Equine Wobblers

By Susan Aiello • Published: February 1st, 2012
Category: Animal Airwaves

Horses loping effortlessly though a pasture are a beautiful sight. But some steeds aren’t so sure footed.

In the insidious wobbler syndrome, horses have a characteristic stumbling, wobbly gait. Seen mostly in young male horses, the condition is caused by a narrowing of the bones in the neck, called the cervical vertebrae. The resulting compression on the spinal cord leads to the unsteady gait.

With rest and proper nutrition, some horses can grow out of it. Others, especially older ones, require surgery to stiffen the spine, which limits movement and decreases nerve trauma.

Unfortunately, not every horse is a surgical candidate, but many, like the Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew, return to normal function after convalescence. So if your colt comrade starts to wobble, contact your veterinarian for a full assessment and treatment options.