Yearling showing EPM signs? Am I being paranoid? - Page 3

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Yearling showing EPM signs? Am I being paranoid?

This is a discussion on Yearling showing EPM signs? Am I being paranoid? within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
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    06-30-2012, 01:49 PM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by Skyebird03    
From what I understand, No it doesnt.
I'm not an expert on it by any means...had actually never really heard of it til out gelding ended up with it at the beginning of the year. 80% of all horses will test positive for the disease simply because they have been exposed to it. That doesnt mean they will show symptoms of have what I call and "episode". I read in an article yesterday that its 1% of horses that have been exposed that show symptoms. It can be treated...the parasite killed and damage frozen...but it can't be cured and there is no reverse on the damage done. There is a 30% relapse rate on horses who have previously shown symptoms and been treated wit treatment being less effective the second...third or fourth....time around.
I have also read that it is becoming a much more common disease then it has been in the past.
While the damage itself can't be cured the horse can learn to compensate and become a useable horse again. The body learns to use different nerve paths and I'm not 100% sure there is not some healing that takes place when given enough time. Why else would they recommend therapeutic levels of Vitamin E to help with nerve repair if it doesn't work at all?

My haflinger was diagnosed with EPM as a 4 year old. He was so bad he was falling down and at times couldn't get back up. After 8 months of rehab he was rideable again at a walk. Some trotting added at a year. Wouldn't even canter in the fields, let alone under saddle until a couple years ago and now he is cantering just fine under saddle. Heat used to really effect him and he would become stumbly again on really hot days. This year we are having several +100 degree days already and he is showing no symptoms what so ever. He is now 11 years old - so he has had slow continual improvements over the years.

As to being paranoid - once you have had a horse go through it you watch them and your other horses like hawks and may be more paranoid than other owners. But I don't think that is a bad thing.
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    06-30-2012, 02:12 PM
We called the vet back and got a different doctor to "read the results". Ember did test positive for "exposure". This doesnt mean she has the actual infection, just that she has been exposed. We were really hoping for a negative as that would mean that she is negative whereas the positive result could mean she is infected or just exposed.
She has already started on the treatment so we are going to keep her on it just in case. Nothing has gotten worse. She just seems slightly stiff in the back legs and drags her toes. We are still in the 100s here so it could be the heat although my other two horses arent showing anything and my gelding is 28 (i would think he would be the first effected by heat).
I suppose all we can do now is wait and pray that we don't have to go through the mess with this disease again....
    06-30-2012, 02:23 PM
Green Broke
Which test did you use? There are more specific test now - I think the test is done in California called the ELISA test - where the results can indicate if they have just been exposed but the results are low enough its not likely an active infection and if the numbers are high enough they indicate a high probability of the horse actually having EPM. If your vet is not aware of this test I would ask him to look into it. It would give you a much better picture of what is going on.
    06-30-2012, 02:54 PM
We have just had a basic blood test done so far that tells if there has been exposure. It doesnt actually prove there is an active infection. We can't do anything else until Monday but I will definitely be asking my vet about other tests. We just brought this filly home two weeks ago today. IF this is an EPM infection, then she most likely caught it here and I don't know how. That is the worst part about this disease. The helplessness watching your horse go down hill and not knowing how to make the pain stop for them or fix the problem that caused it to begin with.

We don't have grass in our pasture right now so infection didnt come from there. We buy two different sizes of hay bales...large square and small square...from two different guys. Both men also sell their hay to other horse owners in the area one of which is a big breeder/trainer. No one has had issues. Watching this disease causes you to second guess every decision you make. I have literally made myself sick by just wondering....

Edit: our grain is kept in locked barrels same as our alfalfa cubes. We keep the bags of treats in the house.
    06-30-2012, 03:13 PM
Green Broke
Exposure can come from soil or hay anywhere 'possums can be located. She may have even nibbled at a few weeds or stray branches or even dirt and got infected that way. And there is no reason she couldn't have been infected before she got to your place and the stress of a new home just brought it out. The only way you can know for sure it was your place was if she came from an area that is 100% 'possum free and they got all their hay from an area that is 100% 'possum free.

However, with her age it may be wobblers too. It can look the same as EPM.
    06-30-2012, 04:29 PM
Its like watching Charlie all over again. His case was caught a lot later then what Embers has been but its doing the same thing. Thursday morning we watched her walk around and it was the first time we noticed her dragging her back toes. We called the vet immediately and he put her on the Marquis before he even left the house. She got her third dose of that this morning. Yesterday she seemed to be doing somewhat better so we were hoping for that negative test result and this to be nothing more then the heat. This morning she was still slightly better. She got her third Marquis dose and a dose of Bute. Now things are way worse. She is walking around with her head down and barely picks up her back feet. Its like deja vu....and pure hell
    06-30-2012, 04:43 PM
I'm so sorry your dealing with this again. Just don't give up. I'm hoping she can pull through it:/ poor girl
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    06-30-2012, 05:52 PM
Green Broke
I'm so sorry. Its horrible luck getting hit with EPM once - twice is wretched. I really hope you caught it early enough and she turns around quickly for you.
    06-30-2012, 06:01 PM
Assuming this is EPM (since we can't be for certain since just the blood test was done) how long will it take before improvement starts to to show on Marquis? (assuming the treatment works). The vet has told me that she will get worse before getting better due to the dying out of the protozoa.
    06-30-2012, 06:41 PM
Green Broke
About 2 weeks of treatment there is a "die off" period when they do get worse like your vet said. As to how quickly they get better really depends on your horse, how quickly you caught it, and other random factors that are out of our control. You may kill off all the protozoa but it still may take time for her to compensate for the changes in her body.

Now Toby got better, then at week two of treatment he got worse for a couple days and then got showed noticeable improvement after that. However, it was 8 months before I was comfortable enough to get on him again. I did a lot of in-hand walking. Started off slowly on a flat surface, then started adding in inclines and declines, then steeper ditches and then items to step over like poles and branches and slowly worked up as he showed he could handle it. I really didn't want to work him too hard to fast so we took it nice and slow and it worked for us. Others have other theories in getting them into harder work faster - but personally I prefer nice and slow and keep stress low.

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