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2-year old developing awkward gait

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  • 2-year old developing awkward gait

    Hoping I can get a quick read on what might be going on here. I have a (nearly) 2-yr old Welsh Cob. A few weeks ago, he developed this weird kind of stomping of his feet, predominantly in the walk (prior he had normal and quite lovely lofty little gaits). I chalked it up to a growth spurt, ligaments temporarily being stretched or something but my farrier thinks there is cause for concern.

    I'll certainly have the vet out to have a look but just wondered if there were any folks out there who've experienced something like this.

    Right now I'm not really working him, just letting him grow up physically and mentally so it's not from workout stress. If I put him out to free lunge his trot looks pretty good but I have a hard time getting him into a canter - like he's unbalanced. No soreness or warm spots on his hind legs.

  • #2
    i know that my 4 yo went thru some stages where i swear i thought i was crazy to buy him! literally from one day to the next i would find something different!

    luckily he is really starting to come into himself and the amazing gait changes (hopefully) are in the past.

    i might call my vet for a chat, but knowing what i just witnessed with my Connemara, i wouldn't be surprised that it is growth related.


    • #3
      Sounds neurological, possibly wobbles or something along that line?
      Derby Lyn Farms Website

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      • #4
        Stomping all feet? Or stomping fronts or hinds only? What's his living situation like?

        I just had the vet out to look at my two year old, as she was a little funny behind. No off, not heat or effusion anywhere...just funny. Verdict was sticking stifles. We put her out on 40 acres with the young horse herd and I've seen a HUGE improvement in a week.


        • Original Poster

          @ Simke, he is stomping all feet but it is most noticeable behind. His hocks trail behind him when he moves more than he used to. I'll try to get some video.

          He is turned out on several acres for about 8 hours a day, the rest in a box stall. His feed hasn't changed since this has developed, with the exception that it's really dry here in Indiana. He's on good hay; alfalfa in the a.m., grass in the p.m.


          • #6
            He hasn't got mites has he? I know Welshies don't have much feather but they have more than some breeds. Maybe worth dusting his legs with lice powder and see if it clears up.


            • Original Poster

              I check his pasterns at least twice a week even in dry weather - no mites or grease heel.

              Don't know if it's related or not but he's an itchy boy. Rubs his tail and mane. Not to the point of baldness but still significant. He's on a good worming schedule. Parasites maybe but after a little google trawling, I don't often see itching and stumbling mentioned together as signs of a parasitic or protozoan infection.

              BTW, vet coming Thursday.


              • Original Poster

                Update in case anyone is viewing the thread. I've had 3 different vets look at him now. Consensus seems to be Cervical Vetebral Malformation (CVM or wobbler's), however even tho we did a blood test we still cannot rule out EPM. Testing for EPM still has a long way to go but that's a story for a different time. I'm making plans to take my boy (Cary) to Purdue for radiographs first and possibly myleogram second.

                Right now I'm doing my own research and wondering if there is a link with Vitamin E deficiency? Fresh forage has been extremely limited so it seems likely that he is very low right now. BTW, I have a serum sample that I can send in for definitive testing so that is on my list of things to do.

                Any sage comments out there regarding Vitamin E supplementation? I am considering calling a formulating pharmacy to talk to them about cost. The good stuff at Smart-Pak runs about $2 per day!


                • #9
                  Originally posted by ndfayanne View Post
                  Update in case anyone is viewing the thread. I've had 3 different vets look at him now. Consensus seems to be Cervical Vetebral Malformation (CVM or wobbler's), however even tho we did a blood test we still cannot rule out EPM. Testing for EPM still has a long way to go but that's a story for a different time. I'm making plans to take my boy (Cary) to Purdue for radiographs first and possibly myleogram second.

                  Right now I'm doing my own research and wondering if there is a link with Vitamin E deficiency? Fresh forage has been extremely limited so it seems likely that he is very low right now. BTW, I have a serum sample that I can send in for definitive testing so that is on my list of things to do.

                  Any sage comments out there regarding Vitamin E supplementation? I am considering calling a formulating pharmacy to talk to them about cost. The good stuff at Smart-Pak runs about $2 per day!
                  Sorry about the diagnosis, have they started treatment? Regarding the Vitamin E, I did have one foal several years ago that was very low Vit E & Selenium, it's a easy blood test...just have your vet pull/run it. I did a lot of research at the time and ended up using Platinum Plus Vit E & selenium. We monitored the blood every 4-6 months and it came up slowly but surely. However, my baby didn't have any symptoms like yours, so I don't know if that helps...


                  • #10
                    Sorry i cant help you on this, but i really hope that this turns out to be just normal growing-up stuff!


                    • #11
                      I supplement all the horses on my farm with Vit. E from late fall through spring. When the mares were pregnant, they got it year-round.

