Aw, poor boy. Definitely a neuro issue, I'd say. I assume his temperature has been checked? If not, I'd check it immediately...EHV-1 has been pretty prevalent lately and there is a form of it that can cause neurological problems.
From the description and others' replies, I'd guess stroke (which "should" improve over days) or aneurysm. I couldn't watch as I lost one of my "babies" at age 18 from a catastrophic aneurysm in a matter of 3 hours 2 years ago. I still can't get the images out of my head(why I couldn't watch).
But if it was mild, I am told they sometimes can recover with proper support.
Quick update. The vet came out again this afternoon. She did a rectal and noticed some abnormalities. I'm not sure what that means but she's seems to be leaning toward a tumor pressing on the spine. She gave him some steroids and is hoping to see some improvement within the next 24 hours.
He reacted very poorly to the sedative before the rectal. My friend said he was spinning like a reining horse and she was ready to put him down right there. She said it was horrible to watch. The vet assured her that it was the drugs and to wait it out and he finally went down all the way and just stayed that way for a while. This evening he seemed a lot better. He was actually standing still and was a little more straightened out. He still has an appetite and does not appear distressed.
Thank you for all the jingles. Please keep them coming that this next 24 hours will bring improvement. She's not ready to say goodbye yet.
Ignoring the spinning and staggering, I would like to compliment your friend on the condition of her 32 year old horse. He looks FABULOUS. She's certainly done right by him so far, and I trust she will continue to do so up until the (hopefully very distant) very end.
Jingles for him. I love Appies. Jingles for your friend as well, that's heartbreaking to watch when I don't know the horse, I can't imagine if it was my best friend. Tell her its not her fault, don't let her blame herself.
Being that he's an Appy, with lots of white, I can see how it could be some kind of skin cancer that was internalized.
My friend at a past barn had a leopard (aka lots of white/pink skin) Appy keel over in the pasture one day. Horse was in its prime, insurance paid for autopsy - horse had a large tumor on digestive tract that ruptured. She had had a few small nodules removed a few years previously, and the vet believed the internal tumours were related
My cushing man had this more than 5 years ago, there is a topic about going in circles on my name. After he got treatment for cushings - pergolide he never did it again. With us they also thought about a stroke or brain problems but that was NOT the case. He lived without problems for another 5,5 years!! (It was because of the mixed up hormones thanks to overproducing cortisol.)
PLEASE look into that possibility. Cushing horses are weak in the hind as well especially when not treated. Another cushing horse at our stables that wasn't treated did the same last year. He was really old and he also recovered when they started him on pergolide. He couldn't walk straight when it first started, but that improved through the days when he was put on pergolide.
Last edited by fargo; Mar. 20, 2013 at 12:21 PM.
Reason: PLEASE READ!
Offspring of Ramiro Z clique,member TrakehNERD Clique Very proud and honored to be the human of Fargo (RIP) and Whizzard. Whizz what a true friend you are.
Brain tumor or stroke? My old mare circled like that just before she passed away...had an old schoolie that we had to put down due to constant manic circling...he acted odd for a while before hand and I was thinking pituitary tumor? Never did a necropsy...good luck.
The thing about smart people, is they look like crazy people, to dumb people.
Most often when they get that at over age 30, it's one of the most commonly seen ways in which Nature calls their name. According to my vets, it's usually either a tumor in the brain or impinging on the spinal cord, or just plain degenerative breakdown.
Many times they will suddenly have personality changes, not seeming to "know you." We usually try a couple of days of heavy Banamine, but if there's no change, we honor them by letting them go before it gets really nasty.
Wed evening update. He was still spinning this morning and went down this afternoon. She finally managed to get him up with difficulty, but surprisingly he seemed better afterward. He was distributing weight evenly and walking straight. He still carried his head to the left but could straighten it. Tonight he is circling again but can stand still when she stands with him. He's still eating somewhat normally (he's usually pretty picky).
fargo, thanks for the cushings suggestion. I'm sending everyone's thoughts and ideas her was so she can discuss with the vet.
His blood work is supposed to come back tomorrow. For now he is hanging in there. He's definitely not normal and is uncomfortable but is not distressed. Still hoping for improvement tomorrow and some more definitive answers. Thanks for all the jingles everyone.
I am with Fargo on the cushings, cut out the treats and have her read up on cushings yahoo group put him on a cushings diet asap. He looks way to much like my app that I lost at 35. Please check on cushings he is just too cute not to do a fix on this asap. Jingles and Prayers going out to that sweet app.
Wow, poor guy. I agree that his otherwise excellent condition is a testament to good care.
It would be hard for me to continue with a horse like this--I think of all the awful circumstances that might happen if he goes down in an awkward place and can't get up and can't be easily extricated.
Flash is still here. He is much more stable although not 100%. He was almost normal about 2 days ago and my friend thought he was out of the woods but he's since regressed again. He isn't really spinning anymore but is still leaning to the left some and resting the right hind. More blood has been drawn and will be back next week, hopefully with something more conclusive. Until then he's still eating and drinking like normal and even trotted around a bit today. My friend is realistic but hopeful and as long as he's comfortable will keep doing everything she can for him. Jingles are still very much appreciated.
Good luck. My heart truly goes out to your friend. I am sitting here weeping because I know how painful it is to see your buddy look like that.
My horse did that exact thing at various levels of severity starting a few days before Christmas. Some days he looked fine and would even buck and trot around outside, and others looked like the video you posted. He also had very bad heaves, and without going through a lot of diagnostic testing and trailering him to the university in an emergency trailer with a sling, I made the decision to put him to sleep. It was also a safety issue, since he was at a boarding stable, and very likely could have injured someone. Also, he was 17h and if he went down, there would be little way we would be able to get him back up.