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  1. #1
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    Default Talk to me about EPM

    Specifically, I am interested in hearing of any cases where you know of a horse who turned out to have EPM, but who didn't present any / many clear neurological type symptoms.

    I am asking my vet about this, but based on something I was told by someone knowledgeable, it is possible for a horse to have EPM but not have the most widely known symptoms -- hind end weakness, ataxia, etc.

    Thanks in advance.
    I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
    I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09




  2. #2
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    Lori --

    The most knowledgeable people I know of on the subject of EPM are in the yahoo group:

    EPM@yahoogroups.com

    Not sure of condition of the horse, you are discussing -- or even if you've thought of this -- by lyme disease might be something to consider. I have had both with my horses. Both are nasty, but IMHO, lyme disease is easier to treat and less of a roller ride.

    Good luck!
    elaine



  3. #3
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    Apr. 1, 2006
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    EPM is rampant in TN (darn opossums)
    We see a good deal of it with "minimal" signs
    My stallion had it and showed very minimal signs - his proprioception was altered and he would stand with his hind legs crossed at times. We treated him and rehabbed him and it turned out well.



  4. #4
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    My horse had a mild lameness RH, and was REALLY sore over the SI area. No other symptoms. Flexed fine, so vet speculated the lameness was coming from the SI. We injected it, and the next day he became narcoleptic, and mildly neuro--didn't fix crossed front legs in one direction. Treated for EPM, and is now fine behind. Apparently, this is a common way for EPM to show itself. Large doses of steroids knock out the immune system enough that EPM worsens. Not pretty, but glad for a diagnosis.



  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by rio2 View Post
    EPM is rampant in TN (darn opossums)
    We see a good deal of it with "minimal" signs
    My stallion had it and showed very minimal signs - his proprioception was altered and he would stand with his hind legs crossed at times. We treated him and rehabbed him and it turned out well.
    Rio2- Your not kidding about the EPM here in TN! And I think I have a feeling we may know each other.

    But for the original poster. My mare also had very minimal signs. For one she was very unwilling under saddle to move forward especially in the trot and many felt she was just a behavoir case. Once the EPM progressed some she had a shifting hindend lameness that could not be pinpointed. Add to that the inability to even canter especially to the right.

    In the end it was her right hind that had the most damage.
    But after treatment and a slow and steady rehab process she is doing quite well and back to doing training/first level dressage.
    Actually we are approaching one year since her diagnosis!! It has made such a difference in her attitude and work ethic. Not to mention she has added alot of muscling all over and is no longer that lanky TB anymore!

    Good luck!
    Free and Forward Motion through Massage Therapy
    www.amandastarrbodywork.com



  6. #6
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    Default

    Bumping this up, I'd REALLY like to hear the answer. I'm dealing with a similar issue, and vet doesn't think it's active based on current clinical presentation. Hock injections did make the neuro signs worse temporarily, but there is also a recent hoof injury and other issues as well. If there's enough evidence that a round of Marquis may help at all, I'd do it, but she's technically officially retired at the moment and is unrideable, so this would be a last resort anyway. Are there any clinical articles or case studies about this?
    send some of their smart literate deer who can read road signs up here since ours are just run of the mill dumb ones who get splatted all over creation because they won't stay in the woods



  7. #7
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    May. 15, 2008
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    Lori - I second Elaine's suggestion. The yahoo EPM Group is phenomenal if you want to learn more about EPM. Unfortunately, my horse here in SoCal developed EPM in August, 2006. Because it's so rare out here no one except my vet only a few years out of UC Davis knew a lot about it. I wen to the user group and gained a wealth of knowledge.
    "The Horse: Friendship without envy, beauty without vanity, nobility without conceit, a willing partner, yet no slave."



  8. #8
    Lori B is offline Schoolmaster Premium Member
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    After speaking w/ my vet, we are going to do an IFAT test on Katy. (indirect fluorescent antibody testing)

    Basically, Katy has one very odd symptom, beyond her long running low grade front left lameness that we can't diagnose. She has what is called 'loose anal tone' -- her anus is open, enough so that it's difficult to take her temperature, for example. She had a neuro exam about a month ago, and she didn't have any irregularities there. She does turn her head to the outside rather distinctly when she is lunged, which looks odd to me. But I think I've officially crossed over to "grasping at straws".

