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"trauma induced Wobblers syndrome"

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  • "trauma induced Wobblers syndrome"

    I didn't want to hijack someone's thread, but the OP used the phrase "trauma induced wobblers syndrome." What the heck is that?
    Last edited by Cartier; Jun. 28, 2008, 09:11 AM.
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  • #2
    There is a good basic description at Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wobbler_disease

    Trauma induced can be from a fall or other traumatic injury to neck or spine. I also know a horse with a congential predisposition to it whose symptoms were exacerbated by bad riding - forcing it into a tight frame. It got so bad his owners were advised to put him down before he fell on someone, but they changed trainers and he has steadily improved. The owner - an AA - is now riding him regularly with no problem, but they have to let him stay in a longer frame.

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    • Original Poster

      #3
      thank you...

      I know what wobblers is, I am wondering where anyone got the phrase “trauma induced wobblers.” So, thank you for that anecdotal information Chris... and good to know that your friend's horse is doing better , but that really didn’t answer my question.

      Maybe I wasn't clear enough. Let me back up ... coming from a medical background, I was wondering what the heck people think “trauma induced wobblers” is... and how they generated the belief that there is such as thing... as opposed to "a propensity for some sort of autosomal recessive, autosomal dominant or sex linked cervical abnormality that is hereditary." Or more simply, what science is behind the concept of “trauma induced” as opposed to considering it an inherited cervical abnormality (wobblers).

      We would like to see some credible science about "trauma induced wobblers" ... if there is such a thing. Can anyone point to some journal article about "trauma induced wobblers."
      Last edited by Cartier; Jun. 28, 2008, 10:36 AM.
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      • #4
        I think people use the term as a catch all phrase to include any horse that has an injury to the neck, spine, brain stem that causes the horse to have neurological symptoms.

        I had a filly that flipped, causing her to be severely neurologic. At the time, many people used the term. She, thankfully, recovered fully.

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        • #5
          With our filly, (about 6 months old) she had recently been purchased by a college girl, and it was so scary. The first few weeks she was not able to take a step outside of a very small stall without losing her balance. She could stay on her feet as long as it was in the dark. Light and any stimulation would make her really sway. After 3 weeks, she made an incredible turnaround.

          This was her less than a year after injury, placing at Devon, and as a 5 year old jumping.
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          • Original Poster

            #6
            Wow, that is fantastic Darlyn !!!

            What I am sensing here is that we make huge decisions, sometime life ending decisions (guided by well meaning veterinary professionals), without enough understanding of what we’re dealing with (which may account for why some animals recover and some do not). We simply do not have enough basic science to fully understand cervical abnormalities. So, sometimes we euthanize, sometimes we treat and see recovery... sometimes prednisone works... sometimes we do not see recovery... we don’t really have enough credible science to guide us.

            If you simply have ataxia and poor proprioception, caused by injury (with no genetic component, i.e. something you might call "trauma induced wobblers"), then low doses of prednisone might work (though the side effects of steroids can be problematic). But if there is a some underlying hereditary predisposition for a cervical weakness, than it would seem that breeders would want to avoid using animals that might transmit a propensity for wobblers.

            Anyone know of any research on this?
            Last edited by Cartier; Jun. 28, 2008, 10:30 PM.
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            • #7
              Cartier, try this link. Adam's is really the longstanding expert on lameness.

              http://books.google.com/books?id=MQT...#PRA1-PA383,M1

              The problem is this: Wobbler's has been around for a long time. It was originally diagnosed on symptoms alone, since myelograms weren't yet in existence. So everything with the specific neuro symptoms/gait, was diagnosed as a "Wobbler". NOW, on PE, the abnormal gait is noted and the horse is noted as being "Wobbler symptomatic" and further workup is done to determine the exact cause of those symptoms whether it be OCD, trauma, or true genetic component.
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              • #8
                Originally posted by Cartier View Post
                If you simply have ataxia and poor proprioception, caused by injury (with no genetic component, i.e. something you might call "trauma induced wobblers"), than low doses of prednisone might work (though the side effects of steroids can be problematic). But if there is a some underlying hereditary predisposition for a cervical weakness, than it would seem that breeders would want to avoid using animals that might transmit a propensity for wobblers.

                Anyone know of any research on this?
                Cartier, it is not an underlying "cervical weakness", but a cervical narrowing that has the hereditary component. The narrow vertebral column seems fine initially, but as the horse grows, it puts pressure on the spinal column, causing the neuro symptoms.

