EDM and other sad tales

Trekkie, I am so very sorry for the loss of your younger gelding. Please keep us posted on your older one. We’re thinking of you.


@Xctrygirl posted this really good video lecture by Dr. Amy Johnson (New Bolton) on another thread: https://vimeo.com/642443514.

On Tuesday I sent my farrier a link because she was talking about a client’s 6 yo WB who is being treated for EPM unsuccessfully after exhibiting many of the symptoms Dr. Johnson discusses. Yesterday my farrier said she was at a different barn where another client’s horse is suspected to have EDM…

I’m unsure of this - given that the vast majority of diagnosis in this 5-10yo range seem to be imported warmbloods and Europe has much stricter regulations around type and use of dangerous pesticide than we do in the US, I feel like there has to be some other explainer that is being missed otherwise we’d be seeing a ton more in US-bred horses as well.


My slightly educated guess is there’s something happening that’s preventing the horses from processing and using vitamin E properly. Could be genetic, could be triggered by something environmental.

It will be interesting to see how the research into this progresses.


There are currently two suspected cases in my barn, one an import, one bred locally. Insurance company is digging in and refuses to pay for loss of use because it’s so hard to definitively diagnose.

No, they are somewhat stricter, not much stricter. And people underestimate the amount of these chemicals used: 350,000 tonnes in the EU every year. And things banned in agriculture often are still used in other places. There are still neonicotinoids in all waterways well above the recommended levels from dog tick and flea treatment alone, for example. Also all the rules are just in the EU and it is certainly possible to buy hay and grain from eastern europe and other non-EU countries.

Or maybe they are exposed on import, they travel through a lot of facilities that are sterilized often. Someone will figure this out but my guess is contamination, because it has grown so suddenly. We know that OP pesticide residue causes encepathology in dairy cattle and in rats, where it causes lesions. We know that OP exposure pre-natally has impacts on humans. We haven’t studied many other kinds of fungicides, pesticides and sterilizers though.

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Is there any database with case histories of all horses that have been confirmed to have EDM?

I have a feeling that whatever they end up figuring out it will be multi factorial causes. Perhaps environmental toxin exposure along with a certain genetic predisposition. This is what they are suspecting is the puzzle in another human neurodegenerative disease --Parkinson’s. I think many of these unknown neurological conditions that seem to randomly strike actually may have to have more than one precipitating factor that need to align for the actual disease to manifest.


Reading all this info made me think of a comparison to Parkinson’s disease in humans, too.

How heartbreaking to lose your young horse. Truly hope you get some positive news and soon see some improvement in your other guy.

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More reminiscent of grass sickness I think: stress + a toxin or other precipitating agent leading to fatal neurological impacts.

More like ALS

As I posted recently , my 8 /9 yo gelding appears to have EDM, with other possible neurologic causes having been ruled out by testing spinal fluid, I am taking him to PA Sun. for a final diagnosis but I have worked closely with my vet and done my research and have a pretty good idea how next week will end, It first came to my attention after crashing after a jump. Then with 20/20 hindsight we put the rest of the puzzle together, though there are still missing pieces that can only be found post mortem, My boy just came off a successful year of showing, but the end of the season he was not the same horse. I feel terribly guilty about the thought of not keeping him as a pasture pet as he is happy grazing in the field with his buddies at the moment. But he has developed head tremors etc so I know it is only a matter of time before before he deteriorates, The kicker is just how much time? And therein lies the snag, and the terrible guilt and desperation to help him.


So sorry, Atlas. :heart:


It is with extreme sadness to share with my friends that Fhraser passed away today. I hope that he is running free in tall grass and being taken care of by my friend, Sue. I see Sue in hummingbirds, and as soon as Fhraser was gone I had a hummingbird looking at me through my window. I have included a link on Fhraser’s behalf, as well as all of us who love and treasure our horses. Equine neurology is not well understood - and any donations go towards funding a second and third year for a student currently studying this with Dr Amy Johnson at New Bolton Center in PA. I cannot express in words my sincere gratitude for all of you who have helped me through this-

Here is the information sent to me at my request re: research-

The Equine Neurology Fellowship at New Bolton Center will further the clinical knowledge of equine neurological disease, as well as support focused research aimed at contributing to the burgeoning field of equine neurology, particularly the neurodegenerative diseases such as Equine Degenerative Myeloencephalopathy. Under the guidance of Dr. Amy Johnson, the Fellow will assist in bridging knowledge gaps with the goals of developing early diagnostic tools and advanced treatments.


I am so very sorry for your loss.


I am techno challenged so it took me a few tries to make the above post - but I wanted to include the link
To support the Equine Neurology Fellowship Program and Neurology Research, please use the following link:



I’m so sorry. Thank you for sharing your story with us. It’s heartbreaking.


So sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your journey to help others. Run free Fhraser.

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I will follow up with this :cry:

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I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for posting the link for the Neurology funding.