What you see. The starting point for addressing any equine health related issue is your observation.


Muscle Enlargement Lower Muscles of Neck


Maybe you notice that the lower neck muscles of a horse you are considering buying seem very large or defined. Enlarged neck muscles can be a characteristic of horses that crib, an annoying and sometimes damaging stall vice. Cribbing and wind-sucking are associated with a higher incidence of at least one severe condition causing abdominal pain (colic). So you should make efforts to avoid purchase of a cribber. If you own, one then make reasonable efforts to reduce or stop these behaviors.

When wondering about muscle enlargement or muscle loss, always compare right to left sides for symmetry.

  • Code Green

    Contact Your Vet to Obtain Useful Advice & Resources
    • If you determine that the horse is cribbing and want management advice to reduce the behavior.

your role


What To Do

Assess your horse's general health using the Whole Horse Exam (WHE), and monitor them for cribbing or wind-sucking behaviors.

If you suspect that your horse cribs but do not witness it firsthand, look for evidence of bite marks on stall doors or railings. Look at the front (incisor) teeth for cribbing wear. Take a photo of the neck and provide it to your vet for discussion.

Share your findings and concerns with your vet.

your vet's role

Your vet can also evaluate the horse's front (incisor) teeth for telltale wear patterns associated with cribbing. If it turns out that the neck development relates to cribbing, your vet may have suggestions to lessen or stop these behaviors.
Questions Your Vet Might Ask:
  • What is the horse's age, sex, breed and history?
  • When did you first notice this?
  • Have you notice the horse engage in cribbing?

Treatments Your Vet May Recommend

A way to resolve the condition or diagnosis. Resolving the underlying cause or treating the signs of disease (symptomatic treatment)

Very Common
more treatments

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP