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Study investigates headshaking in horses
Date:11/14/2012

archers reviewed clinical records of 58 horses that underwent this surgery between June 2004 and January 2011. The horses, aged one to 17 years, were used for general riding, show jumping, eventing, or dressage and had a history of headshaking.

The study found:

Surgery was initially considered a success in 35 of 57 (63 per cent) horses, but headshaking recurred between nine and 30 months later in nine horses;
The research team repeated the surgery in ten horses;
The overall success rate at an average follow-up time of 18 months, considering only the response to the last surgery performed, was 49 per cent;
Owners reported nose rubbing in 30 horses at long-term follow-up after surgery;
Nose rubbing resolved in all but four horses that were later euthanized.

Veronica Roberts said: "There are striking clinical similarities between facial pain syndromes in people, most notably trigeminal neuralgia, and headshaking in horses.

"Headshaking in horses is a major welfare issue for horses and more research is needed on the aetiopathogenesis of this pain syndrome to improve medical and surgical therapies. Headshaking is a significant cause of distress for some horses and this treatment in selected cases is needed even though the failure rate is limited."

The researchers concluded from their study that the caudal compression procedure offers the best prognosis for a successful outcome compared with other treatments for horses where the only alternative is euthanasia. However, surgical treatment of the disorder needs to be improved together with further research into the pathogenesis of the disorder.


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Contact: Joanne Fryer
joanne.fryer@bristol.ac.uk
44-011-173-317-276
University of Bristol
Source:Eurekalert

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