Wobbles Disease

Wobbles disease is used to cover any type of neurological disorder that makes a horse uncoordinated or wobbly on its feet. A horse with neurological issues doesn't always know where it is putting its feet and can be very unstable and fall over often, becoming dangerous ot humans and to itself. In the past it has been believed that there is no cure. One of the neurological problems that falls under wobblers disease is spinal compression. This is where there is pressure on the spinal cord when the horse flexes its neck...

The signs are most prominent in the hind limbs but do also effect the forelimbs. Both sides of the body are affected to a similar degree, unlike the asymmetry observed with EPM(Equine protozoal myelitis.) Wobbles results from physical impingement/compression of the spinal cord as it courses down the neck in areas where the vertebrae are unstable. The major effect of compression of the cervical spinal cord is a reduction in the horse's sens of where his legs are at a specific time. The affected horse is at risk for falling during training, exercise, or even walking out of the stall. Often, the trainer notes that the horse has fallen during training and, following the fall, it was clearly evident that incoordination and weakness were apparent. Typically, the prominent neurological symptoms following a fall have been attributed to the affect of trauma to the neck during the fall.

The exact causes are unknown. Many factors include genetics, nutritional imbalances, rapid growth, physical trauma and/or a combination of these. Male horses out number females with the condition THREE to one.

In the past the only resolution for advanced and severe spinal compression was euthanasia, however unknown to the majority of the equine world, thre is a cure. A cure that is over 85% successful to bringing a horse back to 100% usable and safe again. What is found even more amazing is that not only is there a cure, but the level of advancement and success is also largely unknown to a huge amount of equine vets.
Early intervention and treatment is the key to success. Some veterinary surgeons in the United States have recently devised a surgical procedure adapted from human surgery called the Cloward Method for fusing vertebrea. The surgical technique involves drilling a hole between the affected vertebral bodies from underneiath the neck and inserting a stainless steel prosthesis called a Bagby Basket which fuses and immobilizes the vertebrae.

This is Simply Fearless "Fears" Story

When Fear was a yearling, he slipped on the ice and tore his stifle.  Sort of like tearing a ham string in a human.  Stifles take a long time to heal and after months of rest, he was well on his way to healing.  However each spring and fall when he would have his growth spurt, he would develop lameness issues.  With him being such a tall horse (16H at 2 years old) his bones would grow faster than his tendons and it would take a while for everything to stretch out and the lameness to go away.  During this time there was also stress on his already weak stifle. 
This summer he had a huge growth spurt and even after the tendons had stretched back out he was still limping.  In September we took Fear to Anoka Vet Clinic for x-rays, to see if he needed surgery on his joint.  Turns out he does, there is some tendon issues as well as some bone chips that started out as cartilage and are now calcifying rather than being reabsorbed by his body.  What the x-rays and mylagram also showed was possible spinal compression in two vertebras of his neck.  Fear's x-rays were sent to KY to a facility called Rood and Riddle, who are the leading experts in spinal compression in horses and have perfected a vertebrae fusing procedure to resolve the compression and in most cases bring the horse back 100%.  This is the only resolution to this type of neurological issue.  Rood and Riddle is also the equine hospital that did several of these surgeries on Seattle Slew.

After several weeks of waiting, we finally heard back from them and Fear, unfortunately does have spinal compression.  Because it is only in two vertebrae, they feel he is a prime candidate for the spinal surgery and should recover completely.  As with humans that have back surgery, it is a long recovery process(8-9 months) and the horse has to be hospitalized for a week and then spend a month in an equine rehab facility before it is released to come home for the remaining 7 months of rehabilitation.  Due to the lengthy recovery process the spinal surgery takes, it is not feasible to take him down to KY this fall, with winter fast approaching, so he will be making the long journey down there in the spring.  Where he will have his stifle surgery done at the same time as the spinal fusion. 

Sunday, December 7, 2008

NEW video of Simply Fearless

His chiro visit was approximately Three weeks ago at which point it really helps fear to be comfortable and stable. You can really see Fear's instability starting to elevate again since time has passed. He does pretty well after the visits but you can see in his walk how un stable he is now..

Friday, November 14, 2008

Chiropractic Visit

Last night Fear had a visit from the Chiro

Uneven ground makes it harder for Fear to balance. Slick, muddy or ice footing makes it impossible for him to know where his feet are. Just when he thinks he has it figured out, his foot will slip and he will have to re balance. Since he cant re balance in this kind of footing, he ends up doing a lot of sliding and will throw his back out of alignment. Along with his ribs and pelvis, neck and shoulders.
We have an equine chiropractor work on him every 6 weeks and can usually count on 3 good weeks before things start slipping back out of alignment. Tonight Fear had his 3rd adjustment and even though his back was way out of alignment and needed lots of work, he only had one rib out. That means he hasn't fallen down in awhile, this is a good sign, since he usually has 3 ribs out on each side.
The adjustments usually make him a little stiff for the next couple days, but as he has more of them, he is less and less stiff after each session. Tonight he stood like a perfect angel, even tried to check the vets pockets for treats.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Evening routine at Raindance Farms

This image was captured on the live webcam last night. Fears goodnight kiss is pretty typical of his sweet personality.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

More Side Effects of the Disease

Stress and poor health take their toll on a horse's immune system, making the horse an easy target for viral and fungal bacteria to cause havoc. This sounds logical and has been proven time and time again. Where as there is not supposed to be any pain related to neurological issues and research says that the horse really doesn't know there is a problem, there should be very little stress for the animal. At least in cases where the animal is not continually falling down and/or injuring it's self.
As we take this road less traveled with Fear, we are finding that even though Fear is perfectly healthy in every other way, he is more susceptible to germs. Out of the blue, he came down with a case of ringworm. No idea where it could have come from. He has been in the same pasture and stall for months now and no outside horses have been on the farm. No other horses came down with it prior to or at the same time. After treatment from the vet, it has slowly gone away. The vet chalked it up to stress, and said that even though reports say there is no stress related to neurological disorders, no one can be sure. So we have been keeping a closer eye on him and we have a pretty good idea that his problems are no secret to him. He truly seems to know that things aren't right. When he takes a corner and loses his balance, he looks at us with worried eyes and reaches his nose out for reassurance from us. If he misjudges his stride and bumps into a stall wall, there are those worried eyes again. He knows………there is no denying it.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Calendars for Fear

The calendars are selling FAST! They are available for a limited time and would make great easy to mail out gifts for your horse friends. So order now to be sure to get one!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Heres a picture of Fear today in the stall at Raindance

Latest Video Oct 28, 2008

Watch for Updates

Continue to check back for Updates on Fear, new pictures and soon a video!

Proceeds from the print items go to help Fear