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Any experience with EPM?

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  • Any experience with EPM?

    I am having the vet out for my TWH that I recently required back. He will be coming out this week. He said based on the symptoms in which I am describing, it sounds like EPM.

    I wanted to get people's experiences with EPM.

    From what I have been reading, EPM does not get better without treatment and even then, it is iffy. I have read that most horses die without treatment.

    Here is my question. When the guy dropped her off to me, he had said she has IMPROVED. He said she was laying down hours at a time when she first got sick, took him a long time to get her up. But now, she is no longer laying down. She lays down at night out in the pasture, but during the day, she is up and bright eyed, especially at feeding time. The barn owner even said that she loped in her pasture the other day.

    She is still woobly in the back end and sometimes she has those "durt da dur moments". She will eat her food, then stop, stand by the gate and in a few minutes, come back and start eating again.

    From what I am reading about EPM, is that a blood test is not really reliable, I guess they say that over 50% of horses would test positive for the antibodies because about half of horses have been exposed to it. They say the only really reliable option is a spinal tap and you have to have a very clean tap done to get accurate results, which, according to what I have read, is hard to do.

    I guess I just don't want to put her down if it is not EPM- and I am really thinking it is not EPM.

    My question is, has anyone had an EPM horse show improvement WITHOUT treatment? And if so, did that horse later pass on? With her improvement, I am really doubting the EPM.

  • #2
    No, they don't show permanent improvement without treatment. But, it can wax and wane. Some horses are able to compensate better than others and 24 hour turnout seems to really benefit them. But, there is no more dangerous horse than a neurologically compromised horse.

    Seems to me there was a lot of discussion about this on your other thread. Did you follow any of that advice? Seemed to me, at least, that you were looking for attention more than advice.

    Comment


    • #3
      You are correct that the blood test is not reliable. The only test that's reliable is to do a spinal and then if they get any blood in the sample it's tainted. It's also very expensive...something like $500. Have you done any blood tests so far?

      I cared for a gelding last spring that was diagnosed with EPM. My vet said that with all the horses he's had with neuro problems only 3 truly had EPM and the gelding I took to him was one of the. His symptoms were very mild. He had some muscle atrophy in his left shoulder and would sometimes walk a little drunk. He got around just fine on his own and would run and play with the others. My vet suggested just treating him for EPM based on his symptoms, so we started him on the Marquis and Vitamin E daily. I'm not caring for him anymore but from what I heard from my horses mt/chiro he's doing well.

      Not every horse with EPM will exhibit the same symptoms and I think that's why it's so over diagnosed.

      Here's a diary of a horse that was diagnosed with EPM who was ultimately put down. The necropsy showed he was postive for West Nile.

      http://symptomsofepm.com/comet.htm
      Boyle Heights Kid 1998 16.1h OTTB Dark Bay Gelding
      Tinner's Way x Sculpture by Hail to Reason
      "Once you go off track, you never go back!"

      Comment


      • #4
        Here's a link to her trainwreck of a previous thread. To me, it sounds like she doesn't want to get a vet involved and is just trolling for attention.

        http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/sh...=286981&page=2

        Comment


        • #5
          The horse I had with EDM (equine degenerative myeopathy) tested negative for EPM, and we were in your area, and this was with the Western Blot blood test (we later had this confirmed with a spinal tap up at Peterson & Smith). So a negative test is pretty accurate, and I would go ahead and have it done, because if he comes up positive, while it may be a false positive, if he comes up negative, it is not likely to be a false negative and can be a good diagnostic indicator.

          If it's negative and you wanted to spend more money, you could begin to look for other things like wobblers and EDM, but honestly, any neurologic condition tends to be both heartbreaking and dangerous for both the handler and the horse. I had mine put down when I realized that he had EDM. All it would take was a fall in the pasture, or a stumble while I was leading him. He was a danger to me, to himself, and to anyone who had to handle him. Who would I ask to bring him in if I couldn't be out there? One of the KIDS who hung around the barn? Uh Uh.

          If the horse is neurologically compromised, no matter what the reason, I would not mess around. I would have him put down. Why would you not? Who are you going to risk having do his feet? What if he falls over one day on that person? Neurological testing is fairly simple, and your vet can do that. If he thinks the horse is neurologic, don't only do what is best for the horse, think about everyone who has to handle and come into contact with this horse for the rest of his life, and think carefully about what you are saving him FOR.

