I've had the vets again today for blood sampling and AGAIN Doc's had a total freakout resulting in non being taken I mentioned about going down the hair route and she hadn't heard of it (only bloods & biopsy), she's gone away to investigate it
We've gone thru my diary that I've been doing since last October & she thinks I'm thinking on the right lines, ESPECIALLY when these last few weeks being on the fat/fibre diet has made a vast difference.
I'm sure I read somewhere that a diagnosis can be made from a hair analysis That would alleviate the needle phobia anyway!!
Post by flintfootfilly on May 14, 2013 12:25:42 GMT -1
Type 1 EPSM can be confirmed by a simple hair sample or from blood. With the hair sample, you can pull it yourself, no need to involve vet. Just 20 or 30 hair samples from mane or tail; must be pulled to ensure that the hair includes the root, which is what they look at.
I sent mine off to Animal Genetics (Avian Biotech) in Cornwall. It's only around £30 a time:
Post by harleydales on May 15, 2013 8:03:19 GMT -1
I had the biopsy done, mainly because when Harley was being tested the hair would have had to go to America - which would have cost almost as much as the biopsy! Harley was at teh Weipers Centre (Glasgow Vet School) in any case, so he was in sterile conditions so it made sense.
His biopsy came back showing some altered muscle fibres, which was enough to go down the diet route and so far he's doing well. I'm glad we got a definitive answer via the biopsy, and the wounds healed wuickly - there's a few white hairs but if you didn't know he'd had it done you really wouldn't recognise them as scars.
He's not great with needles either, but when it was all going on he accepted it. Gone back to bonkers now though!! Could you give some sedalin or something?
Post by flintfootfilly on May 15, 2013 10:14:04 GMT -1
Yes, I downloaded a form from the Animal Genetics website, plucked the hairs myself and put them in a clean plastic freezer bag, and sent it direct myself, with results coming back direct to me.
I've sent a few hair samples there at different times, and all direct from me, as there was no need to involve the vet.
The results come back in a very easy to read form. They'll just say whether the DNA shows one copy, two copies or no copies of the EPSM type 1 gene.
My reckoning was I was spending enough time and money with the vets on other tests and procedures, so it made sense to do the hair-pulling etc myself rather than involve the vets unnecessarily.
It's very different when I've had blood tested for different things. In general, it seems that labs will only deal direct with vets, and won't talk to owners at all. So maybe your vet was thinking it would be the same with hair sample tests?
At one time, I was thinking of double-checking the results by sending hair to Minnesota too, and again I would have been able to do that direct, without taking up any of my vets time or incurring vets fees.
Post by flintfootfilly on Jun 20, 2013 11:04:15 GMT -1
Been there, done that too. Still, at least you know it is not type 1 EPSM for sure now. What you don't know is whether it is "type 2 EPSM", but the thing about type 2 is that no-one actually knows whether it's one condition or various conditions because the cause of it has not been found yet.
Sorry to go on about my pet subject, but unless you have any other leads then it might be worth having your dietary selenium checked (forage analysis of grass/hay/haylage - with some companies you can literally just ask for selenium and no other minerals to keep cost down, though I think it's preferable to have the whole range of minerals tested). Anything below 0.1mg/kg selenium in the forage is a deficiency, so you'd know for sure whether you need to change the diet.
Can't remember if you've mentioned what you are feeding, but I'm still trying to work my way through this with my gang. I have found that supplementing with a good balancer with 1.5mg inorganic selenium (sodium selenite) in it per 500kg pony per day has made no difference to CK (creatine kinase, the main muscle enzyme) levels in their blood over 11 months. So I have now gone to a balancer with both inorganic and organic, Blue Chip Original, which has the highest levels of selenium of any balancer I've found in the UK. It gives 0.9mg selenium per day to a 500kg pony (some other powders give 1.0mg, but they have high zinc/copper, at levels for which I have never been able to find any scientific justification so far, so I steer clear of them now).
Last year my gang were on selenium yeast for 2 months, at a very high level because of our specific problems. You may remember we went on to have liver problems which may or may not have been caused by the very high level used (3.3 mg a day), but within 4 to 5 months of starting on the selenium yeast, all five of the ponies' CK had dropped by several hundred units (and this tied in with an improvement in work tolerance).
So I am now trying again with selenium yeast, but just at a "normal" level in the hope I might see a similar improvement this time round.
I can't say anything for sure yet, but I'm hopeful.
So my current thought is that sodium selenite did nothing to help my gang's muscle problems (I base that statement on almost monthly blood tests over the period they were on that supplement). And also that the selenium yeast took 4-5 months to show an effect.
Might be worth considering if you run out of other options?
My gang's symptoms are very similar to some of the reported EPSM symptoms - For example, Rock today kept stopping and parking out to wee and doing nothing, whilst being led round at a walk from another pony. I am quite convinced that many undiagnosed but presumed EPSM horses are "just" selenium deficient, given how common it is to find selenium deficiency in the UK, and how little feed people generally give to good doers, and also combined with the fact that cob types are known to have a higher ratio of type 1 muscle fibres (which are known to be more affected by selenium deficiency) than are found in thoroughbreds.