We Are Blaming it on EPM, but Sometimes That is a Mistake

We are blaming it on EPM, but sometimes that is a mistake.

We have seen it over and over again.

A horse is wobbly, especially in the rear, a blood test is drawn, the numbers come back and the horse is diagnosed with the dreaded EPM.


A solid diagnosis can only be made from a spinal tap. The reason being, so many horses are exposed to EPM the blood work shows the antibodies. A blood test where the numbers run off the chart is probably a true diagnosis, but middle of the road numbers really may not be an indicator of it.

In fact a frequently overlooked causation for such symptoms is a deficit in Vitamin E.

And the harder a horse works, the more Vitamin E (in the proper form) it requires so getting into a deficit is pretty easy.

Vitamin E deficiency can cause:

*Toe dragging
*A wobbly back end
*Sore muscles perhaps manifested as a bucking problem
*Muscle wasting or trembling
*Cracking joints
*a dry and ugly coat
*poor hoof quality
*heart issues
*prolonged laying down

In nature where do horses get Vitamin E?

The answer is primarily from green grass. So if your horse is a hay only horse, or mostly stall kept chances are it is in some sort of deficit.

There Is a blood test for E, BUT the blood must be run quickly and transported under certain conditions.

Also, it is important to note that horses who have lived in Vitamin E deficit for a prolonged time will often have trouble hanging onto it and will go back into deficit easily.

So the next time you are worried about the dreaded EPM, it might be worth it to examine carefully your horses feed intake regime.

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