EPM: Cause, Symptoms, and Treatments


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

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6 Responses

  1. Kaite says:

    My mare had a spontaneous, severe attack of the devastating neurological disease EPM (equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis) in February of this year. She couldn’t stand, frequently fell over due to the Protozoa taking over her nerves. We got her to the clinic less than an hour after the first signs, She spent 6 days in the vet clinic. In that time, her EPM test came back positive and we began treating her with Marquis. When she came home, it took 3 people to get her the 25′ to her new stall. We also began using the EPM kit from effectivepetwellness.com (herbal) that goes in and breaks open the Insisted cells so the Marquis could do its job better. We also put her on Pau D’arco which does the same thing. Along with the Silver Lining products (brain and nerve support, herbal dewormer, LCR and immune support). Less than one week from getting her back home, I began doing short walks maybe 2 minutes long. Any depression or hill we went up/down, dyzzi became very unsteady and would almost fall. She was very picky with her feed, she would only eat alfalfa (what she was on before she got sick) so we had to give her a little bit at a time. Day 9 of her being on Marquis, I had my chiropractor come out and adjust her (dr Deb O’rielly)
    Week 7 I was riding her at the walk. Week 9 I was able to lope for very short periods.
    Week 10 she was retested and CAME BACK NEGATIVE. The vets retested her 4 times, against her first sample and to the new one and the current one came back negative every time!!! No chance of relapse.
    I’m at week 20 today. So far we have been back to competitively team sorting and working cattle, jumping small jumps, sliding stops and spins, trail riding in the Colorado mountains, and is 100% sound.
    I know not all stories are like mine, but there is hope for the EPM horse. Positivity and hard work coupled with love and herbs and Marquis is what made my little miracle pony what she is today 100% recovered and Better than before.

    • Casie says:

      Hi Kaite–thanks for sharing your mare’s story. It’s good to hear that such a serious case made a complete turnaround! Sounds like you did everything within your power to help her. Kudos to you and happy trails. 🙂

  2. My horse was diagnosed with EPM by a chiropractic vet. I had a gut feeling she was off and took him to another vet 50 miles away. He felt that was not a correct diagnosis either and started asking about my bit. His symptoms were chronic head tossing and stumbling. He told me the bit I used looked like it could pinch his tongue next to the small roller (Mylar HBT MB04) and that his mouth and tongue size didn’t match the bit. He said that he might be stumbling because he was stressing more about the bit and not watching where he was going, or that I needed to build up his hindquarter muscles. I started doing rollbacks and found a bit with more tongue relief and all symptoms stopped. He is fine now and that has been over a year.

    • Casie says:

      Hi Jeannine–yes, there are so many things that could look like EPM (just like with my horse). I have a head tosser as well and realized that it was due to TMJ issues. Always good to get a second (or third or fourth. . .) opinion if you don’t feel right about things though.

  3. Karen Kearns says:

    My horse tested positive for epm after a blood test that was taken because she fell down in the front end while I was riding her. There were no other apparent symptoms and I started treating her immediately. I was just six months into her training and if I continued on with her I would expect her to be a high level competition horse. Is it possible for her to be a highly competitive horse, which would involve extensive hauling, or will she just relapse with the added stress?

    • Casie says:

      I’m afraid I can’t answer that question, Karen. I do know of people who’ve gone on to run barrels successfully on horses who had EPM, so I know it’s possible. Don’t know what the relapse rate is though. Maybe a vet who’s treated quite a few EPM horses would be able to better answer your question.

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