Monday, May 7, 2012

EPM Symptoms

I was filling out the questionnaires for the EPM group on Yahoo, and it was interesting to see a list of the various symptoms Pie, Red and Dawn have had in their bouts with EPM.

Pie's case is most complicated, as he's now had two separate infections, first with antigen strains 5/6 and then with antigen strain 1.  Dawn only had strain 1 and Red only had strains 5/6.  Strain 1 is purportedly more serious, and Dawn certainly had a serious case in a very short time - she was a bit wobbly both in front and in back - all my other cases only affected the hind legs.  Pie's strain 1 case wasn't as bad symptom-wise, but that might be because he'd earlier had an infection with strains 5/6.

Some symptoms were common to all three horses and some were different.  All four cases were diagnosed after neurological exams and ELIZA peptide antigen tests.  Here's my summary:

Pie, strain 5/6:  head shaking, head pressing; tongue lolling, frequent yawning and some "gulping" noises while swallowing; swollen glands in throat; heat intolerance; body soreness; strong reluctance to move forward; gait abnormalities - little impulsion and toe dragging/tripping/catching with left hind; difficulty backing normally; felt off at trot; very difficult to pick feet; chronic resolving colic - he would have severe pain, lie down and groan and then would be OK after about a half hour - this went on for several weeks and was diagnosed at U Wisconsin with abdominal "lumps" that may have been inflamed lymph nodes - they did not suspect EPM.  He may have had this for a while before we caught it.

Red, strain 5/6: extreme reluctance to move forward and irregular gait, left hind most affected - toe dragging and short striding; very difficult to pick feet.

Dawn, strain 1: swollen glands in throat; gait and balance abnormalities - tripping, odd steps, little impulsion, foot dragging - particularly left hind; felt wallowing and fronts also affected as well as backs - stopped riding because she was so unsteady.

Pie, strain 1: swollen glands in throat; gait and balance abnormalities - tripping, odd steps, little impulsion, foot dragging behind, difficulty backing, trouble going downhill.

So far, treatment with Oroquin-10 (levamisole plus decoquinate) plus the 90-day decoquinate feed top dressing, seems to have fixed our problems and all horses are currently doing well.  Dawn is at about day 30 in her treatment for strain 1 and is doing well, although I have to careful not to overdo as her deficits were pretty extensive after a short period of infection.  Pie is on day 6 of treatment for strain one, and is walking under saddle and doing well - we're not ready to trot yet but we'll get there.

I must say this EPM experience has been interesting, although I would have preferred to have avoided it!


  1. Kate, thanks for sharing so much about what your horses have been through. I didn't know that much about EPM so I have learned a lot.


  2. Wow... you have one very strong constitution... By the time Pie had symptoms, I would have been a blubbering idiot. Good luck to you and sending you healing energy and good thoughts!

  3. Your posts have been so educational.
    If you want to come visit here for awhile... we can put you all up! (As long as the horses don't mind sharing two stalls!!)
    We don't have opossums. No EPM (knock on wood!)

  4. I was reading the May issue of Equus magazine this afternoon and thought of you. There was a study done of EPM and it's effects on different breeds. Quarter horses seemed to have more neurologwical effects than Lippazzaners - who had more abortions by pg mares. Interesting article.

  5. Ann.. from THE OUTER BANKS OF NC ..I am glad the horses are doing well..we know that You,Dawn,Red and Pie have been through a lot and hopefully the worst is over...I believe miracles happen every day...Good luck in all you make life better for them

  6. I have learned a lot from your very unfortunate experience with EPM. I am sorry that all of your horses have had to go through this and so happy to hear that they are recovering!

  7. While this has been a challenge for you, your in-depth research and sharing of that information has benefited many. Your horses are lucky that they have you looking out for them.

  8. I am repeating myself, but the best news of your posts is how effective the treatments have been. EPM is a scary disease and knowing there seems to be a "cure" is a tremendous news--especially to those of us who have opossums in the vicinity.

    But also of interest is that many horses seem to have developed antibodies of their own to combat local strains.

    As you can see, I've learned a lot from reading your blog.

  9. I am to submit a report on this niche your post has been very very helpfull epm training

  10. Wow, That Is Amazing!
    Really Learned Alot And Thank You So Much For The Thorough Write UPS!

    Dirty It Seems To Be So Prevalent In Your Area


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