I am writing to you from California in regards to head shaking in horses. My 8 yr old warmblood dressage horse appears

Expert's Assistant chatimg
Customer: Good Morning.
My name is XXXXX XXXXX I am writing to you from California in regards XXXXX XXXXX shaking in horses. My 8 yr old warmblood green dressage horse appears to have developed this condition when I bought him in Jan. 2012.
His symptoms ( flipping his head up and down, especially when i first take up any contact, although I've seen him do this on a loose rein and when turned out in a round pen, no bit, appear to be worsening. Symptoms seem to go off and on, and are worse in Springtime with plants seeding, definately worse at different seasons. Lately, he jerks his head, esp. when eating and appears as if he's being stung by bugs when there's none around. He gets agitated and upset by this and will stop eating.).
Your article was very informative. Have there been any recent conclusions or developments in treatments? My horse is a nice mover, very sweet and with potential, however, his symptoms are extremely frustrating and not very encouraging for dressage, or perhaps any riding.
Can you direct metro the Melatonin studies? The link to the university of Lincoln did not work, and I'm unaware of the date of your article.
Thank you. For any help you can give.
April (and Dylan, too.)
Answered by Dr. Mike in 55 mins 8 years ago
imglogo
Dr. Mike
25+ years of experience
logo

510 satisfied customers

Specialities include: Horse Veterinary, Large Animal Veterinary, Small Animal Veterinary


Dr. Mike :

By far the single best source of information for this syndrome is http://www.headshakerinfo.org/. Dr. Madigan has incorporated past and current research on diagnostics and treatment.

Dr. Mike :

One thing I have found is that not all horses respond to the same antihistamines in the same way, and I rotate through several until we find the one (if any) that works better for that patient.

Dr. Mike :

Nose nets are usually the most effective in the cases I've seen, though some horses seem to do better with a "veil" style, while others only improve with the multiple strand type. Most clients use one of the Guardian masks - http://www.guardianmask.com

Dr. Mike :

Scoping is a great idea, just to rule out some of the potential causes or things that can contribute to the severity.

<span class="JA_chatAuthorName"Customer: thank you, XXXXX XXXXX
<span class="JA_chatAuthorName"Customer: I'll investigate the site -Guardian and will follow through with the scoping. Do you think it's worthwhile to do an allergy blood tiest panel as well for further information? Changing locations is not going to likely happen, although food, shavings, etc are are doable. I also gather that this is a lifelong condition, barring moving geographically. Any thoughts on the supplements I've been giving to Dylan? Stop? Continue? What about specific drugs that address head shaking? Any success along that path that you're aware of? I believe I read about 2, although their names don't immediately come to mind, although I will be discussing your article and several I've read recently, along with the videos I've taken of my horse's symptoms with my vet.
<span class="JA_chatAuthorName"Customer: Again, thank you for your help and information. If you can respond to my questions above, I'd really appreciate it.
<span class="JA_chatAuthorName"Customer: April
Serum allergy testing is unreliable, and has little value other than to the bottom line of the companies that run them.

Intradermal skin testing is the only diagnostic test we have in horses (other animals and humans too, for that matter).

Removing potential allergens can be helpful, but I rarely find the culprit except in cases of small airway disease or hives.

I've not seen any problems with the supplements you've mentioned, but I'm also not sure I've seen any consistent benefit either!

Gabapentin has been proposed as a treatment, with the thought that these horses have a problem similar to human trigeminal neuralgia/neuropathic pain. I have not had a chance to use it for head shaking yet.

I'll go through some notes and see if I can dig up other therapeutic options.

DrMike
Hi April, I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going? Dr. Mike
Read less
unlike
0 Likes
logoBack
logologo
Dr. Mike
logo
logo
510 satisfied customers
logo
25+ years of experience
imglogo
Dr. Mike
+ years of experience
logo

510 satisfied customers

Ellen

Ellen

Licensed veterinarians

31,131 satisfied customers

Pearl avatar
Pearl Wilson, Veterinarian's Assistant
116 Veterinarians are online right now.
Related Veterinary Questions
I have an 18 year old Quarter Horse mare that recently developed
5.4.2014
img
Dr Linda
Pet Specialist
4,536 Satisfied Customers
My horse suffers head flicking. When it occurs his ears either
10.18.2011
img
Dr. M.
Board Certified Equine Surgeon
1,438 Satisfied Customers
horse: exact diagnostic and how or if can it be treated.
1.25.2011
img
Dr. M.
Board Certified Equine Surgeon
1,438 Satisfied Customers
mare: her pills and a shot..given her benedryl as well.
12.4.2010
img
brookevet
Pet Specialist
140 Satisfied Customers
my horse has developed a twtch or s shaking of the head like
9.29.2010
img
fionasteel
veterinarian
703 Satisfied Customers
How it works
logoAsk for help, 24/7
Ask for help, 24/7
Members enjoy round-the-clock access to 12,000+ verified Experts, including doctors, lawyers, tech support, mechanics, vets, home repair pros, more.
logoExpert will respond in minutes
Expert will respond in minutes
After you reach out, we match you with an Expert who specializes in your situation. Talk, text, chat, whichever you prefer.
logoSave time & money
Save time & money
No scheduling hassles, missing time from work, or expensive consults.
A JustAnswer membership can save you significant time and money each month.
Sarahesq and 87 other Veterinarian specialists are ready to help you.
Disclaimer: Information in questions, answers, and other posts on this site ("Posts") comes from individual users, not JustAnswer; JustAnswer is not responsible for Posts. Posts are for general information, are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice (medical, legal, veterinary, financial, etc.), or to establish a professional-client relationship. The site and services are provided "as is" with no warranty or representations by JustAnswer regarding the qualifications of Experts. To see what credentials have been verified by a third-party service, please click on the "Verified" symbol in some Experts' profiles. JustAnswer is not intended or designed for EMERGENCY questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals.
Why you’ll love JustAnswer
JustAnswer is the best way to get expertise on-demand from doctors, lawyers, vets, mechanics and more. Since 2003, we’ve helped more than 9 million people in 196 countries and have an A+ rating with BBB and a 9.6/10 rating with TrustPilot.
Highly rated, verified Experts
We pride ourselves in our 8-step verification process including license and credential checks. Vetted by us and rated by customers, like you.
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal ...leave nothing to chance.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
JustAnswer, Professional Services  General, San Francisco, CA
Google reviews
TrustPilot Reviews