Friday, 3 March 2017

All About ... Wobbler Disease

What is it

Wobbler disease is characterised by poor coordination and weakness particularly of the hindquarters.  


  • Poor co-ordination 
  • Weakness 
  • Clumsiness 
  • Unusual wear of front toes or sores to the front heels from over-reaching 
  • Reluctance to lie down 
  • May progress to exaggerated/drunken movements and crashing into objects or obstacles eg: doorways


Compression of the spinal cord causes injury to the nerves which are responsible for sensing the position of the limbs.  The compression can be caused by:

  • Trauma to the cervical vertebrae (often from a fall) 
  • Virus (herpes or rhinopneumonitis) 
  • Infection 
  • Incorrect or excessive bone growth 
  • Hypertrophy of the ligaments of the spinal canal 
  • Malformed or misaligned vertebrae 
  • Soft tissue inflammation around the vertebrae 
  • Inflammation of the spinal cord 
  • Inflammation in the joint capsule



The vet will do a neurological exam.  They can also take radiographs of the neck to pinpoint any problem areas.  This can be followed by a myelogram which is when dye is injected into the spinal canal before further radiographs are taken.  Unfortunately the horse will need to have a general anaesthetic for this.


Surgery is often the only option.  However, in cases of young horses a change in diet can help.


Preventing trauma.  Feeding youngsters appropriately.

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Until next time!

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