Headshaking is an annoying condition in which the horse repeatedly makes violent head movements, usually up and down. It happens more often during exercise but sometimes also in the stable or in the field. It is mainly seen during spring and summer. More horses seem to suffer from it, yet this condition is not fully understood. Scientists are working hard to find out what happens to those horses and how we can treat it.
Because headshaking is not quite understood, the examination focuses on detecting the triggers. We know now that the following factors can play a part:
- Environment: sunlight, wind, heat, rain (snow)
- Airways: pollen, dust, allergy
- Dermatology: insects, ear infection
- Pain: face (nerve pain), jaw joint, neck, teeth
The examination will exclude or, on the contrary, demonstrate one or more of these triggers.
In some cases, treatment is possible. Think of an inflammation or a tooth problem. The cause of the headshaking can then be eliminated with medication and/or surgery.
In other cases, no useful treatment exists yet. In these cases, avoiding the trigger is sometimes enough to reduce or eliminate the symptoms.
If that is not possible, a recent treatment technology can bring improvement, namely the PENS (Percutaneous Electrical NeuroStimulation). This stimulates the nerves, resetting their irritability.
Make an appointment
Does your horse suffer from headshaking, contact sportpaardenarts.nl using the form below. Examination can take place at the clinic or at home throughout the Netherlands.