A Case of the Incurables, An EPM Success Story, Part II

(continued from the Premier Issue)

Tracy's Tale

October 21st, Tuesday, CJ was happily trotting the fence line, running around and looking good.

October 24th, Friday, (a few days after a phone call to another vet, the one who wrote the article in Holistic Horse), CJ was started on the Borrelia (Lyme) nosode [see note below] two times daily. It was suggested to cautiously resume non-riding exercise, about half the amount of what he had been doing while racing. Also suggested was discontinuing the drugs; however, these were continued per request of the first vet. Tracy started ponying CJ on weekends, and continued to lunge him during the week.

November 2nd, Friday, the EPM nosode was reduced to 3 times a week, and the Lyme nosode was reduced to every other day. By the third weekend of ponying and exercise during the week, CJ looked almost 100% sound.

Tracy and CJ started riding, doing eight to nine miles of rather easy, level riding, not because CJ didn't want to go, but because Tracy was being cautious.

Sometime in early December, the Pyremethamine and SMZ were stopped. CJ was given the month off; riding was resumed after Christmas.

In early January, 1998, CJ looked terrific on the flat and uphill; the only time he seemed to have any trouble was going down a steep hill. Tracy dismounted at the first incidence of this, leading him down the hill, but later in the same ride, after he was really warmed up, the hills were no problem, and Tracy didn't dismount.

On the next ride, CJ did better down hill, again doing better after warming up. He continued to improve, and his work steadily increased.

March, CJ and Tracy entered their first race since the diagnosis of EPM. It was a 25-mile competitive trail ride, and they placed 6th, with a triumphant score of 94. Back in action!

Tracy and CJ continued to train and everything seemed to be going really well. The vet came out and continued to do acupuncture on CJ.

May, Tracy and CJ ran the Blue Mountain Gallop, a 50 mile race, and had a blast! They finished 14th out of about 55 horses!

"I thought he was back on track and on his way to a full recovery," Tracy recalls, "but then we went to do a race at the USET ride and he just wasn't right, so I didn't risk starting him. I had one of the vets look at him, and we trotted him and trotted him, and just couldn't put a finger on it. So I explained to her that I can feel it (a strange hitch in his stride) coming from his hind end, and she asked if she could ride him. She felt the same thing, but just couldn't pinpoint it, so home we went. I gave him a couple of weeks off and then rode him, and he seemed fine! So we tried another 50 mile. He was unbelievable! For 40 miles, he was out in front of everyone. We had about 25 minutes on the next horses; we thought we were home free to maybe win, but the vets would not let him go back out. They said he looked off, but couldn't agree to which leg it was. I was very upset, and of course was heart broken once again."

"When I returned home, I called my vet, and we discussed a possible relapse. So back on the drugs he went, for another 3 months. I have ridden him off and on over September and November, but the weather put a damper on riding for the time being.

"So now it's January 1999, and a friend of mine took her horse to a well-known holistic vet. My friend asked me to go along with her, and I talked to the vet about CJ and his problems over the last 18 months. She had a very positive outlook, and some different thoughts, so that's going to be my next step: to take him down to see her."

We'll keep you posted!

Note: It has been suggested that some cases of EPM which don't respond to Pyremethamine treatment may have Lyme disease involvement as well. Interestingly enough, CJ had sustained a nasty tick bite that abscessed and discharged a cork-like plug before healing. No tests for Lyme disease were performed on CJ; however, the nosode was given just in case there was Lyme involvement.

Our sincere congratulations and best wishes go out to Tracy and CJ at Tail's End Farm. Thanks for sharing with us!


Tracy and CJ, April 1998, at the Cheshire I.A.H.A ride