Equine Head Shaking Syndrome
 
 

       The Horse Forum > Keeping and Caring for Horses > Horse Health

Equine Head Shaking Syndrome

This is a discussion on Equine Head Shaking Syndrome within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • My horse is shaking his head ans his eyes don't look good
  • Why does my horse toss her head

 
LinkBack Thread Tools
    04-07-2011, 07:13 AM
  #1
Yearling
Equine Head Shaking Syndrome

Ehhhh so its the time of the year when my horse starts his Equine Head Shaking Syndrome back up. (Equine Head Shaking syndrome is basically like tourettes of the head and sometimes it becomes constant and has 60 known causes and is usually seasonal) So I was wondering if there is anyone on the forum that deals with a horse having this condition. I would love to talk to them.
     
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
    04-07-2011, 04:27 PM
  #2
Foal
Hello hero. My horse has recently started head shaking more than normal, she had incident last week when she was really throwing her head to the floor and back up again. Luckily a vet was on the yard at the time and got to see her behaviour, the vet tells me she's never seen head shaking so severe. The cause of her head shaking is still unknown, it could be seasonal, but this is the first time she's ever done it (i've owned her for 6, almost 7 years now, and she's almost 12 years old).
The vet says it could be due to allergens, but it could also be something involving nerve pain. We're now keeping a diary every day of her behaviour and trying to paint a bigger picture.
Having had experience of the condition, what are the sorts of things you do to cope with it? We tried one of the muzzle nets to filter out any allergens, but she was terrified of it for some odd reason, and when we finally got it on she stood looking very upset by it, and refused to eat her food.
Another odd behaviour we have noticed is that she, for some odd reason, sometimes wont take treats out of my hand anymore. She moves towards the treat as if she wants it (she is never one to refuse food) and will often look to one side, and if you move the treat towards her she sort of snatches it, often dropping it on the floor, and throws her head in the air.. have you ever head of this happening before? Also what is interesting is that if you stand to the side of her, and hold her head down with the other arm, she will take the treat straight out my hand no problem (and her head doesnt end up in the air).

She's left us all completely baffled!
Any advice or answers will be greatly appreciated.
     
    04-07-2011, 09:30 PM
  #3
Yearling
Well Hello Chadders! Well first off my horse who was 8 at the time was diagnosed with Equine Head Shaking Syndrome in late summer of last year but the problem was it was at the end of "seasonal period of time" he had it. Therefore I was only able to try a few things. And I will tell you what I have tried in a moment but first i'll tell the strange habits my horse does.
First off my horse has never not taken a treat out of my hand but does throw his head up randomly. Other behaviors he did when his head shaking was in full blast.
-Was first he had the "twitch" which is the vertical and horizontal head toss and it becomes frequent at times to calm
-He began to hate his nose being touch (he used to loved being pat him on his nose)
-His lips will twitch non stop at times
-He has nasal/eye discharge
-He likes to hide his head at times such as in a corner of barn, under trees, and even other horses tails.
-He will rub his nose on his front foreleg or on other objects
-And he tends to zone a lot and just freeze which he used to not do that
^^^^^ These are all symptoms to Equine Head Shaking syndrome. Do your horse has any of these???
Also some of the equipment and treaments I have tried was a Guardian mask, which basically is a mask that covers the eyes and block 95% of sunlight due to the horse maybe being sensitve to the sunlight. ( that did not work for my horse)
Then after trying this my horse stopped during the fall and winter...On April 2 of this year my horse started to show more frequent signs of head shaking. Other things I have heard to work is garlic, some herbs, and maybe medication but I have yet to try it.
Its a great idea to keep a diary. That's what I do. I would include the wind speed, weather condtion (ex cloudy, light rain, etc), pollen, and if you ridden or not a some more.
I'm looking foward to hearing more about you and your horse!
     
    04-09-2011, 01:56 PM
  #4
Yearling
Also horses that are 8 years and older tend to develop the syndrome. What breed is your horse?
     
    04-10-2011, 12:07 PM
  #5
Foal
In most of the cases i've seen, it's because some beginner, or rider-who-thinks-they-know-it-all put a huge nasty bit in a horse's mouth, jerked and was rough with the bit for a while. The bit caused so much damage to the horse's tough and nerves that it developed this. All the horses never had it before. I don't know what you ride in, but mabye trying to switch to a bosal or a non-mechanical hackamore might help. Switching to a bosal helped 2 horses that I know of. They still shake a little sometimes, but mabye 1 or 2 times a month.

If it's not allergens, then I'd definitely say that it's the bit, and you should try downgrading it or just not use one at all. And I know it's not what you want to hear, but if you use a Tom thumb, or twisted wire, or anything like that, I've even seen this done with a snaffle, but it is probably your fault, or the person who had the horse before. But it can be fixed. Don't worry! I reallly hope you solve this problem! The horses that I've worked with who had this and recovered are now healthy and happy! And like I said the head-shaking is very rare with those horses. I wish you the best of luck!!
     
    04-10-2011, 12:28 PM
  #6
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by horsesexposed    
In most of the cases i've seen, it's because some beginner, or rider-who-thinks-they-know-it-all put a huge nasty bit in a horse's mouth, jerked and was rough with the bit for a while. The bit caused so much damage to the horse's tough and nerves that it developed this. All the horses never had it before. I don't know what you ride in, but mabye trying to switch to a bosal or a non-mechanical hackamore might help. Switching to a bosal helped 2 horses that I know of. They still shake a little sometimes, but mabye 1 or 2 times a month.

If it's not allergens, then I'd definitely say that it's the bit, and you should try downgrading it or just not use one at all. And I know it's not what you want to hear, but if you use a Tom thumb, or twisted wire, or anything like that, I've even seen this done with a snaffle, but it is probably your fault, or the person who had the horse before. But it can be fixed. Don't worry! I reallly hope you solve this problem! The horses that I've worked with who had this and recovered are now healthy and happy! And like I said the head-shaking is very rare with those horses. I wish you the best of luck!!
Well from what I have read they don't really know the cause/s.....I am looking into the possiblity that my horse is starting to have this syndrome.....so far what I have noticed is that on cloudy days she is fine on sunny days its noticeable but only while being ridden.

And I can tell you it has nothing to do with the bit and the way she has been ridden as we have owned her for the last 12 years....since she was 4.

Super Nova
     
    04-11-2011, 11:01 AM
  #7
Foal
Hero many thanks for all that information, it has really helped. We have spoken to the vet about medication, she was referring to if the head shaking is due to transgeminal neuralgia. Have you ever heard of this? But the drugs are relatively untested, so we are reluctant to move forward with that.
Some of her symptoms match up to hero's, such as the 'twitch', she does freeze every now and again, but only when there is something really scary looking which she would normally have a good look at. But there is no sign of discharge/lip twitching/discomfort in the nose area.. although we have noticed her standing at odd angles in the stable.. but her behaviour in the field.
(As for her breed, she's a TBxID)


Quote:
Originally Posted by horsesexposed    
In most of the cases i've seen, it's because some beginner, or rider-who-thinks-they-know-it-all put a huge nasty bit in a horse's mouth, jerked and was rough with the bit for a while. The bit caused so much damage to the horse's tough and nerves that it developed this. All the horses never had it before. I don't know what you ride in, but mabye trying to switch to a bosal or a non-mechanical hackamore might help. Switching to a bosal helped 2 horses that I know of. They still shake a little sometimes, but mabye 1 or 2 times a month.
I almost wish it was the bit that was causing her to head shake.. but she's only had one previous owner (her breeder) and her behaviour just doesn't match up to that.. she hadn't been ridden for a long while because I was at university, she's only been lunged.. and this has started in the time she hasn't been ridden. She also doesn't head shake at all when being ridden/lunged it seems like it develops sporadically in the stable.. As I said, it's still a pretty recent behaviour for her so we're still trying to make links as to when she's head shaking and when she's not.
     
    04-11-2011, 11:16 AM
  #8
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by chadders    
Hero many thanks for all that information, it has really helped. We have spoken to the vet about medication, she was referring to if the head shaking is due to transgeminal neuralgia. Have you ever heard of this? But the drugs are relatively untested, so we are reluctant to move forward with that.
Some of her symptoms match up to hero's, such as the 'twitch', she does freeze every now and again, but only when there is something really scary looking which she would normally have a good look at. But there is no sign of discharge/lip twitching/discomfort in the nose area.. although we have noticed her standing at odd angles in the stable.. but her behaviour in the field.
(As for her breed, she's a TBxID)

I almost wish it was the bit that was causing her to head shake.. but she's only had one previous owner (her breeder) and her behaviour just doesn't match up to that.. she hadn't been ridden for a long while because I was at university, she's only been lunged.. and this has started in the time she hasn't been ridden. She also doesn't head shake at all when being ridden/lunged it seems like it develops sporadically in the stable.. As I said, it's still a pretty recent behaviour for her so we're still trying to make links as to when she's head shaking and when she's not.
Yes that is the nerve that is involved with the head shaking....it causes a tingling, shocking feeling.....hence why the horse bobs its head or rubs its nose on things it's trying shake it off....much like a fly.

Exercise can make the situation worse.

My vet's horse bobs her head for about 2 weeks at the same time every year then it just simply disappears....allergies are also thought to play a part in this syndrome.

If it only develops in the stable I would suspect allergies like dust or flies.

Super Nova
     
    04-11-2011, 11:17 AM
  #9
Foal
I also forgot to mention she seems abnormally itchy.. no idea if this is related, but she seems to be rubbing up against walls more and turning her head to 'chomp' at her own sides! - She has no history of skin issues.
     
    04-11-2011, 11:20 AM
  #10
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Super Nova    
Yes that is the nerve that is involved with the head shaking....it causes a tingling, shocking feeling.....hence why the horse bobs its head or rubs its nose on things it's trying shake it off....much like a fly.

Exercise can make the situation worse.

My vet's horse bobs her head for about 2 weeks at the same time every year then it just simply disappears....allergies are also thought to play a part in this syndrome.

If it only develops in the stable I would suspect allergies like dust or flies.

Super Nova
We did notice that last week, about 15 minutes post exercise her head shaking began. She doesn't head shake all the time, but that did seem to bring on a bout of more severe twitching
     

Quick Reply
Please help keep the Horse Forum enjoyable by reporting rude posts.
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.


Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Shaking the head kitten_Val Horse Training 6 01-13-2011 10:33 PM
Head Shaking/Tossing Gidji Horse Training 14 11-17-2009 04:53 AM
Horse shaking the head kitten_Val Horse Training 21 04-10-2009 12:21 PM
Head bobbing/shaking? wordstoasong Horse Training 5 03-01-2009 02:29 PM
head shaking 2mares Horse Health 6 03-14-2007 01:58 PM



All times are GMT -4. The time now is 04:06 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0