This has been a long road and its only been since August. I own a five year old quarter horse gelding named Tucker and have had him since he was a baby. He has always been healthy, no injuries, no sickness, always happy and healthy until now. Here is a little bit of our story:
Show at Gilroy Gaits August 4th, First symptoms seen August 11: mild tripping in hind quarters, freezing up in hind end, 'weird steps'. "Bunny hopping" on trails, severe discomfort....Continued riding. Chiropractor visit on August 23rd: normal visit, continued riding. Tucker presented with symptoms and tripped at canter under saddle nearly causing a fall. Riding was stopped on August 28th and the farrier was called. Farrier arrived on August 29th and noted Tuckers tripping in the front end when trotted at hand. Farrier found nothing in feet and vet was called. Vet arrived on Sept. 2nd and conducted a full array of neurologic tests. Tucker did poorly on neurologic tests including tail pull, cross legs, and tight circles. A full neck x ray was completed and no abnormalities were seen. Blood samples were taken and sent. Within two weeks blood samples report normal findings. Herpes panel was negative. Tucker was taken to Steinbeck Equine Hospital on 9/13. A hind end spinal tap and deep x rays were performed. Spinal tap reveal a negative result for EPM and normal fluid. X rays reveal some degeneration of facet joints in neck. I'm told this could have nothing to do with his current situation and is quite normal. Specialists recommend a myelogram to locate a possible site of compression or lesion on the spinal cord and operate on it (basket surgery) OR turn out on pasture for 6 months for possible self healing? So really, no one knows what is going on with him and he appears to be healthy looking at test results. Again, there has never been any injuries. They rated him at a 2/5 on the ataxia scale and list him under 'wobblers' syndrome. They noted some atrophy and loss of muscle/weight in one months time.
I do not want to put him through the stress and possible side effects of a myelogram (temporary blindness, death, seizures..) just to find out if it is a compression of the spinal cord. He has been turned out now in a small paddock for a month and a half. His symptoms have drastically improved, but he has 'off' days when he appears to be slightly wobbly again. He is now on a daily dose of previcox and will be re-evaluated by his specialists in February.
Has anyone experienced anything like this before? We have considered pinched nerve, viruses, and more, but nothing else seems to fit. Help!
I have attached a picture from our show in August.
Here is a link of him walking in Sept. This is sensitive to me, please be kind. You will see his penis hanging out a little (which apparently can be related to neurologic symptoms) and he just appears to be a little weak and resistant to walking forward. You have to copy the link and then paste it into a new tab to work.