A Surprising Case of EPM

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Dr. Deb Eldredge?s article on EPM? (April 2012) really brought back memories. We had our horse at the barn where we bought him. Eventually, once I learned more about horses, I realized the owner was basically clueless about horse health.

Anyway, one day we noticed that my daughter?s horse was behaving oddly. I couldn?t put my finger on it, but she was too frightened to ride him. She would just walk him.

We finally put him in training at that barn, figuring he was just too young (age 3). We had the (mis')fortune of coming out one night to find the barn owner on my daughter?s horse, showing everyone how dangerous he was. ?He's trying to kill me!!? she kept shouting.

But my husband and I saw something else?there was something physically wrong with him. We got him out of there and in another barn with another trainer, who immediately recognized a problem.

The vet came in and confirmed he had neurologic problems. He kept walking off to his right in a circle after having his tail pulled, and he didn't uncross his front feet after standing like that a bit.

The vet took a blood sample and sent it to a lab. They confirmed EPM. He gave the horse Marquis for six weeks, ran another test, and gave Marquis for two more weeks.

Our gorgeous baby finally started looking and behaving better. Long after that, I noticed a sluggishness in getting a hind leg over many jumps. and just last year?when my daughter?s horse was 9?I had the vet check again. The vet felt his recovery was good, so we don't worry about it any more.

Lucky for us, we had a trainer with a sharp eye, a good vet, and great medicine, or we wouldn?t have our horse today.

Name withheld by request

Music In the Barn
What a coincidence your April Ask Horse Journal question about music in the barn was for me!

I had just come from a training seminary in which the teacher pointed out that as prey animals, horses rely on their exquisite hearing for protection. The teacher cited research that said playing the radio in the barn all night actually raises a horse's stress level and/or keeps them from sleeping as deeply.

Regardless of the type of music playing in the barn?Mozart or rock n roll? horses get upset when they can't listen for subtle, familiar noises inside and out of the barn. These normal sounds reassure them they aren?t hearing any predators they should worry about.

You can be sure we're telling our barn staff no more radios on in the barn overnight.

Bet MacArthur
Massachusetts