CASE REPORTS AND SERIES
Caudal anaesthesia of the infraorbital nerve for diagnosis of idiopathic headshaking and caudal compression of the infraorbital nerve for its treatment, in 58 horses
Article first published online: 13 MAR 2012
© 2012 EVJ Ltd
Equine Veterinary Journal
Volume 45, Issue 1, pages 107–110, January 2013
How to Cite
ROBERTS, V. L. H., PERKINS, J. D., SKÄRLINA, E., GORVY, D. A., TREMAINE, W. H., WILLIAMS, A., McKANE, S. A., WHITE, I. and KNOTTENBELT, D. C. (2013), Caudal anaesthesia of the infraorbital nerve for diagnosis of idiopathic headshaking and caudal compression of the infraorbital nerve for its treatment, in 58 horses. Equine Veterinary Journal, 45: 107–110. doi: 10.1111/j.2042-3306.2012.00553.x
- Issue published online: 10 DEC 2012
- Article first published online: 13 MAR 2012
- Received: 23.11.11; Accepted: 16.01.12
- trigeminal neuropathy;
- facial pain;
- nerve compression
Reasons for performing study: Idiopathic headshaking is often a facial pain syndrome, but a diagnostic protocol has not been described. In a previous study, caudal compression of the infraorbital nerve for treatment offered a fair success rate, but low case numbers and short follow-up time were limitations.
Objectives: To describe a diagnostic protocol for headshaking, examining the role of bilateral local analgesia of the posterior ethmoidal nerve (PET block). To report longer-term follow-up after surgery of the original cases and further cases and to determine whether changes to the technique influence success rates and complications.
Methods: Records of horses that had undergone PET block and caudal compression surgery at 3 hospitals were reviewed. Modifications to the surgical technique included placing additional coils into the infraorbital canal and/or performing concurrent laser cautery of the nerve. Follow-up information was obtained by telephone contact with owners.
Results: The PET block was performed in 27 horses, with a positive result in 23 of 27 (85%). Surgery was performed in 58 horses. A successful outcome was initially achieved in 35 of 57 (63%) horses, but recurrence occurred between 9 and 30 months later in 9 (26%). Surgery was repeated in 10 of 31 (32%) horses. Final success rate, considering only response to the last performed surgery, was 28 of 57 (49%) horses with median follow-up time of 18 months (range 2–66 months). Nose-rubbing was reported post operatively in 30 of 48 (63%) horses. This resolved in all but 4 horses, which were subjected to euthanasia. Response to PET block or change in surgical technique did not appear to influence outcome or complications.
Conclusions and potential relevance: The diagnostic protocol described is recommended for the investigation of headshakers. Caudal compression offers the best prognosis for a successful outcome compared with other treatments, for horses in which the only alternative is euthanasia. Surgical treatment of the disorder requires refinement, and the pathogenesis of the disorder requires investigation.