OTTB -- What does residual EPM damage look like?

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OTTB -- What does residual EPM damage look like?

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  • Treat EPM in Horses
  • Horse epm dragging toe

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    02-06-2011, 08:23 PM
Smile OTTB -- What does residual EPM damage look like?

Hi everyone!

Okay so, I have a Thoroughbred. He's officially mine a week today! I adopted him from the local equine rescue. He's an off-tracker, and he's 7 (8 on St. Paddy's day). When I first met him, I was told that he was unrideable due to an old injury. They weren't sure of the specifics, only that the last lady who tried to ride him did something and he almost fell, so they retired him. He was a lesson horse for several years there, and he was apparently pretty awesome.

I come into the picture, full of curiosity. I find his original breeder online and speak with her. Ferdinand (my horse) never fell in the starting gate or suffered an injury with her, but he DID have EPM as a 3 year old. They did a round of Marquis with him and all was well. EPM totally fits his symptoms at the time, as subtle as they were. He dragged his right hind toe going downhill, had some very slight atrophying in the right side of his hindquarters, and it accounted for the ataxyia. He had two sessions of acupuncture and was like a new horse afterwards, no toe dragging or anything.

So, I tell myself, this is EPM we're dealing with. I educate myself, join the Yahoo! Group, the whole 9 yards. I think I know more about EPM and how my horse's body works than my own body!

The only thing that didn't make sense at this point was that it had been two years since Ferdinand was retired, but yet his symptoms weren't getting worse. They were simply there, the same as they had always been.

Stoked, I spoke with a vet and formed a plan of action. He was to be put on the sulfadiazine-pyremethamine-trimethoprim combination, but due to a lack of space (personal paddocks) at the rescue, this never happened. I find a lady who is willing to medicate him, and Ferdinand is moved to her barn two miles down the road.

This past Saturday while attending the Horseman's Expo in Camden, SC, I spoke with a vet who works here in Aiken. I asked her how familiar she was with EPM, described Ferdinand's symptoms. She throws out the idea that perhaps it's not an active infection we're dealing with but simply residual EPM damage.

I have the vet coming out next week to check out Ferdi, but in the meantime, what does residual EPM damage look like? I lunged him today, complete with saddle and bridle, and he did beautifully. He has this wonderful bouncy canter and did lots of stretching down into his trot. To the untrained eye, he looks perfectly fine and totally sound. I'm not getting on him until a vet tells me it's safe, mind you, and he's also working on getting his old feed out of his system. (He was on Banks Mill Senior Elite for almost 5 years, and he's like a kid jacked up on sugar.)

His move has gone relatively well. He went from being the alpha of his herd to being a lone wolf surrounded by horses in other pastures, so it's been a bit trying for him. He's had a bit of a relapse, dragging the toe mostly, but he's improving.

(Also, he's currently getting 8500 iUs of vitamin E, Smart Shine, Smart Calm Ultra, and 10,000 mgs of MSM)

So, what do you guys think?

(Ferdi's hindquarters)

The rest of him :)


epm, lameness, ottb

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