          Make a judgement based on recommendations from your veterinarian based on the severity of the horse's neurological symptoms, not your emotional attachment to the horse.

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by BoyleHeightsKid View Post
            You are correct that the blood test is not reliable. The only test that's reliable is to do a spinal and then if they get any blood in the sample it's tainted. It's also very expensive...something like $500. Have you done any blood tests so far?

            I cared for a gelding last spring that was diagnosed with EPM. My vet said that with all the horses he's had with neuro problems only 3 truly had EPM and the gelding I took to him was one of the. His symptoms were very mild. He had some muscle atrophy in his left shoulder and would sometimes walk a little drunk. He got around just fine on his own and would run and play with the others. My vet suggested just treating him for EPM based on his symptoms, so we started him on the Marquis and Vitamin E daily. I'm not caring for him anymore but from what I heard from my horses mt/chiro he's doing well.

            Not every horse with EPM will exhibit the same symptoms and I think that's why it's so over diagnosed.

            Here's a diary of a horse that was diagnosed with EPM who was ultimately put down. The necropsy showed he was postive for West Nile.

            http://symptomsofepm.com/comet.htm
            Boyle, no blood tests so far. I got her approx. 2 weeks ago and my vet told me to go ahead and switch her diet, feed her as if she has PSSM, and see if there are any changes. Her walking and stability has improved since I first got her back but I think she will need to stay on this diet a bit longer to see a huge change IF it is PSSM. She hasn't been drinking a whole lot of water though, so I may have to put her on some alfalfa or T/A pellets to get some water in her. Poop has been moist though.

            I am going to have the vet go ahead and do the blood tests. EPM, vitamin E level, and whatever else my vet thinks would be a good idea. As another poster mentioned, if the EPM comes back positive, we don't know for sure but if it comes back negative, we can rule EPM out at least.

            Was just wanting to know if anyone had experiences with horses that improved with EPM without treatment and it doesn't look like there has been. I would imagine going from laying down a lot of the time to only laying down at night, trotting/loping around the pasture would be a sign of improvement?

            That really sucks to hear about the horse that was misdiagnosed. From what I read, horses with west nile can improve and many do. That is what I am afraid of. Of getting a diagnosis of EPM- but it not really being that. From what Outfox has said on the other thread, so many vets suspect EPM when it is something else.

            But we shall see. I will let everyone know what the vet says and what the tests come back as.

            Comment


            • #7
              And I should clarify my own post - I meant that if you are going to not TREAT the neurological cause, if it is EPM, if you are just going to "wait and see if he gets better," then he should be put down. Because the local farriers will NOT love you if you put them in danger. A neuro horse is very unpredictable and must be trimmed very carefully.

              Of course I have no idea of how bad the horse is - I am interested in what the vet says, for sure.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by thatmoody View Post
                The horse I had with EDM (equine degenerative myeopathy) tested negative for EPM, and we were in your area, and this was with the Western Blot blood test (we later had this confirmed with a spinal tap up at Peterson & Smith). So a negative test is pretty accurate, and I would go ahead and have it done, because if he comes up positive, while it may be a false positive, if he comes up negative, it is not likely to be a false negative and can be a good diagnostic indicator.

                If it's negative and you wanted to spend more money, you could begin to look for other things like wobblers and EDM, but honestly, any neurologic condition tends to be both heartbreaking and dangerous for both the handler and the horse. I had mine put down when I realized that he had EDM. All it would take was a fall in the pasture, or a stumble while I was leading him. He was a danger to me, to himself, and to anyone who had to handle him. Who would I ask to bring him in if I couldn't be out there? One of the KIDS who hung around the barn? Uh Uh.

                If the horse is neurologically compromised, no matter what the reason, I would not mess around. I would have him put down. Why would you not? Who are you going to risk having do his feet? What if he falls over one day on that person? Neurological testing is fairly simple, and your vet can do that. If he thinks the horse is neurologic, don't only do what is best for the horse, think about everyone who has to handle and come into contact with this horse for the rest of his life, and think carefully about what you are saving him FOR.

                Make a judgement based on recommendations from your veterinarian based on the severity of the horse's neurological symptoms, not your emotional attachment to the horse.
                Yea, I thought going ahead and doing the EPM test would be a good idea- just to rule it out if it does come back negative.

