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Trisha Oliba
New Member
Username: drtrish

Post Number: 1
Registered: 1-2009
Posted on Wednesday, Jan 14, 2009 - 6:22 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi, I just joined this site to try to get some desperately needed advice on my horse. Last May, I bought an '05 AQHA gelding, bred Zippo Pine Bar on top and Petite Lord/Sonny Dee Bar on the bottom. He had 75 days western pleasure training on him at the time of purchase, and I sent him home with my trainer for further training. At the time of purchase, he was the calmest, sweetest most gentle 3 y/o I'd ever seen in my life! My trainer even checked his eyes to see if he was drugged when we went to look at him b/c he was so mellow.
My trainer was really impressed w/ how smart and willing my horse was, but had trouble getting him to collect, lower his head, and go slow when loping to the right. He was great w/ his left lead, and the complete opposite to the right. Over the next month she tried different bits and techniques, had his teeth floated and nothing seem to help. She suggested I contact a very popular equine chiropractor for an adjustment. I did, and things have been downhill ever since.
Reggie was adjusted on June 30, given the next day off to rest, and when my trainer started messing with him again he seemed real goosey on his right hind side. (By the way, he had his right SI adjusted). I came out to ride him the day after she noticed his "gooseyness" and as I was warming him up (checking him in circles) she was telling me about it and had me stop him so she could feel his right stifle. When she went to touch his stifle, he kicked at her! We had the vet out, and his stifles are fine. A few days later I brought him home and the first few times I rode him he seemed real nervous and hyped up - very unlike him. A few days after that I was out riding when my fiancee came up to his right hind side, and as soon as he put his hand on my horse's right hip he took off bucking! At this point I was sure he had been maladjusted and had a pinched nerve and contacted a different equine chiro to fix him. Also at this time he became VERY intolerant of having his hind feet picked up (it had never bothered him before), and now he doesn't like his front feet picked up either. I have to bute him for farrier work. The next month consisted of adjustments, massages and a few acupuncture sessions. It seemed to help with the right-side gooseyness, but then I started to notice he was dragging his hind feet slightly when I lunged him. Then I noticed him stretching out occasionally like he was going to pee (never did and his penis was not hanging out; I guess he was stretching)then he'd lay down like he was colicking. I called my vet out, and she said he was just having muscle spasms.
Shortly after I watched him walk past me into the barn and noticed a lateral swing to each back leg as he brought it forward - that instantly reminded me of an EPM horse I had back in 4H. I called my vet, told her the symptoms, and she said it sounded like EPM and since the diagnosis was almost as much as the treatment, we should go ahead and just treat him off of symptoms. We put him on EPM Oral Solution by Rood & Riddle, and after a few weeks I THOUGHT I saw improvement, but by this time the days were getting shorter and colder and he wasn't being worked as much. Then, on an unusually nice Novemeber weekend I brought him out for a ride, and while lunging him I asked for a canter, and he just kept trotting faster and faster and could not break into a lope. His head came up, all 4 legs went stiff and straight, and he broke into the ugliest lope I'd ever seen in my life. He was also on the opposite lead on his hind legs than he was on the front. He seemed either painful or confused. He acted the same way to the other direction. I called my vet and she said I need to take him to Purdue University for a neurological workup. (Also around this time, I noticed he would randomly kick out at nothing - he'd do it just standing in his stall or while he was out grazing, and usually it was the right hind leg).
On Nov 7th, 2008 we had our appointment at Purdue. Here is a short report of their findings: Grade 2 hindlimb paresis, slight digital pulse in right forelimb, minimal atrophy in right fore and hindlimbs (which is now bilateral in the hindend), oral ulcers, hypometric gait and some spasticity in rear limbs, and a decreased panniculus reflex in the midback area on the left. A blood panel was done and everything came back okay, including Vit E & selenium levels. (there was low Anion gap, albumin and ALP levels in my report, but everyone said not to worry about it). They also performed cervicl xrays, and at the time came back negative, said it was probably EPM and I should switch him to Marquis. (I opted not to have the CFS test b/c of cost and risks). They sent me home and called the next day and said when the expert radiologist read the xrays, they found a very slight narrowing at C5 and suggested a myelogram, thinking it was possibly Wobblers.
Because of the cost ($1300) I did some research and found he had no history of Wobblers in his lineage, and spoke with people who had Wobblers and they said it didn't fit the bill. My personal vet also thought everything didn't add up to Wobblers so I didn't get the test.
The Marquis is done and I still have the same ill horse. I came across PSSM information and was amazed at how much it sounded like my horse! The urination-like stetching, spontaneously kicking out, intolerance to farrier work, hard tight hind end muscles, etc. So I gladly pulled 20 hairs and sent them to U of Minn for PMMS testing, and to my surprise it came back negative. They suggested a muscle biopsy.
This has been going on for 6 months now, and my poor horse has drained my financially. Before I go further in debt to get the muscle biopsy, do you have any suggestions on what this could be? Cervical stenosis? EPM? Damage from a bad adjustment? I just don't know where to go from here. PLEASE HELP! Thank you.
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Diane E.
Member
Username: scooter

Post Number: 3553
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Wednesday, Jan 14, 2009 - 7:54 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Trisha, you sure have been thorough. The 1st thing hat popped in my head as I was reading this was that seems like an awful lot of training for a young horse. Your horse may be unbalanced yet, seems it takes quite a bit of time to build the right muscles for that kind of work.

