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Strange Medical Situation with Lou

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Jill

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Last October when Harvey and I went out to feed, we found that Lou, who is now 11yo, was staggering, quivering, sweating, nearly falling over, teeth clenched and foaming at the mouth.

We called the vet, of course. It took her about 45 minutes to arrive and by the time she did, Lou was nearly fine. If we hadn't known she was having trouble earlier, we would not have realized it from how she was acting by then. At that time, the vet diagnosed her as having had choke which resolved on its own.

Well, yesterday the same thing happened, minus the foaming at the mouth. This time, the vet took about 30 minutes to arrive. By the time she arrived, Lou was much, much better.

We did more with Lou yesterday to test her coordination, which was a little off, but not extremely off and improved to apparently normal by the time the vet left.

Like, when she first arrived, the vet pulled out Lou's tongue, which kind of flopped to the side of her mouth for a few seconds before she pulled it back in. Before she left, she did it again, and Lou immediately pulled her tongue back in as she should have the first time. I walked Lou with her head way high and nose in the air and she was a little drunk acting. She could trot, turn, three-sixty...

What do you all think this could be? We (the vet and us) feel now that last October and yesterday are connected and that it was not choke afterall. This could happen at times when we do not notice it and I feel it more likely has happened when we didn't see than not.

Lou is in a small pen with a stall until tomorrow morning, assuming she does okay. She is on banamine paste 2x a day today and tomorrow. The vet was going to leave Bute, and I didn't remember why but I know that's not something we think is good for minis...

I'm going to look up symptoms of EPM, but I am thinking if she had something like that, we'd see indications more than just 2x in 9 mos. She is FINE all other times and I drive her so she is very functional.

Does anyone have experience with epilepsy in horses? I am wondering if she could be having mild / petite seizures vs. grand mall (sp?) big ones? I am mystified. I think the vet kind of is as well. She's going to be making some calls and see if she can find anyone else who's had experience with something along these lines... She also drew blood but is not thinking it will reveal anything but "just in case" she drew some.
 
L

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I am not a vet but from reading your description my first thought was seizures... My T/B has had 2 recently well in the past year although his were more of the traditional type although one he gets up he is very shakey and uncoordinated takes him about 10 min or so i guess to come out of it completly although to be honest it feels like hours so the 10 min is just a guess.
 

Marty

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Jill my pony Frosty had a seizure but his eyes were very glazed and he was literally crashing uncontroably into the walls and falling over. Bute stopped it.

My first idea was that someting is blooming around there or that you have possum do-do like EPM or something going on enviormentally.

I am also wondering if you maybe gave Lou and shots lately for anything, or recently had her feet trimmed maybe that would have allowed some cooties an opening to get inside?

I sure hope you get those tests back quickly Jilly. I know how scarry this is.
 

Jill

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Thanks so far. My thinking is along the lines w/ Lisa's but I just don't really know. I don't think the vet really does either. It's so hard because she has to go by what I describe as when she gets here, whatever it is is almost over.

She has not been recently vaccinated (is up to date from early spring). We did her feet 3 weeks ago. Wormed 3 weeks ago. No changes in diet, or enviroment. She's out there now in the little pen very normal acting but wanting to be with her herd.
 

Mona

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My first thoughts after reading your post were seizures of some sort. Hope you get it figured out, and hope she will be OK.
 
L

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Jill again I am not a vet but.. i know my vet here said it is very hard to diagnose or even test for anything especially if they arent there at the time if the seizure (if that is what it is) I know with Luke I happened to be there both times and saw it from beginning to end so I knew it was a seizure but when he got up he was very neurological it was VERY scary in fact I think that it was more scary then the actual flopping around part of the seizure. He has only done it 2 times that I know of we did a complete blood work up but didnt show much the vet was saying something about needing to get the blood work right after the seizure.

Hopeyou get some answers soon.
 

Jill

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I hope we get some answers soon, too, as long as they are good. I have a feeling, we will just be guessing about it. The vet asked us to video it if it happens again. AND, I do not know that she's not having a bad seizure, and then we are coming in on the tail end of it. I just don't know. She is a very good driving horse, very athletic and coordinated but I won't be driving her for awhile, of course. I'm really baffled.

