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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
This has been a long road and its only been since August. I own a five year old quarter horse gelding named Tucker and have had him since he was a baby. He has always been healthy, no injuries, no sickness, always happy and healthy until now. Here is a little bit of our story:

Show at Gilroy Gaits August 4th, First symptoms seen August 11: mild tripping in hind quarters, freezing up in hind end, 'weird steps'. "Bunny hopping" on trails, severe discomfort....Continued riding. Chiropractor visit on August 23rd: normal visit, continued riding. Tucker presented with symptoms and tripped at canter under saddle nearly causing a fall. Riding was stopped on August 28th and the farrier was called. Farrier arrived on August 29th and noted Tuckers tripping in the front end when trotted at hand. Farrier found nothing in feet and vet was called. Vet arrived on Sept. 2nd and conducted a full array of neurologic tests. Tucker did poorly on neurologic tests including tail pull, cross legs, and tight circles. A full neck x ray was completed and no abnormalities were seen. Blood samples were taken and sent. Within two weeks blood samples report normal findings. Herpes panel was negative. Tucker was taken to Steinbeck Equine Hospital on 9/13. A hind end spinal tap and deep x rays were performed. Spinal tap reveal a negative result for EPM and normal fluid. X rays reveal some degeneration of facet joints in neck. I'm told this could have nothing to do with his current situation and is quite normal. Specialists recommend a myelogram to locate a possible site of compression or lesion on the spinal cord and operate on it (basket surgery) OR turn out on pasture for 6 months for possible self healing? So really, no one knows what is going on with him and he appears to be healthy looking at test results. Again, there has never been any injuries. They rated him at a 2/5 on the ataxia scale and list him under 'wobblers' syndrome. They noted some atrophy and loss of muscle/weight in one months time.

I do not want to put him through the stress and possible side effects of a myelogram (temporary blindness, death, seizures..) just to find out if it is a compression of the spinal cord. He has been turned out now in a small paddock for a month and a half. His symptoms have drastically improved, but he has 'off' days when he appears to be slightly wobbly again. He is now on a daily dose of previcox and will be re-evaluated by his specialists in February.
Has anyone experienced anything like this before? We have considered pinched nerve, viruses, and more, but nothing else seems to fit. Help!
I have attached a picture from our show in August.

Here is a link of him walking in Sept. This is sensitive to me, please be kind. You will see his penis hanging out a little (which apparently can be related to neurologic symptoms) and he just appears to be a little weak and resistant to walking forward. You have to copy the link and then paste it into a new tab to work.
https://vimeo.com/75125328
 

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I couldn't get the video to play. He is a really nice horse! I hope that his problem clears up.
 

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I got the video to play after copying and pasting it into another browser window. But unfortunately I don't have any advice to offer other than I hope he gets better. He does look hesitant and uncoordinated with his walking. :-(

I wish I could help! Best of luck with his recovery. He's such a beautiful boy!
 

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I can't offer any advice either, but I hope you're able to get it figured out! He's beautiful. Good luck! :hug:
 

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I met someone on Facebook who's Gypsy Vanner horse appeared to have EPM. They tried multiple EPM treatments but it failed. Took it to the university and it was diagnosed as wobblers. The horse continued to decline and was eventually pts. They found the horse was unable to absorb vitamin E. Even though they tried giving the horse a vitamin E supplement the horse could not absorb any of it.

Neuroaxonal Dystrophy/Equine Degenerative Myeloencephalopathy - CVM - UMEC, University of Minnesota

What about doing a nuclear bone scan? Can he stand for the farrier or get up/lay down okay?