Since he has been in a training ritual at a young age I wonder if it is possible he has gastric ulcers?http://www.horseadvice.com/horse/messages/4/141410.html

It sounds as if it could be many things if you suspect ESPM, you could try the ESPM diet without having the biopsy done and see if it helps.

What does your horses diet consist of? Is he out 24/7 or is he stalled part of the time? Is he shod?

I hope you get it figured out, sounds like you are trying very hard...Good Luck.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 22121
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Thursday, Jan 15, 2009 - 10:21 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Welcome Trishia,
The direct answer to your questions is, "I don't if your horse suffers from these, a combination of these, or other problems", but we may be able to help you figure out your best next step. We will need some more information however. In succinct one sentence answers:
1) What are YOUR horse-related goals?
2) Based on the horse's history and not a specific diagnosis I want you to assume, if only for a moment, that this horse has a guarded prognosis for returning to a successful western pleasure show horse. With this assumption, what are your goals for this horse?
3) What resources do you have to devote to your horse related goals?
DrO
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Trisha Oliba
New Member
Username: drtrish

Post Number: 2
Registered: 1-2009
Posted on Thursday, Jan 15, 2009 - 12:47 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks, Dr. O. Here are my answers to your questions: #1.) My goal is to get my horse out of pain and continue his training and showing. #2.) Again, I just want him out of pain, and if he'll never have a show career I'll keep him anyway. #3.) As mentioned in my post, I am running out of money to get him diagnosed and treated. I am a chiropractor and have access to cold laser and ultrasound therapy if this would help. Please let me know where you think I should go from here. Thanks!
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 22124
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Thursday, Jan 15, 2009 - 6:11 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Trisha,
You missed the point of my first question:
What are YOUR horse-related goals? This would be regardless of what horse you owned.
DrO
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Trisha Oliba
New Member
Username: drtrish

Post Number: 3
Registered: 1-2009
Posted on Thursday, Jan 15, 2009 - 11:20 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I'm sorry - I guess I don't know what you are asking. I don't have any horse related goals - I've just always had horses and probably always will. They're just a part of my life.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 22126
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Friday, Jan 16, 2009 - 9:00 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Let's try a little different tack Trisha. In your profile you will find a series of questions about your horse's, equine experiences and management. If you would fill these out it might give me a better idea of "where you should go from here".

I know this seems incidental to your concerns but at this time it seems that the diagnosis has been taken as far as it can go without spending significantly more time and money on the diagnosis. Though you find similarities to PSSM, I don't see the main symptom present: repeated tying up supported by elevated muscle enzymes. So to decide the best next step for you we have to know both your intentions and resources.
DrO
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Vicki Zaneis
Member
Username: vickiann

Post Number: 847
Registered: 3-2005
Posted on Friday, Jan 16, 2009 - 12:45 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Trisha, I have had horses kick out as you described including at solid objects such as the water tank, stall walls or fences due to pain or discomfort.

I have also had a horse be intolerant of farrier work. This went on for years until I found a farrier who properly balanced my horses feet and eventually fixed his longstanding intermittent lameness issues. Now he loves the farrier and is cooperative.

I have also had horses carry their legs and walk very oddly when the farrier work was bad including an inability to canter properly.

Maybe it sounds overly simplistic, but foot problems have repercussions through the entire horse. If the feet are not right this may severely effect his comfort level, attitude, performance and general way of going, so be sure that you consider this as a possible factor that may need to be addressed.
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Angie J.
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 2281
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Friday, Jan 16, 2009 - 1:17 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Vicki makes a good point. Since learning (and I am still learning) to trim my own horses, I am very aware of all kinds of little details with regard to hoofs. For me, the most difficult concept to grasp was the importance of the bars being trimmed correctly, and the point of the heel being in the right spot.

Stand your horse on level solid surface, and look to see if the hairline at the coronet is level for starters. Looking down the hoof from the heel while holding the hoof up, are the bars sticking up at any point higher than the hoof wall?

Simple, but Vicki may have hit upon something that has been overlooked, and is easily fixed.

