View Full Version : Stringhalt

Katrina (Guest)
13-04-01, 06:10 AM
Has any one had success with curing the symptoms of Stringhalt?

We have a 15 year old galloway mare who has got stringhalt for the second time in 4 years. The first time it was in her near hind, this time it is in her off hind.

None of the other horse/ponies have it.

We have changed paddocks, but the condition has remained the same. The last time took almost 12 months to fully recover.

Sally Stelling (Guest)
13-04-01, 06:58 AM
A 3 year old quarter horse agisted at our place developed stringhalt in February this year. The vets say it is a good year for it as it has been dry so the pasture isn't so good, but the weeds are doing well. They put the culprit down to dandelion weed, but they are only guessing, and he is the only horse on the place to develop it.

The horse has stringhalt in both hind legs and shows little improvement at this stage. He has been taken off the pasture and fed on hay and hard feed only. Did your horse need surgery the first time or did she just recover?

Sorry my response is a question rather than an answer, but I have had no previous experience of this and the horse's owner is understandably concerned.

13-04-01, 07:55 AM
As far as I know stringhalt is caused eating weeds - two in particular, false dandelion and cape weed - which grow in poor acid soils. To deter the weeds from growing and encourage proper pasture growth top dressing with dolomite is recommended. This is usually done about twice a year, spring and autumn.

You can also help the horse recover by feeding a dolomite suppliment daily. I would suggest a good couple of heaped teaspoonfulls a day to start with - try and get the horse onto better pasture without these weeds also. It also wouldnt hurt to feed other multi vitamins also - just to help with recovery.

Good luck.

Alison (Guest)
13-04-01, 10:55 AM
Unusual to be only in one leg. Basically time is the cure. Stringhalt damages the sheath covering the nerves? in the leg, time is needed for it to repair.

Although you moved paddocks, if in the same district you may still haven't got away from the cuplrit, normally accused is
dandylions. Now seems about the worst time of year, maybe you'll
need to yard or be very picky where your horse is kept in the autumn to avoid any re-occurrence.

Our pony was quite bad in both back legs and it took about 6 months to be 'normal' after moving to a totally different pasture mix.
hope this helps.

13-04-01, 11:11 AM
Equine nutritionist and people who have experienced cases of true stringhalt (sometimes stringhalt is incorrectly diagnosed!) have found that magnesium works wonders. That is why dolomite is so effective, as it contains high levels of magnesium and calcium. Most feed stores stock Dolomite or ask about a more concentrated Magnesium supplement. Also look up Donna Morgan Robinson - Equine Homeopath on Cyberhorse, as she makes up remedies and I know that she has one for stringhalt. I have found her remedies very effective for many other ailments.

Jude (Guest)
13-04-01, 02:02 PM
This subject came up earlier this year and I copied this post because it gave so much information. I dont know whether its OK to copy someones post but I doubt if I could find it if I started looking back - and it is worth a read.

By Dr Peter Huntington Consulting Veterinarian to HyGain Feeds Pty. Ltd.

