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Dressage and EPM - Any recover to status quo

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  • Dressage and EPM - Any recover to status quo

    I suspect my three year old Georgian Grande gelding has it. I swear I'm beginning to think buckskin horses are snake bit as I lost his full brother to a broken shoulder.

    This will be the second horse I've had come down with EPM. Unfortunately this area is covered up in Possums. But with 3 big LGDs roaming the property, we never see them any more.

    The first horse I had recovered almost 100% but not quite. Working a 20 meter circle at the canter was really hard for him. Now I'm seeing the same thing in this gelding. I let him off for 3 wks while I got a greenie going more reliably under saddle. Put the GG back in work Thurs. evening and both on the longe and under saddle he just wasn't right. No limping but didn't want to go into canter really in either direction; would not hold the canter; and tripped, ALOT. Not like him at all. Will be calling the vet on Monday to come out ASAP. If EPM, I think I've caught it really pretty early as I know this guy. My question is, has anyone had a horse with EPM with hindend weakness presentation that recovered 100%? Was it a constant rehab situation where the horse had to be kept completely fit all the time to stay where you wanted him? Did you work the horse at all during treatment? I did not last time so as to minimize stress.
    Fat Cat Farm Sporthorses on Facebook
    Fat Cat Farm Sporthorses Website and Blog

  • #2
    Curious, do you supplement your horses with 2000-5000IU of vitamin E daily? I think all horses should be supplemented, but I have also read research that is looking into a link with vitamin E deficiency and increased risk of contracting EPM.

    There is also a vitamin E - EDM link, which might be the cause of my last mare's neuro issues.

    Either way, you may want to consider vitamin E supplementation if you are worried about neurological problems in a youngster.

    On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog


    • #3
      It's almost a year into my mare's recovery from an unknown neurological episode last September. It was not EPM, but she presented much the same. After initial treatment with azium, left her on pasture over the winter with daily vitamin E supps. It left her hindquarters very weak. In March, she was finally able to stand for the farrier for trimming, and I started handwalking her over ground poles and doing large looping patterns and circles. Towards the end of April, when she could back a few steps without danger of falling on her butt, I started riding. First rides were 5 to 10 minutes of walking lines and large circles. We're working at 30 - 40 minutes now, walking and trotting, adding leg yields, spirals and serpentines, and trotting over poles. She's still noticeable weaker travelling to the right, and we haven't cantered under saddle yet. Still, I tell myself that if today, this is as good as she gets, then I'm happy because it's a lot further than I ever expected from last year.

      Anyway - I wish you good luck on your journey of recovery.


      • Original Poster

        BeaSting your horse sounds worse than mine, so sorry. My guy is not ataxic or off in any way; just not himself. He's always had a GREAT canter and was perfectly willing to crossover behind when asked. Now, he seems reluctant. Also bunny hopped some on the longe line today which he's never done. Does act at all sore in his back.

        As far as I've heard or read, Vitamin E may or may not help and the jury is still out. No, I don't supplement with it as a matter of course.
        Fat Cat Farm Sporthorses on Facebook
        Fat Cat Farm Sporthorses Website and Blog


        • #5
          Originally posted by FatCatFarm View Post
          As far as I've heard or read, Vitamin E may or may not help and the jury is still out. No, I don't supplement with it as a matter of course.
          If your horse is not on green grass 12+ hours a day you should be supplementing with Vit E. It could help and will not hurt, it is impossible to over supplement until more than 20,000IU a day, and deficiency is a real issue that leaves your horse open to a multitude of issues.
          On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog


          • Original Poster

            My horses are out 24/7. I haven't calculated how much Vit E they get, but do know it's in their ration and they are fed twice a day. I'd be surprised to find them deficient.
            Fat Cat Farm Sporthorses on Facebook
            Fat Cat Farm Sporthorses Website and Blog


            • #7

              Please investigate Pathogenes.com. There is a newer, more definitave test and a field trial medication. Dr Ellison, the researcher, is very supportive and will guide you Getting an accurate diagnosis is very important.
              Good luck.


