Thanks for getting back to me, and also, thanks for the thorough answers to my questions. Apologies for the delay in my response, it has turned into a very busy day (horses and fireworks are not a good mix….)!
How is Colina doing today? Have you ridden her since her initial stumbling episode, and if so, is she still having a difficult time?
As far as her weight loss, there are a myriad of reasons that could be contributing to that, as I’m sure you well know, especially with your nutrition background. I certainly won’t put dietary issues on the rule-out list. Also, there are no outward telltale signs of any type of abnormality, and we can exclude dental problems as well. With all of that in mind, it leads me to consider the possibility of several possible causes: a metabolic problem, such as organ malfunction/failure, chronic pain (due to the possibility of a developing arthritis, which could also account for her stumbling, and chronic pain can also contribute to weight loss due to the amount of energy required to endure the discomfort), or a remote possibility of certain types of cancer, which, unfortunately, is becoming more common in older horses.
What I would recommend you consider would be to start with basic bloodwork (CBC, Serum Chemistry and Fibrinogen), as well as a thorough physical and lameness exam, with emphasis on her major joints to assess any pain responses. I will normally do a series of flexion tests, especially hocks, fetlocks and carpi. Should she test positive for pain, following up with radiographs would be a great aid in determining if Colina is developing arthritis, or normal wear/cartilage loss within the joint spaces. Based on your replies, I’m sure that she is kept well trimmed and/or shod, so that shouldn’t be an issue.
Just completing the testing mentioned above, may very well clue you in as to what may be the cause(s) of her concerns.
There are, of course, certain disease that can contribute to all that you are seeing with Colina, such as West Nile and EPM. As it sounds as if she is in good shape as far as vaccination titers, I highly doubt West Nile to be an issue, however I wouldn’t rule out EPM, which, by the way, is much easier to test for now than it was a few years ago. I’d also recommend considering this if you decide to do the bloodwork, etc.
So as is apparent, there are multiple possibilities to consider when faced with Colina’s concerns.
If you have more specific questions concerning anything I suggested, please feel free to let me know. I’m here to help, and want to do the best possible job that I can for you and Colina. If you wish to discuss things on the phone, that is an option as well, but I feel that I’ve covered the basics as far as where to start diagnostically.
I’d appreciate knowing which direction you decide to go with her, if you have the time and desire. One of the frustrating things for me with this type of forum is never hearing back from my online “patients”, which often leaves me wondering how things have turned out.
Again, thanks for contacting me, and please let me know if I can be of any further help.
All the best to you and Colina,
-Dan C., DVM.