Thursday, November 29, 2012

More herd watching

Once again, Chico is the first (only) horse that comes to investigate me as I wander about the pasture.

He sure does have some wonderfully expressive soft eyes.  I love this horse with all my heart, even when he's naughty and rambunctious.  Usually he's a pretty darn good horse.  My only concern with him is the tripping he occasionally does on his hind foot.  He sometimes catches his toe as he's walking and stumbles.  I worried that he might catch it wrong someday and really seriously injure it.  As is now, I think it is just stiff, but I'm planning to do some more entensive lameness evaluation in him as I learn how in school.

 I love the backlighting in the following photos.


Anonymous said...

Nice photos!

That toe catching/tripping in one leg that looks as though it might be a stifle issue is also one of the most common symptoms of EPM. There is a new, much more accurate blood test for EPM now available - it's in clinical trials - that tests for the phenotypes (1, 5 and 6) that actually infect horses, as opposed to the older tests, which test for other phenotypes and can only indicate possible exposure. That way you can rule EPM in or out. Info about the test can be found at There is also now a new (low-risk and lower cost) treatment available from pathogenes as well - I've used it with great success.

Kara said...

EPM is a good thought, however, Chico has been doing this for years and I only notice it when I've been riding him for a while and I think he's starting to fatigue a bit. I think it is linked to the injury he had to that area when he was 4 (6 inch wide gash that also cut into the muscle - you can see the irregular hair in that area on the photo in this post). But I guess I've never really considered it could be EPM. I'll have to look into it. He doesn't have any muscle atrophy over his hips or anything. Our neighbor's horse was diagnosed with EPM and few years ago, treated and recovered well.

Kara said...

After looking into EPM a little more, I still am not convinced that might be Chico's issue. If it is EPM, it is the most mild case there is...the ONLY symptom he would exhibit is this toe-catching on the hindlimb...and that only happens occasionally. He is never ataxic. I'd say I NEVER see him do it in the pasture, but when I ride him, he'll do it maybe 1 or 2 times per couple hour trail ride (sometimes not at all) and it usually happens only at the walk. He's never tripped at the trot...and I feel like it is usually toward the end of the ride. But I'm definitely going to talk to a vet I know about it and see what she thinks. His signs are so intermittent that I feel like treating with medication wouldn't be diagnostic at all - I wouldn't really be able to detect an improvement. I think a thorough lameness evaluation would be more diagnostic. But thanks for the thoughts...I appreciate the ideas. I'd like to know when this new EPM test is coming out and where it is being currently evaluated.

Anonymous said...

It does sound more like a persistent lameness (stifle?) issue than EPM - EPM usually progresses. That said, early cases don't show ataxia - only ones that have progressed - and the early signs are pretty subtle - the earliest sign in my horses was unwillingness to have a particular foot (not the one most affected by EPM) picked up.

The test is in active clinical trials - being used with horses like mine that enroll in the trial. The researcher is in Florida, and my EPM page has links to their information. The best part is that the test is much more accurate and can actually definitively rule EPM in our out. The new treatment (which actually uses a combination of medicines that have been around for a while) is also in clinical trials, and is showing great promise as an effective treatment.

Kara said...

I looked back at some of my older posts and I had written in summer of 2009 about Chico's occasionaly it definitely hasn't progressed.

It will be good to have a better test and treatment regime for EPM.