At one point in Lou's life, she was severely neglected and nearly starved to death. She was rescued by Marilyn Hoffman and Dick Daddy... I heard directly from Marilyn the story and had heard it 2nd hand prior. Lou was so starved, she had to be lifted into the horse trailer when she left the bad place. I didn't think to tell the vet about this but will on Monday. This is at least 6 or 7 years ago. Marilyn had gone to look at some for sale horses and realized all the horses needed to be rescued and went to get the trailer, before she could get back, one horse died (we're talking a matter of hours), so the situation in her past was severe. But maybe totally irrelevant to this situation. I don't know.
 

justanothercowgirl

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I have only had two experiences with EPM but it does not go away like that. It does sound kind of seizure-like to me. I was going to suggest video taping but I see you've already thought of that. I hope that you can get this resolved, not knowing what you are dealing with is so frustrating!! Good luck, Jill and keep us posted.
 

Margo_C-T

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I think you are smart to check out EPM symptoms; another that comes to mind, to check out, at least, is Lyme? As we don't have possums out here, and no deer ticks, at least where I live, I have no real knowledge of,or experience with, either disease(though a horsey acquaintance did have an Arabian gelding diagnosed with EPM, some years back, in this area-I "think" I recall that the thought was that it might have been gotten from bird(pigeon?)dung....

In any case, I agree that it sounds neurological...if it is epilepsy, seems that it could perhaps be controlled with medication???

Sending good thoughts, in any event--sure is scarey to have something like that happening, and not know what brings it on, nor what to do about it....!

Margo
 

jdomep

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After Apache's symptoms this week and all my "plant" research I found some plants can do that. (can't remember which clover it was though). But foaming at the mouth along with neurological probs were signs.
 

rabbitsfizz

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Just about to say the same thing
It can be seizures and not be epilepsy. First check she can reach NOTHING that might do her harm!! I hope all turns out OK I do know how scary it can be.
 

nootka

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Jill,

I have no insight or advice to offer, but know that my thoughts are with you during this distressing time. I hope that you can find some answers to help you put your mind and heart at rest and to be able to help Lou, which I know is ultimately what you want to do.

Liz M.
 

wcr

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If I had to venture a guess I would say seizure. After a seizure the victum goes through a post-ictal stage while recovering. The time it takes for your vet to get there would be the recovery stage over and done. EPM doesn't come and go like that.
 

hobbyhorse23

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Jill said:
Last October when Harvey and I went out to feed, we found that Lou, who is now 11yo, was staggering, quivering, sweating, nearly falling over, teeth clenched and foaming at the mouth.
We called the vet, of course.  It took her about 45 minutes to arrive and by the time she did, Lou was nearly fine.  If we hadn't known she was having trouble earlier, we would not have realized it from how she was acting by then.  At that time, the vet diagnosed her as having had choke which resolved on its own.
My first thought is that this is something neurological. I have had recent experience with both bad and minor choke and while my horse did some odd whirling things and sweated from stress, he was steady on his feet. Also, they foam out the NOSE in choke, and my horse at least had his mouth open most of the time coughing and gagging.

Well, yesterday the same thing happened, minus the foaming at the mouth....when she first arrived, the vet pulled out Lou's tongue, which kind of flopped to the side of her mouth for a few seconds before she pulled it back in.  Before she left, she did it again, and Lou immediately pulled her tongue back in as she should have the first time.  I walked Lou with her head way high and nose in the air and she was a little drunk acting....We (the vet and us) feel now that last October and yesterday are connected and that it was not choke afterall.  This could happen at times when we do not notice it and I feel it more likely has happened when we didn't see than not.
I agree with your assessment here. It sounds to me like this mare is having some sort of seizure or episode which is resolving by the time you find her, and it is VERY likely that she is having these when you are not around. Maybe not very often, but probably having them nevertheless.

The vet was going to leave Bute, and I didn't remember why but I know that's not something we think is good for minis...
Bute toxicity. They are much more prone to it then big horses, so most mini folk consider it far safer to simply not give it to them in the first place.

I'm going to look up symptoms of EPM, but I am thinking if she had something like that, we'd see indications more than just 2x in 9 mos.  She is FINE all other times and I drive her so she is very functional.
My understanding of EPM is that it is progressive, fast-moving, and definitely not an "it goes away for awhile" thing. I don't know that much about it but that's what I thought I remembered reading. I really doubt that's what she has, although some kind of plant or environmental toxin is not to be overlooked.

