What causes horse to stretch neck out and down and open mouth with head tilted? This happens when horse is under bit

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Customer: What causes horse to stretch neck out and down and open mouth with head tilted? This happens when horse is under bit most often but also just out in pasture. Thank you, Sandy
Answered by Keith Taraba, DVM in 14 mins 8 years ago
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Keith Taraba, DVM
Pet Specialist
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320 satisfied customers

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

Keith Taraba, DVM :

With this.Hello Sandy. My name is***** and I would love to help yo

Keith Taraba, DVM :

If I understand correctly, your horse is stretching its neck out and tilting its head both when the bit is in as well as when alone in pasture.

JACUSTOMER-g6t57wu5- : Yes, on one video he shook his head slightly before this behavior, but head shaking isn't always a precursor
JACUSTOMER-g6t57wu5- : This problem has persisted for a year. The ciproheptadine initially offered some relief but after 3 weeks OS treatment, the problem seems to be uncontrolled by the med.
Keith Taraba, DVM :

The cause of this could be multilpe things. I would start b6 having the teeth examined as having sharp points or ulcers in the mouth can cause this behavior.

JACUSTOMER-g6t57wu5- : His teeth have been floated twice in 6 months, the 2nd time by a specialist. He had no ulcers either time
Keith Taraba, DVM :

If the teeth are good, examining the spine at the level of the neck can also cause similar behavior in some horses. The temporomandibular joint is another potential site of discomfort.

JACUSTOMER-g6t57wu5- : 6 months ago! He was be adjusted by a chiropractor
JACUSTOMER-g6t57wu5- : Both temporomandibular joints have been injected with no improvement
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I would recommend having a sports medicine vet that is comfortable ultrsounding the spine and cervical muscles take a look. Inflammation of the spinal cord whether caused by EPM or physical trauma is another possibility.

It may not be clear in my last response that the spinal cord comment is separate from the recommendation to have a good sports medicine vet thoroughly examine the neck.

I would look for a member of ISELP at www.iselp.org to find a vet in your area that can help.

There are many different problems that may be causing this.

Pain in the cervical or thoracic spine are fairly common causes. A thorough exam of the bones and musculature of the spine need to be done by a knowledgeable veterinarian.

If you have further questions, please feel free to ask.

Hi Sandy, I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going? Keith Taraba, DVM
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