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Experts disagree on horses with incoordination
Date:4/10/2014

ompleted a questionnaire, and based on their responses we could see that there was wide disagreement on whether or not they believed a horse was ataxic, and particularly on the severity of the ataxia," says Dr. Emil Olsen.

Quantifiable diagnostics

Horse owners and veterinarians often assume horses with mild ataxia are mildly lame, allowing ataxia to progress to the point of sudden falls during riding or handling. If the disease is discovered when the horse is a foal, treatment options can include restrictive feeding, and at all ages there is a surgery to stabilise the neck by fusing the cervical vertebrae. For horses with ataxia caused by articular process joint (facet joint) osteoarthritis, injecting steroids into the joint can improve the horse's condition for a period of time.

"We hope that our findings will lead to the establishment of clearer definitions for what constitutes normal and abnormal gait patterns in horses, and the relationship between spinal cord disease and ataxia. This could lead to greater agreement among specialists and practising veterinarians. The current disparity also raises the need for quantitative diagnostics, using equipment that can measure the horse's movements in detail."

If you have a horse you suspect is ataxic, please contact your veterinarian for further advice.


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Contact: Emil Olsen, Ph.D.
eo@sund.ku.dk
607-253-3100
University of Copenhagen
Source:Eurekalert

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