'Head Shaking'

Discussion in 'Horse Management' started by eventkid1, Dec 15, 2010.

  1. eventkid1

    eventkid1 Well-known Member

    *Sorry if this is in the incorrect spot mods"

    Please if anyone has had a horse that suffers from head shaking let me know what you did to help, we are desperate now to try anything at all :(
  2. skiddlez

    skiddlez Gold Member

    ive been told in cases its the fact of a horse is bored.... have you tried entertaining the horse with toys?
  3. sunline

    sunline Well-known Member

  4. jake15

    jake15 New Member

    my horse shakes his head a lot in summer worse when he has a fly veil on. you need to determine the cause so try different things. is it the flies? if so maybe fly spray or fly veil if they dont mind it i think it also becomes habit after a while but it can be quite dangerous
  5. biscay

    biscay Well-known Member

    Headshaking is a neurological problem, and often isnt diagnosed as such, but rather all other possibilities ruled out. It can have many different causes from Light sensitive, to allergy rhinitis ( my girl had that ).

    I tried her on herbs, and special masks that I got from Europe that fit over the nose ( and are suppose to help reduce pollen and irritant uptake into the nostrils) but that didnt help. You can buy those here now. I had accupuncture, bowen and removed her from irrigated paddocks ( that did help to a degree). WIth time off she was fine for awhile, but as soon as back in work it would happen bad again. She was retired sadly. Another I know has tried these special patches??? I really couldnt tell you much about it, but it did help to a degree.

    Sorry you have to go through this, but there isnt really too much you can do about it, just how you monitor it. I wasnt able to ride my girl because she would actually strike at her head whilst riding, or standing in paddock etc, so she became actually unsafe, and it was horrible to watch, but sitting fat in paddock now she is fine.
  6. eventkid1

    eventkid1 Well-known Member

    This is what it has come down to :( we went to a Megan Jones clinic and it was so bad that she pretty much said there's nothing we can do and my mum bought another horse down for me to ride and we took him home, he strikes out at his nose... we have tried so much it's so hard hes my bestfriend :(
  7. PM zendor.. She has had the same problem with her horse and may be able to tell you what they have tried etc :)
  8. Cheeki

    Cheeki Gold Member

    PM me if you like. Just been through this with my horse.
  9. zendor

    zendor Well-known Member

    Yes I have 2 headshakers :(
    Its a long hard road and everything is day by day but you can get them comfortable and both of mine are able to be managed and back competing:)*
    You need a good local vet you can work with and approach my mum spent many hours talking to various vets/companies/people we where and still are considering things like herbs and hair testing...
    I did have a big huge thing typed up but thought better of it.

    Don't get to down now I know its hard I have been through it all and thought we would lose both of them at stages...Just be open to heaps of different ideas and think about things like plants in his paddock?
    You could try riding him at night and I mean DARK no lights in the arena to see if its the sunlight causing the head-shaking...You could do a stocking test they use at Murdoch which re directs the airflow and that will tell you if the trigeminal(SP!) nerve is irritated by the airflow..
    There is lots of different stories and ideas and also a lot of people who say give up but I couldn't and so far we are all good!
    If you want to PM go for it.
    P.s Murdoch said there was easily over 90 causes...We ruled out about 8..Sometimes you are lucky and find the right cure. Goodluck
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2010
  10. Cornflower

    Cornflower Well-known Member

    The sensitivity could also be due to mineral/vitamin imbalances. Especially if he has other symptoms, or does other things. Full blood tests might provide some answers.
  11. eventkid1

    eventkid1 Well-known Member

    The light definitley is a factor, we've had him all scoped out and mum has taken him to a vet while i was in bali that specialises in headshaking, not sure of his name or what he did but apparently it was to do with manipulating the nerves or something like that. We have tried different supplyments, different paddocks but our's have no 'plants' in them, only have 2 seeded paddocks and 6 un-seeded ones and he's been in both seeded and un-seeded, better in the un-seeded one though. We have a net that goes around his nose that i rode him in for a couple of times but that stopped working at all around the 4th or 5th time tried. It's so hard because i do love him and i have put my whole world into him but when the season starts back i cant compete him like he is because its dangerous not only to others but myself and him. I will maybe talk to mum about taking him to murdoch and getting their opinion!
  12. samm

    samm Gold Member

    Is this horse an arabian?If so there is a condition called Cerebellar Abiotrophy which causes a head shaking.You can find more info here...

    Now all arabians will have to be tested as the AHSA has bought in new testing rules.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2010
  13. hes thoroughbred i think :)
  14. eventkid1

    eventkid1 Well-known Member

    No he's TB sorry
  15. Coda Cowgirl

    Coda Cowgirl Well-known Member

    you could try a mycotoxin binder as well. Some horses are more susceptible and can be effected by the hay they are eating as well. Its not expensive and worth a try.
  16. zendor

    zendor Well-known Member

    If its a light factor then its most likely going to be harder.
    I will see if I can find a link to the mask we have, I think it would probably help him a lot and you can get riding versions although you can't compete in them any relief at the moment is good for him.Or I did find doubling up fly veils helped...
    If you have stables and its a light factor maybe you can leave him in the stable at day time and put him out in a paddock at night?

