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Can a Horse "Work Out of" a Neurologic Issue?

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  • Can a Horse "Work Out of" a Neurologic Issue?

    Just curious as this question came up about a horse I know that can be a little odd and clumsy at first when riding and then as he is ridden, gets better and looks fine. Some days worse than others. Some days looks great on lunge, not under tack, and other days, bad on lunge too. Some days he never works out of it at all. Some times he has a "good" day from start to finish. Looking at all the other factors, like saddle fit and previous known soundness issues, etc., but I had also speculated it might be neurological or EPM (Lyme not a factor here as we do not have ticks and horse has not been out of area). Trainer I work with, who is also trying to figure out horse, said no way, he wouldn't work out of it if neuro or EPM. Just curious if that is always the case?

    And horse will be seen by vet, again, and I'm not really trying to diagnose HIM -- just wondering about this blanket statement and whether it is really true or if others have different experiences. I tend to agree, but then, I've never really dealt with a wobbler, or EPM, or any of those kinds of things, so don't know for sure!

  • #2
    In my experience, yes, neuro conditions can change from day to day. I would say look at the neck though. If he has arthritis in his neck, it can be better one day and worse the next, just like arthritis in other joints.


    • #3
      Yes. They can change from day to day and time of day. My guy with epm started having his back end slip when trotting and cantering. Some days he'd only do it once or twice in a ride and thence fine. Other days he'd never do it at all, other days he seemed like he just couldn't hold his balance well and other days he would trip. Took him to the university thinking hock arthritis but it ended up being epm. I'd have blood drawn when vet comes out to make sure.
      Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole


      • #4
        I asked this question also. I have a 10 yr old who fell with me 5 years ago. Had multiple tests done (he was def. neurological). Test showed shadowing on C6&C7. Did an injection and he was 100++++%! Moved like he never had. Vet would not do a f/u injection (he was supposed to have 3) b/c 4th EPM test showed 'exposed to EPM'. I don't and never thought it was EPM..... Did dressage with him until he had a 'big' trip that scared me, and have not been on him since.
        He has been on loan as a weaning partner for the past3 years. I got him back 2 weeks ago, and he looks amazing....
        i called vet who did all of the tests, and she said that since he has not been in a frame and had his neck stressed that there is a very good possibility that the area has healed itself . I am going to take him back for an ultrasound (that is the only test that showed anything abnormal).
        You might want to have his neck ultrasounded. The test is under $750, and it could give you peace of mind. If there is anything, they may be able to inject the site.
        My guy did this to himself as a youngster when(playing with his buddy) he reared up and hit his head on the run-in shed.
        Good luck! Post what you find out.
        The Greatest Sense of Freedom is on a Horse!


        • #5
          If the horse is having neurological issues from neck arthritis, then yes I would suspect that he could feel better as the ride went on.


          • #6
            I have a horse with chronic EPM in my care. He definitely has good days and bad days, and has days where he may start off feeling like crap, but get better as we go along (he also has days where he seems fine then suddenly doesn't. Those are my least favorite with him, because they catch me by surprise while I'm RIDING him!).


            • #7
              We had a horse like that, tripping on perfectly flat, hard surfaces. Wound up being EPSM. With the diet change, the tripping, sluggish starts, inconsistency did go away.


              • #8
                Back in the mid-90's I was barn manager for a lady who had warmbloods. One of her mares contracted EPM, and after about 6 months of treating it, she was given the all-clear to start riding her again (strictly dressage). The mare would be dead lame for about the first 5-10 minutes but then would warm up and you could never tell there had been a problem a moment ago. Last I heard, the mare was doing 4th level.


                • Original Poster

                  Very interesting...thank you all for posting. Definitely gives me some things to think about.