Posting in this forum as I event my horses, and I have one that I may be treating for EPM. Moderate, not severe. I am waiting for the vet to call me back on results and next steps. So I have been writing down questions...
Wondering if anyone here has experience and willing to share your story?
My case is not severe, the horse is safe and still in work.
I don't know if he will be required to take a rest while be treated? Did you stay in work? how did your case go?
Any suggested questions I should review with my vet?
The one I had was caught early. I noticed him having trouble getting up and down and then sudden loose stifles. He recovered but cantering a 20 meter canter circle is now beyond him. Maybe if I had pushed harder and worked to keep him really fit, he might have continued as a performance horse, but he really resisted so I retired him and he now is with a friend as a therapeutic riding horse.
I fear giving symptoms as I don't want tons of armchair vets or criticism. But I will see how this goes - horse but not building top line muscle, weak behind, a bit uncoordinated with his right hind. Horse looked great this Spring, given his work, he should be getting stronger - he has shown weight loss and some muscle loss in hind end. Horse is not sore or showing clinical signs of back, neck, or any other arthritis.
A friend of mine, the horse she leases has EPM and she successfully went training and Prelim with him, he's a former 3* horse. She is now dipping her feet into the jumpers. He lost some butt muscle but is in great form and still showing.
No idea about medication or their daily routine, but it seems to work and he's healthy and happy and winning!
I think it really depends on your horse as an individual, how he responds to whatever treatment regimen you decide to undertake and how dedicated you are to his rehabilitation. I would have a frank conversation with your vet about reasonable expectations for recovery. There are success stories out there. Just be aware that flares can and do happen to horses who undergo stress, so be vigilant once he has recovered.
Good point about stress. I will make note to discuss that as well. This is the first year we have been traveling to recognized shows, and he has been stressed with the atmosphere, and I demanding more work from him. He has been stressed and internalizes his anxiousness - sort of a typical sensitive TB. This horse needs to be able to show and manage through travel, clinics, etc.
1) every horse is different: blood work SAG levels, symptoms, response to treatment, and how they return to work
2) Google EPM SAG Test and you will find that labs don't all test for the same SAGs. Find out what lab your horses blood was sent to and tested for. Depending on the results, it may be worth sending to a lab that tests for the other SAGs
3) If your horse is insured, insurance will cover Marquis or Protazil.
4) Research APF Pro for stress
5) Vitamin E and C and Selenium are also recommended for immune support during and after treatment
6) Chinese herbs (this pharmacy https://www.tcvmherbal.com/ sells them tha tI know of, you do need a presciption) have been used by some (search these forums for the exact herb mix, I can't remember it off the top of my head)
7) there are specific acupuncture techniques for EPM that some feel have been beneficial
First off - thank goodness your horse's case is minor! There is truly hope for a good recovery, so that's definitely encouraging!
My now 24 year old developed EPM while on stall rest for a digital deep flexor tear. Looking back on it, it was probably the stress of stall rest that caused his immune system to become vulnerable to the protazoa. He's not exactly an "easy keeper" on stall rest. He has a major case of wanting to be with "his herd" and will work himself into a frenzy during turn-out and bring-in times.
My horse's EPM became SEVERE. By severe, I mean he could hardly walk without swaying a lot and collapsed several times while grazing. My trainer encouraged me to consider putting him down, but my vet said let's give treatment a shot and then reconsider. It was terrible, and we literally tried everything (the shake, Marquis, Protazil, even looked into Oroquin-10 trials). His disease progressed so far that my vet started wondering whether he truly had EPM. The titers were there, but my vet indicated it could be a lot of things - including neck arthritis. So, in a truly desperate move, I contacted one of the vets who did the clinical trials for Marquis and Protazil. She told me she was not supposed to speak with individual owners, but I begged and pleaded and told her that my horse's life might depend on what she had to say. Reluctantly, she told that there are only two reasons why the medicine would not improve his condition: (1) he didn't have EPM, or (2) he had some other disease that was also suppressing his immune system. Given his age at the time (21), she suggested I test him for Cushing's. What is SO crazy about all this is that when he first developed EPM, he tested negative for Cushing's. After my many months of expensive treatment, when we tested him again for Cushing's, it came back positive. Within two weeks of starting the treatment for Cushing's, his EPM meds (Protazil at this point) started working like magic! He was nearly back to himself within two months. I could not believe it.
To answer your question, I don't know whether he could have been brought back to full work had he only had the EPM. Because of his deep flexor tear, he was never going to be fully sound again. But, now he's pasture sound, and I'm able to trail ride him occasionally. For me, the fact that he survived this terribly debilitating disease is reward enough. Knowing how horrible his symptoms were and how great he looks now, I would say your horse has a fighting shot at a really substantial recovery. Just remember, though, that it's always lurking there, ready to resurface at a moment's notice whenever your horse's immune system is suppressed. To combat this, I keep my horse on 10,000 ius of Vitamin E a day (NOTE: contrary to what some others have told you, my vet said do NOT use Vitamin E with Selenium because the Selenium could actually make the EPM worse). We also start him back on Protazil two weeks before vaccinations and leave him on it for a week following vaccinations.
I lost my event horse to EPM in 2012. It first popped up in 2009. He started refusing jumps and just not wanting to work. He was 18 (but 100% sound) so I retired him thinking he just wanted to be done. Well then he started becoming a little uncoordinated and just not acting right. Vet confirmed EPM and we did a full course of marquis and he got better. Relapsed 6 mo later and again treated with marquis. Got better. Fast forward a few years, he relapsed again.
Each relapse the symptoms came out of nowhere and were more severe than the last. The third time we had to put him down as he couldn't get up or stand. It was horrible. If your horse has EPM, ACT NOW. It can go from 0 to 60 in a day. If my current horse came up with EPM, I'd treat with protazil due to my bad experience with marquis. I'd also stick to walking as to not stress the system when he is fighting off the Protozoa. My vet a Rood and Riddle recommended that. Also give the pure natural form of vitamin e, not the synthetic. No selenium. Good luck with your pony
My guy had EPM at 5; evented successfully afterward and even did A show jumpers years later. I did consider him a "compromised immune system" type horse, and had him on immune boosters anytime I felt he might need them. Good Luck!
I'm not really at the top of my game today. I'm not even exactly sure what game I'm supposed to be playing, in fact... or where it's being held...