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Gracie and EPM

Well I talked to the vet on Monday about Gracie's test results. We ran two different EPM panels to test her for all the six different variants out there. One test came back she had been exposed, but hard to say if she was actively infected or not. The second one came back with all three numbers way high....normal for all was 0-4...hers were anywhere from 16 to 64. Ouch.

Which means that I was sadly right and we are dealing with a relapse of her previous EPM (though there is a chance this is a whole new infection...but treatment is the same either way). So I am very glad I started her on the medication for it.
Also got her on a high dose of Vitamin E, and some other immune boosters.

If you look at her in the field one would have NO idea this is going on. But put her under saddle, ask for collection, and it becomes apparent. She is stiff, painful looking, and unbalanced. Her right hind falls out from under her at times at the walk and trot. The canter is a mess....unbalanced to both sides, but the left lead is four beated and horrible looking. She can barely even pick it up having to strike off with that right hind.
On the ground she has a tendency to prop her right hind under her, and has been a butt about picking up her left hind to pick her feet.
And if you take her right hind and cross it over the left she just leaves it there for a good minute or more...not normal.

I haven't looked at any of those things in about a week an a half to be honest. I am letting the treatment do its thing. She is finishing up her treatment today, and I think tomorrow I will do some ground work with her and start the rehab. Key is to keep her moving and help her strengthen that hindleg, and also promote nerve repair.

My plan is for her to let me know when she is ready for more work. I did this with her last time and it worked well. I walked until she said she wanted to trot, and then also waited for the canter. She knows how she feels and if she is uncomfortable she doesn't want to go forward. So I take her offerings of the gaits as a sign she is feeling good. I won't be surprised if I don't walk for a good month or more, and then walk/trot for a another month or two before we canter again. And I am in no rush. I just want her to be secure in what we are doing.

I also plan on doing bodywork on her. Fascial work is so important with EPM horses as I found out last time. After my first session before she felt SO much more comfortable and happy. My plan is to start that tomorrow and hope to do one session a week for the first month or so. Then slowly start to move it to every two weeks until we are at the once a month point again.

If I can be back to full w/t/c by the summer time I will be thrilled. If I don't make it till mid summer, or even fall I won't be surprised. If i show at all this year I will be thrilled, but my plans right now don't include that.

My only hope is that this is the last time we have to go down this road. I want her to stop having to deal with so much, and let her enjoy working again. Cause she really does like it most days. Sometimes a bit too much, but that is another discussion entirely.
I want us to be able to enjoy ourselves and do fun things like trail riding, hunter paces, and all that stuff we haven't really been able to do.
Taking it one day at a time now, but crossing my fingers for good things.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Jan. 19th, 2013 10:48 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry. I had a "suspected" EPM colt back in the day but there really wasn't much information on the rehab. I did the medication and sort of made my own rehab program. I don't know if it worked or not, it seemed he was doing better but we got him trailered up for x-rays and found out he was a rotated stifle and euthanized him.
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