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Experience with seizure? - UPDATE post #14

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    Experience with seizure? - UPDATE post #14

    My horse had a seizure Friday morning. She has seemed fine since although I think she had another mini-seizure this morning.

    She was in her stall/run and suddenly went backwards very stiffly. It was almost like she couldn't bend her legs. She took about 3 strange steps back and then fell backwards (like sitting down) and then fell sideways into the stall wall. After she went down, it didn't take long for her to get up. She was shaking but in less than 30 seconds seemed okay. I haltered her and walked her across the aisle into her daytime stall. (Right now she is out with access to a stall/run at night and in a 12x18 stall during the day. She is usually out 24/7 with access to her stall/run but my horse that is usually in training is at home so I had to rearrange things.) I then called my vet who told me to wait 30 minutes or so before feeding her.

    She seemed okay the rest of the day. Ate, drank, pooped and peed normally, etc. Vet came out in the afternoon and drew blood for testing. The tests they did in house were normal (I honestly don't know what they tested for) and they sent blood to an outside lab to test for EPM and Cushings.

    My vet also examined her and found an unusual place on her neck. She is definitely reactive when you press on it and she also does not want to bend her neck all the way around. Vet wanted to wait for blood test results and then possibly x-ray her neck to see if it is arthritis or a tumor. I'm now thinking I want to do that sooner rather than later.

    Anyway, has anyone had experience with anything similar? It has come out of the blue (although I have no way of knowing if that was her first seizure or if she has had others that I didn't see.) I am having trouble dealing with the uncertainty of not knowing why she had a seizure and not knowing if she will have more.
    Last edited by inca; Feb. 21, 2018, 02:47 PM.

    #2
    I am so sorry, that sounds incredibly scary.

    Did he do a neuro test on her? If she seemed to have another episode, even a mini, I would want to do the Xrays ASAP too.

    Jingles for your mare (and your nerves!)

    ETA: we had one in my barn go from fine to severely neuro in the space of a couple of hours. It is believed that some sort of injury occurred when the horse was rolling in the field tweaking its already bad back (severe arthritis found in Xrays). So yes, arthritis can go from fine to really bad suddenly...the straw that pushes it over the edge into pinching something. I hope it is something more manageable for your mare!

    Comment


      #3
      My horse was having narcolepsy issues, and also petite mal seizures. She had also lost her sight. She went through a fence when she freaked out after having a seizure and/or narcolepsy episode. I put her down that day. I didn't want her getting hurt, or hurting anyone else. Broke my heart but it was the right thing to do for my girl.

      It may be that this was a 1x thing, it may be something that you can 'fix'. But if it isn't then you need to think long and hard. You need to keep her safe, and you need to keep everyone around her safe. And that may mean making a tough decision.

      Comment


        #4
        Please be careful. If she has a seizure while you're handling her, she could gravely injure you. Can she stay in the stall and run until you pin this down? There are few things as frightening and dangerous as a horse with zero control over it's body.

        Did the vet mention a DMSO drip? It is often used in cases of neurological inflammation and can be helpful (if stinky!)

        Comment

          Original Poster

          #5
          The vet did not do a full neuro exam but did do an exam of her in her stall, which is how he found the neck problem. Because she seemed fine when he saw her and had been acting normally since the seizure, he didn't recommend any kind of treatment, other than bute to help with the area on her neck that seemed painful when pressed. He is basically waiting for blood test results, which so far have been normal. We won't have the EPM and Cushings results until later this week.

          I am being VERY careful around her and trying to minimize the time I am in the stall with her. I literally walk her 12 feet across the aisle to move her from her stall/run/pasture to her inside stall. So, I feel comfortable continuing to do this. It would be worse to leave her in her stall/run/pasture while the other horse is turned out. They would share a fence line and he is a PITA when he shares a fence line. He does much, much better when he can see the other horses but not be directly next to them. (Too much kicking, play biting, etc. when sharing a fence line.)

          I am going to try to schedule the neck x-ray this week.

          We are going on a short trip the first weekend in March and it will definitely be worrisome if I don't have any kind of answers before them.

