Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Narcolepsy in Horses???

On Sunday, Casey did the weirdest thing I've ever seen her do (which I think is saying a lot because she does weird things on a regular basis).
She's a weird one
I gave Casey her injectable joint supplement (Polyglycan) and 1 CC of Ace (because she can't be free-lunged and is a dangerous wack job right now without the drugs). After all the shots I took her into the indoor arena to let her roll, which is our normal routine. She plopped right down and rolled on one side, then got back up before dropping to her other side to roll that way as well. That's when things got weird.

She was just laying on the ground with her body and head upright when all of the sudden she fell to the ground flat, her eyes fluttering, and her legs twitching. I freaked out, because to me it looked like she was having a seizure and I didn't know what to do. What can you really do when a thousand pound animal is convulsing? I called to my trainer and started recording what was happening (because I figured it might be short and I would need to show my trainer what had happened). By the time my trainer got into the indoor arena (about 1-2 minutes later), Casey had stopped the weird thing and got up to her feet. She seemed really amped afterwards and was trying to pace around me while I was holding her lead rope.

I showed Trainer the short video (thank goodness I took it) and she did not think that it was a seizure, saying that seizures are a lot more violent and involve the whole body convulsing, not just the legs. Since she has experience with seizures, I assumed she was right. I then asked what she thought it was and she told me that she thought it could have been a narcoleptic episode. Narcolepsy is a condition in which people/animals fall asleep at random times.

She thought that Casey fell asleep and that the legs twitching was her "running" in her sleep, similar to how dogs will "run" in their sleep at times. Her reasoning for this was:
- A new horse had arrived the night before and was neighing all night, thus keeping the other horses awake.
- All of the horses had been tired that day (due to the new horse issue).
- Casey seemed perfectly normal before and after the weird event.
- Casey had been lying down and so it would have been easy for her to just doze off.

She didn't say this, but I was also thinking that maybe the double dose of shots could have made her more tired, or they could have had a weird interaction perhaps.

Trainer said that I should still ride Casey and that she thought Casey was fine. I was a bit doubtful, but mare did seem to be very awake. I did end up riding her and she acted perfectly behaved and wasn't being weird in any other way.
And then she was totally normal for our ride
The next day the vet came out and Trainer asked him what he thought about the weird event and he also agreed with her that it could have just been a narcoleptic episode. He didn't seem at all worried about it and didn't want to do any testing or anything so that's reassuring I guess.
Why does she freak me out so much!!!
I'm still a bit worried about it, because it was freaky in the moment, but unless it happens again I'm going to discount it as a one time thing. Have you ever had a horse do that? Or had a horse with narcolepsy? What do you make of the video?


  1. hmm very strange, I wouldn't know what to make of that

    1. Yeah I don't know what to think about it either. But since both my trainer and my vet checked it out and said not to worry about it, I'll try to not stress. If it happens again though I'll be freaked and will get testing done.