Drifter has been diagnosed with "neurological" issues.*update* HE IS GONE.
   

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Drifter has been diagnosed with "neurological" issues.*update* HE IS GONE.

This is a discussion on Drifter has been diagnosed with "neurological" issues.*update* HE IS GONE. within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

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        10-09-2013, 11:43 PM
      #1
    Banned
    Drifter has been diagnosed with "neurological" issues.*update* HE IS GONE.

    The title says it all. I am honestly just sick about it.

    I have known for a while that something was just not quite right about him.I asked my vet to take a look at him today while he was out there, thinking there was some lameness issue I was missing.

    He put Drift through some neurological tests and he failed almost every one. We had a discussion about my finances, and my goals for Drifter. I would be okay as long as he was pasture sound and happy, but he is not right now. My vet seems to think he has EPM.

    He has him on 3 weeks of byte, with normal turn out. 2g/day the first two weeks and 1g/day the third week. He said he would be back out to reevaluate at the end of the third week. Best case scenario is its osteoarthritis in his neck or spine, but he said he was "pessimistic about that being the case".

    I've done some research on EPM since getting home and Drift does have most of the symptoms.
    • He has uncoordinated movement of his back feet- seemingly worse on the left, especially when my vet would raise his head and have him back up.
      He has intermittent lameness and is just not quite right.
      His lameness seems to often switch sides.
      He has become very lethargic.
      He has shown major hind end weakness, especially when going down hills.
      He's having trouble balancing when you lift a hoof.
      He slips if he turns in a circle.
      The list goes on....


    I was expecting my vet to tell me he was 'out' somewhere, or tell me I was nuts. But he has worked closely with Drifter and I in the past and when he was finished he looked at me and said "You summed it up perfectly. Something is just 'not quite right' and I'm concerned".

    Drifter slipped and lost his balance when he had him turn in tight circles. He pulled on his tail and Drift fell to the side he was pulling on. He pushed against his shoulder and Drifter fell into the direction he was pushing. He actively seeks out something to lean against (fence, person, etc). At times when my Dr. Was free lunging him to look at him, there were moments where it's like Drifter couldnt find his feet under him.

    My vet also stood him on flat concrete and showed me how he has muscle atrophy under his shoulders, and how he is leaning to one side when when he stands. He has also dramatically lost muscle over his hips.

    I think I am honestly still a little shell shocked. I wasnt prepared for that news at all. I talked to him for a while and I love Drift to death with all of my heart and soul, but I am still a college student who has to pay my bills and support myself and my dogs and other horse. I have to realistically think about what I can afford financially to care for him, and how long I would be able to keep that up.

    I am going to take these next few weeks to think long and hard about it and I am going to try and be realistic about his quality of life. Right now my vet and I both agree that he is not at a place where we would be content to let him live out the rest of his days.

    I got the overall impression from our talk that he knew what my final decision was going to have to be, and he's trying to give me three weeks to prepare and come to terms with it. When he mentioned the bute, I said "But Drifter has had ulcers" and he gave me some neighlox, told me to use the rest of my ulcerguard and not worry about the ulcers and that he would see me in 3 weeks.

    I'm sorry this is so jumbled up and probably doesnt make sense. I've been a wreck since two o clock this afternoon. I love this horse, and even having to think about letting him go breaks my heart into a million tiny pieces. I am going to continue reserching so that whenever I do make a decision, it will be the most well informed and educated decision I can make.
         
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        10-09-2013, 11:49 PM
      #2
    Green Broke
    Oh hun! We had a horse boarding with us for awhile with EPM. Spent a lot of time training the bugger for them too before they moved him.



    Soo sorry you're going through this stress right now lots of jingles your way and always here if you need a friend to vent to
    DriftingShadow likes this.
         
        10-09-2013, 11:51 PM
      #3
    Trained
    So so sorry about Drifter. Do the research, live every day with him and enjoy him. If the outlook turns out to be bleak, and a difficult decision has to be made, then do it for him, make the best choice you can for you and him.
         
        10-10-2013, 12:23 AM
      #4
    Banned
    Thank you for the words of support!

    Golden- you said it perfectly. That is my plan exactly. My main worry is that if I do have to make "the" decision that I will want to be selfish and keep him with me longer. I hope for the clear head to make the appropriate and right decision when it comes to that time- whatever that decision may be.

    I just feel like so many of the signs/symptoms came on gradually and quietly that I never put two and two together. I had noticed he was leaning against things more, I had noticed he seemed different in personality - but I chalked it up to him being lazy, lethargic, jealous of the new horse, etc. Once my vet was talking to me and putting everything I said together it was like it clicked all into place. I hate feeling like I ignored something right in front of me, but my vet said that's one of the problems with neurological issues. They sneak up on you and often arent apparent unless you look at all the "little things" and put them together in a big picture
         
        10-10-2013, 12:37 AM
      #5
    Foal
    One of the horses where I board got EPM. I don't know if it's because my stable owner is just super amazing and noticed it right away, but they got the vet out there and started him on treatments, and after just a week he's wayyyyyyyyyyy better. She told me a little bit about it, and said there is a big treatment that knocks it out in one go, and a series of little treatments that some people choose if they don't want to pay for the big treatment all at once. But I thought it was strange reading your post, because my understanding from what I've seen happening with this horse at my stable is that EPM is completely treatable?

