unknown illness - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 10-20-2010, 06:18 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation unknown illness

hey guys...this is my first time on a horse forum, but i really need help. i have a ~15 yr old gelding thoroughbred (teeth are bad and no papers, vet said 14-16). last year about 2 weeks after we showed 2'6" at a local show in august my horse was suddenly lame, and about a week later (early september) had a fever of 102 for about 2 weeks. he got better with antibiotics, but noone ever figured out what was wrong. from then until spring my previously bomb-proof horse spooked at anything and everything; he only got sane with outside turnout (tried smartcalm and other products). He was awesome this summer and we just started to jump again. however, last sunday (10 days ago) we had a barn picnic and he seemed semi lethargic. the next day he had a temp, was pawing, and had to be switched to wet hay and bran mash and he was on antibiotics and banamine twice a day for about a week; i was happy to hear yesterday he was off all meds and was happily out in the pasture. i went to go try a light ride today, and he looked happy and alert again. he was fine when i got on and walked, but did not want to pick up a trot. i called in my trainer and she told me to push him, and as he tried to pick up the trot he seemed to lose all balance...im not sure exactly what happened but his head was down, he was dragging his legs, and i honestly thought he was going to fall on top of me....he was such a good boy trying to keep his head straight to keep me balanced. its hard to verbalize what happened, but when he seemed semi stable i jumped down, and he was tense with his back end curled up and was shaking profusely. his temp is still normal, but hes having issues keeping balance while putting his head down to eat. stool/bloodwork from friday came back normal...noone is sure what to do. anyone have any ideas or seen anything like this?
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post #2 of 11 Old 10-20-2010, 06:24 PM
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maybe an ulcer? That would make him cranky and not feel good though. Sometimes having this distraction will make them not want to pick up their feet.
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post #3 of 11 Old 10-20-2010, 07:37 PM
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If you've ruled out all of the obvious conditions, I'd run a test for EPM and maybe a coggins. Sometimes it's really hard to diagnose illnesses. My older horse got sick when he was a teenager and we never did figure out what was wrong with him. It would come and go and it seems like it lasted 2 years before he kicked it. The vet ran test after test and never did figure anything out.

One of my geldings got sick just this summer. He ran a high fever as yours did, was very lethargic and acted like it hurt to eat. He also seemed a little off on his balance, we did not ride him for a couple months. We ran just about every test under the sun. Our vet bill was a little over $700 by the end of the summer, never did find out what was wrong with him. He did get past it though.

There are a lot of things it could be... I hope he gets better soon.

"Be a best friend, tell the truth, and overuse I love you
Go to work, do your best, don't outsmart your common sense
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post #4 of 11 Old 10-20-2010, 07:48 PM
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has he had his back checked by chance?

I have no idea i'm not a vet, but if you dont find whats wrong perhaps you could search acupuncture or bowen therapy? i know bowen helps both humans and horses.

I hope you find out whats wrong :S good luck

R.I.P ~ Bubbles - 25yo tb mare - 13.04.2011 ~ 8:30am ~ passed away naturally and peacefully in my arms
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post #5 of 11 Old 10-20-2010, 08:09 PM
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Lyme and EPM would need to be ruled out for me. Both can cycle through and cause trouble one day and be virtually gone the next.
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post #6 of 11 Old 10-20-2010, 08:15 PM
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Lyme was the other one we checked for with Blue. It's an expensive test but worth the check.

"Be a best friend, tell the truth, and overuse I love you
Go to work, do your best, don't outsmart your common sense
Never let your prayin knees get lazy
And love like crazy"
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post #7 of 11 Old 10-20-2010, 08:19 PM
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Get the vet up!!! we are not vets and only a vet who has seen the horse, done tests and has the medical knowlege can tell you what is wrong.
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post #8 of 11 Old 10-20-2010, 08:28 PM
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I am usually the first to scream get the vet...but I know where you are...the horse isnt terminally sick...and it sounds like you have had the vet out. I think the lyme test is your best option. Just remember, phone calls are free. Call, talk to the vet. Tell her you are doing everything you can...researching and such...and that you wanted to know what she thought about the possibility of lyme disease.
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post #9 of 11 Old 10-21-2010, 05:32 PM
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agree with others that Lyme and EPM would be good places to start. EPM is exceedingly difficult to test for, you can learn a lot more from recent threads here on this forum.

I am usually very skeptical when people start saying EPM because it really isn't THAT common but your case is basically a textbook presentation. He needs to be evaluated for a number of neuromuscular diseases but EPM would be pretty high on my list of rule outs right now.
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post #10 of 11 Old 10-21-2010, 05:34 PM
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Have to agree with the others; it sounds like either Lyme or EPM.

I'm more inclined to say EPM, but that's only because it sounds as if he has some of the classic symptoms.
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