What can cause ataxia in horses?

The most common cause of ataxia is cranial and/or spinal trauma, followed by cervical vertebral myelopathy/instability (wobblers), infection (EPM, WNV, EEE/WEE/VEE, EHV-1, rabies), and degenerative disease (EDM).

Why is my horse walking like he’s drunk?

“The most common neurologic problem equine veterinarians see in the United States is an abnormal gait,” Dr. Sellon says. “Affected horses are usually ataxic and weak, meaning that they walk with a staggering or drunken type of gait.

What causes vestibular disease in horses?

Temporohyoid osteoarthropathy and head trauma are the most common causes of vestibular nerve disease in horses. Other causes include equine protozoal myelitis (EPM), neoplasia, brain abscess, West Nile, eastern and parasitic migration.

What causes neurological symptoms in horses?

Neurologic lameness, generally seen as ataxia, or incoordination, can be caused by bacterial, viral, protozoal, or rickettsial infections; trauma or congenital or developmental diseases; degenerative diseases or cancers affecting the brain or spinal cord; and toxicities.

Why is my horse wobbly?

A “Wobbler” is a horse with a damaged spinal cord. The most obvious clinical sign is an abnormal gait characterized by wobbling, or a horse that looks like he has had a fair amount of tranquilizers. Severe damage can actually result in a horse that may fall and have difficulty getting up.

What is ataxia horse?

“Ataxic horses are those that are unable to control the rate, range, or force of their movements resulting in an inconsistent gait.” A normally functioning body is able to “sense” how its joints, muscles, and tendons are moving, and where all of the components of the body are in relation to each other.

Why is my horse unsteady on her feet?

The wobbly, uncoordinated hind limb lameness can be due to muscle weakness, skeletal problems, or nerve involvement. One common cause of hind limb weakness, or paresis, is Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis.

Why does my horse stumbles a lot?

Often, horses who stumble or trip need slight alterations to their trimming or shoeing – they might have toes that are too long, the angles in the hooves could be too shallow or too steep, one foot might be shaped differently to the other, or there could even be instances where a disease of the hoof causes stumbling.

What is nystagmus in a horse?

When a horse moves its head around, their brain and inner ear control eye movement. This is known as normal or physiologic nystagmus. When this system is damaged, inappropriate or jerking movements of the eye are known as pathologic nystagmus. These abnormal movements can be seen when the horse’s head is still.

Why does my horse tilt his head?

It is classically associated with neurologic (brain) injury or disease, but it can be caused by conditions affecting the inner, middle or external ear, neck injury or pain, or mouth pain. A horse may also tilt its head if a foreign object is lodged in its ears or mouth, or if due to dental issues.

Can horses with ataxia be ridden?

In Europe if the horse is found to be ataxic, which is most often due to the disease ‘wobbler syndrome’, the horse is likely to be put down immediately. If a horse suffers from this disease, putting it down can be a necessity, as the animal can be dangerous to ride and handle.

How do I stop my horse from wobbling?

Preventing Wobblers Syndrome Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent a horse from developing wobblers syndrome. Care should be taken to prevent the young stock from too-rapid growth. However, if injury or genetic predisposition are factors, there is little we can do.

What does it mean when a horse has ataxia?

“Ataxia is a Greek term that means inconsistent,” said Hahn. “Ataxic horses are those that are unable to control the rate, range, or force of their movements resulting in an inconsistent gait.”. A normally functioning body is able to “sense” how its joints, muscles, and tendons are moving,…

What kind of disease does a horse have?

If you watch a horse with Ataxia you can clearly see how it has great problems to coordinate his movements. Ataxia can be categorized into three different types: the spinal, the cerebral and the cerebellar Ataxia. Most of the horses suffer from the spinal Ataxia. In this form of the disease there is a constriction of the horses´ spinal canal.

What causes horses to stumble and break down?

Uncontrolled legs that stumble or even break down: horses that suffer from ataxia have a lack of control over their legs. In general there are three different types of ataxia: spinal, cerebral and cerebellar Ataxia.

What causes asymmetry of the spinal cord in horses?

Older horses: Usually ataxia is symmetric (with hindlimbs more severely affected). In some horses may notice asymmetry of ataxia due to lateral compression of the spinal cord due to degenerative joint disease of the articular process. Neck pain (on palpation) is usually present, and maybe the most important clinical finding.