Shivers

By: Dr. Lydia Gray

What is it?

Shivers

Shivers is a neuromuscular condition of the hindquarters that may be difficult to diagnose in the early stages but becomes more obvious as classical signs appear. When a horse with Shivers is backed, asked to pick up a hind leg, or even just experiences stress or excitement, it may hold up one hind limb which shakes or trembles, as well as raise its tail which will also shake or tremble. Typically found in draft horses, warmbloods and their crosses, it is occasionally seen in quarter horses, thoroughbreds and standardbreds but rare in ponies. Of unknown cause, Shivers has been reported in horses as young as one to two years old.

What can be done about it?

There is no treatment for Shivers. Because breeds of horses affected by Shivers coincidentally also have high rates of Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy (PSSM), some veterinarians and owners are feeding a low-carb/high-fat diet in an attempt to reduce signs. Maintaining adequate levels of Vitamin E and Selenium is important, as is providing as much turnout as possible. Sometimes rest reduces the signs but they often return when exercise is resumed.

What else do I need to know?

In the early stages, Shivers can be mistaken for other disorders affecting the hindquarters such as Stringhalt, Upward fixation of the patella, Fibrotic Myopathy, "Stiff horse" Syndrome, Equine Motor Neuron Disease, EPM and others. Any horse with a gait abnormality or muscle dysfunction should be examined by a veterinarian to determine the cause and begin appropriate treatment, when possible. Unfortunately, Shivers carries a poor prognosis because it is progressive and debilitating.

About Dr. Lydia Gray
 

Have questions? Contact us »
Connect with us:

Mollie and Eden
I started riding when I was 9 years old and quickly got swept up into the competitive hunter/jumper world. I showed my first pony, Chloe, in the Small Pony Hunter divisions were we competed at shows like Fairfield Hunt Club, Old Salem, HITS, and West...

Learn more »

SmartPak Barn Field Trip, Part 2: Decoding hay and grain for horses
Download the worksheet to test your knowledge! How much hay and grain does your horse get every day? How much SHOULD your horse be getting each day? Many horses may not be getting what your feed bag recommends, so we’re

Read More »

Download our mobile apps

Put SmartPak in your pocket with these awesome apps!

Check It Out »

Healthy horses, happy riders.
SmartPak is committed to a greener planet.
Sign Up Now!
Free Catalog Get Yours Now!

Questions? Call us Toll-Free at 1-800-461-8898.

SmartPak Equine™ is the premier online provider of horse supplies and equine supplements.
© Copyright by SmartPak Equine LLC. All Rights reserved.