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Horse diagnosed with wobblers after the sale

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  • Horse diagnosed with wobblers after the sale

    do you as breeders ever try to compensate the buyer in some say?

    quick story..
    bought a 3 year old, 6 months later, after extensive treatment and myelogram, diagnosed with wobblers. Two vets and two surgeons recommended euthanasia.. (which was done)

    horse was purchased off a video long distance.

    just wondering what breeder's thoughts might be.

    really can't imagine that the breeder didn't have some clue.

    thanks

  • #2
    Originally posted by buyeralter View Post
    do you as breeders ever try to compensate the buyer in some say?

    quick story..
    bought a 3 year old, 6 months later, after extensive treatment and myelogram, diagnosed with wobblers. Two vets and two surgeons recommended euthanasia.. (which was done)

    horse was purchased off a video long distance.

    just wondering what breeder's thoughts might be.

    really can't imagine that the breeder didn't have some clue.

    thanks
    If it took 6 months before getting to the point of a myelogram then I would not be so sure the breeder knew anything was wrong. Did you buy from a reputable breeder? You're chances increase that they might be willing to give you a good deal on another horse if it is a reputable breeder who breeds more than 1 or 2 a year and may have a suitable replacement. I would not expect any money back or a replacement.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by buyeralter View Post
      do you as breeders ever try to compensate the buyer in some say?

      horse was purchased off a video long distance.

      just wondering what breeder's thoughts might be.
      Did you do a pre-purchase exam before buying? It's buyer beware out there. I have sold a horse to someone from a few states away and although they never saw him in person they did vet him. The vet check actually helps cover both sides. They complained after they got him he was smaller than they thought but since the vet confirms those details and they went ahead with the sale that is their problem. In the end it worked out and they kept him. Buying is always a risk.

      Comment


      • #4
        I'm so sorry. That just sucks. Same thing happened to me, but I flew up to see him, and then had him vetted six ways from Sunday.

        The ataxia was first noticed after he shipped to my trainers several months after I'd bought him. Mine was put down on the table after the myleogram.

        Looking back, there were very subtle signs. But no - I don't think that the breeder had any idea, and looking back at the video I took of him at the breeders, there was nothing to indicate anything neurologic. I was offered a "deep discount" on a replacement but as the replacement was related, I wasn't interested.

        From that time on, I've done a neuro exam on any horse I buy as part of the pre-purchase.
        "No matter how cynical I get its just not enough to keep up." Lily Tomlin

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          yes the horse was vetted, but the signs were so subtle, i'm not sure you would notice unless you spent more time with the horse.

          it's a small breeder (one stallion) and i would not consider a horse that was related to this one.

          Comment


          • #6
            I am so sorry. That is heart breaking. I would expect the breeder would want to know -- they lost a baby too. Also, breeder may not have another good match for you, but could have connections that might be a lead. A good businessperson -- and horseperson -- would want the best for everyone in the end. Best wishes.

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            • #7
              It is absolutely heartbreaking. This could happen at any time to any of us and not just with wobblers. And, it could happen just as easily with one that you went to see as one that you purchased via video. If the young horse passed a pre-purchase and this was not something that was present at the purchase, then you really can not expect the breeder or seller to have known. This is why it is so important to insure your new purchase.

              For example, I knew someone who purchased a 5 year old just prior to moving out of state. He was absolutely normal for the first 30 days, but when she shipped him across the country he developed one of the worse cases of EPM I have ever seen. Was the seller responsible as the horse probably was exposed on their property? I don't think so. The horse was symptomatically normal at time of purchase. What about the buyer who purchases a young horse from a breeder and then boards it with the seller during which time the young horse maims itself on the fence? Does the seller owe the buyer a refund? No, the seller owns the horse and has assumed liability for the horse at time of purchase. What about the horse who injures itself on during transport from the seller to the buyer? This happened to us with one that we imported from Europe. The seller is not responsible even though the horse arrived to us permanently scarred. In every instance, the buyer could be protected by purchasing insurance on the horse.