    We'll keep you posted.
    I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
    I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09




  9. #9
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    Candle - have your vet do an IFAT & Western Blot and have them sent to UC Davis. It's a blood test and it will help rule out whether or not your mare has EPM. It's a relatively cheap test compared to a round of Marquis. My tests were about $250 compared to $700 for one month of Marquis.
    "The Horse: Friendship without envy, beauty without vanity, nobility without conceit, a willing partner, yet no slave."



  10. #10
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    I also went through a long period of NQR-ness before finally getting a definitive EPM diagnosis and treatment. Issues included a long period of a low grade fever we couldn't kick, subtle lamenesses in front and back legs, progressive crabbiness about work. Made me feel like I was losing every riding skill I ever learned because I could make no progress with this horse.

    Most horses are exposed to EPM and have the protozoa circulating in their bodies. It does not become an issue until / unless it crosses into the central nervous system (spine-brain). What kind of problem finally shows up depends on where in the CNS the damage is done.

    *star*
    "Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit."
    - Desiderata, (c) Max Ehrman, 1926



  11. #11
    Lori B is offline Schoolmaster Premium Member
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    Yep, ShotenStar, that sums up a lot of what I read yesterday.

    Our case is complicated by the fact that she was out of work recovering from a suspensory injury from Jan. 2009-Feb. 2010; at that point we were ready to evaluate her to get back to work, but have found that while the suspensory seems to be healed, there is still this lingering lowgrade lameness, along with the symptoms above.

    I'm going to start taking her temp, to see if she has a persistent temperature.

    I was also interested to read in an article on The Horse (by a vet, w/ references) that Standardbreds, TBs, and Quarter Horses were more prone than other breeds, and that younger animals were also more likely to contract the disease.

    Ok, here we go on another quest for The Answer.
    I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
    I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09




  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by qhfan2 View Post
    Candle - have your vet do an IFAT & Western Blot and have them sent to UC Davis. It's a blood test and it will help rule out whether or not your mare has EPM. It's a relatively cheap test compared to a round of Marquis. My tests were about $250 compared to $700 for one month of Marquis.
    Will this set of tests determine whether it's an active infection or not? I'm about 99% certain that she's been exposed before. I won't have time to get on the Yahoo group until this weekend, so bear with my questions

    The vet's theory based on history is that it's longstanding neuro damage from before I purchased her along with other hind-end issues (joint? arthritis? old fracture?) that would be next to impossible to truly diagnose, and after this much time guessing, next to impossible to truly treat unfortunately. The vet is fantastic, I'm not doubting her at all, I just need to grasp at a few more straws before I accept all of this for my sanity's sake, KWIM?
    send some of their smart literate deer who can read road signs up here since ours are just run of the mill dumb ones who get splatted all over creation because they won't stay in the woods



  13. #13
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    Candle - I'm going back 4 years on my knowledge of this test but what I do remember is that it will show a lower titre scale if the horse has been exposed. I had a very high % which showed the active infection and I had both the western blot and IFAT done. One test pretty much backed up the other.

    Here are my results of the tests:
    IFAT:
    SarcoFlour: Serum Titer: Positive @ 1:640 it provided my vet with 95% calculation that he had EPM. This was coupled with the clinical signs as well as the positive result from the Western Blot test.

    The "golden standard" to diagnose EPM is collecting CSF. My horse wasn't able to stand or be transported for something like this. The 2nd best was the combination of Western Blot & IFAT. These two tests came back positive; this coupled with the clinical signs is how we came to the epm diagnosis.

    Unfortunately, I had to put him down this past August due to the long term effects this awful disease does. I don't wish my worst enemy to go through something like this and I hope none of you have to. I hope it's something else!
    "The Horse: Friendship without envy, beauty without vanity, nobility without conceit, a willing partner, yet no slave."