          Comment


            #6
            Get the neck x rays sooner then later. No way of knowing if that caused the problem or is an injury caused by thrashing around but it needs to be looked at. This type thing is not a 'wait and see".

            From what you describe, it sounds like EPM, a stroke or possibly a tumor or displaced vertebrae or arthritis causing spinal impingement, off chance some type of toxicity. Sorry...but I would not really plan on taking her anywhere off the property except to a clinic until you get an answer. She could go down and seriously hurt herself, as in a fracture, or go down with or on top of you.

            Keep us posted, if you don't mind.
            When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

            The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

            Comment

              Original Poster

              #7
              I am taking her Wed morning for the neck X-ray. I also didn't want to wait any longer. I saw her fall and doubt the neck is a result of the fall, but you never know.

              She will be 18 next month and has been retired for several years due to a left front lameness. I spent thousands of dollars trying to fix the lameness but even with an MRI we never got a diagnosis that stuck or any treatment that worked. After I gave up on the vets, acupuncture in shoulder and chest got her pretty much sound on left front. But she had been compensating so long that her hind end was kind of a mess. Did attempt to put her back into work but had to give up. For the past year, she has looked pretty sound out in her pasture. I was considering starting some groundwork with her this spring before this happened.

              Comment


                #8
                Are you sure she's 18? Have the foaling date? Ask because so many really don't know and teeth are way off after early teens. My vets will tell you the majority of late teen horses they see and treat are, in their opinion, much older with many more years of work behind them and often getting into old horse problems.

                You need to consider the possibility she is older and experiencing age related issues with cardio vascular and other body systems.
                When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                Comment

                  Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by findeight View Post
                  Are you sure she's 18? Have the foaling date? Ask because so many really don't know and teeth are way off after early teens. My vets will tell you the majority of late teen horses they see and treat are, in their opinion, much older with many more years of work behind them and often getting into old horse problems.

                  You need to consider the possibility she is older and experiencing age related issues with cardio vascular and other body systems.
                  I was there when she was born at my house!

                  I bred her so know for certain that she will be 18 on March 21.

                  This mare has not been worked hard at all. Was a dressage horse and I was the one that did all the training on her, after she was started. She is very quirky so I never felt comfortable letting anyone else ride her.


                  Comment


                    #10
                    Had an 9 year old Timber Steeplechase horse exhibit similar behavior. I was hand grazing him after his morning work. Everything perfectly normal, grazing happily on a lose shank walking around etc. Next thing he started shaking after lifting his head up, lifting, sticking a front leg out, wobbling, eyes rolled back and fell over. Scared, shocked me, within seconds he was pretty much normal again.

                    This happened the odd occasion in the following days but not as dramatic. Went over him with a fine tooth comb. Had my vet/ciro go over him. But it was hard to explain. Nothing out of the norm. About a week later he we were at the pre-race vet check walking in a circle with other horses waiting our turn to be checked out and jogged. Did the same thing but thankfully the vet saw it. He came right out of it but we checked him out toughly. Kept him walking for another hour while the vet checked the other horses. Nothing, perfectly normal.

                    Later that day when I loaded him on a 2 horse trailer to go home. He walked right on as always. I ducked under the chest bar and as I stood up, he started twitching, eyes rolled back and he started to go down but not all the way. Pulled himself back together fairly quickly. It was only about a 45 minute trip but the longest 45 minutes I ever drove.

                    He was fine when I got back, bedded down ate up all's good. I went over every inch of him the next day. Concentrating on the side that he did the "leg thing" with. Found a VERY tight spot, subtle bulge in the "shoulder grove" up high. Reactive when manipulated. Massaged the heck out of it which he responded to with a "smile and a groan" No different than myself. Gave some muscle relaxer. Turned out to be a pinched nerve. Felt real bad for not figuring this out sooner. Have had the same myself, be fine one minute step, bend, reach the wrong way. Shearing, excruciating pain, eyes go blurry, lose my balance etc.

                    The first time the horse did this I thought it was a seizure also. It showed all the "classic" signs. Not saying your horse did or didn't have one. Just pointing out another possibility. Had my "experts" stumped. I have found the "experts" by training can and do look for, think of "worst case" scenarios at times. Instead of starting with the quite possible simple explanation and treatment.

