I’m a bit in shock. But I want to send this out there so anyone who thinks their horse has EPM but the symptoms aren’t quite right… maybe it is this. However, from what I’m being told, this is very rare.
Gwen is my 28 year-old Morgan mare, Mama Tess’ first baby. She has never been sick a day in her life. To look at her you’d think she was healthy and younger than her years.
A few weeks ago, I noticed that she wasn’t as coordinated, as if she was stiff in the back end, or loose, I wasn’t really sure what was changing her gait. So, I called the vet.
The vet didn’t think it was neurologic (EPM) because Gwen seemed to be uncomfortable, not uncoordinated. So we did several muscle tests, tested all of her hooves, worked on her back… we weren’t sure but since she was sore on her right hip, we figured she got stuck or cast and wrenched herself. We put her on Banamine and decided to give her a few days.
A few days later, she seemed pretty good. Getting around fine.
Then on Friday, she was down and wouldn’t stand. I had already asked the vet to come by on Friday to check on her, so that was lucky.
We took X-rays and saw the problem.
Left rear founder. Bad. Really, really bad. Almost through the sole. This is terminal and I’m in shock. Mama Tess never had an X-ray as bad as this one.
For now, Gwen is responding to meds, however, there is no way she can recover. I’m just trying to get my head around this. She’s comfortable, for now. If she can remain comfortable enough to make her quality of life worth living, I will clear a paddock of all grass and give that to her during the day. But, I was told that this option is a guarded outcome. In other words, the vets don’t think she will survive much longer.
She’s on pain meds, anti-inflammatories, ulcer meds, low sugar/starch feed and Soft Rides all the way around. (Yes, I know in the pic below, the rears are on the wrong feet – the logo is supposed to be on the outside – I know this from Mama Tess. But the vet put them on like this so I will switch them when I check her feet next.)
We built her an outside pen attached to the front of the barn. She is not happy with this. She wants OUT out. Even though she doesn’t want to move, she would move to go OUT. Gwen has always wanted to be FREE. So, quality of life will be a big thing here. Can she be comfortable enough?
She has the use of two stalls, the aisle and we made an outside area. But, she wants OUT out. She wants the grass which she cannot have. I don’t know how long she will be happy like this.
I’m crushed. Will she maintain, get better or fail? Here we go. The unknown of “when”. This is part of loving them. But not the good part.
HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?
We don’t know. The vets have never seen a left REAR founder, with no other foot involved.
She has a capped hock on her left. She’s had it for a few years. The right tendons are failing at the pastern, so she may have favored that foot and put her weight on her left, which compromised it. They really have no idea.
Again, a catastrophic ailment with no cure. But, I guess I have to be pleased that she is a 28 year-old mare who has had a very happy life.
She looks great, especially for a mare who is dying.
I am just shaking my head. My heart is broken. I watched her come into this world.