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31yo arab gelding severe ataxia

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  • Original Poster

    Red appears to be tapering off recovery now that he is off steroids, but still overall doing pretty well. I had a good discussion with my vet about additional support, and he is having me start with a round of bute for next week, and then possibly switching to previcox from there, depending on how Red responds. He also is having me add Elevate Vit E supplement. However, he did not feel adequan shots would add value. Finally, he thought Red may benefit from chiro (not so much acupuncture), so Red has a chiro appt Friday morning with a specialist that my vet likes.

    Fingers crossed... I'm still shooting for a 100% recovery, and believe Red has many more good twilight years left.


    • #22
      My old guy stayed on the Elevate for the rest of his life and I believe it helped him. We started wth a higher dose and tapered down to 5ml per day.

      Good for Red!


      • #23
        EPM is unlikely given your location. Most likely something as you suspect--latent osteoarthritis suddenly causing compression somewhere.

        Happened to an elderly TB at my barn recently. Apparently has happened in the past. Steroids did cause improvement, but once taken off it wasn't long before he became very unstable again.There was also one scary colic episode where he appeared to be unable to give up and we think the nerve problems also temporarily affected the GI. Somehow snapped out of that but it made everyone afraid each time he went down to sleep. Given his age, the owner decided to put him down not too long after since his quality of life was becoming so impeded.

        With any horse with ataxia, I'd be careful about chiropractic work--be sure you give the chiro a complete history. My horse with CA (but no ataxia) absolutely loves his acupuncture, so don't discount that if the specialist suggests that route.

        Hopefully your guy can maintain off steroids a bit longer.


        • Original Poster

          I appreciate hearing about everyone's experiences, with good and not-so-good outcomes. Your comments are helping prepare me for what is likely looming ahead. My vet has not been overly optimistic about Red's prognosis, but is pleasantly surprised by steroid response, and is hopeful the bute will continue to help him improve. We are also both very curious to see how things go with the chiropractor in the morning, too. I am a little leery of chiro work (and wanted to do acupuncture instead), but my vet believes Red may benefit, and referred me to his preferred chiro specialist, so I'm willing to give it a try.

          Also talked to my farrier, who is coming out on Tuesday for his regularly scheduled visit, so he is aware of situation. I love my farrier and thankfully, he is one of the most patient, gentle equine professionals I've worked with, and is prepared to do what he can for Red.

          Thanks again for your support and well wishes!


          • Original Poster

            We had the horse chiropractor out this morning, and it was my first experience with this treatment. It was very interesting! The chiropractor noted issues with left side C-3, just behind withers, and sacrum, but impressed how fluid the rest of his body felt. I could hear the crackle sound of adjustment that way it does when I have had my back adjusted. My horse seemed very relaxed by it.

            At the end, we noticed improved balance and when flexing front legs, Red was able to balance perfectly fine with one of his back legs hitched, which is his usual behavior with the farrier. She will discuss her visit directly with my vet, and plans to come back out in 1-2 weeks for follow-up.


            • Original Poster

              This is hopefully my final update on this thread. It's been 12 days since Red first presented with sudden onset of acute ataxia, and I am very pleased to report Red is nearly 100% recovered now, and plan to turn him back out with his group in the next day or so.

              We will continue daily Elevate vit e supplement, and also have follow-up chiro appt on the 27th, which I believe really helped Red. I fully appreciate that since he has experienced this episode, a future episode is likely. It could be weeks, months, or even years from now. But in the meantime, we will enjoy the time he still has, and believe we will be better prepared for next time.

              Thank you again for your words of wisdom and support!


              • #27
                Yay!!! So happy for you.


                • #28
                  Hurrah for you and Red!

                  Love him as you obviously do and cherish every day that he is with you. I wouldn't trade those years with my old man for anything.