                      Bioavailability is the big thing with Vit. E. I used to use Nano-E from KER. Then I switched to Uckele:

                      It costs me .46 cents per day per horse. For your issue, 7500 units of the above runs $1.40 per day. (I assume the vets recommended 8k mg per day for your 2yo?)
                      "No matter how cynical I get its just not enough to keep up." Lily Tomlin


                      • #12
                        Just a thought...with pasture being poor at this time, and your boy being turned out on it 8hrs., might want to take a good look at what weeds may be prevalent, especially the "false dandelion" Catsear, which has been known to cause string-halt type problems in horses. On normal pasture, they usually don't bother it, but in drought-like conditions as parts of the country have been experiencing, they are more apt to give odd things a try.
                        Some info here...but not very good pics of the weed, which has leaves flat to the ground, and sends up a tall fuzzy stem with small yellow dandelion-looking blossoms on it:

                        Better pic here:

                        Anyway...just a thought. Best of luck with your boy...Prayers, Jingles, & Hammers!


                        • Original Poster


                          Thanks for all the jingles (and hammers?? not familiar with that one! )

                          Unfortunately, myleograms confirmed cervical vetebral instability at two levels. EPM ruled out. Very, very sad.

                          Because 2 levels are involved, the vets at Purdue were not overly optimistic about the Bagby Basket surgery for my boy but I will continue to seek second opinions. Also researching whether or not chiro would help or if it is even possible since he has instability.

                          The Purdue vets did agree that vitamin E was a great idea, 10,000 IUs a day. Elevate is on the way. ahf, any comments on the quality of this supplement? Of course I want to be sure I am getting something good for my money. All the vets are keen on it but it never hurts to ask around.

                          So right now, my plan (and really my only hope) is to feed him chock full of vitamin E and as little carbs and fat as possible, exercise restrict him and hope and pray he grows out of it. He's > 1yr old so the consensus seems to be that isn't super likely but Welsh Cobs are noted to grow until 5 or 6 so maybe that's in my favor.

                          The worst part is, his is *miserable* being stall-restricted. You'd need to have to met my boy to fully appreciate it. Full of spunk and personality (piss and vinegar is how one vet put it! ) so I feel like this fate is only slightly better than death.

                          I have been considering my alternatives - happy life in the pasture albeit neurologic, paddock only but still separated from the horses or round-pen restricted but adjoining the other pastures (and thus leaving the possibility of neck-wrestling and further injury still open).

                          I'd love other comments, suggestions and feedback. I just can't stand to see him live like this - he is so completely listless and depressed it breaks my heart every time I am at the barn or even think about it.


                          • #14
                            Vit E needs fat to be absorbed. You can get the human softgel caps and just throw them in his food....


                            • #15
                              This is just my own personal opinion....but if he has been diagnosed with Wobbler Syndrome and it's severe, I would put him down. I say that because I dealt with an Appaloosa about 15 years ago that had it and it was not a great outcome. That being said, it certainly doesn't hurt to try a few non-surgical treatments first and see if they help. But if they don't and the rest of his life consists of being confined to a round pen, etc., it's definitely not much of a life for a horse

                              Is that what he has been diagnosed with - Wobbler Sydrome? I've never heard of it in the Welsh breed before. What opinion does the vet have regarding what he/she would do? Here is a short article with some non-surgical treatments at the bottom to try. http://www.thehorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=5120
                              Home of Welsh Cob stallion Goldhills Brandysnap
                              Also home to Daventry Equine Appraisals & Equine Expert Witness


                              • Original Poster

                                I must stop being so hasty and leaving out some information in my posts. The exercise restriction would be for only a relatively short period of time. 6 months according to one vet, 2 years according to another.


                                • #17
                                  I agree with Daventry, sooner rather than later. I have seen too many horses suffer with diagnosed neck issues, with owners too weak in those cases to make the right, and hard decision.

                                  With my nuero mare I made the choice that it would be a full life or euthanasia.

                                  I hope other options work for you, but don't let anyone pressure you to go to heroics. The problem can turn painful and ugly.
                                  On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog


                                  • #18
                                    As much as I hate to say it because I know it's really tough, I would probably put him down if he can't live a happy pasture life. My last horse had a degenerative disease. The vet told me that eventually he would be so uncomfortable he wouldn't be pasture sound. There were a lot of options I could have taken to prolong his life but I made the decision to turn him out, watch him everyday, and when he looked like he was in pain I let him go. Good luck with him.


                                    • #19
                                      What is the six months to 2 years confinement supposed to "do" for him? It's not like he can heal from this disease, right? I'm confused...


                                      • #20
                                        I've not heard of a welsh with wobblers (thought it was generally in the bigger breeds), but I'm no expert in the field.
                                        I had an oldenburg colt I'd bought pre-weaning that I had to put down due to severe wobblers diagnosis at the age of 3. It's heartbreaking and I wish you the best possible luck when looking into alternative treatments. I second the posters who recommend putting down a horse who can't have at least a happy, pasture-sound life. So sad for you and your lovely boy.
                                        A good man can make you feel sexy, strong, and able to take on the world.... oh, sorry.... that's wine...wine does that...