Monica R Aleman, Kirstie Pickles

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Horses afflicted by the headshaking disorder are called headshakers. Affected horses manifest uncontrollable, violent, usually downward, shakes, flicks, or jerks of the head in the absence of any apparent physical stimulus. Horses might display this headshaking behavior intermittently or continuously and progression of clinical signs has been reported. It is believed that the sharp, quick, flicking head movements/tossing, excessive snorting, rubbing of the head or nose, nose flipping, immersing the head in water, and striking at the face reflect trigeminal neuropathic pain. Most of the suggested treatments are aimed at reducing clinical signs rather than correcting the abnormal trigeminal neurophysiology, which likely explains their poor success rates. Some headshaking horses that do not respond to a traditional nose net might improve with the use of soft rope plaits, or a similar device, that attaches to the noseband or dangles over the nostril and muzzle area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEquine Neurology: Second Edition
PublisherWiley Blackwell
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9781118993712, 9781118501474
StatePublished - Aug 3 2015


  • Headshakers
  • Headshaking disorder
  • Horses
  • Nose flipping
  • Nose net
  • Soft rope plaits
  • Trigeminal neurophysiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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