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jclarkdawe
12-09-2008, 07:25 AM
Now I have several ideas, but knowing that I don't know everything (and most days realizing I don't know anything), I figured I'd see what other ideas might pop up.

I need for a horse to become sick. Very, very sick. Cause cannot be trauma. Horse's age and gender can be made to match, but right at the moment I'm looking at an eleven-year-old gelding.

The illness needs to be somewhat sudden for onset, and seriously likely to be fatal. Nursing skills will be needed. Lots of nursing. Illness needs to last several months, but ultimately a cure needs to happen. A disease that cycles between good and bad periods would be ideal. I want the roller coast effect.

Multiple diseases that overlap are fine.

Cost to cure is no object. Frequent vet visits are fine. Surgery needs to be limited, but can be done. A vet school is located about three hours away.

Complicated and obscure are fine.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

maxmordon
12-09-2008, 07:28 AM
So, is he going to be addicted to horse painkillers now?...

...

:D

Sorry, I couldn't resist.

Soccer Mom
12-09-2008, 08:57 AM
Now I have several ideas, but knowing that I don't know everything (and most days realizing I don't know anything), I figured I'd see what other ideas might pop up.

I need for a horse to become sick. Very, very sick. Cause cannot be trauma. Horse's age and gender can be made to match, but right at the moment I'm looking at an eleven-year-old gelding.

The illness needs to be somewhat sudden for onset, and seriously likely to be fatal. Nursing skills will be needed. Lots of nursing. Illness needs to last several months, but ultimately a cure needs to happen. A disease that cycles between good and bad periods would be ideal. I want the roller coast effect.

ETA: I forgot to add: 12 yo Arabian mare with a history of mild colic but otherwise very healthy.

Multiple diseases that overlap are fine.

Cost to cure is no object. Frequent vet visits are fine. Surgery needs to be limited, but can be done. A vet school is located about three hours away.

Complicated and obscure are fine.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

All right. True share time. I'll have to google the name of the condition, but it's where the colon slips inside itself. It presented in my mare as a really, really bad case of colic, but her gums were white and she was shaking. She's good at masking pain and didn't show signs until she was acutely ill. Basically this condition had cut off the blood flow to her colon and she had gangrene in her intestines. The surgical remedy is to remove part of the colon and sew the bits together.

Lots of serious rehab and a very ill horse for a long time. Total roller coaster. Only about 30% ultimately survive this drastic surgery. The extent was only seen when the vets went in and my mare was in such mad shape that opted for euthanasia. Fortunately I carried insurance on her because this was a four thousand dollar surgery. (I was only out of pocket a couple hundred.)

ETA: I forgot to add 12 yo Arabian mare with a history of mild colic but otherwise very healthy. Regular shots, worming, farrier, exercise.

Soccer Mom
12-09-2008, 09:00 AM
Ah, google is my friend. Here is the condition I was describing.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intussusception_(medical_disorder)

People can have it too.

Leva
12-10-2008, 08:12 AM
Horses are very prone to neurological issues that have dramatic symptoms and long recovery times.

West Nile is an immediate candidate that comes to mind. There's a vaccine but it's not 100% effective. Symptoms are colic like plus neurological. Mortality rate is around 30%. Spread by mosquitoes.

EPM (equine protozoal myelitis) is a protozoal infection of the spinal cord and nervous system. Symptoms tend to be somewhat like multiple sclerosis in people -- random limb weakness (that moves around), paralysis, etc. Affected horses might be lame on one leg one day and lame on a different leg a week later. They might drag a leg, or be "wobbly." It frequently seems like the don't know where their own feet are when landing.

There's a treatment, but it does't always work. It's expensive.

(One of the saddest things I've ever seen is was a peruvian paso with EPM. Look at some videos of pasos on Youtube. Now picture a paso who doesn't know what his own feet were doing. He tripped over himself so often that his owner wrapped his legs three inches thick in cotton batting to try to prevent injury.)

