Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Baby Boomer Dreams - Dandy's Story - Responding

Part 1

I think we probably made it a month before we were really sure that Dandy was definitely responding to the medication. Despite the change in muscle tone I'd noticed earlier, I think neither the vet nor I were totally comfortable with that alone as an indicator the horse was ok. I know my vet was in contact with the big vet schools across the country picking their brains as to each step we took along the way.

There had been no advancement of his symptoms in that month. The horse was no longer falling when backing up. He still had the funny thing at the lope going on but it wasn't happening nearly as much. To top it off Dandy started showing signs of being full of himself and pretty darn mad about his strict feeding schedule not to mention the lack of treats. With all those things it was evident that Dandy was definitely getting better. .
Knowing that we were treating the right disease was a good thing. However, now we had other issues to be concerned with. The normal length of time for treating a horse with EPM was 6 months but because Dandy's case was atypical we couldn't count on "normal."

Horses that are taken off the medication before the parasite is completely eradicated or who relapse do not respond to the medication when treatment is resumed. Since the horse had harboured the parasite in his system for such an extended period of time Dandy was definitely a good candidate for relapse. We were worried about not treating the horse long enough and getting into problems. There was not doubt how imperative it was that we not stop treating Dandy too soon.

With that in mind we decided to treat the horse with this medication for a full year, double the normal time period. There were dangers in that because the compound itself is known to cause damage to the kidneys and the liver. Medicating the horse longer than necessary was taking a big risk. However, there really was no way to be sure when enough was enough. We didn't feel like we had much choice.

To counter act these issues I decided to put Dandy on herbs to help clean the toxins from the medication out of his system. I contacted the folks at Hilton Herbs to find out the best course of action for Dandy. They recommended dandelion, milk thistle seed and nettle be added to his diet.

I had the first containers shipped air and started the horse on them immediately. In the beginning I even treated Dandy with double doses to make of for the time he hadn't been on them hoping to clean out any built up toxins from our first month on this medication.

So in addition to the expensive medication, the cost of herbs was added to the list. That made the grand total over $500. Considering some were paying more than that just for the primary treatment drug, I figured I was getting off cheap. It was certainly worth it to me to ensure the recovery of my horse.

I'm using the word "recovery" loosely here. I already knew that very few, if any, horses recover completely from EPM. A friend of mine had a very very fancy English pleasure junior horse who unanimously won the Region 4 Championship in his division and was falling down and unable to even walk the very next week. That horse never did make it back into the ring. He survived but he's someones back yard pet.

Depending on where the infestation is located and how much damage is done can really affect the prognosis of a horse. At this stage of the game with Dandy, there was no speculation on any of those things. We were just trying to keep the horse alive. Even though he was responding to the treatment, I knew full well we had a long way to go before my horse was truly out of the woods. EPM is a sinister disease and anything could happen.

To be continued...............

More on EPM

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  1. We were just having a converstation about EPM on a message board. I really wish that the tests were better and more accurate.

  2. Glad to hear he started responding to treatment. Way to stick your guns!

  3. Man, miss a few days and look what you miss!?!?!

    Glad to hear he is responding to the meds! Will be praying for you all!

  4. EPM is really scary, glad he started responding to treatment, and hope to hear he has a complete recovery.

  5. Don't know alot about EPM...need to check wikipedia or google:-)