Does anyone have experience with epilepsy in horses?  I am wondering if she could be having mild / petite seizures vs. grand mall (sp?) big ones?  I am mystified.  I think the vet kind of is as well.
OOOOOHHH yes. Our 30 year old Cushings Arab has seizures that have the vet so confused he can't wait to do an autopsy.
He discussed with us several years ago the standard presentation of both epilepsy and narcolepsy in horses but I'm afraid I didn't pay that much attention because he was saying why those couldn't be what Bo had. Odd seizures are so much fun to diagnose!
This horse will be fine, and then within a few moments of having been active and bright he will suddenly go from eating a carrot to barely picking it up off your hand and apparently forgetting what to do with it, to circling and wobbling and looking for somewhere to lay down. Apparently he knows when these are coming and he's desperate to get off his feet before they hit, but his arthritis in his knees is so bad he can't lay down anymore. So finally it hits him and down he goes anyway, and he will be down for hours with odd facial twitching and leg paddling and cyclic attempts to roll to his chest and get up (foiled by his inability to bend his poor knees.) Eventually he comes out of it and manages to lunge to his feet, usually with help from us, and then he's extremely unsteady and wobbly for 15 minutes to an hour. Very disturbing to see a big horse that close to falling over on you! He's usually wiped out for at least a day afterwards, his eyes very glazed and absolutely no energy. But then he will go weeks or months without a single sign of one.

We know he's had these when we were not around because we will occasionally find him with shavings in his mane and we know the only time he goes down is when he's seizing.

In Bo's case the vet suspects a large tumor of some kind near his thyroid, possibly related to the Cushings, is pushing on Bo's brain and causing these. I would not be surprised to find that your mare's previous horrible situation has something to do with her condition now. Starvation can do some terrible things to the body! Maybe her ability to produce a particular neurotransmitter was damaged, maybe she gets odd insulin surges or something, who knows. But I'm glad your vet pulled blood and I will follow this case with interest.

I would definitely hold off on working this mare for a week or so after her episode, but if nothing happens I would continue to lightly work her as normal. Chances are this girl has been having these all along and there's no sense treating her like she's handicapped during the periods she's healthy. Think how you'd feel! And yes, I will probably get flamed for this. But the reason I say this is because when horses with seizures are normal, they are NORMAL. They get bored just like anyone else and it's not good for them to get out of condition. They need every bit of physical prowness they can find to stay upright when they do have an episode.

No, we don't ride my mother's horse. But that's because he became prone to bad tripping from his knees being unbendable and Mom didn't want him to fall with her. The worst of the seizures developed after that. Mom is always worried to take him for a walk because she thinks he'll just keel over on her but that's not how it works. He either has warning signs (allowing you to get out of the way) or he goes into one from hitting the ground hard during a normal fall (which you also are usually not in the way of because he trips and falls, not flops over sideways.) You will also learn the warning signs with your girl. Stick close to home with her, work her only lightly and in mild weather, i.e. nothing stressful, and keep an eye out for any signs of unsteadiness. If she seems off at all unhitch her right away. But another nine months of normalacy is a long time to let her stand around.

Best of luck. I'll keep you and her in my thoughts.

Leia
 

hobbyhorse23

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I hope we get some answers soon, too, as long as they are good. I have a feeling, we will just be guessing about it. The vet asked us to video it if it happens again. AND, I do not know that she's not having a bad seizure, and then we are coming in on the tail end of it. I just don't know. She is a very good driving horse, very athletic and coordinated but I won't be driving her for awhile, of course. I'm really baffled.
Oh, forgot to mention. If she's having really bad seizures that you are missing you would likely see signs of it on her. Bo rubs out hair on pressure points on his shoulder and rump from pushing himself in circles on the ground, gets scrapes on his legs and cheek ridges if he's in the stall when it happens, there's always signs. Even if she's in a large pasture with no walls she might have dirt ground really hard into her coat in a weird pattern. Watch for signs like that.

Leia
 

Jill

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Thanks everyone for the input! Just as an update, which is about how I figured today would go, Lou is acting totally normal. We've been checking on her frequently. She is still perturbed that she's separated from her herd. I'm putting her back with them tomorrow morning assuming she still seems normal.
 

Marion

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We just had a stallion get over EMP. He did the staggering and wobbling on his feet. He look like a drunk trying to walk when he would walk. He got to the point he would not come up for feed. We had the vet out and had a blood test done. Our vet said that the most common sign is the uncoordinating walk from the back end. Of course it took four months on medicine and another six months for him to get back to his old self.
 

Roxy's Run

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I am so sorry that Lou is going through this. My first thought from your description was seizures. I had a mare who suffered from seizures as a result of cushings. I also had a dog who had seizures as a result of Lyme Disease. With both my mare and dog, after a seizure, there was a distinct odor about them. I can't describe the smell, but it was not a normal smell for them - almost a sour sweat smell. The smell would dissipate (sp?) quite quickly but immediately following the seizure, I could smell something.

Linda

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DebiM

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Jill, my first thought was also seizure. There are several different types with as many or more reasons for them. We don't have any horse experience with them though Christy has them. I'll be anxious to hear what the workups show tomorrow.

Debi
 

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