Rear right giving way

misty

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Oct 6, 2016
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Hi all,
So much has happened with this and it's been under investigation for the last 10 months now. Leaving me only 2 months of my insurance claim standing and I don't know where to go.

In Feb last year, Kennedy's rear right started buckling under him randomly. The vet tested for lameness and found none, he even used an Equinosis machine to measure lameness and found he was completely sound. He repeated this on 3 different occasions in different scenarios (circle, hard standing, soft etc) found nothing. He did a Neuro exam: fine to back up, fine to turn in a tight circle, fine when walking with tail pulled one way and other.

But yet when I ride or lunge him in the school, he will suddenly give way (usually almost - always on his HR).

The vet scoped him and found ulcers which were treated but found not to be linked. He also did blood tests that came back normal except a slight vit e deficiency. He also did a muscle biopsy and found he has early stage Equine Motor Neurone. I have now been treating him for this for 4 months and have seen a reduction of trips and stumbles out hacking. But the leg giving way has not changed.

I'm going to try and upload videos to YouTube later but basically what happens is out of nowhere he lands with his toe more pointed down and his whole back end from his bum drops. Sometimes quite dramatically. To the point that the vet has said he feels he's unsafe to school.

But myself, the vet, the physio I've had out and the farrier are all stumped.

I'd like to be able to report on whether it's got worse or better but obviously as he's not deemed safe to school I have to rely on lunging so I can't hugely tell. I'd say it hasn't got much worse if it has got worse at all.

I'm just wondering if anyone has come across anything like this before? I'd like to see some videos of a horse that's been diagnosed with something also doing it.

As I say I've got a few months insurance and a few stabs at sorting this out with the limited funds I have left before I'm cut loose. It's already cost over £3000 in diagnostics and treatment (for ulcers and EMND which turned out to unlikely be the cause).

Any help at all so much appreciated!
 

carthorse

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Jan 6, 2006
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If he has equine MND then I would say that's the cause and I'd be surprised if it can be treated given that it can't in people and is degenerative. I have to say I'd be wary of riding him at all, for my safety and his.

That said I have a friend who's horse has a similar problem. He has numerous issues - bad ringbone up front, arthritic hocks, arthritis in his neck, arthritis in his back. He's still hacking and loves his work, but she's meticulous about his management and gives him time off - to his disgust - if he starts tripping again. Feet are shod remedially and frequently by a good farrier and she keeps a tight eye on shoe wear. Hocks are injected. Saddle fit is closely monitored and a slightly shorter than normal saddle is fitted to keep it clear of the area with changes. He isn't asked to flex the neck and does very little work in the school with what he does do being on he outside track on a decent surface. He has regular chiro and physio too, and is always well rugged to keep him warm and dry as that seems to help. I wish she took half as much care of herself! She knows his days will be limited, particularly as a riding horse, but while he's happy she is too.
 

diplomaticandtactful

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Apr 25, 2003
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If he has equine MND then I would say that's the cause and I'd be surprised if it can be treated given that it can't in people and is degenerative. I have to say I'd be wary of riding him at all, for my safety and his.

That said I have a friend who's horse has a similar problem. He has numerous issues - bad ringbone up front, arthritic hocks, arthritis in his neck, arthritis in his back. He's still hacking and loves his work, but she's meticulous about his management and gives him time off - to his disgust - if he starts tripping again. Feet are shod remedially and frequently by a good farrier and she keeps a tight eye on shoe wear. Hocks are injected. Saddle fit is closely monitored and a slightly shorter than normal saddle is fitted to keep it clear of the area with changes. He isn't asked to flex the neck and does very little work in the school with what he does do being on he outside track on a decent surface. He has regular chiro and physio too, and is always well rugged to keep him warm and dry as that seems to help. I wish she took half as much care of herself! She knows his days will be limited, particularly as a riding horse, but while he's happy she is too.
That's exactly what we are with Buddy, he has arthritis in knees and lower ringbone but so far is doing well, only is ridden in a straight line and avoid unlevel surfaces or get off and walk him down them.
 
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diplomaticandtactful

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If he has EMD then it is going to be progressive and schooling him or any circle work likely to make him worse. Lunging probably isn't great either as the constant circling won't help. Is he safe to ride now? I certainly wouldn't be doing any school work with him but keep him on straight lines and good surfaces to help him as much as possible
 
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Skib

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Dec 21, 2003
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Maisie arrived at the RS with multiple problems and was not allowed to school or do circles. With permission of YO, I did learn to canter a large circle on her on a huge playing field. None of the three horses I have hacked so happily have been OK to bend or to go in the school. So not schooling or not lunging is not always the end of a horses working life. But for me a collapsing leg would be.

This is an issue of rider safety rather than of horse health.
 
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misty

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Oct 6, 2016
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Ok so the info I have from my vet re.EMND is that it's very early stage and it was spotted while looking for something else. It's an unusual symptom for EMND so is not necessarily linked. He said if he hadn't been doing this leg thing, we may never have spotted it or at least not for a long time yet. But he also told me that the medical research suggested that when given vit e, 40% of horses improve, 40% stay the same and 20% it has no impact and will get worse. He seemed fairly insistent that catching it early was really positive and that we may be able to stop it in it's tracks at least for a time. But reading some of this I'm wondering if I'm feeling falsely hopeful now?

Both myself and vet feel presently he is unsafe to school, however on a hack there is no signs of it at all and where he used to trip and stumble occasionally, this has stopped more or less altogether since a few months into taking vitamin E. We both agreed while this is the case it will be in his best interest to keep him in work and keep him active. Partly to keep his muscles active, supportive and strong as well as keeping his weight down as he is a super good doer who is in danger of becoming as wide as he is tall if left to his own devices. He is in a starvy field with managed hay recommended by vet, regular exercise and his weight is still a battle.

I'm quite happy with the exercise plan I've agreed with the vet at the moment and feel safe riding him on hacks. As I say, he is very stable and does not stumble hardly at all.

I don't lunge as a rule really but have been using it as a way of seeing any improvements or if the situation seems to be getting worse. As I say, schooling is a no no. I would say as a rule I lunge once or twice a month max. So far as I say it seems to be the same.

As I say I'm only going off what my vet and the specialist have fed back to me.
 
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Mary Poppins

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Oct 10, 2004
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If there is no other explanation for your horse to 'give way' and he has been diagnosed with EMD then very sadly I would say that it seems logical that the giving way is related to this condition. I am sending you very positive vibes for the future. I can't advise on what you should do, but the safety of yourself and your horse obviously needs to be the top priority here.
 
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