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you all for your kind words. This has been really difficult and I'm just not ready to give up. Right now, he looks more stable which is promising and will be reevaluated soon.
In regards to standing for the farrier, there are some oddities. He will now do sudden 'yanks' with his hind legs from the farrier, not in a mean or scared way, but like he can't help it. He just had his feet done a week ago and we were really satisfied with his progress. My farrier then ran his hands down his spine to the pressure points on his hind and Tuck went down on his hind ankles. :( So, that was sad. We recently removed his shoes because he had damaged himself being so uncoordinated and unaware of his feet. My vet feels that this may have to do with him possibly having a sore back and caused him to go down on his ankles. But we don't really know. He is able to lay down and get up just fine at this time. I have not heard of or considered a bone scan. His neuralgic and blood panels came back within normal range. My vet did put him on a regiment of Vitamin E when it started.

He is placed in rehab, which is now an hour away from me. So, I only get to visit once a week. I will take some video of him moving today and you guys can see the difference. Maybe it will be a good day!
 

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Acupuncture. Chiro adjustments aren't going to do anything for neurological issues. I would do a minimum of 3 sessions at 2 weeks intervals.

Is there asymmetry to the muscle atrophy? Can he back up fluidly or does he have to think about it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I just read about equine acupuncture. Have you had success with it? Yes, it was a scheduled chiropractor visit prior to this happening, but I figured I would have her still work on him. He is not currently receiving chiropractor services anymore.
The neuro-specialist noted slight muscle atrophy to the left side of his neck, which is why they have focused so much on the neck x rays. He has also shown neck soreness and backs away from and resists pressure on his neck. He is willing to back.
I have taken more video of him walking on flat footing today. Definitely better than the first video and he seems more comfortable. To me, he still looks 'weird' in the hind end. I'm not sure how else to put it, maybe weak? He does respond well to small tight circles but he is carrying himself odd. Maybe I'm critiquing him too much, but I have owned him his whole life and I would not say he is currently solid. He looks to be dragging his hind toes and 'jabbing' them into the ground instead of lifting them at times. Occasionally he looks short and stiff in the hind, notice the tail carriage. He continues to 'hang' his penis even at the walk. Again, I could be over analyzing him.
https://vimeo.com/79584659

I also attached a photo from today. This resting stance has become very normal for him. (He is wearing Soft Ride Boots on his fronts to aide in transitioning to bare feet)
 

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How's his canter?

Any problems with riding over the last year or so? Stiffness to one side, not extending, bucking?

I looked back at his April 2012 video with him galloping around the outdoor arena and he looks strange there too. Like he is running with both hind legs together. He is cross cantering a bit too.

I have a mare who cannot canter- I don't have a diagnosis. She knows where her feet are (can trot raised poles just fine). She falls to pieces at the canter. Bucking, cross cantering. Just uncomfortable. If you try cantering over poles she smashes them. Her joints look great on X rays. The vet thinks it is her pelvis (or maybe her spine?). She is not lame at the trot. She has muscle wasting over her back in the loin area only.

If you can afford it, get a nuclear scan. It is over $1000 depending on how much of the horse you want to do. Should light up if you have any problems in the bones (and should show if the spine is the problem). That is what my vet recommends next. Probably won't show lesions on the spinal cord- you need an MRI for that. A few places have horse sized MRI's...

This could be neuromuscular instead of neurological... I have a problem with my legs collapsing on me randomly- both legs are affected but usually only one leg collapses at a time. All testing has been normal, no nerve damage has been detected... The doctors are stumped. Could be a muscle problem...

Nerve damage is usually consistent or gradually gets either better or worse. If he dramatically changes from day to day, my guess would be it is a muscle problem or something else.

Can you retire him?
 

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I do see some oddness in your more recent video. Stiffness and awkward steps, it almost seems more physical then "mental" but idk. So no, you are not over analyzing. He seems happy and willing to do what you want (you obviously have a strong bond) but while he seems to back easily it does not seem comfortable for him. Sorry I can't be of help, just my observations.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thank you for your replies, it's good to have perspective. In regards to his canter, he has always had lovely movement. In the video you are referring to, he was very hot after not being worked on his regular schedule after having his shoes pulled. He was a bit pent up and needed to run :) I am sorry about your mare, I hope you get it resolved. I will mention a bone scan to my vet during his reevaluation. I have been thinking about his 'good' days and 'bad' days. He has definitely not gotten worse over time. He seems to have stabilized, I just don't know if his 'bad' days are ones that I ask him to do things he can not accommodate to. For example, he gets used to his pasture and can move along fine. If I take him out on uneven, unfamiliar ground it seems he has difficulty. I don't know, does that make sense?
 

