Headshaking Syndrome  
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Equine Headshaking Syndrome



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What is Equine Headshaking Syndrome

      Equine Headshaking syndrome is a medical condition recognized by veterinarians who to date do not recognize any one cause for the syndrome. In other words, there are no lab tests to confirm that your horse has Headshaking Syndrome. There is normal head shaking behavior in horses, such as a reaction to flies; however, Headshaking Syndrome is more severe and predictable. Your veterinarian will determine that your horse has headshaking syndrome, by ruling out the medical and mechanical reasons for head shaking. These medical reasons would be middle ear disorders, ear mites, cranial nerve disorders, guttural pouch infection, or head trauma. Mechanical reasons could be poor fitting tack, sharp teeth, rough hands in riding, etc. If your horse predictably starts head shaking when entering certain environments during certain time periods he may have Headshaking Syndrome.

      Equine Headshaking Syndrome, or photosensitive head shaking is a condition where a horse will flip his head in reaction to sunlight, wind, movement, stress, etc. The horse can display mild annoyance to the sensations, or he may exhibit sheer panic and extreme pain. There are some head shakers who will hit their heads against walls due to the deep pain in their heads. Some horses will strike at their noses with their forelegs because of the biting or burning sensation. Others may simply scratch their noses on everything they can find. This behavior can also include extreme nose blowing, snorting, and coughing. They may exhibit signs of photophobia, or they may not. The horse may put his nose under another horses tail or dunk his nose in his water bucket. Some horse may refuse to move forward and will rear if forced. Owners should be aware that their horse may be suffering terribly and should not be forced to work in pain. Headshaking Syndrome is painful and debilitating and should be treated as you would treat any serious illness.

      The symptoms of equine Headshaking Syndrome are predictable. They may go away when they sun goes down, or when the horse is ridden in an indoor arena. Symptoms may go away when a nose net is worn or a mask with dark lenses. Symptoms may disappear when temperatures drop below 40 degrees, or they may last year round. Symptoms often disappear over the winter only to return in the spring with the warmer temperatures and brighter days. Some horses will display symptoms on a winter days where the temperatures suddenly rise above 40 degrees. This would lead us to believe Headshaking Syndrome is not exclusively allergy related.

Prior to the release of CAPSTAR, the limited treatment options available were:

  • Drug therapies, which may have negative side effects and which merely suppress symptoms.
  • Acupuncture, which has varied success.
  • Devices such as nose net and face mask.
  • Facial neurectomy that offers limited success and may lead to self-mutilation.

      Capstar is a homeopathic supplement that is helpful to horses that exhibit symptoms such as those described with Headshaking Syndrome. It is safe, non-toxic, and is not a banned substance so it will not be detected in any drug test. Capstar is safe to be used even while the horse is in competition. Capstar offers hope to owners of horses with Headshaking Syndrome. Your horse should first be diagnosed by a veterinarian as having equine Headshaking Syndrome prior to purchasing Capstar.


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