              Comment


              • #8
                May I ask how the horse was bred? There is one line in particular that I've seen produce a number of wobbler/neurological type horses. Would be interested if it's related or if it's a different line! Feel free to PM me. :-)
                www.lizaustindressage.com
                http://www.imajica.net/stallion/olivier/profile/ Dutch Warmblood stallion, Olivier.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I completely agree with Shiwjumpers66.

                  We have been on both sides of the fence (no wobblers, just injury) but I had a young horse that I was keeping for the new owner who injured himself after getting his teeth stuck in another youngsters blanket or halter. I felt terrible that he was injured on my watch, even though boys-will-be-boys. Although new owner paid the vet bill, I never charged for holding, medicating or special food that was needed. Then, in turnabout, I had a youngster out for training and was charged every way from Sunday when something happened to her, so I was very irritated.
                  Holly
                  www.ironhorsefrm.com
                  Oldenburg foals and young prospects
                  LIKE us on Facebook!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by StarDoozer View Post
                    May I ask how the horse was bred? There is one line in particular that I've seen produce a number of wobbler/neurological type horses. Would be interested if it's related or if it's a different line! Feel free to PM me. :-)
                    Maybe you could post what line this is?

                    Sorry to the OP. I have been through this, I even thought there was something "funny" about the horse I bought! But the trainer I was working with told me I was nuts. Multiple vet exams...over years....vets didn't even know what the problem was. The problem is, most vets don't have a clue how to do a proper neurological exam and wouldn't recognize a mildly neurological horse if it fell on them.

                    And at the end of the day rarely anyone cares. The breeder certainly didn't care. The "top breeder" that has her twin sister who was never broke to ride and uses her as a broodmare doesn't care.

                    IMO if the breeder cared he or she would do something to compensate you. But what normally happens is people just have an attitude of too bad! It's not like this horse hurt itself, it had a neurological problem, something that was pre-existing and is really hard to diagnose in a normal pre-purchase of a young horse.

                    So sorry
                    On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog

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                    • #11
                      Insurance. Insurance. Insurance.

                      And no, breeders who don't ride certainly can miss mild neuro signs on an unstated youngster. Often these things don't show up until later.

                      These things suck. I'm very sorry. I, as a breeder, would want to know and would offer a steep discount on something else, but I wouldn't want to be thrown under the bus in a blanket "breeders don't care" statement.
                      Holly
                      www.ironhorsefrm.com
                      Oldenburg foals and young prospects
                      LIKE us on Facebook!

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                      • #12
                        Since it can often crop up after a growth spurt, the horse may very well have been normal at the breeder's farm.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Some comments (based on conversations with a very good sports medicine vet) -

                          Wobblers often doesn't show up until a horse's skeletal system has matured to the point where the cervical vertebrae are "pinching" or "squeezing" the spinal cord. Sometimes there are very subtle signs as young as 3, but it more common for the horse to be in the 7-8-9 y/o range before the symptoms are pronounced enough to warrant myleogram.

                          It also often doesn't show up until the horse is being asked to carry itself in a more "compressed" frame as it goes up the levels in dressage.

                          As for it being "genetic", yes, it is possible. But before assigning blame to the sire, or mare, or even to the breeder for continuing to breed related horses, consider this:

                          Foals have rather fragile necks. They can easily suffer a neck injury if yanked on while being led in halter/lead rope, or they "act out" and yank on it themselves (they are foals, after all!), or if they fall the wrong way, etc. Such neck injuries usually aren't apparent at the time, but they can predispose the horse to developing wobblers down the road. (It's why some breeders I know - esp. in Germany - don't like to put their young foals in halters, and instead leave them loose at the dam's side.)

                          And knowing that, I would agree with comments that a field neuro exam should always be part of a PPE, and, depending on the value of the horse, possibly even cervical radiographs - although it takes a good vet with a really good high end machine to get clear cervical pictures. It's actually best done at a clinic or vet school with a "big machine", but even then, you sometimes can't tell without myleogram.