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Has he been tested for Cauda Equina?

This is a specialist test. CE causes a paralysis starting in the hind end. Is his tail flaccid?
 

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cannot see the videos, unfortunately. Has he been tested for PSSM/EPSM?
That's where I was heading. Most of it does not add up to EPSM but it's another angle that most vets would not thing of. It's a cheap hair test (does not need to be a muscle biopsy anymore) and changing his diet is not going to cost you anymore than what he eats now. Yes, it's a bigger pain in the butt but it's another "tool" in figuring this out.

His stance is telling you something. I can't help there but it's significant if it's a new way. He's relieving pressure or discomfort from one area. Educated guess would be his back as it looks rounded and the way his hind legs are supporting him. Is the length of his stride the same or shorter? I'm also having troubling downloading the video (my end) so I can't comment of his way of going. Take a picture of him squared up from behind.

I've had good results with acupuncture on a horse that had a pinched nerve in his neck. it mostly showed up with his hind end. Initially, he bunny hopped when cantering, stabbed at the ground with his hinds like he didn't know where the ground was, short strided on one side (still is slightly), excessive body movement (not fluid forward energy) and a few other not quite right symptoms. You aren't over thinking this. You are picking up on subtle changes that are adding up to the big picture. Everything you are observing is part of it.

You probably have some great performance vets around you but I'd put a call into Davis and try to get at least a phone consultation if you don't come up with some answers soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for the replies. You have to copy and past the link into a different tab for it to load, I am not sure why. He has not been tested for EPSM but I will bring it up to my vet. I have considered taking him to Davis for a new perspective, I would like him to get through his current amount of Previcox and then take him so they can see him off of it. Trailering him with his stability has been a concern and Davis is several hours from us. Steinbeck is 30 minutes, so it just makes sense, but I think I will still call Davis for a consultation.
 

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I can give some perspective on the acupuncture. My boy suffered brain damage last November. As a result, his head tilts to the left. Both my vets thought acupuncture would be good for him, and they were right! The acupuncture gives him a normal head carriage and overall makes him a million times more comfortable. I don't know if it would do the same for your boy, but it would be worth a shot.
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Videos didn't work for me.

Just wanted to say you have a GORGEOUS horse there. Hope you find some answers.
 

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Thanks for the replies. You have to copy and past the link into a different tab for it to load, I am not sure why. He has not been tested for EPSM but I will bring it up to my vet. I have considered taking him to Davis for a new perspective, I would like him to get through his current amount of Previcox and then take him so they can see him off of it. Trailering him with his stability has been a concern and Davis is several hours from us. Steinbeck is 30 minutes, so it just makes sense, but I think I will still call Davis for a consultation.
There is a member here,Oldhorselady, who has a journal here about here EPSM horse."Snickers, the noodle- legged pinto". She has tons of videos, before, during and after diet change. I don't think it would hurt to go and watch some, to see if there are similarities.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I should mention that last week we did begin changing his feed over to a low starch diet. We chose Purina's well solve to help maintain his weight but also to reduce his sugar intake. Here is the link: Purina Horse Feeds - WELLSOLVE
It is a complete feed with added supplements which support tissue repair. It also has a daily dose of biotin which will continue to help with transitioning to bare feet. He has always had a biotin supplement but now its all in one. I am interested to see if this will do anything. I also read an article months ago that young horses and their growth plates can be impacted by their protein intake. My vet did not seem to think that was his case and felt that his feed was appropriate. He has always been on LMF Developmental G, or Omolene 200.
 
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