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  1. #1
    Old nag
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    Default Desperate to identify this neuro problem - please help

    Apologies for the length of this post, I have posted about Rusky before but things are getting desperate now and I really need to identify what is going on.

    R is a 16.2hh, 14yo WB gelding I have owned for 9-10 years and do dressage with. In a typical week he might be schooled 2-3 times and lunged twice in an Equiami. He used to work at Ad Med level but not with any great pressure, our progress has been glacial!

    More than a year ago he started doing an odd thing with his hind leg (one at a time, but either leg). In a surface, in walk he would place the leg down and it would give way as if unable to support his weight. The hoofprint in the sand would be a lot deeper than any of his other ones but with no evidence of slipping. At first he was doing this maybe once every two months so I wasn't 100% sure it was happening.

    Over time his symptoms have been:
    - collapsing of the back leg (either leg but one at a time), ridden, on the lunge or in hand, ranging from mild to almost 'sitting down'.

    - gradually more and more similar collapsing of the front legs. He has almost fallen on his knees ridden and we've seen him fall over in the field.

    - impressive loss of muscle from top line and abdominals.

    - unwillingness to engage, move forwards or collect.

    - intermittently unwilling to have his feet picked up and will lift his hinds up really high after his hooves have been done (the only evidence of stringhalt type behaviour so far). He also collapsed fully in the stable while being shod. He had all 4 feet on the ground, he seemed to fall sideways onto the partition, pull back and end up forwards on his knees.

    - he is a bit fussy about his back legs, lifting them when doing up rugs.

    In the summer he saw the local vet twice who said it was a soft tissue problem and did two osteo treatments - he still got worse.

    We then went to a specialist and saw two different vets with his notes being sent to a specialist radio and a specialist neuro in the US. He seems to have:

    - x-ray evidence of kissing spines. This was first treated with steroid injections and along with the bar shoes below he was better for a couple of months, then regressed. A month ago he had Tildren IV but he does not seem significantly better this time although he is less reactive to pain in the saddle/behind the saddle area. There is no point thinking about a KS op if we don't get to the bottom of the neuro problems - vets all in agreement that the neuro issue is not typical of KS and needs to be accounted for.

    - on the second visit he presented with 2/5ths lameness on left front when lunged on the hard and the hoof was reactive. He was fitted with bar shoes and was sound at the next two visits. Still has the bars on.

    - fine at neuro exam performed twice (e.g. small circles, small figures of 8, backing up, walking with head in air, up and down bank, walking while vet pulls his tail).

    - x-rays and ultrasound of neck and back show no evidence of arthritis or spinal nerve impingement, HOWEVER the US neuro specialist says that what I describe sounds neurological and the impingement may be occuring when his head/neck are in a particular position. He certainly seems worse after lateral work and lately after being on the lunge. To diagnose this kind of issue we would need to do a myelogram under GA and then the only possible treatment is an op to fuse the vertebrae with long box rest so the vet and I think this is too much to put him through.

    For the past 3 weeks I have had him on an EMPS diet but there is no improvement so far.

    Here is a video of him from yesterday. Sod's law he's never done the impressive collapses on video, there is a little one around 5.40 and maybe at 6.15 but overall you can see that he is moving very poorly behind:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TfaQl...ature=youtu.be

    Any ideas anyone?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Desperate to identify this neuro problem - please help

    Hind suspensories can cause the collapse you mention, they also follow kissing spine in lots of cases.

  3. #3
    Old nag
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    Default Re: Desperate to identify this neuro problem - please help

    He is sound trotting up at the vets, sound after flexion and sound lunging in a deep, inclined pen - would the suspensories have shown under such circumstances? He has had 5 lameness workups by 3 different vets.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Desperate to identify this neuro problem - please help

    My horse who had kissing spine and hind suspensory issues never showed lame, not even in the flexion tests. Only diagnosed following scans. I hope you get him sorted.
    Ours also would not go forward or do any collected work.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Desperate to identify this neuro problem - please help

    Ps. Just watched your vid. He looks un level behind . When you push him forward on the lunge does he prefer to canter than move forward in trot?

  6. #6
    Old nag
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    Default Re: Desperate to identify this neuro problem - please help

    Lately, especially on the left rein he prefers to canter. He is very unlevel on both hinds by the end. I felt awful pushing him but I needed to get the vid. When he presents to the vet he presents sound. The more work he does the worse he gets and the rate at which he deteriorates has really accellerated. As recently as December he could still work well long and low, do some working trot/canter level work but relapsed after lateral work. Now he looks terrible after 5 minutes on the lunge.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Desperate to identify this neuro problem - please help

    Same as our boy. He would always skip into canter when asked to trot forward on the lunge. He got worse as well. He would also look like he was swinging his hind leg rather than pushing through with it. My vets could never really see it as it was a strange action from both hind legs rather than a obvious lateness.

  8. #8
    Veteran
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    Default Re: Desperate to identify this neuro problem - please help

    What about wobblers syndrome? Sounds a bit like one I saw with this.. Obviously difficult to tell without seeing the horse but have the vets had a think about it? Hope you get to the bottom of it, and fingers crossed that it is fixable.

  9. #9
    Old nag
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    Default Re: Desperate to identify this neuro problem - please help

    charlie76: many thanks I will mention it to the vet and see if they can do some nerve blocks

    kit279: essentially it is wobblers syndrom if that covers spinal compression due to a variety of causes. We just can't identify the compression without the myelogram and we don't know the cause.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Desperate to identify this neuro problem - please help

    Just throwing ideas around here, but I think that's what you want so here goes.

    Serious instability of the sacroiliac joint? In mine an SI injury presented as front leg lameness on the days that it showed at all. It never showed in flexions.

    The puzzling thing is the deterioration as you work him. Bone injuries tend to stay the same. Soft tissue injuries tend to get better or stay the same. I wouldn't expect a brain tumour problem to do that either. I can understand exactly why you are treating him for EPSM (by the way, I found the cheapest way to get the Vit E was from simplysupplements.com and cut the gel capsules up into the feed).

    Would a gamma ray scintigraph maybe help pinpoint a problem, assuming you are either insured or flush for cash?

    I hope you get the answer soon.
    diaryoface.blogspot.co.uk

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