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Discussion on Life expectancy with Wobblers?

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Roxanne M. Roofe (Rmroofe)
Posted on Tuesday, Jun 4, 2002 - 12:21 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

As I am a new member let me know how I can improve, to get my question answered better...

My question is a difficult one I know, but how long does a horse that is diagnosed with Wobblers usually live, and is it usually some other complication that brings you to the place of doing the right thing (euthanasia?)?

I will give you some background on my horse...Indy (barn name!) is a 5 year old Appendix Quarterhorse gelding. I bought him as a 2 year old and broke him out with the help of my trainer (also his breeder). I rode him for a year with only the usual bumps and scrapes that a silly young horse encounters. I was getting ready to show him for real when last spring he started interfering on the inside of his front legs, he had just been shoed for the first time that year and so we thought he might need some adjustment, and the vet was coming the next week to do usual spring shots, in the mean time I put him on stall rest.

When the vet came he diagnosed him as "neurological" saying it was EPM or Wobblers. I took him to a University Vet Center (I won't name it) and over the course of two visits had blood and spinal taps done and ruled out EPM. That left Wobblers which the radiographs confirmed this. They were pushing me to put him down, advised me not to ride him and sent me and my horse home. My local vet told me there was no need to do anything rash and as long as he is stable to let him be (I have the resources to let him be a pasture ornament for as long as he can be one).

He has stabilized, though I would say this spring his hind end seems more unstable than it has been; he has had an eye infection, a run in with a porcupine, and just a couple weeks ago diagnosed with "lymes" )I forget the correct term at this moment...) He has recovered from the "lymes" but was barely able to stand for a few days and i fear if he had fallen would he have been able to get up? As a result has lost quite a bit of weight.

So, back to my question of how long he might stay stable-no can or will tell me. I have paid close attention to his diet and taken the advice of the University vet of making sure he gets added Vitamin E, turned him out to pasture with my older mare (24) and they are happy with each other, and keep bell boots on him so that when he is running around he will not scrape himself. I don't know what else I can do for him...

I would welcome any further thoughts.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM (Dro)
Posted on Wednesday, Jun 5, 2002 - 5:59 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I am so sorry to hear about your Indy. I am afraid it is a case that no one can tell you Roxanne.

With Wobblers the slow worsening is do to an accumulation of lots of small injuries until something happens, perhaps a trip, that creates a large injury at which point a large injury to the spinal cord occurs and a sudden severe worsening. When that trip happens is any bodies guess. Asssuming the diagnosis is correct and if surgery is not an option, it sounds like you are doing all you can at this point.
DrO
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Roxanne M. Roofe (Rmroofe)
Posted on Wednesday, Jun 5, 2002 - 9:43 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dr. O,

Thank you for your time and thoughts, and they are consistent with what I thought they would be. That no one really knows! :)

The diagnosis is correct I am sure (unfortunately), and surgery was presented to me as not very hopeful and super risky. So what are your choices but to end it right there, do risky-no guarantee surgery or give him a life of leisure for as long as he is happy, and start over with another.

But, if I have learned anything it is to have a pre-purchase exam done (with no total guarantees) and not to dismiss stumbling, tripping, and etc. as simply the incoordination of a growing baby.

Thank you again for your input.

Roxanne
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Suzanne Moore (Suzym)
Posted on Wednesday, Jun 5, 2002 - 12:14 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Roxanne ~ I'm so sorry about the problems you are having with your Indy :( I too have an "Indy" He's a four year old Morgan gelding. I will be following this thread, and my thoughts and prayers will be with YOUR Indy.

DrO ~ I thought wobbler surgery was more successful than this case suggests. Perhaps some cases are better surgical candidates than others?

Take care, Roxanne. We will be thinking of you and Indy.

Suzy and Indy
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Roxanne M. Roofe (Rmroofe)
Posted on Wednesday, Jun 5, 2002 - 2:06 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Suzy,

Thank you for your thoughts, and I hope your Indy stays well!

Roxanne
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM (Dro)
Posted on Thursday, Jun 6, 2002 - 6:59 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Suzanne,
The outcome of surgery is based on the severity and location of the lesions and the degree of incoordination present. Each case is different.
DrO
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