03-20-2010, 02:48 PM
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You all might remember I sought out information on this condition last November when Sierra (my 6 year old Morgan mare) was diagnosed with pemphigus folicaeus which is an autoimmune condition that the body attacks the second layer of skin. It’s a very rare and painful condition that can only be diagnosed by deep plug biopsies. We had been treating her for a couple months prior for gnat allergy (what the vet thought). In hindsight after dealing with this condition, studying it, etc., I now believe it was caused by the rattle snake bite when I got her home. This explains that cinchiness I had with her that I thought was an ill fitting saddle. The tail swishing and dancing when I saddled her was basically pain from this condition when I didn’t know it was there. Hers did not initially show as sores (never really made open sores). They get a “crusty” chunky type of dandruff but it’s really an amber liquid like in a blister that is coming through the top layer of skin. It cannot be treated externally, won’t do any good. I believe she had this condition at least a year before her actual diagnosis.
So after two months of standard treatment (dexamethosone shots, then prednisone (should have been prednisolone, was given the wrong pills at the pharmacy) and azthioprine (an anti-rejection drug) I decided to go with alternative treatment as we weren’t getting anywhere with the steroids. In defense of the steroids, if I had been given the correct drugs, she probably would have responded better. But with steroids, you always run the risk of laminitis. I then took a month or more to get her off the steroids. It was when I had her almost off the steroids that I found out I was giving the wrong one. I then went with Transfer Factor. She is now on day 54 of the treatment with this supplement and she is doing very well. I’ve documented most of the last 6 months in photos and journals. Lots of ups and downs. Initially, I was told only 10% make it over a year because of the steroid treatment and other complications that come with that along with what it takes to deal with this condition. I’ve found it’s more like 50% success now as more people are trying then immediately giving up and euthanizing their animals.
So here she is today. We aren’t totally there but close. You will see the one of her in flight,,,that is how she leaves her pen every morning to go into the large paddock. She has some dried up crusties on her sides and a small amount of tuffs of hair coming out in flank areas. She had swelling in front of her bag for about two days and it went away. Her condition as gone up and down but now seems to be staying in the right direction. The swelling in her back legs NEVER returned. At one time, she had 75% of her body reacting to this condition and she lost all the skin on her legs. It is said that it’s possible to get her in full remission and she will be like any other horse. The main exception is I will not give her vaccinations again (at least for four or five years) and will do fecal tests as not certain about worming her. This is so we don’t set this off in motion again. Today, she might have 5% of her body active with this.
If we continue on the path we are on, I should be able to ride her this summer.
Thank you all for prayers and good thoughts