Characterisation of headshaking syndrome--31 cases

Equine Vet J Suppl. 1998 Nov;(27):28-9. doi: 10.1111/j.2042-3306.1998.tb05141.x.


Headshaking is a maturity onset condition with the most commonly reported clinical signs being 'flipping' of the nose, nose rubbing, snorting or sneezing, and acting like a bee is flying up the nostril. A questionnaire was completed by owners of 31 horses with headshaking syndrome. The history, time of onset, clinical presentation and treatment of this condition were reported. Headshaking appeared to be light-stimulated in approximately 60% of the horses. The condition is seasonal and recurring in the majority of horses. Treatment with cyproheptadine produced improvement of symptoms in 76% of cases. The clinical signs are suggested to be compatible with neuropathic pain producing itching, tingling or electric like sensations in the face and muzzle area of affected horses.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Behavior, Animal* / drug effects
  • Cyproheptadine / pharmacology
  • Cyproheptadine / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Horses / psychology*
  • Male
  • Melatonin / pharmacology
  • Melatonin / therapeutic use
  • Recurrence
  • Seasons
  • Serotonin Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Serotonin Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Stereotyped Behavior* / drug effects
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Syndrome


  • Antioxidants
  • Serotonin Antagonists
  • Cyproheptadine
  • Melatonin