UPDATE #34, he's gone:( Horse more reactive on supplements?

We have an appt to go to New Bolton on the 27th. That was the first they could coordinate everything with the sports med vet who knows him (and I absolutely trust as I’ve worked through 3 very challenging cases with her) and Dr. Amy Johnson (neuro). They have him blocked out for a bone scan the following day and a myelogram the following week. We can adjust or cancel imaging depending on what the exams and general xrays find. I am pretty sure he will also get tested for EPM and Lyme (we know we have very bad issues with ticks…Lyme, erlichia, and Rocky Mountain…plus the alpha-gal issue for people all in the immediate area). We’ve actually trapped possums on the farm this year (trying to get a sick fox), so I won’t check EPM off the list until we test.
The farrier was out yesterday and said it is the last time he will do hind shoes until we find what’s wrong. I even gave him 2 ace tabs. He was quiet overall but couldn’t balance behind…he is also doing a shivers type hyperflexion on the RH when in the field. He was yanking the hind feet and couldn’t hold still behind for the farrier - yet it was not a behavioral thing (he was quietly munching carrots up front). And he went base wide up front and kept rocking back and forth up front (like walking in place) when they had his hind leg up to shoe. Yet he didn’t push on me (I didn’t need to restrain or feel like I had to keep him still)…hard to describe. He’s always been super good for the farrier, even when young, so this is very out of the norm for him. I am really worried…and hoping he can hold together until the appointment and not get worse.

I have nothing useful to add except that this sounds so scary and I really hope they can find and fix the issue.

Oh, wait - what is alpha-gal? I know some folks that might call me that, but…

I am so sorry that you and your horse are going through this and hope for a good outcome.

Two possibly relevant things.

I’ve had two vets tell me that horses with some neuro issues will feel a tingling or actual shooting “electric” sort of feeling when they move a part of their body the wrong way.

Being neuro compromised messes with the brains of prey animals if they start to feel compromised and that they couldn’t escape a predator.

Jingling for you and your horse

@PamnReba Here is a good summary of the alpha gal allergy
It impacts people but our neighbor got it about a year or so ago, so we know for sure it is carried by the local ticks. Scary allergy issue…and it took her a while to get it diagnosed.

@Peggy I was thinking he might getting a shock of pain…that’s what seems to make the most sense. I really don’t think it is at all behavioral - he’s too much of a sweetheart and too happy of a horse to behave this way. I’ve not ridden him since the second spook since that’s when I realized there is something serious going on (and we both will get hurt in the process). I just hope we can find it…and that’s it is something we can treat.

Can your vet test for EPM and Lyme now? They can send off the blood test. It’s really crucial to get them on the meds ASAP for EPM if that’s what it is. I had a 4 yr old also get it and they can decline so quickly. I really hope you can figure it out and treat him.

@stargzng386 Yes, we pulled blood for Lyme, EPM, and vitamin E (waiting on the results). I figure at least we will have those results in for when he goes to New Bolton. If they are negative at least we’ve then likely ruled those issues out. If something comes up positive, I will contact them to see if they want to start treatment before he goes up there for more tests.

My EPM horse did EXACTLY this. At first, we actually thought he could have shivers. Very interesting to hear your horse is doing similar.

Does your farrier use a hoof stand for the hinds for this horse? It made things much easier for mine when he was trimmed (I did not shoe him behind).

@Spud_amp_Saf they do sometimes use a hoof stand behind depending on the horse…mine was not having any parts of it this time, though he usually doesn’t care. To be honest, I would be happy for EPM and not some of the other differentials. Waiting on the blood work to come back. I am sure when he goes to Penn they might do the CSF testing, but at least we will have preliminary results.

My horse is very allergic to corn. He becomes extremely sensitive and out of his mind crazy when he eats anything including supplements with corn. I wanted to use MVP Mag 5000 but they use corn along with most of the Smartpak supplements. Smart Calm was anything but calming for him.

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Ugh…well the supplement thing seems to have been purely coincidence. My guy started showing some neurologic issues. He is now undergoing a full eval at New Bolton. He is a grade 1 in the front, 1.5 behind. He was blowing through sedation yesterday…they were really concerned about being able to sedate him enough for the bone scan today. But the vet up there (who has worked on him before) opted to give him some pain meds before sedating…and the sedation held. So he must be in much more pain than he is letting on (which I was suspecting as he has been grumpy lately and even bit me last week, which is absolutely NOT him). He was also having major melt downs with them - which the vet remarked is not like him at all.

So far EPM is unlikely based on blood test, but they will rerun with CSF. Has a positive titer for chronic Lyme, but Dr. Johnson does not think that fits. He has some abnormalities at C6/7 and some uptake there from the scan. He also had uptake in the coffin bones in the front feet (we’ve been dealing with a off/on odd lameness)…but xrays are negative, so probably bone bruise/soft tissue/concussive.

He has a myelogram scheduled for Monday. I’ve not slept and pretty much feel like I might puke any moment. If the myelogram shows compression we will have to decide whether to do surgery (if he’s a candidate)…if not, EDM is the differential (assuming CSF is negative). Heartbroken doesn’t begin to capture where I am right now.

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He’s gone:( I had to make the decision and my amazing boy was euthanized today. Despite Covid restrictions, they were kind enough to let me visit and say goodbye this past weekend.

EPM was negative. Lyme PCR was negative. Myelogram was negative. He was ataxic and clearly in pain. The diagnosis is EDM given due to the neurological issues/ataxia and behavioral changes. Apparently they are seeing it more often in horses 5-15 years old, and it is not necessarily due to low vitamin E (my guy had normal levels, and was raised on good pasture and supplemented with good quality grain his entire life) and there is no family history from the dam side (he has many half siblings who are all normal).

He was going to turn 5 this spring. He was the most kind and gentle soul…he came into my life as a late yearling. I had lost my heart horse (who was 27 and foundered)…Lex was very closely related through the dam line and he came into my life when I needed him most. He was my buddy - he was always talking to me whenever I was in the barn…he would always come to the gate, just to visit (he knew he could always get me to stop and give him a cookie) if I was dumping wheelbarrows or doing other things in the barn area. I am struggling with the why…we have to wait for the full histology results to get the confirmed diagnosis…but he was seen by one of the best neuro vets in the country. And he was also seen at the same time by an amazing sports med vet who has seen him in the past and I absolutely trust as I’ve worked with her for many years on different horses.

It was hard enough to lose my old guy after 23 years owning him, but there was some comfort that he had lived a full and happy life. I only had Lex for 3 years, but it feel like my soul has been ripped in half.


I am so very sorry for your loss. :cry: Hugs to you :broken_heart:

I’m so sad to hear that.

So very sorry for your loss.

So deeply sorry.
My heart goes out to you. He was well and truly loved.

I’m so sorry for your loss. I hope your heart heals soon. I can tell you had a very special connection with him.

I am so sorry for your loss, he was clearly special and deeply loved.