Hoof Care for an EPM horse
 
 

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Hoof Care for an EPM horse

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    05-30-2012, 01:50 PM
  #1
Foal
Hoof Care for an EPM horse

I have 4 horses, one of which is a 3 yr old Q/H gelding who developed EPM last fall. He went through a 4 month treatment regimen and, from all appearances, the disease is arrested. Of course, the damage inflicted is irreversable, but he is able to walk, trot and sometimes canter. Unfortunately, he now resists having any of his feet lifted from the ground for trimming, which I understand from extensive research could be due to his uncertainty with his balance or loss of feeling in his legs.

I have always used the "barefoot" method and have a trimmer who seems to be very knowledgeable about hoof care, if not the effects of EPM. However, in spite of no trim related problems prior to the onset of the illness, the trimmer seems convinced the problem is a lack of training and discipline, not a result of the illness. I have mentioned techniques for trimming an EPM horse offered by my vet, such as standing the horse by a solid wall and leaning into his body to provide stability, with less than spectacular results.

Does anyone have any alternative suggestions, techniques or advice on trimming an EPM horse I can "suggest" to my trimmer?

Thanks!!!!!!
     
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    05-30-2012, 05:41 PM
  #2
Weanling
Your veterinarians council is correct and I've found little else that is helpful. In short, it's about trying to reduce the animals fear of falling due imbalance.

Sedation can sometimes help to calm the horse but can also exaggerate the sense of imbalance.

It's a miserable disease spread by a nasty creature that, in my opinion, is nothing more than an overgrown rat.

Presuming the disease was arrested with treatment, how does the horse currently score in neurological deficiency? If you're not sure, ask your vet and be sure to share that information with any real farrier you might engage in the future.

If the post treatment deficiency score is still significant (2-3), consider acquiring/building and using a set of stocks with dual support girth slings. Stocks come with their own training challenges but can address the animals loss of balance.

In these cases, safety should be everyone's first concern.

Cheers,
Mark
     
    05-30-2012, 06:47 PM
  #3
Foal
Thanks, Mark.

I apoligize if I came off sounding "snippy" of my trimmer. I think it's more a matter of not understanding the many possible effects of EPM. Which, I guess, is a good thing. I would have preferred to go through life without knowing about it, myself!!!!

About the stocks, it has crossed my mind to build a sufficiently stout support structure, such as an "A" frame used to pull engines, etc., that I could use, along with a wide strap web harness of sorts, to offer just enough "lift" to reassure the horse. I've pictured it powered by either the winch line from my ATV or the frontend loader of my tractor. It probably sounds like a lot of trouble, but I feel I owe it to this horse to do everything possible to provide proper care for him.

Besides, no telling what else I could use it for around the place.....loading equipment onto trailers, into the bed of trucks or even a skinning rack!
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    05-30-2012, 11:59 PM
  #4
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Papa51    
Thanks, Mark.

I apoligize if I came off sounding "snippy" of my trimmer. I think it's more a matter of not understanding the many possible effects of EPM. Which, I guess, is a good thing. I would have preferred to go through life without knowing about it, myself!!!!
No apology necessary.

Quote:
About the stocks, it has crossed my mind to build a sufficiently stout support structure, such as an "A" frame used to pull engines, etc., that I could use, along with a wide strap web harness of sorts, to offer just enough "lift" to reassure the horse. I've pictured it powered by either the winch line from my ATV or the frontend loader of my tractor. It probably sounds like a lot of trouble, but I feel I owe it to this horse to do everything possible to provide proper care for him.
Building stocks can be tricky business and getting a horse accustomed to them is not for the faint of heart. Frankly, it can be dangerous. Exercise more than a little caution and don't underestimate the power of a horse. Determine what you think represents a strong enough stock, then make it even stronger than that.

Make sure any straps you employ are attached via quick-release connectors. If the horse panics you want to be able to release the animal as fast as possible. When training, do so in small, frequent increments.

Also assure there is a mechanism in place that allows the farrier to easily restrain each of the animals lower legs. Never tie up more than one leg at a time. I can't stress enough how dangerous this process can be for the horse and the farrier if done incorrectly. Done correctly by an experienced practitioner, the process can be both safe and effective.