    My WB changed completely when we found a treatment once it worked he became him self again,so much more settled and happy.
    Have you tried any steroids or different medications rather then supplements? Normally from Murdoch that's a seems fairly normal idea for head-shakers when we have been up there.
    You CAN compete on them as long as they have a short enough acting period and you have checked with your vet.You can do all sorts of things give them orally as a liquid or paste or in their feed lots of things.
    You haven't had him that long have you? Did you get him locally or from a completely different area? If so maybe you could try sending him down it take at least a month for them to adapt we where told 3-6 months is best if trying a different area by Murdoch.

    I know its hard.I wouldn't bother trying to ride him unless your vet asks you too it's dangerous and if he is like mine he will be in a bit of pain too.Its easy to lunge them if you need to check and they will get really good at it in the end.

    Another question have you changed feed recently or the quality of the feed changed?
    Have you done X-rays of the poll and things like that or only scoped him? Its tricky I don't know what lark hill is like head-shaking wise but when we went up to Murdoch again this year with George it wasn't a very different reaction then we got before...Really it was yes a head-shaker,possible medications,suggestions and what might happen...we where told he might not be able to cope long and PTS was mentioned :( it was not a good drive home...
    We then decided to throw everything at it tried lots and then we worked with the local vets possibilities and checked through to Murdoch. As I said I don't know lark hill have never been there but I have been told someone is interested in head-shaking there and it was suggested to us after we booked Murdoch.
    Do you think this could be linked to the behaviour when out you put another thread up about a while back ?
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2010
  17. eventkid1

    eventkid1 Well-known Member

    While i was in Bali for 2 weeks (got back yesterday) he was kept in a stable during the day and paddock at night but he gets stressed when out by himself and all the others need stables so it was to much for him, running around all night.
    Our vet has sugested different antihistamins (sp?) which we will be running courses off throughout summer i think after christmas i think.
    We got him from Hearne Hill and no we've only had him for about 1 year in Jan.
    Thats what i was thinking about riding him, while i've been away he hasnt been ridden and i think you're right, it's not a good idea right now. He still head shakes when walking up from the paddock to the stable though so lunging will just adgitate it i would think??
    No he's been on the same feed for about 4 months, this feed works better for him in other aspects, but does nothing for headshaking.
    X-rays have been mentioned by our vet and again i think we will get him more intensively looked at after chrissy.
    We told Megan about his previous behaviour and she suggested that it was definitley to do with the headshaking, when he was at the clinic with her, i only rode him for about 15 minutes (only walking and light trotting, his headshaking was so bad i felt so horrible, he must have the worst headache all the time!!) before he started upto his old tricks, jumping on the spot, doing little strikes with his legs (towards his nose) and that when Megan said to get off.
    Having him PTS has been mentioned as well :( I have kept brave and told myself that he will get better, but then i dont want to have so much hope, to have it all thrown back in my face.

    He's my little Dobby, only weeks ago were we all laughing because Dobby died in the new Harry Potter movie and we were saying that's it for him now. I dont want that to become my reality. Karma really bit my ass :(
    **Sorry to sound melo-dramatic!!**
  18. zendor

    zendor Well-known Member

    Antihistamines are good.
    With the lunging I don't mean as excersise,I just mean if you are needing to monitor the head-shaking while trying treatments and to see if they work.You get good at doing it with a halter and it becomes automatic 1 lap and you can tell. I wouldn't be lunging him or doing anything that causes the head shaking.
    If its so bad he does it while walking up from the stables that's pretty bad.My horses where both different one would stand and get his body into a rythym and flick his head the other is only when the air flow is increased when walking hard +

    It is horrible,I have been through it and I know. I couldn't handle people at PC saying he will be okay or asking about him I just couldn't. You have to be strong and I think he needs to be priority and get him to the vet as soon as you can, I know Christmas is hard we had the same problem :(

    It will be okay there are a lot of options and hopefully the vets can help you. When the vets suggested PTS mum asked them what we can do, If I was to get another horse AGAIN to compete what age bracket/breed/area etc is best and they basically said they don't know,some are more susceptible then others and it normally occurs at around 18 months :(
    You don't sound dramatic at all I get it, Its so draining emotionally to go through the worry, the hope and the disappointment it will be worth it in the end as bad as you might feel now even if you can get try and get him comfortable.
  19. eventkid1

    eventkid1 Well-known Member

    Okay yeah thats makes sense i'll make sure he stays out of any work, it really sets him off. Im getting him in his stable earlier then the rest in the arvo or he paces and it gets worse.
    Agree'd, i keep telling mum christmas can wait but i think she doesnt want me to have any bad news before it.
    I read up that 66-75% of head shakers are gelding and between the ages of 9-11, which is him, hes 9 next year.
    Thankyou so much for all this info, definitely given us lots of things to try!!
    Will keep posted on how he's going!
  20. zendor

    zendor Well-known Member

    My boys are 19 and 17yrs old now...17 and 16 turning 17 when it happend :confused:
    You need to be careful about what you read as some of it is just pulled from you know where ';'
    Im happy to help, Its a horrible thing.Murdoch and many people at equitana we spoke to they all said it was becoming more and more common:( One lady we spoke to about hair testing at equitana said she had seen 11 different people with headshakers in ONE day.
    The other thing to think about is hay.We had a look at the hay steamers at equitana all seemed a good promising idea.
    Good luck and I hope you can find something that helps him!

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