These are the last two pictures ever taken of of Sweet Danny. With a heavy heart I made the decision to put him down yesterday (11/15/2013) for reasons which I will explain more in a minute.
First I want to say that Danny was one of the best horses I have ever known. Easy to get along with and just happy all of the time.
We brought Danny with us when we moved to Arizona in July of this year. The move was hard on him, more so than any of the other horses. We continued with his exercise routine, although probably not near enough as he needed. I did not ride him at all though.
Danny started losing weight badly in spite of being fed quality alfalfa cubes and senior feed every day, along with access to pasture. His forward mobility continued to decline and I noticed that he was starting to weave from side to side when trying to walk. He did better at a run, but then that has always been the case.
It was not unusual to find him standing with his hind feet in odd directions in his pen, and he was always stepping on himself. His legs and coronet bands were full of scars.
This week I noticed that he was uncomfortable on his front feet as well and that was the clincher for me. With no good feet left to stand on, he was miserable. He did not want to leave his stall at all. It was time.
I was going to delete this blog but have decided to leave it up instead. There is an important message here that I want to share with anyone searching for information on stringhalt horses.
First off, determine which type of stringhalt your horse has. If it is from dandelions, then remove the plants and your horse will most likely get better. If it is the permanent type then there is more involved.
Have blood tests done, to rule out any sort of neurological diseases, increase the vitamin e intake and then work out a a good solid exercise routine.
Constant exercise is vital for horses with Stringhalt. That is the mistake I made with Danny. I retired him before I should have and by time I realized it, he was too far gone to bring him back. The fact that he had double stringhalt did not make it any better. There is no reason why a stringhalt horse can not live a long and happy life. There are many cases of horses with this disease continuing on to show and jump. But they all stayed in good physical health.
Lots of backing up to keep those back muscles strong. Lots of stretching to keep muscles supple. Up and down hills is important also.
I guess my take home message is that if you have a horse with stringhalt, don't give up on him or her. Work with him, treat him and most of all love him.