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Horse with EPM

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  • Horse with EPM

    I am considering looking at a horse that according to the owner, had EPM 5 years ago, was treated and now is fine. He is now turned out because the teenage daughter lost interest.

    I have never dealt with EPM. What is the prognosis? Anybody have experience with the usefulness of a horse who has been treated for EPM?

    If I got this horse, we would do light to medium cross country riding. Some jumping.

    Thanks!!

  • #2
    It's been about 15 years since my horse was diagnosed and treated for EPM, so my info is a bit out of date. But we treated him as a 5 year old for it, brought him slowly and carefully back into work, and knock on wood he is turning 20 this year and is still going strong. He evented through prelim and is still doing training level successfully.

    That said, relapses are possible, and I don't know the latest on how likely they are, or what the current treatment options are.

    Comment


    • #3
      Miss Mare had it 2 winters ago and after rehab is totally sound and happy working first level dressage. We did start her over fences this summer with no miss steps. Any hourse that has been out of work for long will need to be brought back to work carefully.

      Comment


      • #4
        I'd want the most detailed of neurologic exams and vet records indicating that the diagnosis was correct and the treatment was appropriate. Otherwise I'd personally not purchase a horse that has had clinical EPM, and even with all that info I would more than likely pass. Too many nice ones out there without that baggage, IMO. Others can certainly feel free to disagree--this is my own personal feeling.
        Click here before you buy.

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        • #5
          Don't. Pass this horse on by and keep looking.

          Once they have EPM, and the damage is done, it doesn't ever really go away, and their crappy immune system (which tends to be par for the course in horses that catch this disease) has a good chance of allowing the issue to possibly flair up again. ("Will always" is too strong a word, otherwise I would use it).

          An EPM horse on pasture may look and act normal because they aren't under any stress at all, but that latent issue is always just below the surface, and riding/training/useage stress can bring it right to the front yet again. Too much heartache and high percentage of reoccurance to take the risk. It just isn't worth it.

          JMHO as I have an EPM survivor (now 10, diagnosed at 4, treated at 5, began foxhunting at 8, but still retains to this day some of the back end nerve damage from that illness) and have several friends with EPM survivor horses as well.
          Last edited by pdq; Dec. 19, 2012, 06:18 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Well.. I'm going to (respectfully ) disagree. It depends on the level of neurological involvement and how severe the case was, IMO.

            This is my EPM horse who has been treated for it a few times.
            Last edited by supershorty628; Dec. 19, 2012, 04:33 PM.
            http://www.youtube.com/user/supershorty628
            Proudly blogging for The Chronicle of the Horse!

            Comment


            • #7
              I have to say mine was eater 2 years ago. 3 months Marquis and 6 months cocktail. He was retired because of him still tripping and was just to risky. I was also told stress can bring on a relapse. Now to today he went on oroquin10 and having some pills now as follow up looks great and have been told 2 more weeks and we can start working him again and see how he goes. He never actually cleared from the first round even though the bloodwork back then looked as if he did. IMO I would not buy a horse that has had epm because I know the disease is so risky and touchy and works different in every horse. There is no standard really to look for to see if they are better or not really and it just takes time and work to see. Then the high chance of relapse makes me go no way.
              Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole

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              • #8
                Originally posted by supershorty628 View Post
                Well.. I'm going to (respectfully ) disagree. It depends on the level of neurological involvement and how severe the case was, IMO.

                This is my EPM horse who has been treated for it a few times.
                Your horse was "treated for it a few times"?? Thanks for the validation to the OP what other posters have said: this should be the OP's clue this is an EXPENSIVE, high percentage reoccurring disease. Chances are good it will happen again... and again. At close to $1,000 a treatment (for Marquis) it is Not worth the risk buying one that had EPM. Just...not.

                As a prior poster said, there are a lot of nice horses out there for sale that are free of the disease. Go shop among them.
                Last edited by pdq; Dec. 19, 2012, 08:52 PM. Reason: sp

                Comment


                • #9
                  Your mileage may vary! I bought mine while she had EPM (I suspect she'd had it for a while and it had not been treated), and she wasn't doing anything near the level that we do now.

                  For the OP and that horse, maybe not. But I'm just saying that I took that risk and it worked out extraordinarily well for me. Maybe I'm an outlier.

                  Edited to add: pdq, I'm not really sure why you're getting snarky with me. OP asked for experiences with horses that have had it. I posted mine, which has been better than most. I feel like I should be apologizing because you don't like it or something...sorry that's been my experience so far?
                  Last edited by supershorty628; Dec. 20, 2012, 12:38 AM.
                  http://www.youtube.com/user/supershorty628
                  Proudly blogging for The Chronicle of the Horse!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I would suggest moving on.

                    I have a horse in my care who now basically has chronic EPM. I think we did his third treatment of Marquis (and we did an extended go of it) this summer, and the vet said today that he will probably stay on the other drug he is now on for good. Like supershorty's mare, this guy came back, at least once, to compete at Advanced in eventing, but he has relapsed at least twice now, and is lucky to have an owner who is willing and able to keep treating and keep him medicated.

                    The horse is still neurological (not terrible, but he's not great, either), and will probably never be more than a dressage/hack horse from now on.

