This story is about a dream of ours that came true, last June 1998, we bought our first horse, and her colt, at the time the colt was 4mo old, the mare was 6yr old, both out of impressive, (we didn't know anything about impressive, much less hypp!) from little old people in there 70's,that
had been around horses all there lives. The colt became ill in a short time, we called the vet, his assumption was correct, he drew blood on both the mare and colt, the mare was n/h, but the colt was h/h, his attacks became worst, and more often, finally march 3,1999,his attack lasted 8
long hours, foaming at the mouth, stumbling and falling, loud breathing, gasping for his last breath, his eye's so red, that we thought they were going to burst into flames, seizures, muscle trimmers, finally the vet said we have to put him down, I held the halter while he overdosed
stuffy, and he fell to the ground, The previous owners wouldn't do anything! now with him gone we learned the hard way, don't you make the same mistake, as for a n/h mare the heat cycle, can trigger an hypp attack, making her unsafe to ride, TRUST ME WE KNOW!
I foolishly, knowingly bred my mare to an NH stallion with the thinking that I only had a 50% chance of producing an NH foal...didn't bother to (or maybe didn't want to) consider that I only had a 50% chance of an NN foal too!!
Of course, the filly was NH! After talking to quite a few owners and show people, I decided not to worry about it, even continued to feed her Omolene 200 AND soybean meal to keep her with a nice show coat. I did continue to stay updated on HYPP just in case...
It wasn't until last fall as a 3 year old that I NOTICED her having an attack while I was grooming her. Who knows if this was her first or if there had been others that had gone unnoticed. It started with the little ripples, much like when you toss a stone into a pond. Although I had never seen any sign in any horse before I had a horrible hunch what
was going on. I took her off the cross ties and was planning on taking her into the indoor arena to get her moving since I had heard that mild exercise can prevent or stop an attack. So much for that idea!! She could barely walk, looking like a drunk stumbling out of a bar! I decided the best place for her was in her stall so I got her in there
and called the vet.
Of course this happened to be about 9 PM on a Sunday night so I had to wait till the answering service got the message to the clinic and then for a vet to call me back. When he called, I told him I suspected she was having an attack and he told me I was right. He told me to remove her hay and keep an eye on her while he stayed on the line. I went
back in the barn and she appeared just fine so I decided to bring her out and walk her around a bit. Since my phone was in my car, I brought her back to it to tell the vet that everything was okay when she just collapsed by the car. I will never forget the words the vet told me..."get away from her (to avoid getting hurt) and don't try to get her
up because she has no control over her body now. This isn't going to last very long, probably only 30 seconds or so but one of two things will happen--either she will get up and be fine as though nothing had happened or it will be the end!"
Let me tell you, those few seconds seemed like hours!!! Fortunately she did get up and aside from a few nicks and scrapes was fine. I was able to go to another client's farm nearby and obtain acetazolamide tablets to tide me over till WalMart's pharmacy was open the next day.
We kept her on it for about 6 weeks, had the hay and pastures analyzed by the university, and changed her diet to oats and cracked corn with some sugar but NO molasses and soybean meal.
I'm happy to say that she has not had another problem that I know of...yes, she does have the typical muscled up body of a halter horse which she would have been if not for a leg injury as a yearling but I ride her and she's never been a problem nor am I afraid to ride her.Her dam has severe arthritis in her hocks and it is harder to accept and care for her than the filly. I can honestly say that I would rather she be NH than have this debilitating arthritis, knowing all along that soon the time will come when I will have to make that dreadful decision.
This may sound strange but if the filly has an attack which does kill her, at least she won't have suffered like the mare has for years with arthritis.
I know I've been pretty wordy but I just wanted to let others know that there is hope for a NH horse and NO, I WILL NOT BREED TO ANOTHER NH HORSE AGAIN but since I am the one responsible for bringing her into this world, I will accept the responsibilities of caring and enjoying her. I hope others will do the same.
On Jan 10, 2003 I found my 6 yr old stallion dead in his stall. He was Hypp N/H and never showed a sign. I had just rode him 2 days prior to his death and he was fine. I fed him exactly what everyone says to feed and Hypp horsegrass hay and oats.
When I bought the stallion the owner had no clue he was N/H. He was born 1996 and nothing was stated on his papers. I had knowledge about the disease so I requested the test to be done. When the test results came back he was N/H and I still wanted him. He was everything I could ask for in a stallion. He had the best breeding, the most mild temperament, and a look that I wanted to own. I asked vets at Cornell about Hypp and what their opinion was. They told me as far as getting mares to breed to him I probably wouldn't but, as far as a riding horse go ahead and buy him. I investigated on the Internet and emailed stallion owners that had N/H horses. I asked them if they had any problems etc. Everyone advised me that with "proper" diet the symptoms can be controlled and most N/H horses are asymptomatic. My stallion never had a symptom that I'm aware of. I showed him, trailered him, ride him, a vet even aced him once to float his teeth. I never had a problem. The end result is he died. Cornell did his autopsy for me and I want to make people aware that death just happens with these horses. It doesn't only happen to the symptomatic ones.
