Surviving EPM: Dyzzi’s Story

For April, I am featuring a seven-year-old APHA mare named Drummer Doll, aka Dyzzi, as my horse of the month.  After a bout with EPM (Equine protozoal myeloencephalitis) last year, Dyzzi is back to being happy and healthy today.

 

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Kaitlyn Lorentz bought Dyzzi three years ago so she could go roping with her husband.  The young mare had some issues after being mistreated by trainers, but Kaitlyn patiently worked with her and the two soon developed a very special bond.

Then, in February of 2014, Dyzzi came down with a spontaneous onset of EPM.

“At 8 am, she was fine, but by 9 am she couldn’t even stand up,” said Kaitlyn.

Dyzzi also had minimal gut sounds.  Kaitlyn took Dyzzi in to her vet right away.  She was treated for colic, but the vets were still stumped as to what had caused her sudden ataxia.  They decided to test for EPM, and three days later, the test came back positive.

 

Seeing the other horses coming in and out was too much stimulation for Dyzzi and she would fall, so they put a blanket over her stall. When she heard Kaitlyn's voice, she stretched her neck as far as it would go to see her and nickered at her.

Seeing the other horses coming in and out of the clinic was too much stimulation for Dyzzi and she would fall, so they put a blanket over her stall. When she heard Kaitlyn’s voice, she stretched her neck as far as it would go and nickered at her.

Dyzzi stayed at the vet clinic for six days.  When she came home, she was still pretty wobbly.  Kaitlyn had started treatment with Marquis, along with the EPM kit from Effective Pet Wellness.  In addition, she gave Dyzzi Pau D’Arco, Vitamin E, and Silver Lining’s Brain and Nerve Support, as well as their herbal dewormer and LCR.  Dyzzi began to recover very quickly.

“Within five days, we were taking very short walks, and within two weeks we were on longer walks and going over obstacle courses to challenge her balance.  After three weeks, she was being turned out in a small pasture by herself,” said Kaitlyn.

 

The obstacle course Kaitlyn set up to help in Dyzzi's recovery.

The obstacle course Kaitlyn set up to help in Dyzzi’s recovery.

 

After seven weeks, Kaitlyn began riding Dyzzi again, first at a walk and a few days later at a trot.  Dyzzi was retested for EPM after 8 weeks and the results came back negative.  She was tested several more times in the proceeding weeks, and thankfully, each result came back negative.

“The longest thing to recover was her hearing–it took about 15 weeks for her to hear me calling for her,” said Kaitlyn.

Kaitlyn reported that Dyzzy was back to 100%  after sixteen weeks.  Today, Kaitlyn and Dyzzi are back to their usual activities–going team roping, cutting, and even trail riding in the Colorado mountains.

 

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Dyzzi is currently maintained on a grass/ alfalfa hay diet with soaked grass pellets and several different herbs– chaste tree berry, red raspberry, passion flower, and chamomile to keep her comfortable and quiet, as well as several digestive herbs including slippery elm, marshmallow, milk thistle, and licorice.

She lives with five other horses in a small lot, and is turned out into a larger pasture for a few hours daily.  Dyzzi is also ridden every day, so she gets plenty of exercise.

Kaitlyn is extremely grateful for Dyzzi’s recovery and the two have formed an even tighter bond since her illness.

 

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“This horse has so much heart and try–it’s unbelievable. Everything she does, she tries to do it right. She works so hard.  Even when she couldn’t hardly stand up, she tried to do tricks like the Spanish walk. She is irreplaceable and as sweet as they come,” said Kaitlyn.

 

We definitely wish this duo continued health and happiness!

Casie

Hi! My name is Casie Bazay. I'm a mom, a freelance writer, and a certified equine acupressure practitioner.

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5 Responses

  1. Debbie says:

    I’m so glad your story has a happy ending. Just wondering if you found the cause of the EPM?

  2. Gold says:

    I think it’s important to state that you’ll never find someone with as much talent and heart when it comes to horses as Kaite Lorentz. Her love for her horse is proof of how a relationship with our four legged loved ones should be and what an amazing person she is. When most would have given up she was up 24/7 doing research and taking care of Dizzy. She and Dizzy are the true definition of not giving up and it’s truly a gift to see her work with horses.

    • Casie says:

      Yes–I think that comes through in all that she did to help Dyzzi in this situation. Many people wouldn’t put out so much effort. Kudos to Kaite! 🙂

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