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Talk to me about EPM

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  • Talk to me about EPM

    Tell me what you know...scientifica and anecdotal. I'm not sure if I'm dealing with EPM, but it's a possibility. There's a few odd things going on with my horse which may be nothing...but then again????

    Briefly spoke with vet last night (not a formal appt...she was there for something else) which was why EPM was even brought up. I will be talking to her again, but wanted to do some research and hear some stories (and sadly, COTH's search function won't allow a three letter search and there are only three results for "equine protozoal"
    Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
    Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"

  • #2
    If your good with big complicated scientific words, go to the Merk vet manual online if you don't have one yourself. It will tell you better than I could put it. And I would definitely have a good talk with your vet.
    Courage is being scared to death - and saddling up anyway

    Boots, chaps and cowboy hats... nothin' else matters.


    • Original Poster

      Originally posted by ironcowgirl View Post
      If your good with big complicated scientific words, go to the Merk vet manual online if you don't have one yourself. It will tell you better than I could put it. And I would definitely have a good talk with your vet.

      Merck was the first place I went. I've read the scientific...I really need some anecdotal stories. What made you question if your horse had it? etc.

      I've got a few vague signs...but is it worth investigating off of a few vague signs? (asymmetrical sweating, some tripping/weakness behind...and possible wasting..but that could be related to poorer quality hay and ALL the horses are losing weight). Is that really enough to go on?
      Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
      Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"


      • #4
        Originally posted by RugBug View Post
        sadly, COTH's search function won't allow a three letter search and there are only three results for "equine protozoal"
        Do a search for "Marquis" - which is the predominant treatment drug - and you'll find a bunch more threads.
        "To understand the soul of a horse is the closest human beings can come to knowing perfection."


        • #5
          sent you a pm
          Equine Massage Therapy Classes and Rehab for Horses


          • #6
            Rugbug... first let me say... I'm sorry to read this. I hope it's not the case for your horse.

            While I have not been the owner of a horse with EPM, I have friends who have.

            One case went like this...

            Horse bought as a 5 year old green prospect with a bright future. Training became more and more difficult. The horse had trouble trotting cross rails. Would sort of panic and rush and invert and generally be difficult. It went from bad to worse.

            Eventually, the horse became obviously uncoordinated. One ear became floppy and he had a tilt to his head. He was unable to walk straight etc....

            They did the marquis and the vit E suppliment and he has made a full recovery.

            I know of another horse who also suffered decreased performance and then actually fell while on course at a show. This horse too has made a full recovery, but I know less about his treatment and other symptoms.

            A 3rd horse I knew of did not make it.
            Stoneybrook Farm Afton TN


            • Original Poster

              Originally posted by Swale01 View Post
              Do a search for "Marquis" - which is the predominant treatment drug - and you'll find a bunch more threads.
              Excellent idea. I was trying to figure out a way to get around the 3 letter thing and not coming up with much.
              Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
              Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"


              • #8
                About 8 or 9 years ago I had a mare that was loosely diagnosed with EPM. I say loosely because we didn't do a spinal, we went more off symptoms. She first had trouble with her leads, and was just generally crabby under saddle, not wanting to move out, tripping, etc. Then one day I came into the barn and she was mildly ataxic, swollen legs, off feed.

                There was a blood test back then but it only demonstrated an antibody, not necessarily active infection, so it was kind of a moot point. Don't know if they have improved on that at all....

                As a poor college student I opted to treat with the old school remedy, which was a combo of antibiotics, as opposed to Marquis which at the time was very expensive. I also gave her a hefty dose of Vitamin E and Probiotics. There was something else, I think called Navigator? Not sure that is still on the market. If this happened NOW I would definitely go with the Marquis.

                Mare got worse before she got better. She was on the drugs for 4-5 months and off work for quite awhile. When we did bring her back under saddle she did absolutely fine, and went on to have a "normal" life. I sold her cheaply with full disclosure to an acquaintance, who still has her and as far as I know they've had no problems since.

                There was a Yahoo group at the time that was very helpful, maybe they are still around?

                Hopefully it is not the case for yours. Do you guys have Lyme out in CA? Might be worth looking at that and/or other tick borne diseases...
                We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.


                • #9
                  I read a very scary article the other day with the percentage of horses exposed as 80% and something like 20% actually carry it! I hate this plague. I lost my beloved 23 yr old mare to it just before Xmas. She had it once before and we treated it with Marquis and Vit E Selenium about 12 yrs prior with great success. She came back 100%. Then she had another bout with it only this time I thought she had just suffered a very bad accident. Not until it was too late did I think again about EPM. My vet assured me that she probably would not have survived it again but still I feel awful about it. My mission now is to point to EPM to everyone that it might apply so that at least they consider the disease! Good luck with your horse.

