Head and Neck Injury

 

“I have a four-month-old colt with head and neck trauma”…

This is a complicated question, are you ready? I have a four-month-old colt with head and neck trauma. It has been one month since the accident. She has always been very quiet and people oriented, she is an orphan. The last week she has become spooky and anti social. She has her head tilted to the side since the accident and her neck makes a horrible popping noise. She has a very unbalanced gait and I have seen her swing her right hind leg out when she turns, like it all of a sudden won’t bend. Her eyes are dull and sometimes she doesn’t seem to be acting like a normal horse. 2 vets have told me that she will only get worse with time. They have never seen any thing like her situation. I feel as though the humane thing is to put her down, but she is still eating and I am having a hard time with this. Have you ever heard of any thing like this getting better, do you think she is in constant pain? The chiropractor that looked at her feels as though the bony process of her cervical vertebrae is broken off. Is that possible to diagnose without x-rays? I do not want her to live a painful life but how do I know if she is? I know this is a hard question. Any thoughts or experiences would be helpful. Thank you for your time.

Dr. Jack Sales’ Answer:

Hi Lauralee,

Sorry to hear about your colt. I’m sure you have been very overwhelmed by all this. The change in personality could very well be from the continual pain that the colt must be experiencing. I would have to agree with the 2 Veterinarian opinions that it is very unlikely that the horse will get better and very likely that the colt will continue to get worse. With this type of injury, the horse will eventually get in a situation, where they will get down and no longer be able to get up. This is normally the time when the decision is made to euphonize (put to sleep) It is your decision and you must decide when you think that the colt is either dangerous to you or other handlers, or when things like, not eating, unable to get up easily, or obvious signs of pain seem to be constant. I hope this helps and good luck.

 

“I have a four-month-old colt with head and neck trauma”…

I am very concerned about a particular horse we have at our barn. He is a 10 year old Hanoverian. A week or so ago he went off his hay completely. This horse was on a significant amount of grain. The local vet here suspected an ulcer as the horse was eating all the grain and leaving the hay. This was the only symptom of an ulcer. The horse’s teeth were floated and he was started on a medication to treat an ulcer. Unsure the name of the medication at this time. The vet here did not have a scope long enough to determine whether it was an ulcer we were dealing with. I requested blood work and the vet refused this as he told me he would use the ulcer medication as a diagnostic tool. If the horse did not improve on this medicine, then he would proceed with other possibilities. To date the horse has had 6 doses of the ulcer med and is still not eating his hay. For example, today horse was fed at 2:30 pm and by 7 pm the horse still have approx. 80% of his hay left from the afternoon. I would also like to note that this horse has great difficulty staying awake in the cross ties. He will literally fall asleep in minutes on the cross ties and his legs are unable to lock and he falls over. I’ve only witnessed this in the cross ties and never in his stall although he does this every single time he is in the cross ties and it takes a fairly substantial whack on the neck or side to wake him up.

If you have any suggestions for me that would be wonderful. We live in a relatively remote area in Newfoundland Canada and our only resource is one local vet.

Dr. Kimberly Gryl’s Answer:

Shannyn:

There are multiple reasons why a horse may only eat some feeds and not others. Dental disease and mouth or esophageal ulcers are good reasons for this, and certainly should be investigated. However, ulcers could be a problem anywhere along the digestive tract, and even a good gastropscopy (camera inserted into the stomach) cannot see the length of the intestine; therefore, ulcers could be missed. Among anti-ulcer medications, Gastrogard is the gold standard of treatment. It is an exceptional drug, however it does not work overnight. It can take several weeks to heal really bad ulcers, and therefore 5 or 6 days of treatment is not enough time to judge results. Other anti-ulcer medications may be available, however may not work in the same way, or may take longer to heal the ulcers.

There are myriad of other causes of dietary discretion, some of which are organ problems, pain somewhere in the body, sepsis (generalized illness), or plain old pickiness. Not all horses eat everything put in front of them just because they are horses. The gamut of discussion for these things is beyond the breadth of this answer, however, should be looked into one by one with your veterinarian.

Lastly, I’m not sure why the horse is falling asleep in the crossties. It could be that he is just plain exhausted. If he has arthritis that prevents him from lying down for prolonged periods of time, then perhaps he is sleep-deprived and simply does not get the deep sleep that he needs. A neurological exam should ideally be done on him to rule out other potential neurological problems.

