a firm push, or a soft push onto his body. I usually put quite a bit of pressure on, I certainly don't irritate him by 'tickling him'.

    He does have issues going on with his suspensory ligament and coffin joint both of which are being treated. He is in less work than before but this has been the case for over three months now. He is going out in the field and is being ridden (walked) daily for an hour every other day, 20 mins other times. Think I might ask other people to groom him and watch what happens.

    Anyone any suggestions? Are any of yours finding brushing a pain at the moment??
    my hunter gets arsy when i brush him this time of year and onwards so i dont brush him! i just bath and clip him and he gets a massage every now and again which really helps this may benefit your horse as if problems going on in the leg and foot may mean he has been tensing up thru his body you know like we would if we are trying to avoid full weight even if sound !! i also lunge him every now and again with just a headcollar and encourage him to really stretch his head and neck down in his own time!! or just get your friend to brush him!!! you may even be giving him electric shocks without realising??? just a guess but who knows . if he hates it that much dont brush him as much??

  3. #3

    Default Re: Sensitive to being brushed

    It may be stomach ulcers, I had experience with a mare that changed over night to very sensitive to touch and groom an we got her checked and she had extremely bad ulcers. Worth a check maybe.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Sensitive to being brushed

    Gastric ulcers would be one suggestion

    As would it being linked to being uncomfy in work. My girl when uncomfy in work gradually progresses - first bridling becomes harder, then saddling and then grooming. Perhaps he doesn't suspect others will ride him so let's them brush?

    On my monkey I can only use metal shredders and plastic curry combs - she has skin stuff going on and can't stand soft brushes

  5. #5

    Default Re: Sensitive to being brushed

    Quote Originally Posted by popularfurball View Post
    Gastric ulcers would be one suggestion

    As would it being linked to being uncomfy in work. My girl when uncomfy in work gradually progresses - first bridling becomes harder, then saddling and then grooming. Perhaps he doesn't suspect others will ride him so let's them brush?

    On my monkey I can only use metal shredders and plastic curry combs - she has skin stuff going on and can't stand soft brushes

    Thanks guys for your suggestions. Yes it maybe that he has gastric ulcers. He has always been a very colicky horse although over the last year or two he has been much, much better. It was always gassy spasmodic colic which was always treated really easily with bute and walker/faster work/lunge. Return to the stable and then analysis. If ok no vet. If same as before/worse = vet call out. Approx 60 times over the seven years (that I am aware of). Last time the vet came for a possible colic episode whilst I was at work - again she diagnosed yet again, gassy colic. This was whilst he was on box rest also. But she also suggested he may have gastric ulcers and that if i wanted I could get it checked. Told her I didn't really want to open up a whole can of worms and be open to exclusions and goodness knows what on my policy as if he ever required a colic op I wouldn't be covered.

    I might just buy some cheap antacid tablets and get him to take those for a while and see if they do the trick. My friend used to feed her mare Andrews antacid tablets for her gastric ulcers, which were quite effective.

    Hmmm after googling it appears that feeding human antacid tablets are not so good after all.

    Over the last three years, Kentucky Equine Research has worked to develop
    an equine antacid that would satisfy the above criteria. The first attempt at an
    equine antacid used ingredients that are common in human preparations.
    Unfortunately, when this type of preparation was fed at high doses to horses, they
    became ataxic and displayed signs that were similar to tying-up. Apparently, the
    horses were sensitive to magnesium hydroxide, one of the common antacids used
    for humans. Therefore, magnesium hydroxide was removed from the formula.
    Another class of antacids contains aluminum. A concern with these is that
    the aluminum will interfere with phosphorus absorption.


    Not so simple after all, so there's another flipping expensive supplement to feed on top of the other two!!
    Last edited by applecart14; 06-10-11 at 10:58 AM.
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  6. #6

    Default Re: Sensitive to being brushed

    Go onto this web site http://www.protexin.com/ Equine and look at hte Quick Fix paste, it has worked wonders with one of my boys of has just been diagnosed with IBS, he has very touchy sides

  7. #7
    Just backed
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    Default Re: Sensitive to being brushed

    As alaready said, I'm no vet and cannot diagnose, but stomach ulcers seem to be more common than we think.

    Have you tried just going over him with the flat of your hand?

    Do you get the same reaction?

    Are there any places that are either hot or cold to the touch?
    TTEAM P1 and Reiki Practitioner

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Sensitive to being brushed

    m afraid as your horse ha already sufferdd multiple colic bouts it is very very unlikely that your insurance company would pay out for colic surgery even if they actually havent slapped an exclusion onto your policy. Id just go ahead and get the ulcer work-up (maybe try and rule out simpler issues first though)! How long has been irritated by grooming?

  9. #9
    Veteran Black_Horse_White's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sensitive to being brushed

    Colic will now be on your records so it will be excluded if they request them. If your horse does have ulcers and they are successfully treated then the colic may never return.

  10. #10
    Out to Pasture
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    Default Re: Sensitive to being brushed

    Use ranitidine, supermarket own brand, to test for ulcers. That works. 12 tablets a day.

    Do you brush your horse before riding? If you do, and your friend doesn't, then his reaction could be to the idea of being ridden and not to the brushing itself, maybe?

    Has he had trimethoprim antibiotics recently? In humans with compromised immune systems, and in horses, this can cause genuine pain on touching the skin. A friend of mine had a horse who was sensitive for over 6 months after being treated for septicaemia.

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