                  If it is EPM and you start treatment day 14 is the worst as they die off in the spine and the swelling causes pressure. My vet forewarned me and that really helped. I was soo scared watching her fall into walls as she wobbled. I can't believe that she got over it and got back to 100%. It wasn't until a couple of weeks after the treatment that I started to notice an improvement. Keep the faith.
                  The rider casts his heart over the fence,
                  the horse jumps in pursuit of it.

                  –Hans-Heinrich Isenbart


                  • #10
                    RugBug, I'm sorry to hear you find yourself asking this question. My neighbor's pony had EPM and was treated with Marquis. He returned to work and then was sold so I'm not sure how he's going long-term. What about EPSM? Have you looked into that?
                    "A horse's face always conveys clearly whether it is loved by its owner or simply used." - Anja Beran


                    • #11
                      To search for 3 characters (or less) in the coth forums type the following into google (change search phrase as desired)

                      site:chronofhorse.com EPM


                      • #12
                        A friend of mine is currently treating a pony with Marquis for EPM. I'm curious about the vit E though. Can anyone explain why it helps?
                        Originally posted by JSwan
                        Prove it....Otherwise, you're just coming off as a whackjob.
                        Founding member of the "Not too Klassy for Boxed Wine" Clique


                        • #13
                          I just lost my 35 year old this year ultimately to EPM. He couldn't handle the treatments so we just managed the symptoms until the neuro stuff (especially tensing of the jaw and a far off look) started coming sooner and sooner. When the seizures came daily we made the choice to put him down. I would definately treat my other younger horses with Marquis if they were diagnosed with EPM and I wish My Don could have handled it.

                          I second the Lyme test and there are other tick borne diseases that can cause neuro problems, though I'm not sure what's in CA.
                          My herd: "That Black Mare" and the Faux Pony
                          Proud Closet Canterer!


                          • #14
                            The EPm horse owners group is at www.epm@yahoogroups.com. The list owner
                            has a recovered EPM horse and her web site, www.meadowherbs.com, has a
                            great section on EPM. Many of the posters on the board have been there for many years, long after their horses have recovered and in a few cases, been lost. They have held a lot of hands and questioned diagnoses of EPM often enough that some owners have pressed their vet for more workups and found out their horse didn't have EPM.

                            My Basque is a recovered EPM horse and wish I had found the group when he was first diagnosed. Here's hoping yours has something easier to fix!


                            • Original Poster

                              G'ah. I'm still up in the air wondering if EPM is even a possibility. Rode him last night and everything was fine. No asymmetrical sweating, one tiny mis-step behind everything else was perfect. I went over him with a very critical eye and I don't think there is muscle wasting....he's just lost a bit of weight.
                              Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
                              Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Tap2Tango View Post
                                A friend of mine is currently treating a pony with Marquis for EPM. I'm curious about the vit E though. Can anyone explain why it helps?

                                Vitamin E is recommended to help heal the nervous system and boost the immune system.

                                From my experience with EPM:

                                - Test asap to diagnose and then minimize damage that may become permanent.

                                - If the horse has severe symptoms treat with anti-inflamatories quickly. We used DMSO jugs on my mare and they were immediately helpful and minimized damage.

                                - Test options are:
                                1) Western Blot which is just a titer which lets you know if the horse has been exposed/has antibodies. It is only useful when combined with symptoms and when other diseases or injury are ruled out. It is pretty inexpensive.

                                2) Spinal tap makes a better diagnosis but is expensive and in my horse's case not an option because the vet was certain that once she was down we wouldn't be able to get her up. You also have to make sure not to contaminate it with blood during the procedure or it will not give an accurate result.

                                3) IFAT at UC Davis (?) is a blood test that actually gives you a percentage of assurance that the horse is positive or negative. It is priced in the middle and I think the most popular test now.

                                - As others have said, the horse may get worse shortly after beginning treatment. It is tough to watch sometimes, but necessary.

                                My experience with my mare was several years ago and she went from ok to unable to walk in 48 hours. She wasn't in work at the time so she could have had very mild symptoms that we missed, but I am pretty observant with the horses and she didn't appear off. This mare came back to maybe 80% of normal and I ended up giving her to a woman for a trailriding horse with full disclosure. This was four years after completing treatment. The woman had owned her for 2 years when she relapsed. I don't think she saw the symptoms right away and ultimately the mare had to be put down. It was an unfortunate outcome but the mare had several great years before relapsing and was well loved by the woman I gave her to.