My horse was 250 lbs underweight with no muscle last spring. He also had a hind toe drag, but seemed sound. He crow hopped at the canter under saddle. The vet said he had weak stifles.
As of now he is at a great weight, but still has a slight drag. His canter still doesn't feel quite right and he has some, just a little, muscle atrophy in the leg he drags. He stumbles sometimes and his topline is not developing much muscle.
Besides the slight drag he is sound. He has come a long, long way, but something is weird.
He gets turnout 15 hours a day and alot to eat. I do not ride everyday, but he is active in turnout. I try to ride four days a week, but the weather has been bad.
EPM. Have the vet do a neurological exam. The symptons you describe match what I have seen. The spinal test may not be completely definitive, so when we see it we go straight to the Marquis and give it a month to see improvement. The good news is the Marquis may work, depending on your definition of his future career. It is best to get started sooner than later.
I got him three years ago as a rescue, he was alomst starved to death. He was a sucessful jumper that became neglected. (long story)
I had a full vet check including xrays he passed. I fed him and brought him back over the course of about a year. When I started riding him he crow hopped at the canter. He had stomach ulcers (he was scoped) which we treated.
I found a home for him 2 years ago. The girl was using him in 3'-3'6 AO and jumper classes. I didn't hear from her for a coulpe of months, turns out she was having some problems.....he got neglected AGAIN! I made her give him back 250 lbs under weight and here we are.
He is at a good weight now. He is very sound minus the toe drag which has improved but not disappeared. His canter is weird though. I am not sure how to describe it. He also gets tired very quickly.
The vet says he is sound based on lameness exam. She says weak stifles. It seems like as much muscle and weight as he has put on he would have made more improvement in this area too.
He has a smaller developed muscle in the affected leg.
Some of the time, dragging of rear feet can indicate problems in the mouth. Also a weak topline is an indication of lack of anterior/posterior motion of the jaw. Balance in the mouth or lack of affects the whole horse in muscle mass development and also movement. I would suggent having him looked at by an equine dentist that specializes in restoring biomechanics. If you will Pm me your state, I can give you some suggestions. I am a Natural Balance Dentist in Kentucky.
Muscle wasting in the hind end ALWAYS makes me thing EPM. I really hope that you're planning on getting the vet out to run the horse through a neuro exam.
I have had a vet out twice and she mentioned nothing about needing to do a neuro work up. That's why I am here digging a little myself!
Is this muscle wasting? He had no muscle to begin with from neglect, it has failed to develop bilaterally.
Also, I just found out this afternoon my company is closing it's doors...I would love to test him in every way possible, but it doesn't look like neuro exam, spinal fluid testing and $2000 in medication will be possible right away. Especially since a positive test is not even definative.
I don't know what to do. When I took him back I swore I would never let him go to anyone else again. I would keep him for life to make sure he would never become neglected again. I have nursed him back to health twice now. I've paid $1000 a month in bills for him to just rehab and gain weight on both occasions. I don't know what to do!!!
If there is muscle wastage, the body of the muscle is damaged and/or it's not being used - it's a BIG CLUE - but as I don't know which muscle/s you are referring to - couldn't say what it's a clue to.
There are so many possible explanations for this - so if you are going to do the best by this horse start being systematic.
Old medical adage - if you hear hooves, think horses not zebras.
If the vet says the horse has weak stifles - get her/him to tell you which of the muscles is weak - and devise an exercise programme to strengthen them.
Start with the most obvious thing first - make sure his feet are sound - good balance, even pattern of wear etc; if there is an obvious issue in the feet it may be the root cause of the problem or it may have been caused by a problem higher up the limb etc.