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My horse had a seizure....

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  • My horse had a seizure....

    ..and I don't know what to do.

    He's been off work essentially since May, when he was diagnosed with navicular problems. (Before that we did training level eventing.) We've tried a plethora of shoeing and medication options, none of which so far have helped. He's been off all medicine for several months, except for a small dose of Thyro-L which he's been on for years, because of his metabolic issues (never quite defined, but, like porn, you know it when you see it).

    Today I brought him in for the farrier at 9. He was shod around noon--I was there for the front feet, he was standing easy and looked great. Then I had to go back to the house (it was raining in my basement; a whole nother story); when I returned, my farrier said that Gully had stood calmly for all four feet. Then he put Gully back in his stall, and as he removed Gully's halter Gully went stiff, threw his head up, and began to lurch uncontrollably around the stall. The farrier couldn't get to the regular door, so went out over the dutch door to the pasture to get out of the way. Gully collapsed against the water buckets, completely crushing one, fell to the floor, and lay shaking for about 40 seconds.

    Then he slowly regained his feet. By the time I got back to the barn, maybe 15 minutes after this happened, he looked fine. I went in and stroked him, and he seemed fine. Later when I put his grazing muzzle on before turning him out, he got a bit stiff, with an odd look in his eye, but then he walked out of the stall as normal.

    What the heck? Can anybody help me here? He's turning 16, not overweight, on full turnout, a Connemara if that helps.

  • #2
    No advice, but just wanted to pop in with hugs and jingles for your boy. Have you called your vet to see what he/she would advise?
    Dapplebay - home of original equestrian clothing and accessories.


    • #3
      Call the vet. A seizing horse is nothing to mess around with. Hopefully its an isolated incident and never happens again.
      I love cats, I love every single cat....
      So anyway I am a cat lover
      And I love to run.


      • #4
        I've only had to deal with one horse who was having a seizure, and it was a nightmare --- and lasted much longer that your horse's did. Call a vet. With the horse I knew, they couldn't find anything wrong, but did stop riding him. He died from cancer a few years later, but there was no way to know if the cancer and the one seizure I saw were related.


        • #5
          I feel your pain all to well. In 1995 I had a OTTB, who was a young 9, who developed seizures out of the blue. His initial trigger was when he would go to eat. He would throw his head, fly backwards to the back wall and tremor and shake for what seemed like an eternity. (they are blind for a minute after the episode so make sure you talk to him....) I took him to Tufts university where he actually had a seizure in the x-ray lab. I stopped riding him and became the only person to handle him. They put him on massive doses of phenobarbitol and it seemed to help for a few months. The seizures did return with a vengeance and I was forced to put him down. I truly hope in the past 18 years they have made some form of medical advancement for your guy. Please keep us updated and my heart goes out to you and your guy.


          • #6
            Definitely call the vet tomorrow.

            Hope Gully's OK.
            The inherent vice of Capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.
            Winston Churchill


            • #7
              Did you by chance check his vitals? Also, I would have called the vet right then to see how they would want to proceed. Honestly, I might still tonight even though it is late.


              • #8
                He should have a blood work up for epm and acute viral diseases and Then probably take him to a vet clinic for a neuro work up if the firsts shows nothing. In horses a seizure is usually indicative of something pretty serious affecting the brain, either viral or tumor related, I believe. Sorry its happened to you. Same thing recently with an older horse at our barn. He will go to fairfield vet next week for a neuro work up, as nothing else has been determined. Being a grey, we think it could also be a tumor, such as something on the crainial nerves or in the brain. He seems to have sight problems so we suspect a growth on his optic nerve, but the seizures are similar to the description of a horse thrown back into the stall, crashing around and finishing with almost a minute of shaking. He can crash through whatever wall he hits back against, and has gone back an ddown on the cross ties a few times, once almost flipping over. Quiet, sweet horse. Very sad.
                My warmbloods have actually drunk mulled wine in the past. Not today though. A drunk warmblood is a surly warmblood. - WildandWickedWarmbloods


                • #9
                  Does gully have any QH in him?


                  • #10
                    Untreated (or undertreated) Cushing's can cause this symptom.


                    • Original Poster

                      No QH. He's 7/8 Connemara, 1/8 Thoroughbred. I thought of Cushings--he seems very hairy this winter, though it's the first in several years that I haven't clipped him so it's hard to say for sure.


                      • #12
                        Ugh....hugs to you! I have never had a horse with a seizure but one of my dogs has a had a few. They are so scary! I cannot imagine a seeing a horse have one after seeing what my dog has to go through!


                        • #13
                          My experience

                          Sorry this became so long, didn't want to provide too little info!

                          My horse had a seizure about 6 months ago. I didn't see it, but from what a barn friend described it was clearly one. The first thing my vet asked me about was what I fed him and how much selenium was in it (yes she already had been told what he was on at last appt, but didn't think they was an issue). When I put it all together I was shocked to find that he was getting way too much selenium, among other things. The supplements I was giving him were based on a consultation with a supplement company...
                          Talk about making you scared of listening to someone's advice. This was not Smartpak or something like that and the guy at the company is a trained specialist (related college degree). Yes I knew he was a sales person, but I didn't think he would sell me something unsafe and it was worth a try to help my horse. I wasn't even giving it to my horse at his recommended amounts because the horse didn't want to eat it. One of the items was just a multi-vitamin...
                          Anyways, a blood test showed quite a few crazy levels and I dropped him off all supplements. After 2 months we retested and all levels were normal and we have not witnessed any additional episodes.
                          To prove even further that my horse didn't need these items he has gained weight and his coat looks amazing these days. He does have other issues that were part of the reason for the supplement consult (thought he might be deficient somewhere), but the supplement did not help them and I have continued investigating them with my vet.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Ambitious Kate View Post
                            He should have a blood work up for epm and acute viral diseases and Then probably take him to a vet clinic for a neuro work up if the firsts shows nothing. In horses a seizure is usually indicative of something pretty serious affecting the brain, either viral or tumor related
                            Originally posted by draftxfan View Post
                            Untreated (or undertreated) Cushing's can cause this symptom.

                            Hope everything turns out ok!
                            Originally posted by rustbreeches
                            [George Morris] doesn't always drink beer, but when he does, he prefers Dos Equis