Quote:
Besides, no telling what else I could use it for around the place.....loading equipment onto trailers, into the bed of trucks or even a skinning rack!
I understand your design thoughts but most stocks designed for horses are quite different than what you've described.

Here's an example drawing you might want to review.

Do you need Horse Stocks?

Cheers,
Mark
     
    05-31-2012, 06:50 AM
  #5
Foal
Thanks for excellent advice, Mark.

After making my last post, I began to explore the topic online and realized very quickly what I had in mind was in no way similar to what the industry standard seems to be. I also found out how expensive commercially available items such as slings can be! But, I'm still looking and researching. So far, information sources have been somewhat limited, which makes your input that much more valuable!

I've also spoken with a different farrier/trimmer who seems to be much more knowledgeable about EPM horses and the challenges they can pose for something as simple as a hoof trim. At the moment, my thoughts are to seek his services for this horse, at least.

Obviously, this stock building is going to require some methodical re-thinking on my part. On the bright side, I recently acquired some very solid treated bridge timbers (6"X6" & 6"X10") and planking (3"X10" & 4"X12") that could be cut to length and used where possible. It also might be wise for me to solicit input from my vet should this project proceed. She's been really encouraging and supportive through this entire ordeal.

Your input has been very valuable and appreciated. Too bad we're so many states apart! Thanks, again.
     
    05-31-2012, 09:19 AM
  #6
Weanling
One other thought. I noticed you're in Louisiana. There's a particularly talented farrier in Baton Rouge. His name is Dick Fanguy.

Dick is an AFA certified journeyman farrier and was the national president of the AFA not long ago. He has over 40 years of experience working horses and would be a very strong resource for you.

Dick is now semi-retired from shoeing horses but I think he still does a few on the side to keep things interesting. Call him and explain the situation. He might be willing to meet with you and your farrier and offer some insight into how best to work with your horse. Treat it like a one time training exercise. It would probably be expensive but might provide a solution that makes building a stock unnecessary.

Worth a try anyway. You can reach Dick at 1-225-315-1100.

If Dick isn't available or willing, you could also try calling Bruce Matthews in the Houston, TX area. Bruce travels at very reasonable prices and specializes in helping owners/farriers with challenging horses. You can reach Bruce at 1-281-414-3098. Tell him I referred you.

Cheers,
Mark
     
    05-31-2012, 09:24 AM
  #7
Foal
Sorry for my lack of termanology what is epm disease?
     
    05-31-2012, 09:37 AM
  #8
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mollysue    
Sorry for my lack of termanology what is epm disease?

Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis

It's a neurological disease.

Details here:

Merck Veterinary Manual

Cheers,
Mark
     
    05-31-2012, 10:19 AM
  #9
Foal
Thanks mark. I am looking for a good thrush treatment, do you have one that works for you?
     
    05-31-2012, 10:59 AM
  #10
Foal
Thanks, Mark. I'll give Mr. Fanguy a call and at least pick his brain. I'm about 140 miles NW of Baton Rouge or I would try to buy him lunch.

By the way, I excused my current trimmer this morning, with due tact and diplomacy, and will begin the process of locating another right away. Perhaps Mr. Fanguy can recommend someone from my area of the state.

For the young lady who asked about EPM, it is also know as "Possum Disease", as the culprit "bug" is carried and transmitted by the possum and passed to the horse by the horse ingesting feces or urine contaminated forage, feed or water. In the south many horses have been exposed and will test positive but their system will fight off the disease, leaving only the antibodies.

At present there is no readily available "preventative" drug but Diclazuril is causing quite a stir among researchers and Vets who deal with EPM a lot. It is presented as an Alfalfa based top dressing for feed and may well prove to be the "preventative" miracle long searched for. As time passes more and more is being found out about EPM and new data becomes available daily. The key is early detection and treatment because it can be fatal. For more info, visit www.epmhorse.org.

I hope you never have to deal with it because, not only is it devastating to the animal, it's very expensive to treat. The horse I have who contracted it is a registered 3 yr old grandson of Peppy San Badger. Now it is doubtful he'll ever be under saddle again.....but he's got a home as long as I'm alive.
     

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