Leaning but Standing

EPM in our draft Horse Willow

Struggling for Balance 

Two weeks ago, Willow started showing signs of a neurological issue. In fact, she started walking sideways - doing the “Electric Slide” or “drunk walking.” Dr. Metcalf quickly arrived, examined her and together with Dr. Vlahos determined the best move forward was to treat her for a disease that causes nerve inflammation in horses and the result is that horses have little to no control over their hind end. It’s found in the south frequently, and it’s called Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis (also known as EPM). The treatment for EPM is safe – an oral medication – so without further diagnosis, we began treating her immediately, as early detection can make all the difference.

Ruled Out Injuries

To be super safe, Dr. Metcalf also took x-rays of her neck to rule out injuries or any other neurological issues (such as Wobblers), luckily he did not find anything. Vitamin E has been added to the treatment to help inflammation. Please keep her in your thoughts! Her condition is severe. We have added thick padding to the walls of her stall, and padding on the ground with the little nubby side up so that she can use it as a breaker, as she wobbles in circles and leans against the wall for balance.  It’s heartbreaking to see and terrifying for her.

Our plan: keep Willow stalled to prevent any further injury from a fall (don’t worry, we’re giving her lots of hugs and attention), and to reevaluate her after 30 days on her oral medication. 

Thank you for your continued support through the many hurdles of a previously injured working draft horse. It’s a rollercoaster, but we’re here for her every step. Willow first arrived on our farm in 2020, and she’s been such a joyful, warm and kind member of our family. A favorite of the other furry residents here. We will update you as soon as we have a progress update!