Thursday, April 5, 2012

Banamine Makes Everything Better

Our vet/chiro made a special visit to Dawn this afternoon to check her out and do a blood draw for the EPM test, since she seemed to be getting worse - we should get results by early next week.  When I got to the barn, Dawn seemed a little mopey - not eating her hay, occasionally shaking her head - a sign of a possible headache - and when I walked her in the barn aisle she seemed a bit uneven.  I gave her her UlcerGard, and she did start picking at her hay, but she was being very deliberate about how she chewed.

When our vet/chiro got there, she did the basic neurological tests - tail pulls to the side, turning test, foot placement test and also poking her with a pen at points along her sides and then running the pen along her sides to test her spinal reflexes.  There were some abnormalities - her left hind is not working properly in both the foot placement tests and turning tests, and her walking isn't normal - she's usually a horse who puts her feet down quite sharply and her gait now looks like someone who's had a beer or two - much more tenative and not as regular.  She also tends to adopt a stance with her front feet a bit farther apart than normal and hind legs wherever they stopped moving, even in an awkward stance - Dawn is a horse who normally stands extremely squarely, so this was abnormal.

Dawn got a 500-lb. dose of Banamine as well as some levamisole by mouth, and started perking up and eating her hay very quickly - the Banamine clearly made her feel better.  When I checked on her at 9 p.m., she was bright-eyed and eating steadily and her chewing seemed improved.

We think it's quite likely she's got an active case of EPM, as 5 out of 7 horses at our old barn (including Pie and Drifter) have already developed abnormalities and been tested and treated.  The blood test will give us more information, and she'll be starting on the decoquinate/levamisole paste treatment followed by the decoquinate feed top dressing.  If she responds as well as Pie and Drifter did, we should be OK . . .

And, in other news, tomorrow I'll be going up to visit and work with Pie and Drifter - and then I get to bring Pie home - very exciting!

15 comments:

  1. Such a bummer about Dawn -- just when things were going so well with you two! Hopefully, she will kick this just like Pie and Drifter did.

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  2. good grief! poor girl, hope she responds well

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  3. I commend you for staying so positive through your ordeal with EPM. I am very glad we do not have opossums in my area! At least that's one thing (out of a million!) that I don't have to worry about. I hope Dawn recovers fully. It's so great that you have Pie and Drifter in a very good place right now - a silver lining.

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  4. Sorry to hear about Dawn. That has to be so hard. I bet you can't wait to get Pie home!

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  5. Can something be done about the infected opossums in the area?

    You are handling it so well, but that has got to be frustrating. Best wishes for Dawn.

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    1. Val - The researcher who's doing the clinical trial says that it would be relatively easy to vaccinate the wild opossums by distributing bait - she's done a lot of work with opossums in her studies, but there's no money for research on this, unfortunately.

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    2. Very interesting. Isn't that always the rub?

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  6. I am so sorry to hear that you are going through this....again. How awful that so many horses from the old barn have/had the disease. Now that you have moved the horses (will Drifter be coming to the new barn?) is there as much threat? Can horses get the disease a second time?
    You sound so excited about having Drifter back. What fun to have him where you can ride him daily!

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    1. One of the questions for the clinical trial is whether the new treatment (old medications that have been around for many years) will provide long-term immunity. The levamisole is included in the treatment to stimulate the immune response to the organism. Even though the disease has been around for many years, there's still a lot that isn't known, although the researcher (Dr. Ellison) who's conducting the clinical trails has made a lot of progress.

      Several horses at the new barn are also being treated. Possums are everywhere, so it's likely that many if not most horses are exposed, although some horses, perhaps many, never develop active infections.

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    2. Oh - and yes, Drifter will be moving to the new barn, probably at the beginning of May.

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  7. Poor Dawn, I hope her tests come back soon so you know for sure. How frustrating for you. The medication seems to help. Hope she has a quick recovery.

    Should be fun with the boys and bringing Pie home is exciting!

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  8. Banamine is one of the ONLY things I can administer by mouth to my horse--his years on the track have made him very leery of "tubes" (Bute being VERY bitter and wormer also unpleasant, at least to him). Banamine is wonderful. As you say, a little bit does a LOT of good. Fingers crossed all goes well with Dawn and how exciting to have Pie home again ;o)

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  9. Yes - must be very frustrating for you. Poor Dawn =) Can't wait to hear about your home rides with Pie.

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  10. Wishing you and Dawn well. I hope the treatment is as successful with her as it was with your boys. Glad you were on top of this.

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  11. I'm sorry to hear about this! I had the same question as Dreaming, so I hope once Dawn is treated, all your horses will have some immunity to the disease. I must admit, though, I was reading through you other post about Dawn's symptoms and Lilly does some of those things. Sometimes when I stop her and her feet are all wonky, she'll stand like that forever if I don't ask her to stand underneath herself. I'm going to do some investigating this weekend...

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