                          It sucks to buy a horse that ends up with wobblers. Someone I know bought a pretty high end 5 y/o from Europe some years ago. He was super fancy, with all the earmarks of being not only a very good FEI Y/H prospect, but also an UL prospect. By age 8, he was barely rideable, and was diagnosed with wobblers by myleogram after cervical radiographs showed clear indication of severe vertebrae interference. By then, his symptoms had gotten so bad, he was stumbling and "listing" at times (and yes, he was checked multiple times for EPM, and Lymes). The trainer was afraid he was going to fall on someone, and she and three vets recommended euthanasia, but the owner refused. She ended up moving the horse elsewhere and "retiring" him. Interestingly enough, after the horse was no longer being asked to work "round" and on the bit, his symptoms slowly abated, and she was able after some time to start riding him again, although he could not do much work in a dressage frame.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I believe that there is some possibility that the symptomatic phase of wobblers can be sudden onset perhaps due to an injury.

                            I doubt anyone knows for sure, but as long as I have been around race horses, it's more often than not a horse who appeared fine one day and then the onset of symptoms came on the next (back in the 80's I worked at a surgical facility and we had quite a few wobblers come through the barn for final dx and necropsy). At one time (not sure if it is still current thinking) the thought was perhaps a horse predisposed to the condition could have had a gate accident, slipped and fell out in the pasture, and that triggered the more apparent symptoms.

                            For sure I can tell you I've worked on a young horse that might not have been the most graceful thing around (he was just a big clunky course 2 year old in general), but he went from galloping fine to not being able to safely pick his back feet in literally a week's time. That was as sudden/severe onset as I've seen, but I've heard quite a few variations on that theme in the racing world. Whether that was bad luck, growth phase, injury or something we do not know yet, later/sudden onset is not an unusual way for the disease to make itself known.
                            Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              DMK I 100% have seen it become onset after injury or at least strain. A very good friends fancy and completely normal stallion prospect at almost 2 pulled back on the cross ties. Nothing horrific just normal set back pulled went back to standing normally. The next day he was so ataxic he could barely stand.

                              Diagnostics revealed a narrowing in a cervical vertebra that was aggravated by the pulling. Because the horse was normal prior a plan with aggressive Vit. E , anti inflammatories and a significant diet change was implemented. With the discussion that he was a VERY large coming 2 year old , who had been normal prior to injury and if progress was made they would treat him vs Euth.

                              He ended up just fine. By 5 he was 17.2 and perfectly normal CNS responses. Further xrays and Mylo's showed that as his skeletal system grew the narrowing improved drastically and was normal @ 5.
                              "I would not beleive her if her tongue came notorized"

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I have experience both sudden onset and gradual onset and in 95% of the cases there were many signs that something wasn't quite right months or even years prior.

                                In many cases people just don't pay attention to the subtle signals and they increase in intensity once the horse is in work - especially ridden in a frame or lunged in side reins. A friends horse was winning championships at second level right before being diagnosed, he had one of the most severe cases of degeneration of the cervical spinal column the vets had seen. Even weeks before he was euthanized he still looked "sound" on a lunge line with no side reins, add side reins or a rider and he was practically falling down.

                                From my understanding they rarely suddenly go from uninjured to injured. Most horses will have had changes of the cervical spinal column because of genetics, growth, nutrition, and yes, accidents at a early age. Then some event later can trigger what appears to be "sudden" symptoms.

                                The vets I worked with believed it to be partially genetic and partially environmental. The breeder I bought from had a high percentage of neurological horses (I found out later..) but from very "good" bloodlines and from a variety of mares and stallions, so IMO she clearly had something wrong with her particular program rather than some genetic mutation. But that in itself is something people need to know, and a breeder needs to take seriously. Unfortunately most don't. I know the breeder I bought from could care less, even when multiple horses were effected.

                                I wanted to add, of course there is the freak accident possibility, but it doesn't sound like the OPs horse had any freak accidents. And a freak accident causing it can be diagnosed via xray. A horse pulling back, flipping over, falling on cross country, whatever.
                                On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Really appreciate everyone's comments

                                  horse had not had an injury, (as far as we knew). Just very heartbreaking all the way around.

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