Archive for April 23rd, 2009

Tingling Skin

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

Fudge is a fairly patient guy.  When he started to nip as I was brushing him, I knew that something was wrong, but couldn’t quite understand why.  I have moved to progressively softer brushes, and am now using a brush that is closer in bristle strength to a cloth than a brush.  I think foul language would be more effective at removing caked-on mud than the brush he will tolerate.

Brush strokes that are either hard or fast or flick annoy him when used on his neck.  Going down his front legs is also a problem.  There are at least three possible causes for these bad sensations.  The first is that Fudge was attacked by a miniature donkey in the field at the previous owner’s.  The attacks left him with some deep wounds to his neck and chest.  They have formed scar tissue that may have tender new nerve endings.  The second possibility is that Fudge lost skin sensation in these areas due to the EPM, and as he gains it back, it hurts.  The third is that  EPM horses can get hypersensitivity in the skin and hooves.

This last possibility doesn’t seem to make much sense.  Until you consider the inflammation in the central nervous system.  Inflammation can cause pain, just as it can cause loss of sensitivity.  Researchers don’t have much knowledge about how the CNS is being effected by EPM.  Can you imagine being hypersensitive in the hooves and having shoes nailed on?  Ouch.

We can only hope that Fudge will outgrow this sensitivity, and we need to be patient with him for now.  Each grooming session has to be careful, slow, and deliberate.  I don’t want him to hate to be groomed or touched.  It just happens to be very time consuming during mud season.  You see, Fudge likes the sensation of rolling and scratching his neck in the mud, and we’ve had a little rain lately.