Vets Test New Surgical Procedure for Horses With Wobbler Syndrome

Researchers developed the new method for horses based on work conducted in humans. The procedure involves two stabilization devices: an intervertebral device to reduce compression and screws with rotating heads and connecting rods to stabilize the vertebrae.
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surgery for horses with wobbler syndrome
Researchers developed the new method for horses based on work conducted in humans. The procedure involves two stabilization devices: an intervertebral device to reduce compression and pedicle screws with rotating heads and connecting rods to stabilize the vertebrae in tension. | Photo: Courtesy Dr. Jeremiah Easley

Horses with cervical vertebral myelopathy (CVM, a compression of the spinal cord in the neck vertebrae due to trauma or rapid growth), sometimes called wobbler syndrome, might benefit from a recently developed and tested surgical procedure.

An uncoordinated (ataxic) gait or a lack of proprioception (awareness of the limbs and where they’re placed) suggest a horse has a defect in his cervical vertebrae (those located in the neck). Current equine surgical techniques involve stabilizing the disc spaces—each with a single stabilizing device—to fuse the vertebrae. This can help reduce the horse’s neurologic signs, often allowing him to return to work.

But researchers from Colorado State University (CSU) recently tested a new technique. Equine surgeon Jeremiah Easley, DVM, Dipl. ACVS; small animal surgeon Howard Seim, DVM, Dipl. ACVS; and equine internist Yvette Nout-Lomas, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM, ACECC, developed the new method for horses based on work conducted in humans. The procedure involves two stabilization devices: an intervertebral device to reduce compression and pedicle screws with rotating heads and connecting rods to stabilize the vertebrae in tension

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Written by:

Katie Navarra has worked as a freelance writer since 2001. A lifelong horse lover, she owns and enjoys competing a dun Quarter Horse mare.

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