2000 Paint gelding
Denali arrived on the farm in July of 2015. The sweet little guy stood about 14.1 and had a calm and kind attitude. He had been purchased from an out-of-state auction and shipped up to Maine, where we found him at a sale barn. Due to Denali’s obvious need for medical attention, we made a quick decision to bring him home. He had a large lump on the left side of his jaw, which upon removal turned out to be several chunks of hard calcified material, which had probably begun as a small irritation and then grown larger over time.
After noticing some hind end weakness, we had Denali tested for EPM as a precaution and were deeply saddened to receive the results. His bloodwork came back positive for EPM to the highest degree that the test can go, and although he was almost non-symptomatic at the time, flare ups can occur at any point and with no warning. EPM is a protozoal infection which affects the central nervous system of the horse. It is transmitted most commonly through the droppings of opossums, is very hard to prevent, and at this point is treatable but not curable.
Due to Denali’s high numbers, he would have always been at risk of deteriorating rapidly and causing possible injury to himself or humans. Upon our vet’s recommendation, we kept him here on the farm where he enjoyed relaxing in the fields with friends. In November of 2015, we noticed Denali’s symptoms becoming more severe. Increasing weakness in his hind end made it difficult for him to move freely, and we knew it was time to give this sweet boy the easy and dignified ending that he deserved. Denali was laid to rest after a long day of grazing in the sun with his friends, and while we will always miss him we take comfort in knowing he knew nothing but kindness and contentment to the end.