Friday, February 19, 2021

A few thoughts on EPM, and an update on the Big Handsome Bay

 As regular readers know, Keil Bay, 31 years old, was diagnosed with EPM in October, and had:

90 days of treatment with Marquis + corn oil for better absorption

30 days of Rebalance

acupuncture weekly, now monthly

continued careful chiropractic adjustment

monthly Legend injection

specific to EPM homeopathic remedies

a supplemental regime including increased vitamin E, a specific research-based immune system supplement, duralactin, and his other senior horse supplements

bloodwork to monitor vitamin E levels and kidney/liver function

Equioxx and bute depending on symptoms

rehab work

All of this was put into place with a collaborative effort between 4 different vets and my own research. As of today, he is 100% most of the time, but seems to have mild relapses happening a few days a month. Most importantly, he seems to be happy and content all the time. 

On Wednesday, the second of two sunny and dry days we had this week, I went out to give some apple slices to the herd. Keil was all the way down the hill in the front pasture, and I walked to the upper flat area where I began to give out the apples to Cody, Little Man, and the donka boys. In a moment’s wonder, Keil Bay looked up, saw me, and galloped perfectly up the hill, taking the narrow path between the outer fence line and a number of trees along that area, the trickiest place to gallop through. It happened so fast I didn’t have time to go into my “oh my god what if he falls” mode. I saw him launch into a gallop from a standstill, watched his path, and then suddenly he was stopped on a dime two feet away, sticking his muzzle into my hands while keeping his 1250 pounds carefully away from me.

To say I was happy in that moment is an understatement. In the early days of the diagnosis I feared for the worst outcome, and at 31, we will of course reach the worst outcome at some point, but for now, as he moves toward his 32nd birthday, the Big Handsome Bay could be the same age he was when he came to live with me, and for that I am so grateful.

I took a one-hour CE course designed for veterinarians on EPM a few weeks ago. Unfortunately the info presented was so basic I already knew more than what was offered, and the treatment part of the class was woefully short. I could have added so much more info to the mix, including a list of research studies that guided my own plan for Keil Bay. By throwing everything but the kitchen sink into his treatment, I certainly muddied the waters of what aided in his recovery, but with this disease, which can be so debilitating, and expensive, it seems like doing it all is the most efficient way to address it, since lag time, and the damage to neurons that happens while you stretch things out, is not a place you want to go. 

This was never stated in the class. Nor was it said that nerves can regenerate with rehab and horses can regain function if given time. I feel badly for the horses and their owners who aren’t told this quickly so they know it from the beginning and can make treatment plans accordingly.

I’m grateful for knowledgeable, open-minded vets who did extra research, listened to my findings, and supported me and Keil in our journey with this disease. And to my husband, who took on the rehab and made it his own personal mission to get Keil’s neurons back in good working order. And of course, grateful to his herd who support him psychologically every single hour of the day, and Cody, who has stood beside him and allowed Keil to lean on him quite literally when needed. Keil has a great team, and all of us, including his vets, love him and are so happy with how he’s doing.

This week Keil had a full hoof trim with zero difficulty. That and the perfect gallop up a hill to a perfect stop for apples, this is the best part of my week. My month. And certainly among the top five of my year so far. Can’t wait for the birthday bash we’ll have in April. 


Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Glad to hear Keil Bay is responding so well!

billie said...


Grey Horse Matters said...

All of this is great news! I think along with working with vets we need to be the advocate for our horses and research as much as possible to help them overcome issues that arise. You and your husband have certainly done everything possible to help the big bay overcome his issues. Congratulations what you’ve done is working.

billie said...

Thank you - very very happy at the moment.