Neurological Disorder? Anyone have experience with this? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 34 Old 11-15-2013, 09:11 PM Thread Starter
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Neurological Disorder? Anyone have experience with this?

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.
https://vimeo.com/75125328
Attached Images
File Type: jpg tuck show1.jpg (59.8 KB, 168 views)
File Type: jpg Tucker show2.jpg (71.5 KB, 165 views)

Last edited by Platinumhotrodder; 11-15-2013 at 09:16 PM.
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post #2 of 34 Old 11-15-2013, 09:19 PM
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I couldn't get the video to play. He is a really nice horse! I hope that his problem clears up.

Celeste
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post #3 of 34 Old 11-16-2013, 12:17 AM
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I got the video to play after copying and pasting it into another browser window. But unfortunately I don't have any advice to offer other than I hope he gets better. He does look hesitant and uncoordinated with his walking.

I wish I could help! Best of luck with his recovery. He's such a beautiful boy!
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post #4 of 34 Old 11-16-2013, 12:28 AM
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I can't offer any advice either, but I hope you're able to get it figured out! He's beautiful. Good luck!
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post #5 of 34 Old 11-16-2013, 01:04 AM
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I met someone on Facebook who's Gypsy Vanner horse appeared to have EPM. They tried multiple EPM treatments but it failed. Took it to the university and it was diagnosed as wobblers. The horse continued to decline and was eventually pts. They found the horse was unable to absorb vitamin E. Even though they tried giving the horse a vitamin E supplement the horse could not absorb any of it.

Neuroaxonal Dystrophy/Equine Degenerative Myeloencephalopathy - CVM - UMEC, University of Minnesota

What about doing a nuclear bone scan? Can he stand for the farrier or get up/lay down okay?

Good luck!
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post #6 of 34 Old 11-16-2013, 09:36 AM
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he is beautiful, no advice just want you to know I am sorry this happened to your baby.
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post #7 of 34 Old 11-16-2013, 11:37 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for your kind words. This has been really difficult and I'm just not ready to give up. Right now, he looks more stable which is promising and will be reevaluated soon.
In regards to standing for the farrier, there are some oddities. He will now do sudden 'yanks' with his hind legs from the farrier, not in a mean or scared way, but like he can't help it. He just had his feet done a week ago and we were really satisfied with his progress. My farrier then ran his hands down his spine to the pressure points on his hind and Tuck went down on his hind ankles. :( So, that was sad. We recently removed his shoes because he had damaged himself being so uncoordinated and unaware of his feet. My vet feels that this may have to do with him possibly having a sore back and caused him to go down on his ankles. But we don't really know. He is able to lay down and get up just fine at this time. I have not heard of or considered a bone scan. His neuralgic and blood panels came back within normal range. My vet did put him on a regiment of Vitamin E when it started.

He is placed in rehab, which is now an hour away from me. So, I only get to visit once a week. I will take some video of him moving today and you guys can see the difference. Maybe it will be a good day!
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post #8 of 34 Old 11-16-2013, 12:02 PM
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Acupuncture. Chiro adjustments aren't going to do anything for neurological issues. I would do a minimum of 3 sessions at 2 weeks intervals.

Is there asymmetry to the muscle atrophy? Can he back up fluidly or does he have to think about it?
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post #9 of 34 Old 11-16-2013, 10:41 PM Thread Starter
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I just read about equine acupuncture. Have you had success with it? Yes, it was a scheduled chiropractor visit prior to this happening, but I figured I would have her still work on him. He is not currently receiving chiropractor services anymore.
The neuro-specialist noted slight muscle atrophy to the left side of his neck, which is why they have focused so much on the neck x rays. He has also shown neck soreness and backs away from and resists pressure on his neck. He is willing to back.
I have taken more video of him walking on flat footing today. Definitely better than the first video and he seems more comfortable. To me, he still looks 'weird' in the hind end. I'm not sure how else to put it, maybe weak? He does respond well to small tight circles but he is carrying himself odd. Maybe I'm critiquing him too much, but I have owned him his whole life and I would not say he is currently solid. He looks to be dragging his hind toes and 'jabbing' them into the ground instead of lifting them at times. Occasionally he looks short and stiff in the hind, notice the tail carriage. He continues to 'hang' his penis even at the walk. Again, I could be over analyzing him.
https://vimeo.com/79584659

I also attached a photo from today. This resting stance has become very normal for him. (He is wearing Soft Ride Boots on his fronts to aide in transitioning to bare feet)
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File Type: jpg Tucknovember162013.jpg (95.3 KB, 126 views)
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post #10 of 34 Old 11-17-2013, 12:07 AM
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cannot see the videos, unfortunately. Has he been tested for PSSM/EPSM?
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