                I have nothing to compare my mare to because this is the first time I have had to deal with possible neuro issues but it seems to me, that she is not severe with the back legs. I mean, she does appear drunken, sometimes more than others. But she has never fallen. That is not to say that she won't but if she improves and does not get to the point where she is falling over, I see no reason to put her down. If it is the EPM and I cannot get the treatment done than yes, I think that is the best course for her. However, the other things I read that it could be, west nile, PSSM, etc. are manageable and can improve, with time.

                No one has to handle her but me and of course, I accept the risks.. The barn owner does feed in the mornings, but no need to handle her. She is out on pasture board in a decent sized paddock.

                I think she is in the right situation for how she is. Depending on what the vet says and what the tests reveal, I will then make a decision.

                From what I have been reading though, on the different things it could be, it keeps pointing to Vitamin E as something that could help the situation.

                Anyone who supplements with Vitamin E? If so, what do you use?

                Thanks again to everyone for all their information.

                Comment


                • #9
                  You can get the suspension from the vet and just squirt in on her food. Your vet will tell you the dosage...
                  Boyle Heights Kid 1998 16.1h OTTB Dark Bay Gelding
                  Tinner's Way x Sculpture by Hail to Reason
                  "Once you go off track, you never go back!"

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    So, tell us. When IS the vet coming? She's been back for two weeks and still no vet. According to you, she seems "drunken". And you're going to wait until she's falling down until you put her down? I'm I the only one who is horrified by this?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      You never get her feet done? She never needs vet care? Those people also have to handle her. Again, I don't know how bad she is (that will be for you and your vet to decide)

                      I am just giving you the perspective of someone who has HAD a neurological horse. My gelding also never fell, but getting his feet done was bad enough that I knew that it was not safe. I suppose I have a different perception of risk than you do though. Once I got the neurological diagnosis I knew from experience that a neurologically compromised horse is not safe. I did put him on vitamin e supplementation as it is the only known "cure" for EDM, but it did not help enough for me to feel confident that he would be ok to handle. I was fine handling him - I am an expert, and I have a great farrier who was willing and able to work with me, but I just didn't feel like putting him at risk for injury with a horse that I knew was compromised.

                      Edit: Oh, and I supplemented him with this product:
                      http://www.allivet.com/Elevate-W-S-p/28893.htm

                      As it was what both my vet and the vets up at P&S recommended.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        So what's the deal, BlondyB? You last posted on the Help-Diagnosis????? thread on January 11th. As of that date, he was still with his new owner. So, today is January 19th. Eight days later. And now he's been back with you for two weeks? Let's try to get the stories straight. And you've been trying to get an internet forum to diagnose and recommend treatment since January 2nd and you still haven't had a vet out to look at him.

                        I don't know of any vets that will recommend treatment over the phone without first seeing the horse. What's going on here?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          If you are going to spend money for a blood test, then ask for the IFAT test. It will cost more but at least give you some numbers to work from.

                          Or, just go ahead a treat for EPM and see what kind of results you get. Won't hurt in the short run.

                          EPM is not a cheap disease.

                          As I shared before, neuro is neuro. What are your long term plans for this horse? Are you able to provide supportive care? I know of one that suffered an injury during a breeding cover. She was bad......so very bad. She did carry the foal to term (which was taken away at birth) and eventually improved to where she could live her days out in a field....and then my horse that was diagnoses with advanced arthritis in the neck....he made it nine months before he was found dead in the field. Are you mentally and financially prepared to care for this horse the remainder of its life? You can forget riding it....and don;t be fooled by neuro horses trotting or playing around. Sometimes I think they look better at the trot than at the walk.

                          It wasn't until I went through this that I learned how common loosing horses to neuro issues can be. It sucks. Be prepared.

                          Oh and BTW I had a great farrier that was willing to spend 2 hours to do his feet. With someone on his head and his butt on the wall. And he would still walk out of his back shoes when he was bad.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Financially, treating for EPM is not feasible for me. Unfortunately. I do have a call to make later today to see if they will provide assistance with EPM treatment if that is what it is. Never know until you ask.

                            At this point, she will just be a pasture pet if she is not rideable ever again. If she does have something like west nile and shows improvement where she is rideable, then that is great. But not a necessity. I have found cheap board, not two minutes from my house and she seems to enjoy it there.

                            As far as farriers go, I don't want to put anyone in danger either. Her feet are actually pretty good right now- but I know at a later date, they will need to be done. She has always had good, strong hooves so she doesn't have any chips or anything going on. They aren't needed to be done right now, so, I will cross that bridge when it needs to be crossed.

