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List some of the causes of narcolepsy in horses
- Low levels of neurotransmitters in the CNS required for control of sleep
- Low levels of hypocretin ligands due to loss of neutrons involved in the tuberomammillary nucleus which is necessary for encouraging a wakeful state
- Persistent cataplectic state (foals)
- Breed predispositions
- Head injury/trauma
- Infection - encephalitis
How can you manage equine narcolepsy?
- Environment changes for safety
- Remove triggers
- Imipramine (tricyclic antidepressant)
- Atropine sulphate (a muscarinic blocker)
What are the side effects of imipramine and atropine sulphate?
They can induce colic
List some of the causes of self mutilation in horses
- Aggression in stallions
- Behavioural response to pain
- Frustration turned in upon self
- Limb pain
How can you manage self mutilation?
- Treat the underlying pain problem
- Management change for stallions
- Enrich environment for stereotypes
- Positive punishment
- Sedation (ACP and detomidine) - treats the symptoms not the cause
- Tricyclic antidepressants
- Euthanasia if severe and/or untreatable
What is the problem with tricyclic antidepressants?
They are expensive
List some of the causes of wind sucking in horses
- Abrupt weaning
- Small amount of time at pasture
- Learned behaviour from other horses in same stable yard
- Gastrointestinal abnormalities (gastric ulcers)
- Diet - too much concentrates vs forage
How can you manage wind sucking?
- Increase turnout and decrease concentrates
- Relieve boredom
- Keep horses with stereotypes separate
- Aversion therapy
- Cribbing collar
- Surgery - ventral neck muscles
- Omeprazole for gastric ulcers, if found on endoscopy
Give examples of types of aversion therapy for wind sucking
- Electric shock fencing
- Deterrents on surfaces e.g. cover wood with metal
How effective is a cribbing collar in most cases?
Not very, most horses adapt to this over time
List some causes of head shaking in horses
- Allergic rhinitis
- Trauma to the head
- Guttural pouch mycosis
- Dental problems - abscesses
- Middle ear problems, mites
- Neurological damage - trigeminal neuralgia
How can you manage head shaking in horses?
- Decrease exposure to antigens
- LA infused around trigeminal and infraorbital nerves to diagnose neurological damage
- Cyproheptadine - antihistaminic and antiserotogenic agent tried in photosensitive cases
- Carbamazepine - Na+ channel blocker
- Seasonal/environmental i.e. keep horses in
- Sclerosis of the posterior ethmoidal branch of the trigeminal nerve
- Visor - photic
- Nose net
- Euthanasia if not treatable
True or false: carbamazepine is licensed in horses?
False - it is used to treat epileptic seizures and nerve pain such as trigeminal neuralgia in humans. Used off license in horses.
How does a nose net work?
It provides physical stimulus of cranial nerves and so distracts the horse from the cause of head shaking
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