CRF Jalal, affectionately known as CJ, is an eight-year-old Egyptian Arabian stallion. At the age of 5, he began his career as a competitive trail horse. A 14.3 hand chestnut, CJ had no obvious health problems, and had an exceptionally willing and docile personality. After actively and successfully racing in competitive trail rides and endurance races, he started his official breeding career at the age of seven, doing some light breeding to a few selected mares.
In the spring and early summer of 1997, CJ raced in two very difficult 50 milers, and three competitives, totaling 185 miles of competitive trail rides. He fared well and seemed as strong as ever.
However, in July of 1997, he appeared to be having some trouble breeding mares while at a friend's farm; CJ couldn't stay up on them. It was curious, but not alarming, and he seemed sturdy while being ridden off and on during July to keep fit. He did, however, stumble and forge at times. Otherwise, he was his normal, happy, energetic self.
On August 9th, he was entered in a 50-mile endurance race, featuring big hills and very rocky ground. After about 35 miles, CJ started showing unusual fatigue. Tracy pulled him at the 40-mile marker. Upon examination, his symptoms were an extremely sore back, and some weakness in the hind end. Tracy wondered if the soreness was the result of the new saddle, or something else. CJ seemed to have no discomfort elsewhere, so Tracy and her vet decided to wait a few days and see if he improved. Rest for approximately a week gave him renewed strength and vitality, and after some corrective shoeing (rolled toes), CJ and Tracy started riding lightly again with the usual tack. Everything seemed fine once again.
On August 31st, CJ and Tracy went to the Punxatawny 50-mile ride - a six-hour trailer ride away. Four vets examined him and they said he looked stiff; and suggested she try riding him for a couple of miles to see if he would work out of it. At the first downhill slope, he became dead lame on his whole hind end. Tracy dismounted and walked CJ back. The vets re-examined him thoroughly, performed some coordination tests, and put him through some maneuvers involving the hindquarters. CJ was very uncoordinated. One vet commented that CJ didn't seem to know where he was placing his hind legs. All the vets agreed it looked like it could be Equine Protozoal Myelitis, EPM. He obviously did not run the race.
On September 6th, he received a thorough veterinary exam. The vet, also a certified acupuncturist, placed needles along CJ's spine to beyond the hip bones. This resulted in a sudden and severe bucking reaction to the last few acupuncture needles, unlike any previous acupuncture treatments. It indicated the strong possibility of EPM (by its diagnostic point). Blood was drawn to test for EPM; CJ was started on Pyremethamine (to kill the parasite) and SMZ (sulfa-type antibiotic) while waiting for the results. CJ's results came back a strong positive, indicating a definite EPM case.
On September 17th, CJ was started on vitamin E and folic acid supplements to counteract the possibility of anemia from the Sulfa drug. He also received acupuncture treatments. After almost 4 weeks, he showed no improvement; in fact, he was worse. He had even less coordination and strength, and he had been leaving two-foot-long scuff marks in the dirt from dragging his hind feet.
On October 6th, the vet returned for a recheck, and agreed that CJ was much worse. The vet tried a method (used at times by some colleagues for relieving the effects of the disease) of drawing CJ's blood and re-injecting it into his acupuncture points.
On October 8th, CJ was lunged lightly for about 15 minutes, and though very willing, he was still very uncoordinated.
On October 10th and 11th, CJ showed no improvement. In a tearful phone call to a friend, Tracy learned that it was time to face the alternative. Therapies, that is.
On Sunday, Oct. 12th, CJ was started on homeopathic treatment along with the drugs and vitamins. He was given Hypericum and Arsenicum Album (thanks to an article in Holistic Horse), along with an isode (a homeopathic remedy made from his own urine). Hypericum was administered four times daily, Arsenicum twice daily, and the urine isode three times daily, for a period of one week.
On Monday, October 13th, the vet ordered the EPM nosode (homeopathic form of inoculant).
On Thursday, October 16th, CJ was started on the EPM nosode twice a day. He was also receiving the Arsenicum, Hypericum, and Urine, as well as the drugs and vitamins.
On Sunday, October 19th, one week after starting homeopathy, CJ's strength and coordination was much improved. He had begun running the fence line, and was easily mounting a companion in his pasture! His life, and Tracy's, had definitely improved.
- TO BE CONTINUED -
Stay tuned for "A Case of the Incurables, Part II" in our next issue!
Our sincere congratulations and best wishes go out to Tracy and CJ at Tail's End Farm. Thanks for sharing with us!