  14. #14
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    I am so sorry Lori B. You know I have been through the same nightmare as you, except my mare's stifle problems were hiding her neurological problems to a certain extent. Once the stifle was healed, we realized there was something MORE.

    Have you also had cervical xrays done? The vets at UC Davis diagnosed my mare as a mild neuro case, she just drug the RH and would stumble a little going downhill, but never had any of the "big" signs or symptoms. They simultaneously did diagnostics on her for EPM and wobblers at the same time. Unfortunately in my case she was diagnosed with wobblers and retired.



  15. #15
    Lori B is offline Schoolmaster Premium Member
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    No cervical Xrays, but she did have a nuclear scan of her whole body about a month ago, which was practically clear except for some uptake on her radius bones in front which I don't think account for her persistent mild left front lameness. (probably from running into a gate on 1-1-2010) The lameness has not really changed at all in months. MONTHS.

    Since x-rays of her legs and the scan were clear, investigating a problem from an infection seems sensible to me.

    She doesn't look or act like a sick horse, believe me. She is shiny and fat (see profile pic) and seems pretty happy. She's just not 100% sound and hasn't been in for-freaking-ever. (17 months)

    Since she's now turned out with a quiet friend, and I'm not in handgrazing hell anymore, I'm not as frantic about this, but not being able to ride her is so freaking depressing. I've been picking up rides here and there, and they are fun, but you know how it is, you want to ride YOUR HORSE. Which is why you bought one in the first place, HELLO.
    I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
    I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09




  16. #16
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    QHfan- can you elaborate on the long-term symptoms that you saw? We can take this to PM if you want, I didn't mean to hijack the original thread! In this mare's case, we think that an old pelvic injury and possibly sore hocks were masking the neuro signs/symptoms. It's tragic and it's a rollercoaster, LoriB, you've got my total sympathy, and feel free to PM me or shoot off an email if you just need a shoulder.
    send some of their smart literate deer who can read road signs up here since ours are just run of the mill dumb ones who get splatted all over creation because they won't stay in the woods



  17. #17
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    Feb. 14, 2008
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    My ottb was diagnosed a little over 2 1/2 yrs ago. He had some lameness issues off and on for a long time. My vet felt that his xrays were not as bad as his lameness, always seemed to be right front and left hind, he had some trouble keeping his left lead and would swap behind. Often I also felt like he had no hind end, it would feel like it was just kind of floating there. Finally we tested for EPM and Lyme he was positive for both! Really high titre for the lyme also. We treated the lyme for 4 months, then treated the EPM for 2 months then the lyme again for a year. He has been sound ever since. it was really expensive to treat everything but best thing I have ever done for him!! good luck with your guy.



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lori B View Post
    I was also interested to read in an article on The Horse (by a vet, w/ references) that Standardbreds, TBs, and Quarter Horses were more prone than other breeds, and that younger animals were also more likely to contract the disease.
    I think I am going to have to track down that article! My mare is a standardbred/TB cross. And her symptoms started when she was about 5 years old. How long ago did the article run on The Horse?

    The IFAT is a great test and probably the best one out there. I had them run both her blood and spinal fluid as I was at the clinic full of wonderful board certified vets who were very competent at doing a spinal.
    Her blood levels were really not helpful, but the values from her spinal told us the answer.
    One a neuro exam she really did not show much of anything beyond a very mild weakness in her right hind. They were really not convinced she was at all neurologic and without the spinal they never would have made the diagnosis.
    Free and Forward Motion through Massage Therapy
    www.amandastarrbodywork.com



  19. #19
    Lori B is offline Schoolmaster Premium Member
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    I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
    I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09




  20. #20
    Lori B is offline Schoolmaster Premium Member
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    Update: Katy is negative for EPM via the following tests:

    SarcoBlot-negative
    Neofluor-negative
    Western Blot negative



    So, while she is still slightly but consistently lame on her left front and still has the weird 'loose anal tone' that caused us to think a test was worth doing, EPM is not a cause.

    And, so I'm relieved, because EPM is a serious illness that costs $$ to treat, but am still waiting and wondering if her persistent lameness really is getting better over time (really slowly).......
    I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
    I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09




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