Tetanus might be another possibility.

Founder is another possibility. Google Founder for details and various and assorted causes. Basically, it's inflammation of the hooves. The coffin bone inside the hoof is attached to the hoof itself with tissue called laminae. The laminae get inflamed, swell (in the enclosed space of the hoof), and die. The bone then separates from the hoof and is pulled down and backwards by the tendons and the horse's weight. It's entirely possible for the coffin bone to erode through the sole of the hoof.

Bringing a horse back from founder is possible, depending on the level of severity, but it's a long, hard, expensive road and for every good vet and farrier there's a dozen quacks who don't know what they're doing and can make things worse.

Edit to add: Founder is exquisitely painful. Horses with it may refuse to stand, will "lean back" so all their weight is on their heels (and not their toes where the worst of the damage is generally happening), have an odd, stumbling gait if forced to move (because they're trying to favor all four feet at the same time). Later, the hooves will show an growth ring indicating damage and depending on the degree of founder -- how many degrees the coffin bone is twisted out of alignment with the hoof wall -- the hoof itself may become deformed.

PurpleClover
12-29-2008, 07:10 AM
Now I have several ideas, but knowing that I don't know everything (and most days realizing I don't know anything), I figured I'd see what other ideas might pop up.

I need for a horse to become sick. Very, very sick. Cause cannot be trauma. Horse's age and gender can be made to match, but right at the moment I'm looking at an eleven-year-old gelding.

The illness needs to be somewhat sudden for onset, and seriously likely to be fatal. Nursing skills will be needed. Lots of nursing. Illness needs to last several months, but ultimately a cure needs to happen. A disease that cycles between good and bad periods would be ideal. I want the roller coast effect.

Multiple diseases that overlap are fine.

Cost to cure is no object. Frequent vet visits are fine. Surgery needs to be limited, but can be done. A vet school is located about three hours away.

Complicated and obscure are fine.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe


Well there is a bacterial infection in humans called Campylobacteri jejuni...its from chicken feces (fecal oral type infection from undercooked chicken or handling chickens). A few weeks after this bad intestinal illness it can cause ascending paralysis secondary to Guillain Barre. First the feet don't work, then the bowels/bladder, then the lungs and if they don't realize what it is in time the person will die from suffocation. Most people go on a ventilator and within months it leaves their system. By one year post infection a person can be back to normal.

Not sure if this can do the same to a horse...sorry I know you asked for a vet. But thought I would offer the idea in case your antagonist wanted to poison his feed with some sort of bacteria like this...if its fiction then it could be an extremely virulent strain that causes the illness to take place faster.

Sorry, otherwise there is anthrax and cianide. Both are treatable but usually the respiratory anthrax infection in humans can't be caught with antibiotics in time to save them...again, I'm not sure for horses.

Fenika
12-29-2008, 07:30 AM
1) Most stuff we vaccinate against. EEE/WEE WNV, etc. Doesn't even have to be owner's neglect to vaccinate. The owner or the vet could accidentally let the vaccine warm up a little. And when the animal contracts the disease, the vet thinks 'but it was vaccinated for X...' and then later realize it IS X. (preferably not too much later. Say, when the necropsy report comes back)

2) Banamine IM. No joke. Anyone still giving banamine IM to horses is a fool, but it happens. Gas gangrene (http://www.equidblog.com/uploads/file/JSW-MA1%20Cl%20myonec.pdf).

3) You said no trauma, but snake bite in the pasture? One extreme case (http://osu.okstate.edu/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=480&Itemid=90), that was hospitalized for a long long time. See that little red spot on her neck? It goes all the way down to her shoulder.

Also, pick carefully. Most nasty diseases mean fluid hook up, etc, which means hospitalization. If you have the recover-worst-recover-worst scenario, then the horse can sometimes come home ofc... Also, I would NOT combine issues, unless you were willing to have something like a vet student (a small animal lover forced on the equine rotation) give Banamine IM... oopsie.

