Shivers is fortunately rare; it is a progressive neuromuscular disorder. It exhibits as muscle tremors, difficulty holding up the hind limbs, and an unusual gait when the horse is asked to move backwards. The tail head may also be elevated. It occurs most commonly in warmbloods, thoroughbreds & heavy horses. Lighter breeds, including quarter horses can also suffer it. It is usually starts to appear by the age of 5 and gets progressively worse with age. Horses with mild symptoms can be worked moderately; severe cases experience muscle wastage & general incapacity & eventually may have to be put down.
It is poorly understood and thought to be caused by a genetic disorder. No effective treatment is available, although high levels of vitamin E (2500 I.U. natural RRR alpha-tocopherol per day for a 5-600kg horse) are reported to be of benefit in ameliorating the symtoms. Care should be taken with many proprietary E supplements as they usually contain selenium which is toxic at the levels required. Pure vitamin E should be used if necessary.
For further advice complete & submit the Nutrition Enquiry form or call John Chapman on 0344 8844 850 /07721 384508 /07807 479495.
Equine shivers symptoms are not dissimilar to those of Stringhalt, Upward fixation of the patella, Fibrotic myopathy, “Stiff-horse syndrome” , Equine motor neuron disease, & Equine protozoal myeloencephalitis. Veterinary advice should be sought for clarification & appropriate treatment.
See Dr Stephanie Valberg’s video for more detailed information
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