              • Original Poster

                Thanks. Will check it out.
                Fat Cat Farm Sporthorses on Facebook
                Fat Cat Farm Sporthorses Website and Blog


                • #9
                  Yes, I have known several dressage horses that contracted EPM and recovered completely, and did not have to be retreated after the first series of medication. There was an outbreak at a boarding barn where I was a student about 15 years ago. I know of at least two horses that recovered completely, though at least another 2 or 3 were just never the same. But that was when they were first developing the medication. I'm sure now there is a much higher rate of full recovery, especially if caught early.


                  • Original Poster

                    My vet is coming out this evening. Just to make sure I wasn't imagining things I free longed him last night and he cross-cantered behind several times and bunny hopped - both SO not like him. He also seemed a little panicky and unrelaxed in his work. No lameness though but short strided behind. This morning he actually had a bought of ataxia in his stall while eating breakfast. Poor guy. My vet knows that I suspect EPM so if he thinks the same, hopefully we can get him started on meds tonight.

                    He's been getting 3lbs of oats and alfalfa pellets and 1.5 pounds of Nutrena Empower Boost twice a day and is turned out 24/7 on grass. The Boost has 500 IU of Vitamin E. I think alfalfa is high in Vitamin E as well. Will ask the vet how much he suggests supplementing with Vitamin E and anything else.
                    Fat Cat Farm Sporthorses on Facebook
                    Fat Cat Farm Sporthorses Website and Blog


                    • #11
                      I have a 10 yr old gelding, was diagnosed-treated as a 3yr old. I caught it very early, while his symptoms were mild. We started with Navigator, but after the first week he showed mild colic symptoms, so we switched to Marquis.
                      The one thing we didn't do properly at that time was to treat him with Banamine to minimize inflammation during the "kill off", so my horse seams to have been left with very, very slight proprioceptive deficit. This shows up as longitudinal balance issues, stiffness, and resistance, not so different than most horses, but more exaggerated at times.
                      With an extremely talented, balanced rider= much better, with lowly untalented owner= much worse. Again, not so different than most horses, but more obvious.
                      Forward to this week- suspected reinfection, or relapse- tested thru Pathogenes, and showing a very high titer , so we will begin the new Oroquin-10 treatment as soon as possible.
                      Fingers crossed this newer treatment gives us better, more complete resolution to his on going "Not Quite Right" syndrome.
                      Dr. Ellison at Pathogenes is very responsive, and will answer all of your questions.
                      Funny how you think you're the only one going thru something, you come to this board, and wow ! There's someone else asking the same question !
                      Good luck to you


                      • Original Poster

                        Snoball1: If you don't mind my asking, could you PM me with what the cost of the Oroquin is?

                        Thanks for the heads'up about Banamine. Last time I treated we used the older Sulfa drug combo with excellent results. Did that daily for six months with no relapse, at least so far *knocks on wood*. That was 2007. We did not give any Banamine; but does seem like I did give powdered bute for inflammation. The only residual problem that horse has, as mentioned above, has trouble collecting his canter enough to comfortably negotiate a 20 meter circle. Granted, he's a Baroque built leopard App, ex stallion with opinions and it may not have been his forte, but I hadn't noticed such obstinance/resistance prior to his getting EPM. He could have just resented being put back to hard work. But his stifles never quite seemed as strong as they once were and that was the first issue I noticed with him. I gave him the benefit of the doubt and let a friend take him to be a trail horse.

                        Now I have this guy. Did you give the Banamine orally or IV. I'll ask my vet what he recommends so will raise that question is well.

                        Best of luck with your guy as well and thanks for the input.
                        Fat Cat Farm Sporthorses on Facebook
                        Fat Cat Farm Sporthorses Website and Blog


                        • #13
                          FatCat-PM sent....

                          Trust me when I say, wondering what training/soundness issues are the result of EPM over the past 7 years has just about put me in the looney bin
                          It's made me doubt my abilities as a rider, made me question whether I want to continue riding, made me question what to do with this horse, made me doubt whether he really had EPM or is it just poor riding/training...
                          Some how I guess I'm hoping that this treatment is going to change all of that, but I suppose I doubt that too (LOL).


