Head Shaking in a horse

Discussion in 'Horse Health' started by happygolucky, Jan 13, 2011.

  1. happygolucky

    happygolucky Senior Member+

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    Hi all,

    I have been dealing with something and thought what better place to discuss it is on this forum. I am so distraught about this. I have a 8 year old mare. I noticed in 2009 she was nodding her head when at rest, thought it was just coming out of sleep and jerking her head, but then was concerned and called vet and she checked her and said we can float her teeth to see if that helps, and I felt it did initially, however, that was the year few months later we had her boarded out for the year so I never could keep up with it. Now that she is home with me I have been noticing her when she is standing in the barn or paddock resting she is nodding or jerking or head vertically up and down repeatedly. I called the vet and she came out to check her teeth and said there were some points and she floated her teeth and gave her a check up, said her teeth didnt line up with the other teeth at back but it her jaw was fine and it was not causing any problem it was just the way they grew through her life time. However, she is displaying the head shaking more and I find being in the wind it seems to cause it to happen more. It breaks my heart cause I don't know what can be done to help her, she doesn't appear to be in pain and is eating and drinking and playng around with our gelding. I have read alot on headshaking and there are so many suggestions of what can cause it. Does anyone have hands on experience with a horse who has this? Thanks!:(
     






  2. Sunrisepony

    Sunrisepony Senior Member+

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    I'd have her check by an Equine Chiropractor. Something could be out in her neck, could just be something she does when she's bored.
     
  3. flattrackbaby

    flattrackbaby Full Member

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    I had a true 'headshaker', TB gelding 7 y/o. What a NIGHTMARE! Thousands of dollars spent (research at New Bolton Center) and no luck subduing his symptoms. BUT this horse was in great pain when he flared. Could not be outside if there was any wind or sun. Spring/Summer/Fall was the worst for him due to allergens. He would rub his face/nose constantly and would injure himself quite frequently unfortunately. He also was so uncomfortable during a flare-up that he would not eat OR drink. We tried MANY different medicines and while some would work temporarily-none were a permanent 'cure' for him. Last Summer after fracturing an ankle while turned out in his run, we had him humanely euthanized. While the ankle was of course the catalyst for putting him down, we likely would have been forced to have put him down due to the headshaking at some near point due to his poor quality of life. Not all horses are this severe/chronic of a headshaker, but this gelding was a very severe case.
    From all I've read, it is VERY rare for a mare to be diagnosed with headshaking syndrome, most confirmed headshakers are geldings and most have some white on them (stripe on face, some white stockings). My gelding was black, with a white star/stripe, and two white back pasterns.
    Good Luck! Make SURE you use a veterinarian that is familiar with headshaking syndrome, as not all are well versed in that particular ailment.
     
  4. EasternCowgirl

    EasternCowgirl Full Member

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    I know this is a longshot, but have you tried researching VOM (Veterinary Orthopedic Manipulation)? It supposedly deals with the nervous system of the horse, essentially allowing the body to recover or heal at a faster rate. I was using this instead of chiropractic treatments, and thought they weren't helping at all, when in fact, the treatments had actually gotten rid of a head tossing problem (not shaking vertically, but an actual throwing of the head up and around, whether standing quietly or moving out). I then had the chiropractor up to fix a hip problem, and the head tossing came back. Go figure!

    http://www.vomtech.com/

    Good luck with your mare!!
     
  5. happygolucky

    happygolucky Senior Member+

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    I will have the vet out again come out and check her over. We plan to have a chiropractor come out when the weather warms up here. As I said how do you know they are in pain? She appears healthy and eats and drinks with no problem? Hopefully, I can get some answers. Thanks!
     
  6. cowpony

    cowpony Senior Member+

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    There is a mask you can wear on your horse that does alleviate the symptoms.
    Try to avoid riding when the sun is the brightest (noon) stick to dawn and dusk rides. Alot of horses with head shakers can be ridden in indoor arena with minimal symptoms.

    ~good luck with your horse.
     
  7. happygolucky

    happygolucky Senior Member+

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    Thanks. Are there tests that the vet can perform to make sure it is a true case of head shaking? I don't know what it would be otherwise? I need to video it so I can show the vet which may help her. Are all horses in pain if they are head shakers?
     
  8. cowpony

    cowpony Senior Member+

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    I'm not real experienced with this myself, I'm only passing along second hand information. My neighbors had a true head shaker and they got him a mask (it was around $100.00 I think) and it did alleviate alot of his symptoms and they could ride him during the day then.

    Good luck with your horse.
     
  9. Patty Stiller

    Patty Stiller Senior Member+

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  10. happygolucky

    happygolucky Senior Member+

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    headshaking

    Thanks everyone for your help and suggestions. I have been out with my mare today and have been watching her and notice it is mainly when she is in a standing resting state that she does it. I was hoping it was her teeth causing the problem but they were recently floated. Unless its a less severe form of head shaking because she doesnt do it unless resting? Could it be something else I am wondering? I will have vet out again to reevaluate her. I will keep you posted.
     






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