Head Shaking in Horses If you are familiar with horses, then you probably know of their head-shaking behavior. Signs of head shaking can range from simple switches to frantic jerking of the head and neck. Meanwhile, the usual factors for the condition
In some cases, head shaking can be a cause of worry; in other cases, it is nothing serious.
Horses with head shaking typically display "normal" behavior within the stable, only showing signs of the condition after leaving the stable -- either while at pasture or while being ridden.
Symptoms are also more prevalent in the warmer months of summer and spring, disappearing in the colder months.
Some of the more common symptoms include
Violent shaking or jerking of the head or neck
Wiping of the nose on the ground or legs
Horses with this condition may also place their heads in strange places such as a corner or a shady area.
Identifying the cause of head shaking in your horse may be difficult, as there are many and some have not yet been confirmed as causes for the condition.
A horse's sensitivity to light is a good example of a potential, and yet unconfirmed, cause to head shaking. In many cases, head shaking is not attributed to any particular, but a few of the more typical causes include
Allergic reaction (e.g., grass, tree or pollen allergies)
Severe irritation to some area of the head
Ear mites found in the ear canal
A diagnosis of head shaking is obvious; it is the underlying condition that poses the problem.
A veterinarian may perform any of a battery of tests to get this diagnosis and find out what it is that may be causing the head shaking.
In many cases, a cause for the head shaking may never be found.
Treatment is not always possible when it comes to head shaking.
There have been some attempts at treating the issue surgically by altering the nerves in the nostrils, but that causes other sensations to this area to be eliminated as well.
This may have negative repercussions of the horse, especially as far as its nighttime orientation is concerned, as all sense in this area is lost.
However, this has proven to be a considerable treatment for head shaking of that magnitude.
For cases of acute rhinitis, Cyproheptadine can also be used to treat this issue.