Trigeminal-mediated headshaking in horses: prevalence, impact, and management strategies

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Trigeminal-mediated headshaking is a little-understood neuropathic facial pain condition of the horse. The condition may affect around 1% of the equine population to a degree of severity sufficient to require veterinary attention. As a pain condition, this represents a significant welfare issue. Horses are usually more severely affected at exercise which can leave them unable to perform, or even dangerous to ride and handle. With little known about the condition and variable response to treatments, severely affected horses are often euthanized. This review article considers the literature on trigeminal-mediated headshaking, focusing on what is known, and indeed not known, about the prevalence of the condition and its impact. The current published management options are considered, along with their challenges and limitations.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalVeterinary Medicine: Research and Reports
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jan 2019


  • Neurology
  • neurological disorder
  • neuropathic pain
  • facial pain
  • wlefare

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