Wobblers Disease?

squid35

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11 October 2006
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Norfolk
Have any of you heard of this before or had any experience with it?

I hadnt till the other day and ive been told its quiet serious?
 

filly190

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12 September 2006
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I have seen only one horse with this, a retired ex racehorse. Still used for steady hacking and I mean steady (walking). I believe it can be managed if it is not too severe.
 

Kelly1982

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2 January 2005
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My horse was diagnosed with it so i did a lot of research into it.

Basically the horses vertibrea (sp) are pressing down on its spinal cord causing the horse to be un-coordinated.

It is VERY serious as a horse with wobblers can be a danger to itself and to others and i was advised to have my horse PTS. This disease gets worse over time (although no vet can give a time scale as its different for all horses) and eventually the horse will fall down and not be able to get back up.

Horses with it are unridable as they can fall at anytime, even when grazing.

There is an operation for it but its about £5000 and its not gaurenteed to work and i was advised that it would only take my horse down one grading anyway (they grade it from 1-5 with 1 being relatively mild). Also the recovery period is about 1 year.

Luckily I had my horse referred to a wobblers specialist and it turned out he had a muscular problem and is back out competing again.
 

Tierra

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Horses with wobblers syndrome suffer from ataxia.. which basically means they have no real perception of where they put their feet. It varies I believe from slight abnormalities movement to pretty major problems. The problem is that horses are so damn big and you cant afford for them to be unstable on their feet, its just too dangerous.

Prognosis was never good for wobblers although I seem to remember that they could operate with a certain degree of success these days? Although I think in terms of success they more mean that the horse can at least enjoy some level of normality.. not that they will ever be in full work.

Not great on this sorta thing though. There will be someone on here who can fill you in no doubt!
 

sammys ma

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cambridge ( but a true Scotswoman!)
Hi,

a few years ago I had just bought lovely, quiet TB.I had only owned for a few weeks when i noticed that he was tripping on a very regular basis. I hadn't noticed it when i tried him out , or even when i had a 2 stage vetting done. I was fairly new to horse ownership at thetime, but I thought that it was more than him just being lazy or clumsy.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, after the Vets performed numerous tests, he was diagnosed with Wobblers syndrome. The most distressing test was to watch the vet trot him up/rein back etc in a blind fold. Poor pony really had no idea atall where he was putting his feet. Very sad and upsetting to watch. I was then basically advised that it would be best for him to be PTS.

This was obviously very upsetting, but the prognosis was very poor, and i was advised not to ride him ever again, as he could trip and fall at any moment which is obviously very dangerous!

I also believe that the prev owner must have known about this, as I was a novice and even picked up on it. However, she denied this, and refused to take on the responsibility .

So, i only had the sweet boy in my life for a very short time, and i still think of him often. However, I am sure i did the kindest thing all round.

If you are atall worried about a horse that has it, get it checked out sooner rather than later.
 

Louby

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How sad... that must have been terrible for you.
A horse on my old yard was PTS with it. He held his neck in a stiff lowish position for ages but the owner wasnt really aware of any problem until she found him sweating in the field and sort of 'in another world' Test were done and he was diagnosed as a wobbler. It was really sad as he seemed to have attacks of it and couldnt walk properly, would lye down, not be able to get up and when he did litterally wobble about. It was awful.
 

GTs

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The operation will only improve the outcome by 1 grade, so in many cases it is pretty useless.

The way it is diagnost is via a neurological work up, and I would also recommend a mylogram (though very few of these come back with 'surprise results').

It is really dangerous to ride a horse with wobblers of any level - I would never do, mainly because a broken neck sounds suboptimal.
 

Happy Horse

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[ QUOTE ]
The operation will only improve the outcome by 1 grade, so in many cases it is pretty useless.


[/ QUOTE ]

In some of the successful cases I assisted with there was a marked difference in several including one St Leger winner. I do emphasise the word successful - there were several unsuccessful ones, it is definitely a last resort and generally only carried out on valuable horses (in my limited experience!)
 

MrsMagoo

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my youngish mare was sent to the Royal Vet Collage for a work up on an unknown problem. They did all sorts of tests, 1 being the neurological test. It did show she had co-ordination problems and as the vet put it 'is spastic with her legs'....they did do all the other tests like x-raying neck ect but couldnt find anything else to warrent being a wobbler, so they have ruled that out and she has now had a steroid injection into the sacriolic joint and on a 6wk work programme....

personally i dont see this doing much good...but hey ho
 

GTs

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[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
The operation will only improve the outcome by 1 grade, so in many cases it is pretty useless.


[/ QUOTE ]

In some of the successful cases I assisted with there was a marked difference in several including one St Leger winner. I do emphasise the word successful - there were several unsuccessful ones, it is definitely a last resort and generally only carried out on valuable horses (in my limited experience!)

[/ QUOTE ]

I think an improvement of 1 grade is the expectation - ofcourse the outcome mainly depends on the severity of the case.
 

BuckingHorse

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8 July 2006
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Surrey
We had a horse on loan earlier this year who had been diagnosed with wobblers. Being optimistic we took him on after having steriod injections thinking that regular work would help build muscle and stabilise him.

He did seem to improve over 6 months then fell over in the stable without any warning. He was check out again by the vet and was found to have deteriorated to an extent where he had no knowledge of where he was placing his feet unless he could see them (like the post earlier).

We made the decision at this point to have him PTS before he became in pain or hurt anyone else.

It was a very difficult decision as he just looked like a big, clumsy horse and had been jumping 1.20 tracks with no apparant problems but after lots of research we could not take the risk.

Gosh sorry, what a depressing story.
 
Joined
21 February 2006
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Leigh, Lancashire
I have personal experience of this as my aunty lost her horse to this illness earlier on this year. PM me if you would like me to talk through our experience.

In terms of the op, from the research my aunty did it isn't readily available in the UK, although I think surgeons visit from the US where the technique was developed. Her horse was treated through Leahurst in the NW and she was actively discouraged from pursuing a surgery route.

I think this paper is helpful:
http://www.uky.edu/Ag/AnimalSciences/pubs/asc133.pdf

A point to consider is the possibility of EPSM or equine polysaccharide storage myopathy. Her horse was originally thought to have this but unfortunately the diet and exercise regime had no impact and it was eventually discounted.
 
Joined
21 February 2006
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Leigh, Lancashire
Just wanted to add, I wish I had known about this forum when we were going through all of this as we felt very isolated. I can see from this post that lots of people have sadly been affected by this.

MrMagoo I hope that you get to the bottom of what is wrong with your horse, I think that was what was so hard them not being able to work out what was up with him We knew something was wrong for a long time before he finally showed up as being a wobbler on the tests (by that point he had got really quite ill). It started just with exercise intolerance. Anyway good luck with it all *fingers crossed*
 
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