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epm presenting with inability to eat hay or grass

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    epm presenting with inability to eat hay or grass

    Has anyone heard of this or experienced it? Horse wants to eat hay and grass - takes a mouthful chews for a little bit and spits it out and takes another mouthful. Teeth were just floated, x rays of head were taken and nothing. Horse eats moist forage extender and TC Sr. Will eat treats. Acting completely normal otherwise.

    #2
    I would assume something TMJ-related, and being uncomfortable to chew in that manner, than EPM
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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      #3
      I would not think EPM. Does he have a high titer?

      So so many things from colic to ulcers to sores in the mouth to a broken tooth that could cause this, but I would want the vet out pronto.

      have you taken temp?

      how old is the horse?

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by skyy View Post
        Has anyone heard of this or experienced it? Horse wants to eat hay and grass - takes a mouthful chews for a little bit and spits it out and takes another mouthful. Teeth were just floated, x rays of head were taken and nothing. Horse eats moist forage extender and TC Sr. Will eat treats. Acting completely normal otherwise.
        Why are you thinking EPM? Not sure I understand where you're coming from.
        "When a horse greets you with a nicker & regards you with a large & liquid eye, the question of where you want to be & what you want to do has been answered." CANTER New England

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          #5
          I have a very similar situation with my mare Skyy!!! She nuzzles the hay, makes a mess, puts it in her pee spot, eats a little, but she used to be a hay chow hound!!! I had the vet out last fall- floated her teeth- one bad tooth that was floated, then fell out that night.

          I want her tested for EPM, but waiting until you can be around the vet (Covid). I have started soaking hay pellets, which she loves, but she eats her grain, and loves grass! I want to ask the vet if they do the spinal test or blood test too. Hopefully in a month or so we can go out again!!!

          Comment


            #6
            Did this just happen over night, or has it progressed over time? If it has been slowly progressing, how old is the horse? My older (32) horse lost the ability to break down hay almost 10 years ago because he doesn't have grinding surfaces on his teeth anymore. I switched him to chopped hay and hay pellets for forage.

            If it happened basically overnight, definitely get the vet involved.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Callista17 View Post
              I have a very similar situation with my mare Skyy!!! She nuzzles the hay, makes a mess, puts it in her pee spot, eats a little, but she used to be a hay chow hound!!! I had the vet out last fall- floated her teeth- one bad tooth that was floated, then fell out that night.

              I want her tested for EPM, but waiting until you can be around the vet (Covid). I have started soaking hay pellets, which she loves, but she eats her grain, and loves grass! I want to ask the vet if they do the spinal test or blood test too. Hopefully in a month or so we can go out again!!!
              If you really think the horse has EPM, I wouldn't wait a month. Often the damage is not reversable, you don't want to delay treating it.

              Comment


                #8
                A couple years ago, friend's horse, turns out she had EPM and Lyme. Her tongue and lips were at least partially paralyzed, couldn't eat, lost a lot of weight fast, laminitic. Finally treated for both EPM and Lyme, made a good recovery except she rotated some. She was a pasture potato, continues to be one, and is pasture sound.

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                  Original Poster

                  #9
                  1)Vet was out as soon as he started spitting out his hay as I thought he might be starting to choke as he has choked before.Not a choke. Horse gets dampened grain because of the predisposition to choke and continues to eat that with no problem. No temp no other symptoms. 2) Dentist was out and did a routine float, found nothing interesting and suggested head films.3) 2 days later (now day 5 of the mystery illness) vet was out and did head films, nothing interesting. Horse does seem a little sensitive on right TMJ compared to left. Vet pulled blood for EPM and CBC. Put horse on 1 bute 2x per day and suggested Surpass on TMJ. Offers up that the TMJ can be injected but as he has Cushings, we should wait for blood to come back. After a day, horse begins to figure out how to eat grass but still can't eat hay.
                  4) Day 8 vet comes out and scopes horse. Oddity in the closure to his larynx as it appears to collapse on itself and vet says this could make swallowing a wad of hay difficult. Scope also shows one very minor irritated spot in gut, nothing else. She is feeling stronger about EPM diagnosis.

                  Now later day 8 - CBC comes back anemic with elevated fibrinogen. SSA performed and its 490 when it should be below 50 indicating some type of infection somewhere. Horse goes on SMZ's.

                  He has been getting dampened forage extender and yesterday I tried some dampened Dengi. Spit it out. Horse continues to act normal in all other aspects.

                  Comment

                    Original Poster

                    #10
                    Edited to add that his tongue and lips have normal movement and tone. He picks up the hay fine but he just chews and chews the wad and then spits it out.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I know you said he was floated but did the vet check his teeth specifically? Wadding hay can indicate tooth problems and inability to chew well (ex: sore tooth, missing tooth/teeth). So they spit out the wads...called quidding.

                      Comment

                        Original Poster

                        #12
                        hi. The vet checked his mouth (speculum in) on day 1 and said he was a little sharp on 1 side (not the TMJ side) but nothing unusual. It just so happened that our dentist was scheduled to come out 2 days later and he got floated then. The dentist watched the horse try to eat hay and spit it out and then floated him. Both he and the vet poked and prodded inside the horse's mouth and found no sensitive areas or anything that felt or looked weird.

                        Comment

                          Original Poster

                          #13
                          Update - apparently difficulty swalowing is a sign of EPM and serum test came up with 89% likelihood. Started Marquis today.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Ahhh, I was taken off track knowing she could/would eat/swallow treats and some food. Fingers crossed the Marquis works!
                            ______________________________
                            The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by skyy View Post
                              Update - apparently difficulty swalowing is a sign of EPM and serum test came up with 89% likelihood. Started Marquis today.
                              Sorry to hear this skyy. My old man came down with it two years ago and is doing ok for his age (32). I would also start natural vitamin E that helps with their immune system. My boy hates the powder but the pellets are good and I buy in bulk.

                              We did the Marquis and then followed up with Protazil for the last two years. He's now down to 3x a week and also gets the Vit e, and Prednisolone every other day as well. He also has cushings and a bad stifle but is still loving life regardless!

                              Blessings
                              )O(
                              "Some people will never like you because your spirit irritates their demons"

                              Comment

                                Original Poster

                                #16
                                Moonwitch-
                                thanks for suggesting Vit E but he is already on it. He also has Cushings. This horse has come back from some crazy things - my vet fondly refers to him as The Cat (as in he has nine lives) so we shall see. Here's hoping for the best!

                                Comment

                                  Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Update. We are now almost done the month of Marquis and nothing has changed. Still can't swallow hay.

                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    I’m going through about the same thing. Whey they scooped, did they do a guttural pouch endoscopy? I just curious what they scoped for especially with the CBC results. It’s so frustrating. I’m sorry you all are going through this too.

                                    Comment


                                      #19
                                      I just posted this to another thread, as symptoms are similar. As some others have said, talk to your vet about temporohyoid osteoarthropathy. My friend's mare lost the ability to swollow, developed head shaking, and couldn't blink roperly and thus developed a corneal ulcer. She had a guttural pouch scope that confirmed diagnosis and an old fracture, and then she had surgery to remove the bones. The prognosis is very good!

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