Q I have been given a lovely, though green 17.2hh, seven-year old
gelding who suffers from shivers.
At the moment
the problem isn't affecting him too badly, though he experiences
difficulty when his back feet are shod and he has to be sedated.
Is this ailment likely to worsen and, if so, is there anything I
can do about it?
is thought to be linked to subtle damage to the spinal cord (main
nerve supply) and vertebral column (backbone) in the lower part
of the back. In the past it was mainly seen in large heavy horses
who were put under a lot of strain, eg. when pulling heavy carts
and wagons. It is most often diagnosed in Clydesdales and other
draught horses who are under three years of age.
The main indication
of shivers is a shaking of the hindlegs, particularly when the horse
is backed up. It sounds as though you and your horse can cope with
this problem, but you'll just have to be careful not to put him
in situations where a lack of control of his legs will put you and
him in danger.
is likely to worsen with age and can sometimes reach the stage where
the affected horse cannot move at all. Long-term use of anti-inflammatory
herbs or homoeopathic medicines may be useful in such situations.
I would certainly
recommend supplements to help improve bone density and backbone
to Shivers (2)
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