Good luck.
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Adria Weatherbee
Member
Username: adriaa

Post Number: 109
Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Friday, Jan 16, 2009 - 3:24 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Trisha,

I really don't know anything but... I know others have mentioned shoeing. Last winter my mare was shod in the rear with Natural Balance (to help with breakover for stifle issues). She has them in front and work great. They were winter shoes and they did have borium which I know contributed to most of it. But she started crow hopping, was unable to stay at the trot with out breaking into canter with bucks. She never does this, my trainer thought she was being fresh, but I knew. It's like she couldn't go forward, if I let her out to free lunge, she would spend most of the time bucking, couldn't walk normally, couldn't trot at all. So, it was the shoes, whether it was the Natural Balance or the borium or both I don't know. I'm going to try her with Natural Balance in the spring.

So, my vet who also is a chiro said she was so uptight, her muscles so taut and in a lot of pain. She also is a bit stiff anyway. So she suggested a course of these Chinese herbs called Body Sore, and then an adjustment. I am skeptical about these things, but she is a vet and at this point I could spend more on something else. She went on a loading dose, which was $250 for the month, after 2 weeks she had her adjustment and then gave her a few days off. When I rode her she was a new horse, balanced, forward not stiff, hind end freer. I was pleasantly surprised. I kept her on another month and 1/2 the Body Sore, the maintenance is $125.

She getting stiff again, but in a nutshell, the shoes were the problem. And I know I'm not supposed to mention it, since there is no clinical or scientific (or maybe there is) proof that the Chinese herbs work, in my personal opinion they did.

good luck
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Guy Ramsey
Member
Username: gramsey1

Post Number: 16
Registered: 8-2008
Posted on Friday, Jan 16, 2009 - 5:35 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

A horse where we board was diagnosed and treated for EPM. As the disease progressed the horse morphed from a big athletic hunter to a spooky, clumsy, dangerous animal. After treatment he was less spooky, but never really recovered his coordination.

We had a quarter horse under the care of a bad farrier. She morphed from a gentle, bomb proof lesson pony to a grumpy, stiff and unwilling horse that would not canter without a fight. After we got her hoof care right she completely recovered.

It would be a shame if you had spent all that money on diagnostics if the problem was bad farrier work . . . Would be good news though.

The difference was the quarter horse was obviously in pain. The EPM horse was just unpredictable and weird.
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Vicki Zaneis
Member
Username: vickiann

Post Number: 848
Registered: 3-2005
Posted on Friday, Jan 16, 2009 - 8:23 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

My poor (registered) paint, quarterhorse type of boy had been diagnosed with "Navicular" by a supposed leg and foot specialist (based upon visual and physical exams only -- no X-rays).

When he was finally fixed by a good natural type of farrier after years of suffering it broke my heart to realize how he had been in pain for so many years through so many different types of shoes and other remedies that were only band-aids that helped temporarily while the real problem slipped by resulting over time in a cascade of body problems and soft tissue remodeling.

The longer this problem is uncorrected, the longer it takes to fix the situation.

My boy has been like a totally different horse now for two years. Finally, to his relief and mine, he is totally sound where he was not for more than a decade.
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Trisha Oliba
New Member
Username: drtrish

Post Number: 4
Registered: 1-2009
Posted on Friday, Jan 16, 2009 - 10:44 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks to all those mentioning bad farrier work. He's never truly acted lame, so I never considered it. But now since so many of you have brought it to my attention I remembered that his symptoms got worse after I had his shoes pulled for the winter. I will try a new farrier or have his legs/feet xrayed. THANKS AGAIN!
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 22128
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Saturday, Jan 17, 2009 - 8:17 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Trisha, above you have a list of professionals that have assessed your horse. Have any brought up the balance and quality of the feet?
DrO
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Trisha Oliba
New Member
Username: drtrish

Post Number: 5
Registered: 1-2009
Posted on Saturday, Jan 17, 2009 - 10:21 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

DrO,
No, nobody has ever mentioned or assessed his feet as a possible cause. I did notice his symptoms worsened after he had his shoes pulled for the winter. Several weeks ago when I was picking out his hooves, I noticed one back hoof was wavy and rigid underneath, between the frog and wall. When my vet was out 2 weeks ago to do acupuncture I asked her about, and she looked at it and said, "I don't know, it could just be the winter weather. Keep an eye on it."
Something else no one has addressed is EHV-1 or EHV-2. Could this be a possibility?