    Oh I just wanted to make sure to say, in case someone reads this and it somehow reflects on my stable, that no one else at the stable has EPM; it was just a fluke occurrence. I think it really speaks to the care the horses receive there that they caught on basically right when he got sick. The owner pays such close attention to all the horses there, just as if they were her own. She saved one horse's life just last month when the vets were doing nothing to help her other than say "oh it isn't dead yet? Huh."
         
        10-10-2013, 12:47 AM
      #6
    Banned
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MaximasMommy    
    One of the horses where I board got EPM. I don't know if it's because my stable owner is just super amazing and noticed it right away, but they got the vet out there and started him on treatments, and after just a week he's wayyyyyyyyyyy better. She told me a little bit about it, and said there is a big treatment that knocks it out in one go, and a series of little treatments that some people choose if they don't want to pay for the big treatment all at once. But I thought it was strange reading your post, because my understanding from what I've seen happening with this horse at my stable is that EPM is completely treatable?
    EPM is treatable, yes. But from what I have come to understand from my vet is that is both A. Very expensive and B. If some of Drifte'rs motor neurons ( I believe that's what he called them) have already been killed off (which he expects they have) he will not ever regain function of those areas.

    Now that's not to say Drifter wouldnt figure out someway to compensate, but that's an if. Also, my dilemma, is if it stops the disease but not get Drifter back to normal - I would not make him live out the rest of his life like this. He is not happy, and this is no quality of life for him.

    So I have a couple of things to think aobut.

    1. Treatment with Marquis. It usually runs $1000 a dose and they are ususally dosed 2 months I believe. But sometimes they do a double dose which would mean that month might cost me $2000. Granted, Im sure to some that's pocket change, but for me rihgt now that is a big financial investment. Do I pay that for a horse who will be left exactly where he is now? I wouldnt I don't think because Drifter is not happy or comfortable and that is my longterm goal for him.

    2. As of right now we arent sure its actually EPM. He is currently undergoing tests for a lot of things. There are other diseases and issues my vet said we needed to rule out - among them West Nile Virus and the chance of a brain tumor.

    3. My main thing is this - when do I know enough is enough? I am a 23 year old college student, paying to get my masters and supporting myself and 3 other animals. Of COURSE I want to help Drifter and pay whatever is needed, but I think my vet was correct in cautioning me to think realistically about what I can afford to pay financially, how LONG I can afford to pay that, and what I would be looking at as far as prognosis after paying for that treatment. I don't want Drifter's quality of life to suffer while I try to afford treaments, and I don't wan tthe quality of life of my other animals to suffer as well.

    I have had to prioritize quite a bit for injuries and such in the past with my guys and I have always made it work - but this new challenge is quite a hill and its pretty dang daunting. So really my main issue isnt whether EPM is treatable, its whether or not its treatable in my case and whether its worth going through with.

    That is why I said I was going to continue my research. Whatever decision I make will hopefully be a well informed and educated one
    boots, KigerQueen and VickiRose like this.
         
        10-10-2013, 12:54 AM
      #7
    Banned
    Also- in reference to the last bit in your post- I don't think EPM reflects in quality of care. I think its just one of those fluke things. The care at my barn definitely isnt lacking and I do most of my boys' care myself. I am out there 2 or 3 times a day and I handle them daily. Could I have caught this sooner? Probably. But as I mentioned before, it was a bunch of little things that I never thought to put all together. Am I mentally kicking and berating myself right now? You betcha.
         
        10-10-2013, 12:59 AM
      #8
    Trained
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DriftingShadow    
    That is why I said I was going to continue my research. Whatever decision I make will hopefully be a well informed and educated one
    A lot of people can have input into this, but only you know ALL of the facts, so don't be pressured one way or the other by outside folk.

    Once you have looked at all the research, and have the full diagnoses, can you add the last few bits to the puzzle, and that is your finances and situation. As much as some people would fight for ever to keep an animal alive, I'm more of a realist, sometimes you just have to say enough.

    Again, I hope for the best for you.
    boots likes this.
         
        10-10-2013, 01:01 AM
      #9
    Foal
    My stable owner told me the pay by treatment method was around $100 a treatment. That's what she said the horse's owners ended up doing, and it seems to be working really well. Also, she said they confirmed his diagnosis with a blood test. I agree it makes sense to not jump into treatment without a test result!

    I send you lots of hugs and carrots :( I hope your tests come back with something easy and cure-able.
         
        10-10-2013, 01:03 AM
      #10
    Foal
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DriftingShadow    
    Also- in reference to the last bit in your post- I don't think EPM reflects in quality of care. I think its just one of those fluke things. The care at my barn definitely isnt lacking and I do most of my boys' care myself. I am out there 2 or 3 times a day and I handle them daily. Could I have caught this sooner? Probably. But as I mentioned before, it was a bunch of little things that I never thought to put all together. Am I mentally kicking and berating myself right now? You betcha.
    Ohhmygosh I wasn't saying anything about you! I was just feeling kind of iffy about posting about the incident at my barn. One of the boarders flipped out and left when she found out. So I just had to go back and make sure I wasn't putting anything on the internet that was a huge "MY STABLE IS BAD" sign. Because I guess some people get weird about other horses turning up sick at the place they board..
         

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