                    I would not buy a horse known to have EPM, personally. It's pricey to treat, and can come back.
                    Amanda

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      There are only a small number of things that are absolute deal-breakers for me in acquiring a horse, and an EPM history is one.
                      You need to weigh the possibilities against how much you like the horse in a conversation with a vet who has examined the horse and the horse's medical history. You also need to look ahead, for what you will do and how you are prepared for the possibility of recurrence, or an unusable/dead horse, and knowing that the horse may not be insurable.
                      As Peter, Paul, and Mary say, a dragon lives forever.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I wouldn't buy it either. I bought a very nice TB with an undisclosed history of EPM which I later was able to trace. He had a relapse with vicious results and we were not able to save him, even with every treatment option available.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I would absolutely not buy a horse with a history of EPM. If I had my own farm and the horse was really nice I might take a chance for free.
                          McDowell Racing Stables

                          Home Away From Home

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Ive had two horses with EPM (yeah, good luck huh?) I would not buy one that has a neuro history. It's expensive plus there's no
                            Guarantee that they won't relapse. My first did relapse and had to be put down. My second is finishing up treatment now but is retired.

                            Neuro horses can be very dangerous. Another thing to consider is how the previous owners KNOW it's EPM. There isn't a good definitive test. Neuro could mean other diseases.
                            Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
                            White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)

                            Mystical Moment, 1977-2010.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by supershorty628 View Post
                              Edited to add: pdq, I'm not really sure why you're getting snarky with me. OP asked for experiences with horses that have had it. I posted mine, which has been better than most. I feel like I should be apologizing because you don't like it or something...sorry that's been my experience so far?
                              I do sincerely apologize - my post wasn't meant to be snarky. Sadly, the printed word sometimes misses out on the translation. What I meant to convey was that while you were being successful with your horse for competition, he had been subjected to continual relapses despite (I'm positive) your best efforts to keep him healthy. You obviously have a lot invested in this horse, and he's doing remarkably well at the level you are showing him. He's a stunning horse, and I know you're proud of his achievements.

                              However, your risk didn't come cheap. The cost of medication alone is astronomical, and what you posted (him being treated a few times) really validated that this disease can't be considered a one-shot thing.

                              This disease is all over the map - it can blind horses (I know of a top international horse blind in one eye from EPM), create a neurological nightmare with others (dare I say most?), or leave others seemingly untouched (apparently). Unlike a bowed tendon, you just can't see EPM - you can only see the aftermath, and you never know when or where it will strike again. Early cases can be difficult to target, and by the time you identify the cause and start treatment, the damage is already done.

                              So while yours is an apparent success story, it came (and may come again) at a high price of continued relapses for your guy. This is something the OP needs to completely understand, and have the money for, if she decides to take the plunge.

                              An untested, pasture puff with a history of EPM? Thank you very much but... I'd pass!

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                DD's first horse had EPM. When he was diagnosed, he was a successful working hunter and they caught it very early. After the treatment and rehab, the horse would not jump over 2'9 - that was his rule.

                                We leased him for two years before we bought him and showed him in everything from the 2' to 2'6 hunters - only retired him because DD was ready to move up to 3' and we knew the rule. We never had any further problems associated with his EPM.

                                Six years later we still have him and the only reason he isn't in work is we don't have anyone to show him, which is a shame because he is one of the best schoolmasters I have ever had in the barn. He is now on his 3rd career as a babysitter but I would not hesitate to put him back to work if the right person came along.

                                It would have been a shame if we had missed the opportunity to have this horse just because he had EPM so do your homework on his diagnosis/treatment and then since you don't really want to use him at a high level of work, maybe try to work out a lease to own with the owner. That way you can see if he has any limitations and if they are ones you can live with.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  After watching a relapse...I would walk away. Honestly, there are just too many nice horses out there to take a chance.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Nope, wouldnt do it.

                                    I lost a horse alomost 4 years ago to it. He was at the point he couldnt walk or hardly stand. Even if he DID get better he would certainly never jump again...I myself would probably have never sat on him again.

                                    There seem to be plenty that "recover" from it enough to go into light work and a few that recover fully and never have a problem again...and then there are those that dont recover despite your best effots and $$$$$$. If you have never seen a horse go thru an EPM flair, you dont want to, trust me.

                                    I would never knowingly walk into a sale of a horse that had neuro problems and a prior DX of EPM in their history.
                                    Never Ride Faster Than Your Guardian Angel Can Fly
                                    Way Back Texas~04/20/90-09/17/08
                                    Green Alligator "Captain"

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by pdq View Post
                                      I do sincerely apologize - my post wasn't meant to be snarky. Sadly, the printed word sometimes misses out on the translation. What I meant to convey was that while you were being successful with your horse for competition, he had been subjected to continual relapses despite (I'm positive) your best efforts to keep him healthy. You obviously have a lot invested in this horse, and he's doing remarkably well at the level you are showing him. He's a stunning horse, and I know you're proud of his achievements.
                                      Apology accepted, thanks for clarifying . I totally agree that it does come at a high price - for me, it's worth it; my girl has done a LOT for me (and in the grand scheme of things, EPM has cost me less with her than things like her colic surgery!) and my parents put a lot of money into her care and her showing. For sure, it's something that should be taken into consideration!
                                      http://www.youtube.com/user/supershorty628
                                      Proudly blogging for The Chronicle of the Horse!

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I'd say the horse was not sellable - but if I had that horse, and if I found the right person who would do him right, I'd be pretty willing to give him away,
                                        considering it a cost of doing business and thinking of all the keep and vet bills I would be avoiding in the future.

                                        Don't ignore a bill of sale....for $1.00 if that happens.
                                        Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

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