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  • Wobblers...?

    I had never heard of this before, and I notice my horse has some symtoms.... He trips up a lot, cant turn tight circles, doesnt like hills, and most importantly, sometimes he'll act like his legs turned into jello! Its like he loses control of his limbs for a moment and stumbles around before he collects himself. Never for more than a few seconds.

    Background: he is a 3 year old OTTB, off the track in january.

    Am I being paranoid? Or should I be concerned?

  • #2
    Have a vet examine him if you are concerned. Neurologic issues can easily look like lameness issues, and visa-versa.
    Did you have a vet examine him before you purchased him?


    • #3
      I'll 2nd the above if you are concerned.

      But I have to say it's easy to see things that are not there or to become paranoid indeed.
      The wealth of information I have found & read on COTH is incredible, however reading some stories, looking at vids of posters, then googling for symptoms of such, it's easy to freak out and think you are seeing thoses symptoms in your own horses.

      As a 3yr old, the horse may just still be rather unbalanced and clumsy, I wouldn't jump to conclusions from that.
      Does the horse do so both under tack & during turnout. How about in stall, getting up etc.


      • #4
        You may want to have your vet come out and get some cervical radiographs. The symptoms sound like wobblers, but also sound like 3 year old horsie Hopefully your horse starts learning where to place his feet, but its always best to rule wobblers out especially if he is going to be a riding prospect.


        • #5
          Originally posted by ThatGirlTina View Post
          I had never heard of this before, and I notice my horse has some symtoms.... He trips up a lot, cant turn tight circles, doesnt like hills, and most importantly, sometimes he'll act like his legs turned into jello! Its like he loses control of his limbs for a moment and stumbles around before he collects himself. Never for more than a few seconds.

          Background: he is a 3 year old OTTB, off the track in january.

          Am I being paranoid? Or should I be concerned?
          Absolutely you should be worried. From my experience (having a horse with a wobblers diagnosis just 2 weeks ago, and now retired) owners, trainers and vets aren't concerned ENOUGH. My horse was very mild, just slightly dragging one toe (but tracking uo behind) and just barely had problems going downhill or backing. She never stumbled, never tripped, had a dozen vets call her sound for several years. I had everyone and their brother tell me how great she looked - she was never "lame", never flexed off or blocked out anywhere. She even underwent stifle surgery because of a chip in her stifle, but still wasn't right afterwards, and although she felt better under saddle, she looked even funnier to me.

          It took a very observant vet at Davis to be the first one to even whisper "neuro". They called in the big guns to get a positive diagnosis. All it took was a few simple tests, then cervical xrays, to figure it out. She has significant arthritis in 3 vertebra between C4-C7, and likely changes in her spine farther back.

          While I was at Davis there were several more diagnosis. My story is a story they hear over and over again. Since my diagnosis I have run into half a dozen people I know with the same story. ANY horse they trips, seems "lazy", and has even the slightest bit of in-coordination in it's hind end should be examined immediately by someone that knows what they are doing.
          On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog


          • #6
            Yes, definitely have a vet eval and see what is going on.

            Like Perfect Pony, I took a horse to UC Davis a few weeks ago and he was diagnosed Grade 3/5 wobbler due to arthritis in C6-C7. He really didn't look that bad --- I was at Davis to for what we thought was a hind leg lameness.

            As someone said, lameness can look neuro, and neuro can look like lameness. I wish I'd dispensed with the local vets and just taken the horse to Davis to begin with.


            • #7
              I think we can eliminate the suspicion he jumped out then. Or is that another horse of yours?

              I third (?) vet visit. I'm thinkin' EPSM or something neurological.. which might respond much better if treatment is begun very, very quickly.

              Best of luck.


              • Original Poster

                Yes, he is the one people say jumped out. Ha. I just dont know what to do with him! He's my first TB to ever deal with and sometimes I feel so lost!

                He's thinner than what i'm used to, "lazy" and calm, and sometimes he acts like he cant find balance! When I heard he was OTTB I kind of expected something a little more inclined to run and be more of a handful, but nope just the opposite.

                I just need to post a thread with all of his issues that i'm unsure about, seems it'd be much easier!


                • #9
                  I'd have a vet do a check-up just to rule anything out, as neuro symptoms can be so many things. My 3y/o TB couldn't handle tight circles, tripped all the time, dragged his back feet.

                  After a month, I knew it wasn't typical 3 y/o stuff.

                  He turned out to have Wobbler's & EPM. (He's now a wonderful pasture puff with a family who loves him very much, I'm told, a couple of hours away from me).
                  <3 Vinnie <3
                  Jackie's Punt ("Bailey") My Finger Lakes Finest Thoroughbred


                  • #10
                    You should consider cervical x-rays. At least don't ride him for now to be safe. Wobbles comes from arthritis in the cervical bones, but neuro symptoms can come also from brain tumor, cancer, cervical cist, worms in neck, cervical fracture, etc, etc,... some of it is curable with time, long, long time off. Like Hilda Gurney's TB Keen was diagnosed with neuro neck issues, yet came fully back to showing GP. Also it can be EPM and such.

                    Wobbles is only one possible diagnose out of a dozen... even with same symptoms. Cervical x-rays will tell you if your horse has any abnormalities and how to proceed further. This is how UC Davis found a tiny fracture in my mare's neck. My mare din't stumble and was not wobbly. She was doing great getting ready for PSG show, but she got lame on both legs after a fall and then with swelling from that fracture, neuro symptom (singular) started: she suddenly knuckled in her hind legs. UC Davis never saw anything like that...

                    One thing that you should know that people spend from $5K to $15K in finding out what is wrong with neuro horses. It is an expencive road.


                    • #11
                      Wobbler's is a rather all encompassing type of term but it is not only from arthritis in the spine. Sometimes it can take the form of a narrowing of the spinal processes through which the main spinal nerve runs and from cysts or spurs in the spine. It is seen in young draft horses who are fed incorrectly and grow too fast. I assume it can take that form in other large young horses. Be safe and have the horse neurologically tested and xrayed if necessary.
                      "We, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit." JFK


                      • #12
                        I've been going through this with a two year old. In my filly's case, she is not a good surgical candidate due to the number of joints involved and at this point we are hoping she stabilizes and will be OK as a pasture potato.

                        If you think there is something unspecified neuro going on, you should probably be testing for EPM before going through the cervical x-rays and myelogram. Good luck.
                        I'm not an outlier; I just haven't found my distribution yet!