EPM, Orogin and working through treatment

I know there have been a lot of posts about EPM but I wanted to get some thoughts on work while being treated. We originally thought my guy was suffering from back soreness. It’s been about 3 months of rest now. I had two shockwave treatments for the back and was doing ground work and core work for back rehab.
He definitely was able to put a little muscle on. During the last treatment, we decided to test for EPM and the results came back highly positive for all three tests.the vet put my horse on Orogen last Wednesday so we aren’t even a week in yet. She told me to ride him and make him work. I asked my trainer for a lesson on Friday and we worked for a solid hour, maybe too long. Suppling exercises so neck flexion and bending, haunches in and out, spiraling at canter. I rode him the next day lightly and he felt hesitent, gave him the day off, and today he didn’t want me to mount him but was ok once I got on if not slightly moody. His symptoms were mostly tripping/dropping out in haunches/dragging feet and muscle imbalance as well as sweating and pooping/peeing excessively.
He is working with his back nicely but still dragging feet and tripping some. Everyone seems to say they gave their horse a lot of rest and no stress during treatment but that’s for marquis. Any opinions?

I’m sorry… IME one doesn’t ride a horse who’s symptomatic for EPM for fear of falling. But perhaps my experience is with cases that were much further along. For sure, I have zero experience with Orogin specifically.

However, from what you describe, I might think EPSM Equine PolySaccharide storage myopathy. Or PSSM… but I’d first explore EPSM, because depending upon your horse’s breed, it sounds like a pretty typical presentation. Except his canter… spiraling would be hard for him. How are his departures? Walking down hills?

Have you and your vet explored that? Sorry I"m not more helpful

Agree with Sansena that there may be something else going on as well.

My mare was treated for EPM about 6 years back, with Oroquin and (something else I can’t remember.) The presentation was very similar to your horse’s – stiffness in the back and neck that was not alleviated much by injections, and occasional tripping. She just didn’t get much better, and then started showing some classic neuro signs like rope-walking, having her hooves in odd positions while standing, etc. So the vet tested her for EPM and she was “mildly” positive.

Do you happen to know what your horse’s neuro grade is? My mare’s grade was “1 1/2” and I was able to keep riding her while she was being treated. The vet recommended it but said he would not have if she’d been a Grade 2. We did not do anything complicated, only worked on good footing, etc. At no point was she reluctant to be ridden. She continues to be very slightly symptomatic, but you really have to watch carefully to see anything wrong. The rule of thumb is that treatment will drop the neuro scale by one point, and she fits that – “grade 1/2” neuro.

Your guy sounds like he’s trying to tell you something. It sounds like the one-hour ride with lateral work, canter spirals etc. was too much, especially for a horse that has been out of work for a while. Maybe cutting back to long, slow rides would be better. Boring, but less risk to him and to you.

I would listen to your horse. The first time my EPM horse was diagnosed I was off him for two years. Oroquin is a huge improvement on the older treatments. The advice I was given by the vets was always to not ride the horse if there was any possibility of him tripping with me on him. Some of my horse’s EPM episodes have been very painful and had a lot of inflammation. It would have been cruel to ride him during those times. Movement was also essential once the inflammation went down enough. It’s a very tricky issue but one thing I learned was to never ever work my horse past the point where the work was relatively easy for him until he was totally stable again. Unlike muscles that get stressed and heal stronger, neural pathways don’t respond that way. Even two minutes of too much work one day and I would see my horse get worse. I had to stand up to my trainer about this for my horse. She learned that I was right but it’s not the way we usually approach training so it takes some getting used to. I would stop the intense riding and hack your horse outside the arena at the walk or hand walk him if you think he might trip. When he feels better he will tell you when he is ready for more work. Throw the rules out the window and listen to your horse.

My EPM cases were all caught extremely early. None were anywhere near the tripping/falling stage. Symptoms were things like intermittent back soreness, hesitation in lead changes, more spooking than normal, etc. Neurological scores ranged from 0 to 1.

None came out of work during treatment, but we backed off for all of them until they were symptom-free (1-3 weeks). They did 20 minutes of training level dressage work a day, and went on lots of walks.

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I continued riding my horse throughout his treatment with Orogin. His EPM was very mild (crooked tail, not wanting to jump) and was greatly improved after a few days of medication. I just trail ride, so my rides were not stressful for him. Your horse could have more than one problem. I would ask the vet about muscle problems such as PSSM.

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