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Horses/Stiffness in horses neck


Hi Lyn,
I was wondering if you would be able to help. My 22 year old gelding got into the feed room 3 weeks ago and ate himself silly. I called the vet who gave him an injection painkiller and buscopan (also an injection). He appeared to be back to his old self within 24 hours but within another 24 hours he was unable to stretch his neck to graze or eat hay. I called the vet again and he put him on a course of bute for 5 days which did the trick. He had been back to work, just hacking around the local roads and been fine but on Sunday he seemed to go downhill again and couldn't get his head down to graze. Within an hour he was back to normal again.
I had the vet out for his routine anti tetanus/flu and to do his teeth yesterday and he checked his neck, bending it around to check for arthritis etc because if his age. He said he was all clear and my horse went back to his paddock to graze. But last night he couldn't reach down again!! I feel like I'm going mad because the vet has said he has 100% movement in his neck. I've raised his water and hay to cause him as little distress as possible, he is in great humour as per usual but it's awful to see him struggle to get his head down to eat.
I'm hoping it's just a case of being stiff from having and injection and the vet manipulating his neck to check him over but I would be eternally grateful if you could shed some light on the subject?
Thanking you in advance,


Without getting my hands on your horse I can only make some suggestions as to what may be going on and what I would do in your shoes.

I would suggest getting both a massage therapist to work on him, something that older horses benefit greatly from.  I work on a lot of geriatric horses on a routine maintenance basis.  I would also get him checked out by an equine chiropractor after his massage work to loosen his muscles.  If the chiropractor also does acupuncture so much the better.  Having gotten into a lot of feed means that his system has undergone a cascade of events including an overload to his liver and kidneys.  The bute helps with pain but is also hard on the horse's system.  I would also put him through a detoxification regimen to help cleanse his system of the after effects of the grain binge.  You can either get some milk thistle and feed it to him for 7 days or use the homeopathic nux vomica for 5 days.  

I'm not sure what's going on with your boy, not sure this is really related to the grain binge or not which is why I'm suggesting the above actions.  He may have done something to his neck getting into the feed room or in the feed room, Lord knows.  But he will definitely feel better after getting these treatments.  And hopefully solve his issues as well.

I know this won't be cheap, but you sound like this boy means a lot.  Good luck and let me know what happens with him.  Please.



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Lyn Kamer, C.E.S.M.T.


Training, alternative therapies, saddle fitting problems, behavioral problems, endurance riding, driving, Mustangs


Horseman of over 50 yrs., certified equine massage therapist, trainer both riding and driving, long distance trail riding and driving. Both endurance and competitive trail riding and driving.

American Endurance Ride Assn., Eastern Competitive Trail Ride Assn., New Jersey Trail Ride Assn., Aromatherapists International, American Mustang and Burro Assn., United States Trotting Assn., Standardbred Pleasure Horse Org., US Wild Horse and Burro Association

Trail Blazer magazine, AERC Newsletter, Hoofbeats magazine

Certified Equine Sports Massage Therapist, Least Resistance Trainer, Certified Aromatherapist

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