                            Right now I am concerned with getting a diagnosis on her. Really hoping to rule out the EPM with the test.

                            As far as the time line goes, I did not mark my calendar when I got her and I did not look back to figure out how long it has been, which is why I said approximately two weeks.

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Originally posted by BoyleHeightsKid View Post
                              Here's a diary of a horse that was diagnosed with EPM who was ultimately put down. The necropsy showed he was postive for West Nile.

                              http://symptomsofepm.com/comet.htm
                              What a sad account. Strange how it seems that the horse had EPM AND West Nile. I wonder if the EPM brought the immune system down and then vaccinating for West Nile made it show positive?

                              Interesting read though. For some reason, it says "stolen image" all over the page but if you right click, select all, you can read it.

                              But no images unfortunately.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I had a horse that needed meds for EPM and the vet had me mixing human meds that were VERY expensive and years ago. When I told the vet it was getting too expensive, he told me about a program someone was sponsoring for people who couldn't afford EPM meds. I think it was through Omaha Vaccine? They sent me a large bottle of the liquid flavored medicine and also the vitamins! The horse was treated asap and fully recovered. I didn't do the spinal test because the vet said it isn't always accurate and said to just treat it as EPM, because to him all the signs were there, and see if she improved. So, maybe ask your vet if he knows of any such program if he suspects EPM. The only thing is, I had the vet out and treated right away. She was on it for 30 days, I believe.
                                "Humans will never devise an invention more beautiful, more simple,
                                or more direct than does Nature." ~Leonardo da Vinci

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by LauraKY View Post
                                  Here's a link to her trainwreck of a previous thread. To me, it sounds like she doesn't want to get a vet involved and is just trolling for attention.

                                  http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/sh...=286981&page=2
                                  This is all Jazzy's fault!

                                  OP, EPM is a very serious and expensive disease. I was once at a barn where a horse was diagnosed with this disease. The vet did a spinal tap. The Marquis which had to be given for several months, was about 800$ a month. Then it had to be given again a short while later when the horse relapsed.
                                  The owner and BO had let the horse get so sick and wasted before testing for EPM that the horse was either euth-ed or sent to auction (I had left the barn by then). The nerves and muscles wasted in the progression of the disease cannot be reversed. The protozoa can be killed, but the damage is irreversible.
                                  If the horse you have has had this disease to the extent that it is in such bad shape as you have described, please please put the horse down!
                                  Or call AC out and ask them to take the horse and euth it.
                                  If you cannot afford feed, you cannot afford Marquis at 800$ a month.
                                  (Plus vit E every day and extra feed and special shoes, etc.)

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by thatmoody View Post
                                    And I should clarify my own post - I meant that if you are going to not TREAT the neurological cause, if it is EPM, if you are just going to "wait and see if he gets better," then he should be put down. Because the local farriers will NOT love you if you put them in danger. A neuro horse is very unpredictable and must be trimmed very carefully.

                                    Of course I have no idea of how bad the horse is - I am interested in what the vet says, for sure.
                                    If the horse has EPM, it is going to die if you don't treat it. And if the wasting has started, you cannot reverse the damage to nerves and muscles.

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      If the horse has EPM, then yes, she will be put down. I don't have the money to treat and I would have to ask the vet if treating her at this point would be a moot point to begin with.

                                      Nerves do repair and muscles can be rebuilt- but if it is EPM and it is not killed, it will just progress.

                                      So, crossing fingers and toes that it is not EPM. Statistically speaking, it shouldn't be, but we all know how that goes.

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by 12hooves View Post
                                        I had a horse that needed meds for EPM and the vet had me mixing human meds that were VERY expensive and years ago. When I told the vet it was getting too expensive, he told me about a program someone was sponsoring for people who couldn't afford EPM meds. I think it was through Omaha Vaccine? They sent me a large bottle of the liquid flavored medicine and also the vitamins! The horse was treated asap and fully recovered. I didn't do the spinal test because the vet said it isn't always accurate and said to just treat it as EPM, because to him all the signs were there, and see if she improved. So, maybe ask your vet if he knows of any such program if he suspects EPM. The only thing is, I had the vet out and treated right away. She was on it for 30 days, I believe.
                                        Thank you. I will have to check into that.

                                        I am calling the manufacturer to see if they have any programs going on. Just in case it is EPM and just in case the vet says it may help to treat at this point.

                                        Comment

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