Also, one of the 'common' viruses is known for being a rollercoaster but I can't for the life of me recall which. Anyone? Anyone?

jeseymour
12-29-2008, 08:07 AM
EEE. This is epidemic in my area (Seacoast of New Hampshire.) We are actually vaccinating every six months, even though the vaccine says it's good for a year. My neighbor lost a horse to EEE a few years ago, and a llama died of it this year.

"The virus responsible for EEE attacks the central nervous system of its host. Horses are particularly susceptible to the infection and mortality rates approach 100%. Onset is abrupt and horse cases are almost always fatal. Signs of the disease in horses include unsteadiness, erratic behavior, loss of coordination and seizures. There is no effective treatment and death can occur within 48 to 72 hours of the horse's first indications of illness. Horses can and should be inoculated against this disease especially in areas where EEE is known to circulate."

I know it says death can occur within 48-72 hours, but with aggressive care, maybe not? This might not be exactly what you are looking for.

Founder sounds like a good bet, or maybe the EPM.

http://home.earthlink.net/~j.e.seymour

Medievalist
12-29-2008, 08:48 AM
Now I have several ideas, but knowing that I don't know everything (and most days realizing I don't know anything), I figured I'd see what other ideas might pop up.

I need for a horse to become sick. Very, very sick. Cause cannot be trauma. Horse's age and gender can be made to match, but right at the moment I'm looking at an eleven-year-old gelding.

West Nile

Horserider
12-30-2008, 05:57 AM
I need for a horse to become sick. Very, very sick. Cause cannot be trauma. Horse's age and gender can be made to match, but right at the moment I'm looking at an eleven-year-old gelding.

The illness needs to be somewhat sudden for onset, and seriously likely to be fatal. Nursing skills will be needed. Lots of nursing. Illness needs to last several months, but ultimately a cure needs to happen. A disease that cycles between good and bad periods would be ideal. I want the roller coast effect.


Colic. Very common, often fatal especially if the horse gets a twisted intestine. Any horse can get it and it's very, very sudden. My first horse had to be euthanized because of it in June so if you choose colic you can pm me if you want. Horse could twist it's intestine and require colic surgery. Then maybe some post-operative complications like infections things like that.

sheadakota
12-30-2008, 07:07 AM
Choke. My now 12 year old gelding choked on alfalfa hay on his first trailer ride. When we got him out of the trailer he was sweating and shaking and coughing and had green goo coming out of his nose and was very lethargic.
the vet had to pass a naso-gastirc tube down his throat to clear the obstruction but he aspirated already and developed pnuemonia- very high temp, no interest in eating.
He rebounded twice and we thought he was fine, but the fevers kept returning for almost a month. His age and good health is what saved him.

I never give him hay when I trailer him now and he is prone to upper resp infections, but other than that he is fine.

It was scary though, he was only four at the time and I thought we were going to lose him more than once.

Fenika
12-30-2008, 07:11 AM
Oh yeah. I had a friend whose colt choked. She had to soak his hay and whatnot for over 6 months, to be safe. Combine with above, and that's a possibility for ya.

adarkfox
12-30-2008, 10:00 PM
Something simple that turns tragic is infection- perhaps a small puncture wound on the knee where infection gets inside, and the wound closes.... days or weeks later the leg swells... unattended the skin will actually stretch and tear, leaking infection out. The infection can spread into the tendon sheaths, and a long doctoring process which typically ends fatal (but there's always a chance for recovery, right?) I treated a horse of my own with this for 3 months before it took a turn for the worst and euthanasia took place.

Anyone remember those chemical attacks on saddlebreds in Kentucky? Somebody put some chemical compound on the horses fetlocks or heels and the horses had some terribly long hospitalization/veterinary care and thousands upon thousands of dollars were spent and most of them died, but a few survived. I remember one particular horse survived because they used therapy in a hyperbaric chamber for his wound.