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Discuss Possum Disease at the Horse Health forum - Horse Forums.

I bought this horse a year and a half ago. Well a friend of mine ...
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    Question Possum Disease

    I bought this horse a year and a half ago. Well a friend of mine owns the half brother to him. Both came from the same place but a few years apart. Well both of us barrel race both of our horses are just starting out. Mine hasnt started competing yet, just exhibitions and hers was competed in the novice class. We'll she started taking him back in April and everysince her horse will not turn the right barrel, he'll sort of run up the fence, and just go sideways as soon as you pick up on him to turn him around the right barrel. She tried taking him to the left barrel first and the right barrel first and it still doesnt matter he would not turn the right barrel. He is also stiffer on the right side. To me the horse seems fine, course I only see him at shows, but looking at him and watchin him you wouldnt think anything was wrong with the horse. And we just assumed it was lack of training as to why he wouldnt turn the right barrel.

    Well they took him to the vet the other day and they did blood work on him and it came back showing the the horse has Possum Disease, but its in the early stages and that they should be able to treat and and he should be "cured" is what theyre saying....

    But maybe Im wrong but I thought there was no cure for Possum Disease?? I also thought that it would progress faster than that? I mean the horse has been doing this since April and he's been the same every since then. But this has also got me sort of worried. The horse that I bought came from the same place as this horse, probably about 4 years apart give or take a few years LOL. But anyways my horse is stiffer on the right side as well, he'll turn a barrel, at a lope. (bout as fast as he's ever gone) Should I be worried about my horse possibly having possum disease?

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    Quote Originally Posted by buddytink View Post
    I bought this horse a year and a half ago. Well a friend of mine owns the half brother to him. Both came from the same place but a few years apart. Well both of us barrel race both of our horses are just starting out. Mine hasnt started competing yet, just exhibitions and hers was competed in the novice class. We'll she started taking him back in April and everysince her horse will not turn the right barrel, he'll sort of run up the fence, and just go sideways as soon as you pick up on him to turn him around the right barrel. She tried taking him to the left barrel first and the right barrel first and it still doesnt matter he would not turn the right barrel. He is also stiffer on the right side. To me the horse seems fine, course I only see him at shows, but looking at him and watchin him you wouldnt think anything was wrong with the horse. And we just assumed it was lack of training as to why he wouldnt turn the right barrel.

    Well they took him to the vet the other day and they did blood work on him and it came back showing the the horse has Possum Disease, but its in the early stages and that they should be able to treat and and he should be "cured" is what theyre saying....

    But maybe Im wrong but I thought there was no cure for Possum Disease?? I also thought that it would progress faster than that? I mean the horse has been doing this since April and he's been the same every since then. But this has also got me sort of worried. The horse that I bought came from the same place as this horse, probably about 4 years apart give or take a few years LOL. But anyways my horse is stiffer on the right side as well, he'll turn a barrel, at a lope. (bout as fast as he's ever gone) Should I be worried about my horse possibly having possum disease?
    If I am not mistaken, Possom Disease is caused my possoms (Duh!) and is a bacteria. It causes nerve damage to the horse which is incurable I believe...however I may be mixing two things up AND if caught early enough, it's possible that it IS currable because it says in the magazine article I have that usually people don't see the signs until it is too late...but maybe you have a good eye.
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    reading through it again, I personally think it's lack of good training...maybe the horse is a bit stiff on one side, but then again we all have our 'bad' sides. Like I said, i am pretty sure possom disease is nerve damage...not so much stiffness. EDIT: I'd have your horse tested for it...much rather be safe than sorry cuz your horse may have to be put down if you wait too long.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThePonyWrangler View Post
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    Did the vet actually say 'possum disease'? If so, I'm sorry, but I'd have a hard time respecting or trusting anything the vet said.

    I can only imagine that he's referring to EPM. Which is a parasite that attacks the nervous system.

    Many horses recover from EPM with proper treatment, but they will likely always have some lasting neurological defects/damage, and are prone to relapses.

    It could be that the issue is a training issue and not directly related to EPM. Doesn't mean he doesn't have EPM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dawn View Post
    Did the vet actually say 'possum disease'? If so, I'm sorry, but I'd have a hard time respecting or trusting anything the vet said.

    I can only imagine that he's referring to EPM. Which is a parasite that attacks the nervous system.

    Many horses recover from EPM with proper treatment, but they will likely always have some lasting neurological defects/damage, and are prone to relapses.

    It could be that the issue is a training issue and not directly related to EPM. Doesn't mean he doesn't have EPM.
    Ahhhhh EPM was the other disease I was thinking of...I think basically the same thing as Possom Disease...but EPM has many causes and bacteria from possoms is one of them.

    EDIT: here is a linkhttp://horsedoc_org.tripod.com/epm.htm
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThePonyWrangler View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by lover View Post
    Ahhhhh EPM was the other disease I was thinking of...I think basically the same thing as Possom Disease...but EPM has many causes and bacteria from possoms is one of them.
    It's a parasite, not a bacteria. When shed from possums, the parasites are in encysted form. Then ingested by the horse where they hatch.

    As far as I know, possum feces are the only source that a horse can contract it. Though many animals do carry the parasite (including cats and birds), they're not infectious to horses.

    I've never heard of anything besides EPM being referred to as anything to do with possums, so assuming it is in fact EPM.

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    ?? She said she took him to the vet, the only reason why they took him to the vet was because he had hurt his front leg, and he was lame on it and it would swell up. Then she said that when she started to tell the vet about how he doesnt want to turn the right barrel and how she has been flexing him and etc. the vet started looking him over and said that something in his backend was "off". That his teeth and everything thing was fine, just his backend was off. The way she talked he didnt even hardly look at the hurt leg. And then the vet said that he thinks he has possum disease and then they took blood and the result came back yesterday.

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    We treated several horses this year for EPM in our clinic. All have made full recoveries.

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    The earlier you treat EPM, the better.

    The damage caused to the nervous system does not repair (fully). So, the longer it goes untreated, or the faster it came on, the more damage is done.
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    What are some of the sympotms because everywhere I have read just mentioned that the horse would have trouble getting up or walking funny or being lame. my friends horse didnt do any of this, so what would be some of the early early symptoms or are there any. Does it affect their mood/temperment?

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