Shivers is a poorly understood neuromuscular disorder of the hind limbs. A classic case of Shivers is most obvious when a horse backs up; their hind limbs raise in an exaggerated fashion and the limbs stay raised, hyper-flexed, and quiver and tremble. In more advanced cases, this disorder becomes obvious in a horse at rest or in forward motion. In some cases, horses abnormally twitch or move their ears and eyes.
It is most common in draft breeds, and is generally more common in male horses of tall build.
There are various theories about what causes this condition. Recent research suggests a potential defect in the cerebellum of the brain. Other studies suggest problems with the muscle cells of affected horses.
Diagnosis is by examination, a horse that displays the typical movement abnormalities.
There is no treatment for this disorder. Some horses improve on a high fat, low carbohydrate diet.
Other Diagnoses Considered
Treatments May Include
Prognosis & Relevant Factors
The prognosis varies widely and depends on the individual case. In mild cases, some horses may still be able to perform. However, sometimes the signs tend to worsen over time. Shivers is more common in tall, male horses.
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QUESTIONS TO ASK MY VET