Vaccines, inflammation, and ERU? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 16 Old 03-15-2013, 12:15 AM Thread Starter
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I will, RC! I'm interested to hear what she thinks too. I adore my vet but sometimes I wish she would be a bit more like "Well, we should do this!" instead of all "Well, we could do this, or this, or THIS!!" However, I suppose I would probably like her a whole heck of a lot less if she told me what to do constantly. haha!

That's an interesting idea Sunny! I've had that done with my cat but have never heard of doing that for a horse... I wonder. I'll ask. :) I wonder if drawing blood would be less stressful...huh, never thought about it before! I'll definitely have to ask. Lacey's pretty cool as a cucumber about shots, etc (pretty sure it helps that we usually do them on her blind-er side so she doesn't see the needle coming and tense up) but who knows!

Ok, Celeste. I think I took it the wrong way. Your last sentence came across as really harsh/condescending as I was reading it. Water under the bridge! Sorry for jumping down your throat. :)
And I totally agree with you on principle. Death from some sort of animal/insect-borne virus is definitely worse than one-time increased inflammation! I suppose I could always increase Lacey's anti-inflammatories/painkillers on shot day to help combat any possible issues. That would probably help a lot and I would feel better!

Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzan gelding

Rest peacefully, Lacey.

Last edited by Wallaby; 03-15-2013 at 12:17 AM.
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post #12 of 16 Old 03-15-2013, 01:11 AM
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I'm not sure I would vaccinate. I have immune system issues and I avoided the flu vaccine this year because there was absolutely no way of knowing how I would react to it. For me, I would rather risk getting the flu than getting vaccinated and having life long permanent damage from the vaccine. Plus there are case reports of the flu vaccine "triggering" the same autoimmune disease I have.

Has the horse reacted to the vaccine before? If he did not react before, he may be okay to vaccinate. I don't know if they have studied vaccination in ERU horses to see if there is any link between vaccination and flare ups.

The only thing I could find on google was that they do not recommend vaccinating horses against lepto. because the vaccine can possibly cause ERU.

Other vaccines like eastern and western may be safe because they do not trigger the same autoimmune response. With lepto (both the virus and possibly the vaccine) the body is tricked into attacking the eyes.

I think vaccine titration tests are a good idea if in doubt.
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post #13 of 16 Old 04-05-2013, 09:27 PM Thread Starter
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I thought I would just update with what my vet and I decided to do.
The vet was out today to do Miss L's teeth so we got the chance to discuss vaccines. :)

Bottom line, we decided to forgo vaccines for right now.
Apparently the only real concerns, vaccine-wise, for our area are tetanus (obviously) and West Nile. And she said that West Nile is "unbelievably uncommon" around here. She did instruct me to call the practice ASAP if Lacey ever gets a blood-drawing cut off something dirty, or something I can't identify, so that we can get her a tetanus vaccine.

Basically we concluded that, at 28 years old and with a solid history of good vaccination practices, Lacey probably has quite a bit of "vaccine-power" in her system. If she were younger and had ERU, or if she were at a boarding barn/moving around a bunch, the vet said she would be less inclined to let Lacey go vaccine-free but that as it is, she should be a-ok.

So that's a relief!!
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Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzan gelding

Rest peacefully, Lacey.
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post #14 of 16 Old 09-02-2013, 10:38 PM
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Sorry, older thread, but well, I'm gonna go for it anyway :)

Wallaby, I am having this exact debate myself right now! My mare, Lucy, was diagnosed with ERU in November 2012 and I was pretty consumed with researching the condition and ways to prevent flare ups for months and months. I have her on a supplement regimen, and wearing a UV blocking fly mask 24/7, that has so far prevented a full on episode. She has had a couple of minor incidents of increased swelling and weepy-ness that I had to resort to applying some steroid ointment for a day or two to get it to back down which is kind of a last resort for me. I'm more of an herbs, vitamins, natural remedies first kind of gal, but that first episode was so traumatic that I wasn't going to take any chances. Plus, I've come to terms with the fact that this isn't a condition that can always be controlled without convention medicines. All in all, it has stayed under control fairly well thus far, but vaccine time is coming up in October and I'm not sure what I'm going to do. The initial episode that lead to a diagnosis was already happening when she got vaccinated last year, but it really amped up after her vaccinations, and was only able to be subdued by a shot of steroids to her eye. So, I'm hesitant to vaccinate again. I will consult with my Vet, of course, weigh the pros and cons and just have to make a decision soon! Lucy is my first horse, and as of yet I am not as educated about equine vaccinations and the major communicable diseases as I should be. I've been so consumed with all the heaps and heaps of other stuff one needs to know about horses in order to properly care for and ride one that I haven't gotten around to vaccines yet! It's overwhelming at times :). I've just been following the convention vaccination regimen to this point, but I like to be able to make informed decisions, so I will definitely get around to researching the topic.

It's unfortunate that your mare Lacey has ERU, but I'm glad that there is someone who not only can relate to owning a horse with the condition, but has such a wealth of knowledge about it! I may have been methodically searching out and reading all of your ERU related posts these past couple of months (nice way of saying "stalking", right?! Haha!).