 

“I have a four-month-old colt with head and neck trauma”…

 

This is a complicated question, are you ready? I have a four-month-old colt with head and neck trauma. It has been one month since the accident. She has always been very quiet and people oriented, she is an orphan. The last week she has become spooky and anti social. She has her head tilted to the side since the accident and her neck makes a horrible popping noise. She has a very unbalanced gait and I have seen her swing her right hind leg out when she turns, like it all of a sudden won’t bend. Her eyes are dull and sometimes she doesn’t seem to be acting like a normal horse. 2 vets have told me that she will only get worse with time. They have never seen any thing like her situation. I feel as though the humane thing is to put her down, but she is still eating and I am having a hard time with this. Have you ever heard of any thing like this getting better, do you think she is in constant pain? The chiropractor that looked at her feels as though the bony process of her cervical vertebrae is broken off. Is that possible to diagnose without x-rays? I do not want her to live a painful life but how do I know if she is? I know this is a hard question. Any thoughts or experiences would be helpful. Thank you for your time.

 

Dr. Jack Sales’ Answer:

Hi Lauralee,

Sorry to hear about your colt. I’m sure you have been very overwhelmed by all this. The change in personality could very well be from the continual pain that the colt must be experiencing. I would have to agree with the 2 Veterinarian opinions that it is very unlikely that the horse will get better and very likely that the colt will continue to get worse. With this type of injury, the horse will eventually get in a situation, where they will get down and no longer be able to get up. This is normally the time when the decision is made to euphonize (put to sleep) It is your decision and you must decide when you think that the colt is either dangerous to you or other handlers, or when things like, not eating, unable to get up easily, or obvious signs of pain seem to be constant.

 

 

“I have a four-month-old colt with head and neck trauma”…

 

 

 

I own at 6 year warmblood gelding. after I bought him I noticed a fluid lump at the top section of his NS knee. He has never been lame & I can push my finger on it and he does not flinch. Lately he has been spelling and ridden lightly every two weeks. The fluid lump is affecting a larger area of his knee now. I am not sure what it is and why the knee is swelling more now. What kind of treatment is available & what do you think it is? I can email a photo of the knee if that helps.

 

 

 

Dr. Kimberly Gryl’s Answer:

 

Danielle:

 

Actually, a photo may be helpful. I am not sure if I am interpreting everything you wrote correctly – the NS is Near Side? And the are actually 2 terms used for the “knee”: 1 is the “front knee” (the carpus), and the other is the “back knee” (the stifle). Usually fluid is caused from some kind of trauma or insult – either a strain/sprain, a kick, some self-inflicted injury, or some sort of underlying disease. It can be joint fluid (if is near a joint), a hematoma (blood blister), a herniated muscle, or other things. I wish I could be more specific. You may try icing/cold packing it to see if you can reduce the swelling. Or, wrapping it if it is in a “wrappable” area. Can I have some more information?


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2 Responses to "Head and Neck Injury"
  1. Jodi Grengs says:

    I have a two month old colt that slid into the gate and got a concussion. My vet told me to give her Dexamethasone for 3 days to help with any swelling. It’s been 5 days now and she doesn’t lift her head up. She has neck problems because when I turn her head I can hear all the cracking in there (like your cracking your knuckles) Will she be ok or what’s my next treatment step?

  2. Barb says:

    Hi
    I have a 3 week old filly who was attacked by a donkey that got into our pasture. He literally swung her around like a rag doll. I found her and rushed her to the vet where she spent a day on IV. She has been on pain killers and antibiotics. She still drinks from her mom but only with our help as she can’t move her head because her neck is sore swollen and sore. The vet confirmed she did not damage her vertebrae. She has been seeping infection continually and is slowly improving. It has only been 5 days and she has tried to stand by her mom and lift and turn her head but just can’t do it yet. I’m hoping she will be able to but I’m losing hope as to if this will ever get better and am not sure if I should put her down or not as I have no idea how long this might take or if it will ever get better. I feel so bad for her. She can’t lift her head to look anywhere by the ground but at the same time I am getting glimpsing of attempts to improve. I’m also trying to do some massaging of her muscles but not sure I’m doing what she needs. This is a miniature filly and she only weighs about 40 pounds. If you have any advice I would certainly appreciate it.

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