Monday, July 30, 2012

More Information on Managing Stringhalt

I spend so much of my not so free time on the Internet scouring for any new or different information on Stringhalt. As I watch my sweet old guy Danny deteriorate right before my very eyes, I know that there has to be people out there dealing with, wondering, and learning about the things I need to know. 
If I am on the phone at work and get put on terminal hold, I head right to my search page and keep on with the old "point and click" Once I learned what "alt/tab" could do for me I was in like flynn!
Anyway through much eye rubbing and squinting at my screen I found a website of a lameness clinic, and they had actually done a case study on an old horse like mine who was recommended to be put down due to the severity of his stringhalt.  I wish I could find it again (must remember to book mark these pages) so I could share it here, but alas, that part was not to be. 

He sure is handsome for an old guy, wish I had seen that water spot on
my lens before I took the picture.

BUT what I learned is that they took a horse like mine and treated him (without surgery) and he went on to live until he was 30 when he was put down for heart failure.  They even used him for lessons and jumping and other events.  They showed after pictures, but no real before pictures.  I found the link to contact them and so sent an email.  I got a response this morning and this is what she said.

Hi Cindy,
I am not a veterinarian therefore cannot diagnose, treat nor prescribe.  If you have an issue with your horse contact your licensed veterinarian.  
I will tell you what was done with the case study on my website.
Vet ruled out any neurologic disease; EPM, did complete blood panel.  Checked for any tick born illnesses.  Once the horse had a clean bill of health from the vet, I called out the acupuncture vet.  She performed acupuncture several times and put the horse on a muscle strengthening and stretching program.
The hooves had a proper barefoot trim, rolled the toes from the bottom for ease of break over.  Hooves treated for thrush.
The horse was put into full time work, long low frame, tons of trail riding.  If the work was decreased the string halt got worse.  
Made sure the horses tack also fit properly.  A saddle that does not fit can make the back muscles and hind end sore.
The horse was put onto a good vitamin and mineral supplement, and extra vitamin E for some time.  I had heard that a vitamin E deficiency can cause problems with the muscles contracting and releasing/neurologic issues, and could have a positive effect on string halt horses.  Horse was fed plain oats, grass hay, vitamin/mineral supplements.  
Horse never kept in a stall.  Outside 24/7.
The horse on my website did not have a before rehab video.  I acquired the horse before I documented every thing I do around here.  The horse had string halt in both hind legs and was going to be put down.  He was an old horse when we got him.  We had him euthanized many years after we got him, when he was 30 due to mitral heart valve failure. 

SO....this may not seem like much but really it is.  I have just been letting Danny be, no real exercise except for what he chose to do himself, and in the last year or so he has really begun having problems with foot placement, stepping on his own feet etc.  I can see now that I need to get him back on a regular exercise program.  We will start with the round pen and go from there.
 (gotta get him back in the right mindset before we ride)
I would really love to know what the muscle stretching exercises were though.
I also ran across another website where someone is actually looking for horses with stringhalt and shivers to gather data with.  There was a whole questionnaire to fill out which of course I did.  I am hoping to get a response from that as well.  I have tried acupuncture on him, but it just got to be so expensive I couldn't keep up with the bill anymore and had to quit.  If we could have done it once or twice a month instead of 3 times a week, well that I could have afforded. 
Some days it sucks having to live within my means!

Well that is all for now....... Ride safely my friends!


I got another email today....more good information and a boost of confidence.

don't give up.  My 23 year old show horse has it.  His was from an injury.  He slipped on the ice, went flying with his leg caught under his body weight.  When he got up, he could not use the leg.  When the leg was better he had a really bad case of string halt.  The acupuncture vet came out and treated him.  I would also stretch his leg straight back (like he was kicking out) and forward.  Lots of walking up and down hills help out too.  As far as the acupuncture goes, I have a vet that is from Korea, she is the real thing when it comes to Eastern medicine.  In my opinion, if the vet just goes for weekend continuing education course to learn how to perform acupuncture they will not be very good at it.  My vet only does eastern medicine on the horses, she also prescribes custom blended herbs.  

This was 7 years ago.  He is kept into full time work.  Last summer he won a top ten in the sport horse in hand class at nationals, not to mention region champion and many class A wins.  This is a class where the horse is judged on movement and conformation.  We will be leaving for nationals with him in a little over a week.

Good luck,


The Chances of me finding a real acupuncturist in this sate are about slim to none, its hard to even find a a decent farrier, and good vets are even a little slim pickins out here.  But now I have a starting point.  I am so happy about that!

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