                    Comment

                      Original Poster

                      #11
                      It is possible that whatever is going on with her neck is the cause and it could be pinching a nerve when she turns just so. That is why I want to get it x-rayed and soon as possible and then see if we need to ultrasound it or do some other kind of imaging. It is obvious it bothers her w hen you press that spot and she won't bend her neck all the way around. It's a large enough spot that you can easily feel it.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Have her checked for EPM.

                        Comment

                          Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by WildandWickedWarmbloods View Post
                          Have her checked for EPM.
                          Yes, blood has been sent out to test for EPM. Won't have the results until later this week.

                          Comment

                            Original Poster

                            #14
                            Went to vet today for neck x-rays. Nothing definitive or dramatic, but there is some narrowing in the C5/C6 area (I think that is the correct area but wouldn't swear to it.) This corresponds with the area on her neck that "bulges." She is less painful and reactive to that area than she was the day of the episode. But, she has been on bute per vet instructions.

                            Interestingly, on the left side of her neck, she is basically numb in that area - does not react when poked with pen. On the right side of her neck, she is hyper sensitive in that area.

                            Pending the EPM blood test results, most likely theory is that it wasn't a seizure per se but that she may have moved suddenly in such a way that her spinal cord was pinched. This could have resulted in a temporary "paralysis" (since it appeared she could not bend in her hind legs) and that is what caused her to fall so strangely. Then when the pressure was relieved from the spinal cord, she was okay. But this is just speculation at this point and we may never really know exactly what happened or if it will happen again.

                            Not sure if it is worth any further investigation of the neck (if EPM results are negative) or if it's best to just wait and see how she does. Vet recommended another 7-10 days of bute, decreased to 1 gram per day.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I know this is a couple of years old, but I had the same thing (seizure) happen to my mare this morning. I had just dispensed a tube full of dewormer in her mouth, turned around to get the next tube (she weighs 1350, so gets two), and when I turned back around her eyes were rolled back, her hind legs had quit working, she stumbled and fell straight back into the corner of her stall, then she fell over and almost upside down, thrashed her legs and looked to be spasming (sp?) a couple of times, then rolled back on her side, got back up, stood there for a minute, pooped, and then acted like nothing had happened. Except for the huge cut on the inside of her top lip which was bleeding profusely and took me a few frantic minutes to find! The whole thing happened so fast, I was RIGHT THERE, still holding the lead rope, and completely freaked out - I thought I had killed my horse when I saw her fall down so hard, that she had either had something rupture catastrophically inside or was having a heart attack. Or that I had poisoned her with the dewormer - but I was able to dismiss that pretty quickly, as it was still in her mouth, she hadn't even swallowed it yet.

                              I called the vet immediately, of course, and when we talked he said that horses do have seizures (I have been around horses for nearly all my life and this is the first I had even heard or seen of this), that we may never know what triggered it, and it may happen again quickly or we may never see another again. He wasn't too anxious to do a bunch of blood work or run a bunch of tests just yet, which I'm fine with. We'll watch and see how she does the next few days. He too dismissed the idea of the dewormer being involved, agreeing with me that it was too quick, it hadn't even entered her system yet.

                              But the more I think about it, I'm wondering about this - every time I deworm my mare, she does the flehmen thing - quite dramatically curls her upper lip and sticks her nose straight up in the air. I am quite sure she was about do that, or in the middle of it, when this happened. I need to call my vet back and revisit this with him, I told him she does that but later he asked specifically if I had lifted her head up or anything to get the dewormer in - I told him no and didn't repeat the information about the flehman response - but I'm wondering now if there isn't a connection. She does that a lot though (flehman), and this is the first time (obviously) she has had a seizure at the same time. If the two were even related?

                              I don't know the lineage of this mare, although she is very Quarter Horse-ish. She's a rescue, from a very reputable organization here in Texas, and I have had her nearly three years. She came to them with at least one other mare as part of an owner surrender, and it appears she was a broodmare at one time based of the size and flabbiness of her teats. Her age is estimated to be mid-teens. So the other idea I floated past the vet was HYPP - I have never seen an episode of that either, and not sure if it presents the same way. She had just finished her breakfast (3/4 lb of TC 30% and a handful of alfalfa pellets) and was hanging out with her best pal in her stall when I walked over to halter her for her deworming - which usually isn't even necessary, she's really good about that sort of thing. So she was just relaxed and not stressed, enjoying the breeze from the fan. He said if I was curious I could do a DNA test and have her checked for that, but he didn't think that was it, that she doesn't exactly look like an H/H horse. I don't know.