                          • #14
                            What has your vet said? I had a 3.5 year old under saddle for about 6 months who presented first w/ the bunny hop canter all of a sudden. Long story short the vet said it is either EPM or Wobblers. He took a neck x-ray and it looked suspect and effectively we treated the colt for both wobblers and EPM. I consulted w/ Dr Reed at Rood and Riddle he is a wonderful person who spent time talking w/ me and convinced me to do a myeologram on my horse. We had him on very aggressive meds for EPM and he improved for a while then nosedived by week 6. It turned out he had wobblers and he was euthanized. There is a really great EPM group on Yahoo they are a wealth of information. I suggest you join it. This is the age that wobblers tends to present and I hope for your sake its not that as EPM is the better verdict. It was an extremely painful time for me as I bred this baby to be my next riding horse, delivered him and raised him. Wish you the best. If its EPM and you caught it early there are usual success stories. Problem is it is often misdiagnosed - you can join the group and read about the IFAT test that UC Davies does. There may be more info out there my experience was two years ago.


                            • Original Poster

                              Vet was out Tuesday evening and my horse acted normally: no cross cantering; no bunny hop; no stumbling. We flexed him and he was slightly short on the left stifle but there is no heat, swelling, limp or head bob. We pulled blood and sent it off for EPM testing nonetheless. He said based on what he saw, he could only say a possible stifle issue. This guy is 3 (June) and rather butt high standing, yet steps well under and appears uphill when he moves. If stifle, it could be just a growth issue. The little bit of wobbliness I've seen could be him favoring that left stifle. I'll admit having been through it once, I may be jumping the shark here by thinking EPM. Once bitten, twice shy I guess. But my last horse did present similarly when I noticed he was NQR but did have bilateral loose stifles. Just waiting to hear back. If it's not EPM and in the absence of no heat, swelling or limp, I don't think OCD, then I'm going to give the guy the rest of the year and winter off and just let him grow and see. We live on rolling hills, so that should help support his stifles. However, while only in light work, he had been getting longed before each ride in side reins and it is possible that his age and the circling may have contributed to this issue.
                              Fat Cat Farm Sporthorses on Facebook
                              Fat Cat Farm Sporthorses Website and Blog


                              • #16
                                One of the most promising young horses I ever met had to be put down because of EPM... Sad that there are no "find the cure" events or charities (that I know of).. We should form one! LOL, well, I might work on that.

                                Anyways.. I hear about a new experimental treatment, I know no details, but it wouldn't hurt to ask a vet.

                                Sometimes time off is the best thing for them, let them learn how to get around, or just take some mental stress away for a while.

                                That's all I got..
                                "The best pace is a suicide pace, and today looks like a good day to die!"
                                ----> Pre


                                • #17
                                  Some do recover and go on to do well...

                                  My trainer had a TB that was diagnosed with EPM when he was a three yr old. (This was about 20 yrs ago and they've made considerable advancements in treatment since, back then the horses were treated for like 6-9 months). He lost a lot of muscle tone in his hind end, more so on one side than the other. He actually wore a special shoe to help with his uneveness for almost a year.

                                  Trainer took a little over a year in rehabbing this horse...when she first started, he couldn't canter, couldn't do a 20m circle at a trot without stumbling or wobbling all over the place. Rehab was slow and consistent with an emphasis on rebuilding muscles, balance and confidence. After 18 months, you would never have thought anything had ever been wrong with him.

                                  Horse went on to compete thru PSG dressage, Training Level eventing and then was a lesson horse until he was put down at age 19 due to an injury. So yes, some can come back and do well.
                                  A poorly fitted saddle hampers both horse and rider.


                                  • Original Poster

                                    Well it's not EPM as his test came back negative so maybe it's a growth issue with his stifle(s). Will take him to Auburn and have him x-rayed if he doesn't improve.
                                    Fat Cat Farm Sporthorses on Facebook
                                    Fat Cat Farm Sporthorses Website and Blog


                                    • #19
                                      That's wonderful news(I think). Yes, hopefully his stifles are loose, and can be strengthened and that'll be that

                                      My guy is starting the new Oroquin-10 treatment today- I will post my findings for the rest of you that may be needing more info on this treatment, along with EPM in it's very subtle stages.

                                      Very easy to know what's wrong when it's glaringly obvious, but these subtle poor performers are a nightmare to try to diagnose...


                                      • #20
                                        There are many other things that can cause neurological problems than EPM. And many neuro horses are constantly diagnosed as having stifle problems.

                                        Here is some good reading that just came out this week from Davis on another neurological disease that is actually very common, and often totally overlooked by the majority of vets (I sadly learned first hand)

                                        On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog