Horse with headaches?! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 02-07-2012, 11:40 PM Thread Starter
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Horse with headaches?!

a barn mate of mine says her horse gets headaches. i asked her how it was possible for her to know that her horse "gets headaches". She explained to me that, of course she knows her horses' behavior, and her mare will act kinda "moody and unhappy" and will even hang her head and act "droopy". I haven't ever heard of this before. Can horses really get headaches? and if so, can you really tell if a horse has one or not? Can it be treated with Bute or things like that? When i have a bad headache, my whole day is ruined! I couldn't imagine my poor horse with a headache.

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post #2 of 7 Old 02-08-2012, 06:40 AM
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I think the term "headache" is a misleading term. I don' t believe horses suffer from the same thing that we refer to as headaches but we do know that horses can be tense, muscles can be tight and knotted up to a certain extent which might lead to stiffness in the neck and poll.

As for your friend's mare..mares will be mares :) but all horses have their down days just as we do. Maybe they didn't get all the rest they needed the night before, it is hot and sticky out, or the direct opposite is it is just too cold to be a bracing type cold and they need some warming TLC..I've always found a nice hot bran mash on cold days does wonders for the attitude. Not sure it is the taste or the pasting it on the stall walls they enjoy the most but......

Here is an article from an equine massage practitioner (headache portion is at the bottom) who talks about how massage works and the benefits. Masterson Method: Equine Massage, Nov 06
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post #3 of 7 Old 02-08-2012, 07:42 AM
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Horses can, indeed, have "head pain" ----- if the Atlas bone needs adjusted.

I know this because it happened to a Walking Horse I once had.

He suddenly couldn't hold his gait under saddle and would break into a trot (trotting is more comfortable for them when they are in some sort of structural discomfort).

This horse's sacrum and Atlas bone needed adjusted. It was the equine chiro who told me horses do suffer head pain. Some can tolerate it fairly well, others cannot and result can be bad or violent behavior.

If the horse's owner truly believes the horse is having headaches, she needs to stop being cute about it and have a chiropractor evaluate the horse, then eliminate the source of the pain ----------- provided the pain really is there.

My apologies to the OP. I am not trying to Shoot The Messenger; just trying to convey the seriousness of the issue, if the owner truly believes in what he/she is saying
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post #4 of 7 Old 02-08-2012, 10:57 AM Thread Starter
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wow! i never knew all of this! thanks for the info!

Life seems mighty precious, when there's less of it to waste.
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post #5 of 7 Old 02-08-2012, 11:04 AM
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I rode a mare once with an unsolved eye problem. If is was cloudy and rainy, she was 110%, but as soon as it was sunny she was squinty, sluggish and just wanted to stand around with her head cradled, or rested on something.
If it was anything like the migranes I get (which are entirely occular, I have no noise triggers) then I can understand the feeling of how bad the occular nerve aches and you just want to rest your head in the dark.
So yes, horses can get "headaches" - this mares were greatly improved with steroidal, anti-inflammatory eye drops, which you may want to suggest to your friend if the mare appears squinty, or has excess discharge from her eyes that wont resolve with any amount of duct clearing.

They say money doesn't buy happiness -- well happiness doesn't buy horses!
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post #6 of 7 Old 02-08-2012, 11:40 AM
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Has the horse been looked at by a dentist? If there is a dental issue causing a shift in TMJ it can be very painful. It can also change as the weather changes as does any issue involving a joint. Personal experience on this.

Also have the horse's eyes checked- like the person above said. I have a lovely horse who started having behavioral issue which turned out to be light sensitivity- he has chronic uveitis. With proper treatment his discomfort is gone and his happy go lucky attitude has returned.

Don't ignore it- it could be the first symptom of something that needs attention (even if the vet thinks the owner is a worrier- Mom knows their child is sick before the doctor!).
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post #7 of 7 Old 02-08-2012, 01:43 PM
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My gelding suddenly rebelled about being touched around the base of one ear, which showed up when bridling. He pinned his ears and threatened to bite. I removed the bridle which was only part way on and slid my hand up his jaw toward the base of his ear. Same reaction. Other ear was fine. No idea. Two days later I just happened to see a great ball of clear snot hanging from his nostril. I pulled the remainder out. The horse then rubbed his head against my hand as tho itchy. It was obvious that this build up had filled up some sinus cavities and had been quite painful.
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