                              So my question is really asking the OP for a follow-up - Inca, did your horse ever have another episode? My mare does not have a physical indicator of a possible issue, like yours did on her neck, the only thing I've noticed differently about her is she seems to have grown a new thick coat almost overnight. It's not long or shaggy, just new and thicker - almost plush - than her summer coat. So of course, I'm thinking pituitary tumor.......... although I have read on here she's not the only one to spring a new coat too soon!

                              Comment


                                #16
                                Pamnreba, does your horse wear a cribbing strap? I have seen horses wearing cribbing straps react this way to both dewormer and IN vaccine- I was told their posturing in reaction to the wormer or vax can cause the strap to pinch a nerve, and they essentially “pass out”. It is scary to watch but the horses recover very quickly.

                                I have unfortunately seen two horses seize as well, but both had a bit of a “recovery period” where they stayed down for a bit, getting their breathing under control and calming down. Not long, about 10 minutes, but similar to how humans need to get their bearings after a seizure. If she stood immediately and seemed to recover quickly, I might be looking for alternative explanations.

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  When a horse later diagnosed with EPM had seizures at a barn i used to know, his seizures were identical to the ones you describe. He flew back and down through the wall of the neighboring stall. Sometimes a crumbling, and stiffening. As a neuro physiologist, I can say that humans don't always have post seizure confusion or changes. Comparing horses with humans is always risky. Just thought I would say also neckninjurues can't cause seizures, which are electrical discharges not pinched nerves. Good luck.
                                  My warmbloods have actually drunk mulled wine in the past. Not today though. A drunk warmblood is a surly warmblood. - WildandWickedWarmbloods

                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by Equisis View Post
                                    Pamnreba, does your horse wear a cribbing strap? I have seen horses wearing cribbing straps react this way to both dewormer and IN vaccine- I was told their posturing in reaction to the wormer or vax can cause the strap to pinch a nerve, and they essentially “pass out”. It is scary to watch but the horses recover very quickly.

                                    I have unfortunately seen two horses seize as well, but both had a bit of a “recovery period” where they stayed down for a bit, getting their breathing under control and calming down. Not long, about 10 minutes, but similar to how humans need to get their bearings after a seizure. If she stood immediately and seemed to recover quickly, I might be looking for alternative explanations.
                                    No, no cribbing strap. Although I do wonder if there wasn't something similar to a pinched nerve, set off by her posturing, as you say. Just nothing mechanical to cause it. All I know is right now she has a bit of a fat lip and my main concern that she won't drink enough water until it isn't as sore. Every time she goes to get a drink and her muzzle hits the water, she flinches and backs off. I soaked her feed this morning to make sure she got a least a little liquid in her, and will do the same tonight. I really don't need an impaction colic right now.

                                    Comment


                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by Ambitious Kate View Post
                                      When a horse later diagnosed with EPM had seizures at a barn i used to know, his seizures were identical to the ones you describe. He flew back and down through the wall of the neighboring stall. Sometimes a crumbling, and stiffening. As a neuro physiologist, I can say that humans don't always have post seizure confusion or changes. Comparing horses with humans is always risky. Just thought I would say also neckninjurues can't cause seizures, which are electrical discharges not pinched nerves. Good luck.
                                      I hope not EPM, but I haven't ruled anything out at this point. If I keep seeing things that concern me, I'll definitely get her tested for that.

                                      Comment

                                        Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        My horse has not had another episode that I have witnessed. And she did not convulse at all . She stumbled backwards without bending her legs, fell, then fairly quickly got back up. She is 20 now and doing fine. Really just the strangest thing and if I had not been standing right there I would have never known it had happened.

                                        Sorry I can't shed more light on what might have happened with you mare. I hope you get an answer and it is something that can be managed!

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