I suspect my horse has PSSM - now what?
The first thing to do is diagnose if your horse does have PSSM and what form it is.
If you are confident with what type of PSSM you think it is you can move on to confirming your suspicions. If you have no idea then Pedigree Analysis will likely give you a good idea of which PSSM to pursue diagnosing for. CLICK HERE for Pedigree Analysis options.
A simple $40 DNA test will rule out type 1 (Click here for how to submit a hair sample). Many other things can display PSSM like symptoms as well such as ulcers, or poor saddle fit, or other injuries, etc., etc. so it is important to verify whether your horse does indeed have PSSM. The Lab we recommend is Animal Genetics. They are reliable, they have fast service and reasonable rates and you should know the answer within a week of sending your hair sample away.
CLICK HERE to visit Animal Genetics
In the meantime - make the following adjustments and see if you notice an improvement... if your horse is stalled, turn him out preferably with no grass - PSSM horses need to be able to move around. Stop feeding any supplements that are high in starch, such as sweet feed, maize, wheat, oats, and barley. Provide supplemental fat (oil) for working horses and if possible , daily exercise for non working horses. If only the diet is changed, researchers have found that approximately 50% of horses improve. If both diet and exercise are altered, then a higher percentage of horses show improvement. If you get your test back and it confirms your suspicions you can search out PSSM diets on the internet - there are many different types of hay that are good and bad for PSSM horses, there are may different types of oil that are good and bad for PSSM horses and there are other supplements that can be added to improve your PSSM horse's overall health. If you prefer you can CLICK HERE and we will put you in touch with someone who will work with you and give you very detailed help with a diet and exercise plan specifically for your horse.
If your horse tests negative for PSSM1, or you suspect PSSM2 there is a new set of tests developed for diagnosing PSSM2. Previosuly muscle biopsy was the only way to confirm PSSM2 but they can not always give a clear diagnosis - DNA testing is a very fluid science at this time and things change rapidly from year to year. At this time there is one lab that has developed dna testing for the many PSSM2 variants. The testing is not peer reviewed at the time of this writing but after following testing and test results for this lab for the last number of years we are satisfied that they do give answers for PSSM2 horses. They are a research company and customer service is not their first priority but they have graciously started making the testing available to those looking for answers for their horses. We expect further tests to be developed and further answers and updates to the tests avaialble now as more research come to light. Click here to visit the Equiseq Research Lab
And lastly, if your suspicions are correct and your horse does test positive for PSSM we would appreciate you sending us your horse's info to add to our database. CLICK HERE to Add your horse.