Thanks!
P.S. I have filled out my profile questionnaire.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 22134
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Monday, Jan 19, 2009 - 1:44 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hello Trisha,
If you would like to see a list of possibilities for hind limb ataxia see Diseases of Horses » Nervous System » Incoordination, Weakness, Spasticity, Tremors » Diagnosing Incoordination, Ataxia and Weakness and yes you will find EHV-1 on the very long list of things that can make a horse incoordinated or weak behind. However without a history of a viral respiratory disease just prior to the onset of ataxia, EHV-1 is low on the possible causes and there would not be any diagnostic techniques nor treatments possible if this were the problem. It may help you to carefully study this article to see if something sticks out historically that matches up with your case.

It would seem your interest is to continue showing pleasure. If the mare you have can be shown, I would recommend concentrating on her until the problem with the gelding works itself out and you see if he is going to heal. If you think there may be a trimming/shoeing problem by all means have this assessed by someone you trust and make any adjustments you can. There seem to be three problems above which may or may not be related :
Under saddle and on lunge a lack of acceptable performance.
Aggressive, possibly do to pain, behavior when around the hind legs. Let's include in this the kicking out.
Grade 2 hindlimb paresis as found by Purdue.

Considering you are at the end of your financial rope with this horse here are some conservative ideas that you and your veterinarian can consider. Some of these problems under saddle and on lunge are not uncommon in healthy 3 to 5 year old horse in training and I wonder how much of this is just being overfaced with the training. Some horses just take longer to find and get into the groove. With that in mind and the possibility that there is a neuro/lameness problem I would back this horse's training way up to the point that the horse is comfortable with what is being done. This might be just hand walking or walking on lunge, think unbroke or possibly green broke. As to the behavior around the flanks and hind legs I would apply some Conditioned Response training as described in Training & Conditioning Horses » Behavior and Training » Modifying a Horses Behavior: Conditioned Responses to return the horse to a agreeable behavior. This should be possible even with mildly painful situations.

As the horse becomes comfortable at this lower level and his ability to be groomed and trimmed returns try to move him up the training ladder very slowly allowing both his mind and hopefully his body to recover. If you run into a return of signs of discomfort, or cannot find any level this horse is comfortable with, I would be interested in what a 2 week course on NSAID's would do for the problem.
DrO
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Trisha Oliba
Member
Username: drtrish

Post Number: 6
Registered: 1-2009
Posted on Tuesday, Jan 20, 2009 - 8:53 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dr.O,
I don't believe my horse is being aggressive; he seems to be reacting to pain. I have given him bute before horseshows and before having farrier work, and he acts just fine. The longest I have given him bute on a regular basis is 4 days in a row. Would you suggest a 2 week course on this? Someone mentioned a possible gastric ulcer; if that is the case is bute safe?
Also, when I clean his stall he acts real scared about the rake touching his feet, so its not only when he is being worked. In fact, he's one of those horses that "needs a job", and pouts if he doesn't get worked.
Going back to EHV-1, back in August, about a month after his symptoms started, I did notice he had a slight runny nose with clear discharge. That was the only symptom so I dismissed it as just being in a dusty barn. A few weeks later his companion, a 4 y/o POA mare, came down with a cough that was soon followed by copious amounts of hair loss and loss of appetite. The vet came out and gave her a few different antibiotics, banamine for her very high fever, and left me w/ SMZ tabs to give her. Within 2 days her symptoms worsened, her chest and abdomen filled with fluid and the vet said she needed to be put down. I never got an exact diagnosis, the vet said it was similar to strangles and had no explanation why the meds didn't work. Does this sound like EHV and could she have picked up the respiratory strain from my horse if he has the neurological strain? With this information is EHV now something to consider? Thank you.
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Erika L
Member
Username: erika

Post Number: 1569
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Tuesday, Jan 20, 2009 - 11:37 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Trisha, what a mystery, huh? I know it's a huge stab in the dark, but have you had your horse tested for tick-borne illnesses like Lyme's, etc.?

My horse had terrible symptoms until we treated her twice with IV antibiotics. Just a thought...

As for Dr. O's recommendations for conditioned response training...I don't think he was necessarily implying that it is ONLY a training problem. As horse can react very strongly to painful stimuli, but can also be trained to tolerate necessary touch by a caretaker without causing danger to that person. Regardless of how much it hurts, you need for the horse to tolerate handling in order to administer medical or daily care.

Hope you get some answers soon. I'll be watching with interest how this all comes out, and I wish you the best.
Erika
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 22142
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Wednesday, Jan 21, 2009 - 8:57 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

To reiterate Erika's assessment of part of my post. A horse that tries to kick you is being aggressive no matter the initiating cause. The use of conditioned training is not to cure the disease but to train the horse to be handled safely.

The history does not indicate EHV-1 neuropathy in your horse but neither does it rule it out. The problem with diagnosing EHV-1 is what do you do with it? You can't prove it and you can't treat it, so it is a diagnosis that leads you down to a dead end. I would stay with the possible problems you can address for as long as your goal for yourself and this horse is to try and get him well.
DrO
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