                It does happen to older horses too as arthritis of the spine "bridges" the vertebrae together in an event called spondolosis. It is surgically treatable. (The great Seattle Slew had several operations to "clean out" the spondolosis and fuse the vertebrae).
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                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Thanks for the link.. looks to me like this is the 5th Ed from December 15, 2001. Is there a more current edition of this text?

                  We have two studies, one published in JAVMA, Vol 231, No. 2, July 15, 2007 and another published in AJVR, Vol 67, No. 9, September 2006.
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                  • #10
                    Actually with a "trauma induced wobblers", I believe there is quite a bit of knowledge out there. DMSO is definitely critical in turning those around. With my filly, and also with my dog that got hit by a car, that had pretty much no use of her body for a few weeks, giving them time was the critical element. I was told with my dog, that it can take 4 to 6 weeks for them to come around. Three weeks for both of my animals was nothing short of miraculous, and just a day or two earlier, there was not much change. We saw the first big improvement with the DMSO, even when not given for 5 days after injury (my dog). She went from laying there, curling, and flopping over on her face, with only feet reflexes and able to wag her tail, to grabbing food from fingers within an hour of her initial dmso treatment.

                    Much of what was explained to me in both cases, was you needed time to get over the original injury, and during that time you may have to tube feed, IV fluids, etc. After that, they had to re-learn where their body was, and how to use it.

                    For genetic induced wobblers, I would think you would not want to use the animal for breeding IF YOU KNOW it would be passed genetically, but in many cases, how do you tell? We SAW our injury, but many times a horse has been diagnosed with wobblers in their mid twenties, after a lifetime of soundness (a famous TB stallion that I can't remember who rings bells). He sired MANY offspring, and I don't believe the offspring have shown any propensity for the issue.

                    I know of a horse that flipped over a gate, and had to be put down with a diagnosis of "Wobblers". The vet advised the breeder to not repeat the "cross", although that vet shortly after bred her own mare to the stallion. That was clearly trauma induced, so that seemed strange, but from what I remember, the vet was thinking it was conformationally related? as it was a cross of 2 different breeds. Not sure, as the horse seemed to be put together normally.
                    Last edited by Fairview Horse Center; Jun. 28, 2008, 04:58 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Ahh, ok, I see it was Seattle Slew I was thinking of.

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                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Originally posted by Iron Horse Farm View Post
                        Cartier, it is not an underlying "cervical weakness", but a cervical narrowing that has the hereditary component. The narrow vertebral column seems fine initially, but as the horse grows, it puts pressure on the spinal column, causing the neuro symptoms.
                        Let me clarify... and please know that I am a lay person, so I struggle with this... and Arthur ( who understands this much more thoroughly than I), is busy today... so here is what I know, based in part on the studies I mentioned above... and what follows is quoted from those studies:


                        Cervical spondylomyelopathy (CSM) is a common disease of the cervical portion of the spine... there are many questions which remain unanswered about the pathogenesis of CSM, including, the natural progression of the disease, and the efficacy of various treatments.

                        Severe abnormalities of the cervical vertebral column include spinal cord compression, intervertebral disk degeneration or protrusion, and foraminal stenosis, all of which are considered as clinically relevant in veterinary practice. An MRI is really the only way to know what you’re dealing with (even if you don’t know the cause), because intervertebral disk degeneration is common in even clinically normal animals. In one study, disk protrusion or herniation was detected in all clinically normal animals. Typically, the protrusions were mild, causing only partial compression of the subarachnoid space; however, more severe protrusions that caused spinal cord compression (wobblers) were present in 25% of the clinically normal animals. In some instances, the MR image abnormalities of clinically normal animals were more severe than those of CSM-affected animals with cervical hyperesthesia or mild ataxia.

                        So, absent an MRI, we really don’t know what we’re dealing with (i.e., 100% of the clinically normal animals had some sort of cervical abnormality that was only observed on MRI and of those clinically normal animals, 25% had a stenosis (compression / wobblers).

                        Maybe we all have a cervical abnormality of some sort, even those of us who would characterize ourselves as "clinically normal" and possibly 25 percent of us clinically normal folks actually have wobblers, we just haven't been MRI'ed

                        Or, maybe, as some vets will suggest, wobblers is inherited and we should avoid using animals with wobblers in a breeding program.

                        For those who favor this latter approach, or any other approach, I wonder what credible peer reviewed science they base their opinion on.
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                        • #13
                          So from that, I would think all/most Wobblers is trauma induced.

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                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Originally posted by Fairview Horse Center View Post
                            So from that, I would think all/most Wobblers is trauma induced.
                            I tend to agree with you... but that opinion is in direct conflict with what most veterinarians would tell you.

                            Most vets will tell you that wobblers is inherited and that you should not use animals with wobblers in a breeding program. And you can see where breeders would simply say, “Oh, we have the ‘trauma induced wobblers’ not the ‘genetic wobblers.’

                            My question really is this, “Where is the credible peer reviewed science to support the claim that there are two kinds of wobblers?” More importantly, how can you prove which “kind of wobblers” the animal has?
                            Last edited by Cartier; Jun. 28, 2008, 01:24 PM.
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Fairview Horse Center View Post
                              [COLOR=black][FONT=Verdana]Actually with a "trauma induced wobblers", I believe there is quite a bit of knowledge out there. DMSO is definitely critical in turning those around. With my filly, and also with my dog that got hit by a car, that had pretty much no use of her body for a few weeks, giving them time was the critical element. I was told with my dog, that it can take 4 to 6 weeks for them to come around. Three weeks for both of my animals was nothing short of miraculous, and just a day or two earlier, there was not much change. We saw the first big improvement with the DMSO, even when not given for 5 days after injury (my dog). She went from laying there, curling, and flopping over on her face, with only feet reflexes and able to wag her tail, to grabbing food from fingers within an hour of her initial dmso treatment.
                              More people need to be aware of DMSO treatment for various conditions. Often it is critical that it be administered in the first 24 hours, depending on what the problem is. And some vets seem not to know this. Speaking from personal experience. It is really important, as an owner, to be as aware as possible about the options available so you can ask the right questions of vets.
                              Roseknoll Sporthorses
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                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Cartier View Post
                                ... But that opinion is in direct conflict with what most veterinarians would tell you.

                                Most vets will tell you that wobblers is inherited and that you should not use animals diagnosed with wobblers in a breeding program. And you can see where breeders would simply say, “Oh, we have the ‘trauma induced wobblers’ not the ‘genetic wobblers.’

                                My question really is this, “Where is the credible peer reviewed science to support the claim that there are two kinds of wobblers?” More importantly, how can you prove which “kind of wobblers” the animal has?
                                My interpretation was that the colt may have what might be more correctly characterized as 'trauma-induced wobblers-like syndrome.' I, too, thought true wobblers was heritable, or at the very least, a congenital problem.
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                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by YankeeLawyer View Post
                                  My interpretation was that the colt may have what might be more correctly characterized as 'trauma-induced wobblers-like syndrome.' I, too, thought true wobblers was heritable, or at the very least, a congenital problem.
                                  AGAIN, since I have already explained this.................... "true wobblers" is a genetic narrowing of the spine. However, any neuro like symptoms are often linked to wobblers or called "wobblers symptomatic" or "wobblers symptomlike". Often, owners go no further than this and horses are destroyed. We never find the true or underlying cause on MANY of these since cost IS a factor. (Mylograms aren't cheap). The very word Wobbler's is very outdated since we can now name a specific problem - ie.disco spondolosis, CSM, IVDD, etc. THese mostly show up on aged equines, so the genetic link usually isn't questioned.
                                  Holly
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                                  • #18
                                    Just to clarify, IVDD can be trauma induced, so the symptoms can become apparent after an injury.
                                    Holly
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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Iron Horse Farm View Post
                                      AGAIN, since I have already explained this.................... "true wobblers" is a genetic narrowing of the spine. However, any neuro like symptoms are often linked to wobblers or called "wobblers symptomatic" or "wobblers symptomlike". Often, owners go no further than this and horses are destroyed. We never find the true or underlying cause on MANY of these since cost IS a factor. (Mylograms aren't cheap). The very word Wobbler's is very outdated since we can now name a specific problem - ie.disco spondolosis, CSM, IVDD, etc. THese mostly show up on aged equines, so the genetic link usually isn't questioned.
                                      I think we are in agreement; I am not sure why I was annoying you. Sorry
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                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by YankeeLawyer View Post
                                        My interpretation was that the colt may have what might be more correctly characterized as 'trauma-induced wobblers-like syndrome.' I, too, thought true wobblers was heritable, or at the very least, a congenital problem.
                                        I want to be clear, I do not know the colt they are talking about in that thread (I think some info was deleted before I ever saw/read the thread).. and I am not speaking of any particular animal... rather, I'd like some credible science.
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