I have been raising, breeding, training and showing horses for about 25 years. I started with appys and moved into QH's and paints just about the time the whole HYPP can started to open up. In the beginning of the controversy, few people took a stand against breeding these horses because we still knew very little about the defect. I started out with a couple of really good mares, in foal to a son of Mr. Impressive. One of my resulting
babies was a dark liver chestnut filly who was possibly the toughest, meanest mare I ever owned. But...I loved her. She went on to win several futurities as a weanling and got attention everywhere she went. She grew up to be a beautiful, 15.3, 1300lb mare. I broke her, rode her everywhere. She did well as a snaffle bit horse and went on to be an excellent junior horse.
Last year I took her Moose hunting and she packed wild game for the first time. I brought her and my moose home on a Friday and Saturday she stood Grand at one of our local QH shows. Some mare, huh? She suffered from a few very mild episodes over the years but never anything treatable. Finally, I made the decision to breed the mare. This decision was based on the fact that the mare had so many good things to pass on, she was one of only two
mares of breedable age I owned and I was standing an own son of Kid Clu who was N/N. I tossed and turned over the decision but when you are a small breeder with only limited resources and a limited number of mares that you didn't go out and seek for their HYPP status, sometimes you are left with the choice of either no breeding or income or you roll the dice. Well, I rolled the dice. Twice, in fact. I have a full sister to that mare that is twice the mare with twice the attitude but, unfortunately also N/H. So I bred them both. I placed the older of the mares with someone who wanted to use her for some lessons and board her. She was just down the road but was being cared
for by a "professional boarding facility". At the end of December I was told by one of the employees of the barn that the mare had been consistently water deprived for periods of 24 to 48 hours over the past month. I made plans to bring the mare home, unfortunately it was too late. Two days later my
girlfriend called me from the barn in tears telling me that she had just arrived there and found my mare lying dead in her stall. It was this water deprivation, in my opinion, that led to the ultimate death of the mare. N/H horses have a greater need for hydration in order to leach the potassium in the event of even a mild episode. The mare was dehydrated and 8 months in
foal. So, this was my first bad experience with HYPP in the 10 years since we'd started testing. But, I was standing by my gun, these, horses can be cared for and kept as healthy and trouble-free as any other horse with "proper" care. On February 28th, the other mare was a bit dehydrated and acting a little off. She was 5 weeks away from foaling. I called out a vet to treat her with some fluids. In the meantime while waiting for the vet
(who lives just 8 miles from my house yet took 45 minutes to arrive at 7:00 am on a Saturday, go figure€¦) I treated her with corn syrup and injectable acetazolamide to prevent any problems. When the vet arrived she gave the mare fluids and drew blood. The mare went down shortly after the fluids were administered. When the mare was not up an hour later she said she just didn't understand and she was going to the clinic to look at some books (red flag!) 7 hours and 3 treatments with fluids later, the mare was still recumbent. After four hours on the ground I started rolling her over every hour to keep her from doing any more damage to her muscles. The mare was calm and alert, simply unable to move. Finally, the vet gave up and went
home telling me there was nothing more she could do and I needed to make the final call. The mare was eating out of my hands and appeared comfortable so I started rolling her every four hours. I rolled that mare every four hours for 8 days. It wasn't until I had a sling built for her that I could use to pick her up with my backhoe that she finally stood on her feet again. She suffered huge amounts of muscle atrophy and each shoulder and hip was entirely consumed by pressure sores. Her eyes swelled shut from contact with the ground and she was virtually blind for 10 days. Yet, that mare never quit eating or gaining baby weight. She tolerated being rolled and picked up and starting taking little 10 foot walks with me. I picked her up for 8 days
with that sling before she finally got up on her own. She was a sight with all those sores and no hair. But I couldn't give up on her because she never gave up. Three weeks later she delivered a totally healthy, beautiful chestnut stud colt. Now she's out to pasture with the rest of the horses and she's my biggest trouble maker. It was not until I received the bill from my vet that I found out what REALLY happened. Remember when I said red flag? Well, we live in an area where most of our vets treat cows and very few know anything about HYPP. The fluids she gave the mare 4 times that day contained potassium. She put the mare in a hyperkalemic crisis. The mare never had a chance to come out of the episode as long as she was being treated. She runs and bucks and plays more than the rest, maybe she has more value for life, who knows. She's still got some muscle atrophy, nerve damage and small scars but she remains the most devoted, sweetest horse I have ever seen. Her muscles have begun to rebuild, 6 months later. Her colt? He is also N/H. He went on to win one of his futurities and be reserve in the other this
fall. He's probably the best colt I've seen in a long time. Now, those of you who are so against the breeding of these N/H horses are reading this and saying "Well! Thank God, at least she's learned her lesson!" Well, here's where the flames come! I learned some big lessons, it's true. And I probably know more about HYPP and critical care than a lot of the vets in my area.
However, I am still that little breeder with limited resources and a limited number of mares. I know the risks and I know how to manage my horses. Rosie has more than just HYPP to pass on to her babies. I couldn't earn the money in 5 years of working to replace that mare with an equal quality mare. Yes, she will be rebred, to my non-impressive bred paint stallion. And, next year
probably to the Kid Clu horse again or a reiner favorite of mine. But, I'm going into it armed with a great deal of research from several Universities who are studying HYPP in pregnant mares. I'm due for an N/N baby out of this great mare and I know I will get it! I can only hope it is a filly that is worthy of replacing her so I CAN quit breeding her.
The Bringing Light Group accepts experience stories as they are submitted to us. Given all the information available about HyPP, we have no reason to doubt them, but cannot prove or disprove any other than our own experiences as being 100% accurate.