Rolling With the Punches
Hey guys! I hope you all have enjoyed this Olympic-filled week. I know I sure have, and especially being that eventing was early on in the games.
I bet some of you have been wondering why I haven’t been posting about any shows or upcoming shows? Especially since KPP was so kind to sponsor a new and up-and-coming rider that had big plans to move up to advance this year. Well the truth is, as every horse owner knows, that no matter what plans or goals we might have when you own a horse you may have setbacks.
Hoosier and I hit our first setback in the beginning of June when I noticed he wasn’t feeling right. It wasn’t that Hoosier was noticeably lame, but he wasn’t moving like his normal self and really not even acting like his normal self. So I took him to the vet and he took one look at him and said, “I think this horse may have EPM.” Equine protozoal myeloencephalitis.
So of course I started treatment right away. He (my vet) went with the old-school way, using DMSO and another special drug that I can’t even pronounce, let alone spell. I also talked to KPP and we started him on 10,000 IU of Elevate W.S.
Hoosier seemed a little better, but with EPM not being something you mess around with, I wanted a second opinion. Two different vets looked at him and both of them said the same thing: “There is definitely something off with him.” But they couldn’t conclude if it was neurological or muscular-skeletal.
As many of you probably know, the only true way to test for EPM is to do a spinal tap. You may ask yourself why I didn’t have this done. Well, all three vets advised against it because they said it’s painful, expensive, and you take the risk of exposing the spine. So that day I left even more confused and concerned about my boy.
It wasn’t until a week later that a vet whom I have known for several years (the one that saved Rhythm’s life when he broke his leg, but that’s a story for another time) heard about Hoosier and called, saying that he would like to see him and if he didn’t find anything he wouldn’t charge.
So off to my third vet visit I went, and by the grace of God, he found the issue! Hoosier was sore in both front feet, so after an injection, and a slight change in his shoeing, Hoosier was once again feeling like his old self, with the occasional buck and twist in the air.
But there was a downside to this visit. When the vet drugged him to give him his injections, a TON of neon yellow mucus came out of his nose, meaning he probably was fighting a lung infection. When we gave him the DMSO for EPM, it probably broke up what was in his lungs and when he was “so extremely relaxed” from his good drugs it just came pouring out of him.
So the next vet visit was, of course, to get him scoped to see if he had an infection, and there they found that his left flap on his trachea was paralyzed. This is not uncommon for off-the-track thoroughbreds and could be why they stopped racing him, I don’t know, but what I do know is I must have a pretty amazing horse that can take me to intermediate with no fitness issues.
Two vets agreed he was fit enough to continue competing this year, just to keep an eye on any changes I see in his fitness and conditioning. I’ve got him on Contribute to help with any lung inflammation that might occur.
So what now? I will need to make a decision on what to do this winter on what option I want to go with: tieback surgery (laryngoplasty) or any other options that might be available. They say that it only has about a 50% success rate, which really concerns me. I won’t make any of these decisions until the show season is done. I am going to compete him a couple more times this year to get more experience under our belts and then decide what to do.
Does anyone out there have experience with this? Have any of you had this tieback surgery done? Was it successful? I would love to hear your thoughts.
Until next time, safe rides!