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


Neck Crest appears Broken or Fallen


A neck crest that appears broken or fallen may be associated with disease or injury, or it may simply be normal for that horse. Donkeys, in particular, may have a very large neck crest that simply falls or flops down to one side due to its weight and size. However, this observation is also associated with horses that may be insulin resistant and are at greater risk for developing laminitis.

Occasionally, a crest has fallen as a result of severe trauma. I have seen several horses with fallen crests that had been savaged by stallions. In these cases, there is also a wound or scar on the crest.

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your role


What To Do

If you are unsure of whether this observation is simply normal for your horse, or your horse is showing other signs of injury or illness, contact your vet with your findings and concerns.

What Not To Do

Do not ignore an excessive crest as it can be indicative of a metabolic disease that puts the horse at risk for developing laminitis.

your vet's role

Questions Your Vet Might Ask:
  • Are there signs of trauma?
  • Does the horse have a history of trauma to the area?
  • What is the horse's age, sex, breed and history?
  • How is the horse fed?

Diagnostics Your Vet May Perform

Figuring out the cause of the problem. These are tests or procedures used by your vet to determine what’s wrong.

Very Common
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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
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Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP