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RUN N RATE

Any Experience With Head Shakers Syndrome?

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My 11 year old mare suddenly started violently shaking her head when being ridden and when she runs and plays in the pasture, had her tested for EPM just to eliminate things, teeth checked clean, no foul smell from a broken tooth or guttural pouch infections, so fever, ears checked clean for mites or ticks or infection. She stands with her head down and her back to the sun, have put a UV mask on her which seems to help significantly. Put her on the recommended high Magnesium about a month ago and was able to ride her at the walk and jog on Sunday but when I picked up the lope she started sneezing and shaking her head again which are symptoms and as soon as I stopped her and gave her the reins she rubs her face extremely hard against her forelegs, also a symptom. The vet recommended a product that is basically an antihistamine is what I understand which helps to keep the nerves from firing excessively, again my layman understanding of what it does. He recommended I add Melatonin to the Magnesium also and started that on Saturday. Was looking into seeing if anyone has experimented with either Equiwinner or Lifewave patches for this syndrome, found some info out of New Zealand on the Equiwinner patches being used for Head Shakers on jumpers and just trying to find some more information out on that and anyone elses experiences.

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I remember reading a great article on this...but can't recall the magazine! The writer had great success changing her bridle so it had different pressure points. I'll see if I can dig it up. It was probably in Practical Horseman, since that's basically the only one I ever got semi regularly....

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I've had limited success with medical management of these horses. Have used cyproheptidine and was completely unimpressed with the results. Seemed to get better response with nostril "masks" that hang off the cavesson and diminish air turbulence and stimulation. Will also help filter allergens, which in my experience plays a big role as well. The only case I successfully managed with photic headshaking went from almost euthanized due to the violence of her headshaking to completely usable in about 8 months after allergy testing and desensitization injections.

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desensitizing injections...can you explain more? I have a nose net ordered for her already, been keeping a UV face mask on her and have been giving Magnesium and Melatonin supplement to her and recently started the Cyproheptidine on Sunday.

Thank you by the way :-)

Edited by RUN N RATE

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Allergy shots. Do interdermal skin testing with a dermatologist and see if there are underlying allergies, then allergy shots (desensitization injections) against what is allergic to.

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NOt a lot of traffic on this one I know, but just wanted to update a little. My mare has now been on the Magnesium and Melatonin for about 3 weeks and we did add the Cypraheptadine also, started on a 1/2 cc (I think it is 200mg in 1cc) twice a day for the first few days to see how her system would handle it. I'm giving her 1cc a day in the evenings, on days I ride her I give it to her about 30 minutes before I ride. I was able to ride her at the walk jog and lope without the crazy head shaking and the severe sneezing at the lope. She did snort once very loud like she had to clear her airways but no sneezing attack. She also did rub her face on her forelegs after I was done but as extremely as she had been doing before we had started the treatments. Before she would rub so aggressively that she looked like she might fall down.

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Just found this again...The Cypro actually helped my mare quite a bit but we moved her to an herb after having a hair analysis done on her and had great success with it. Was able to stop giving her the Cypro and Melatonin.

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