Last week I decided to send in a sample to test Joseph for EPSM (PSSM). It's the genetic muscle disorder Tonka had.
Today I got the results and they were positive. I don't know why, but this had me crying like a baby and now I'm feeling exhausted, sick, and shaky. I tried to emotionally detach myself from Joseph but I guess it didn't work.
According to one of my sources, 1 in 5 horses have this disorder. That seems high to me, but I do see a lot of horses that exhibit symptoms. Sometimes the symptoms are really hard to spot, though.
I find I don't really want to talk a lot about it, but you can Google it and come up with all kinds of info. And yes, it is (kind of, sometimes) manageable by diet and exercise and supplements. But my in my experience with it, it was really difficult & heartbreaking (and sometimes dangerous) for me, and painful for him. I think Joseph's best option is euthanasia. He is painful just walking across the pasture in this cold weather we've been having. Tonka was painful and even sometimes very sick, even with treatment. It's just not fair for the horse, even to keep them as a pasture pet. Depending on the severity, of course. My sister's EPSM horse has been doing really well this winter. I can't make any decisions about Joseph's future because he still belongs to the BLM. Hopefully they'll get back to me soon with some options.
I am not saying that others with newly diagnosed horses should be hopeless. There is a lot of hope. I just... I just can't do it again.
Sorry to report such bad news. It explains why I was such a failure in his training. That should make me feel better, but it doesn't.