Stringhalt is an ancient disease of horses and Australian Stringhalf was first recorded over one hundred and thirty years ago. It is a very distressing disease for the horse and the horses owner, although I don't think it involves much actual pain for the horse. Luckily horses do recover from Australian Stringhalt and can return to their normal athletic pursuits after a variable period of time. The clinical signs of Australian Stringhalt basically involve an exaggerated lifting of each hind leg as the horse moves forwards and backwards. In very severe cases the horse will go to walk off and get one leg stuck up under its belly, as though the leg was glued to the belly. These type of horses can often onl move by an exaggerated bunny hopping motion where they have both back lefs up in the air at once and they paddle along on their front legs. In mild cases, exaggerated lifting of the leg is only obvious under special circumstances such as when the horse goes backwards, is upset, turns sharply sideways, or in cold weather. Mild cases are often first noticed when a horse is backed off a float and in severe cases the horse cannot go backwards at all. The severity of the signs in a horse can be quite bariable and are made worse by cold, excitement and variation in daily routine. This high stepping fait is accompained by wastage of muscle wastage in the gaskin area just above the hock, between the legs, and often on the thighs. Some unusual cases often have muscle wastage in and around the shoulder area and these are occasionally accompained by changes in the forelimb gait.Another important consequence of Stringhalt in athletic horses is that many of them become roarers. Some degree of larynegeal paralysis is very common and some horses that have been affected with Stringhalt need surgery to repair the laryngeal function. Horses that are severely affected with Australian Stringhalt are often very frustrated by their inability to move around the paddock, but there are no signs that they are in any pain. The disease, however, is very distressing for the horse and horses owner as you have to watch your horse moving with a very stilted gait of often being unable to move at all. Some owners report that their horses seem unusually nervous after having contracted the disease, but others do not make any note of behavioural changes.The high stepping hind limb is casued by a degeneration in the long nerves of the horse's hind limb. This is the reason for the muscle wastage and the abnormal movement of the leg. However the nerves and mascles can regenerate if given sufficient time and nlike many other diseases of the nervous system, horses can recover from Australian Stringhalt. Despite a lot of research over recent years, the cause of Australian Stringhalt is still unclear. However some of the risk factors have been identified as the disease principally occurs in the larger adult horses, during late summer and autumn, in dry years and in horses grazing in relatively poor paddocks. The week flatweed (hypocharcris radicata) is commonly founc in paddocks in which Stringhalt occurs. These paddocks often have large bare areas and tend to be weed dominated without much history of recent fertiliser application. The disease most commonly occures in horses that are not receiving a significant amount of hand-feeding. It occurs spordadically and the average incidence is about 10 - 15% of a group of horses. Just because one horse in a paddock gets Stringhalt, it doesn't mean that others will, althought it is a good signal for some management changes which will minimise the risks. In some cases the disease has recurred in the same paddock in successive years, but most often it occurs as an isolated incident. There appear to be some geographic areas where the disease is more common and thoroughbreds and draught breeds seem to have a greater risk of contracting the disease than other breeds of horses.In summary the causes are not known, but it could be due to the toxic factors in plants or fungi, or the nutrient deficiencies of energy or vitamnins that cause the long nerves to die back. It is likely that there are several possible causes rather than one direct cause. It is common for the signs of Australian Stringhalt to become a little bit more severe the first month after the disease is noticed, but then a gradual recovery takes place. Some horses have recovered within two weeks whilst others have taken two years. The most common recovery period is six to nine months. Many horses can be used fully some months before they are completely recovered, as at that stage they have only minimal alteations in gait. In the initial stages it is usual to remove the horse from the paddock and supply it with some hard feed, or if this isn't possible, to increase the amount of hard feed provided to the horse. Horses have revocered awhile remaining in the same paddock and as the disease is a seasonal one, it is likely that the causative factors may only persist for a shor time in the paddock. If horses are removed from the paddock in hich the disease occures, they can e safely put back in after an autumn break. Many horses recover without any treatment at all, but in others a variety of treatments are used. Surgery has been popular involving a removal of a portition of an extensor tendon over the hock, but this has very variable results. The success rate of surgery doesn't really justify it's use apart form selective cases where it may be necessary to improve the quality of life of the horse.Two new medical treatments have been studied by researchers in Australia in recent years. At the University of Melbourne we investigated the use of the drug Dilantin which was used in people and other animals for the treatment of epilepsy. This was successful in reducing the severity of the clinical signs and after the treatment ceased, some horses shwed a residual improvement in their gait. Baclofen has also been used in a limited number of cases at the University of Sydney and this gave some interesting results, but the drug is very expensive and at this stage it is hard to recommend its general use.The use of high doses of B vitamins, particuarly vitamin B1 (thiamine) is popular with some veterinarians and can be given either irally or by injection. If you need to move a horse affected by Stringhalt, then sedatin the horse is often wise, as this tends to reduce the severity of the signs. There may be some logic in the use of high doses of vitamin E as this can help voost immunity and vitamin E is used as a therapy for some other disorders of long nerves in humans and other animals. Magnesium has also been suggested as a therapy but there is no evidence th support the claims. Remember that the horse insn't is any pain or distress and that recovery given enough time is the rule rather than the exception. Thanks to Hygain Equine Science Nutrition for their information on Stringhalt.
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