Did you ever find out more about whether having titer testing done is an option for horses? If that option is available I'd love to go that route as it would make the decision easier.

Thanks for reading my novella.
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post #15 of 16 Old 09-02-2013, 11:33 PM Thread Starter
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I so know what you mean!! ERU was my LIFE for a few months right after Lacey got diagnosed. I 100% understand. Good for you for being Lucy's advocate! It makes me really happy [but sad too since ERU is the WORST] to hear about your self-education.
I figure that the more of us there are that being vocal about this disease, sharing information, etc, the easier and easier it'll become for caretakers of newly diagnosed horses. At least that's my dream!

I also totally get what you mean about wishing for a less conventional route of treatment. I try to do a combination of both [as you might have read in some of my posts ], saving Bute and the harsher drugs for episodes and "wanna-be episodes". But it's sure hard!

My vet wasn't familiar with titer-testing horses but it's definitely something to ask your vet about! I mean, they have them for other animals and humans...why not horses? haha

A thought for your vaccinations might be to dose Lucy with maybe half the Bute your vet prescribes for an episode [for Lacey, upon discovery of an episode, my vet has me giving her 3 grams of Bute the first day, then 2/day until inflammation subsides, and then I wean her back on to her herbal pain stuff] to decrease any inflammation that wants to happen from the vaccine, and perhaps double up on any immune-boosting/anti-inflammatory supplements [I feed flax seed, MSM, and Apple Cider vinegar for immune function+anti-inflammatory] you're already giving...just to sort of preemptively "attack" back.
Of course, she may pop through her vaccinations just fine without a lot of help - since she was in the midst of an inflammatory reaction+immune system freakout last time, the inflammatory nature of the vaccines just made it worse. This time, since the vaccines are going to be the 'only' "bad guys," it hopefully won't be nearly as bad.

I would probably just treat it however you would treat an "uh-oh, does she look like she's heading towards an episode? I'm going to head it off with __x__" situation, if that makes sense.

Also, I love that you're reading things I've posted about ERU! That's really so great. :)
I was so broken up when Lacey first got diagnosed and I wondered how on Earth we were going to survive it. From the beginning, 5 years ago, it was pretty obvious that Lacey wasn't just mine, she was mine to share with others. When she got diagnosed with ERU almost 2 years ago, I had a hard time imagining how we were going to continue share with the world in our "state" [we used to go to summer camps where we'd lead trail rides, she'd comfort the scared kids, and basically bring joy to everyone by "being a unicorn"].
Now I think our new work might be bringing hope/peace to owners of other ERU horses. Or at least, I can hope that we might be able to do that!

And.....I just wrote you a novella back! :)

Feel free to pm me if you'd like! To ask questions or just talk. I'm sure you can't tell, but ERU and "making it work" is kind of a passion of mine.

Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzan gelding

Rest peacefully, Lacey.

Last edited by Wallaby; 09-02-2013 at 11:36 PM.
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post #16 of 16 Old 09-03-2013, 06:51 PM
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I think it is so awesome that you are doing everything you can to get all you've learned, and are learning through your trials with Lacey, about ERU out there!! Thank you, sincerely. I felt a lot of fear and hopelessness for a long while after Lucy was diagnosed because there isn't really all that much information about ERU out there. Especially not if you are trying to find natural/holistic ways to help control, slow, minimize, etc the condition and resulting damage. So it's disheartening, as you well know, to get this diagnosis and then try to help your horse but end up feeling like you're pretty much powerless because there isn't enough info to arm yourself with!

Haha, rambling again!

So, good idea about just being preemptive and giving her the strong drugs that the Vet would have me give in the case of a flare up. Right now all he has prescribed is a combovsteroid/antibiotic ointment to put in her eye as soon as an episode starts, and if that doesn't halt it then he would administer a shot of steroids to the conjunctiva. (I sure have learned a lot about equine eye anatomy in the last 10 months!) No bute or other anti inflammatory pain medicine. So, if the titer testing isn't an option then I'll ask him what conventional drugs I should administer to help prevent a reaction to the vaccination. I'm not really jazzed about using steroids somewhat willy-nilly (without a vet check for an eye ulcer first), and antibiotics unnecessarily (they do nothing for the ERU, I think they are just there cause there probably isn't a steroid ointment without them). So, I'll see if maybe bute is a better alternative. I know it has its own risks and side affects, so we'll see. Additionally, I'll have him give only the vaccinations he feels are essential for our area. I would be curious to see if, as you mentioned, she would get through the vaccination(s) just fine if they were given during a time that she wasn't having a flare up. I'll have to ponder trying that this go round - just give them and see what happens - just to know if that's a trigger for her. I'm not much of a gambler though, so I'm not sure :)

Somewhat off topic: if you haven't already done so, you should start a thread that is basically a place for you to detail all you know about ERU, what regimen of drugs/supplements you do for Lacey, etc, and have other people do the same. I know you definitely already have all of this across multiple threads, but it'd be pretty cool to have a thread just about ERU to put all of your (and others) knowledge in one place for people to find. Could be kinda time consuming to start, haha! But, maybe down the road at some point - just something to ponder :)
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