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Clinical Communication

Nuchal crest avulsion fracture in 2 horses : a cause of headshaking : clinical communication

A. Voigt, M.N. Saulez, C.M. Donnellan

Journal of the South African Veterinary Association; Vol 80, No 2 (2009), 111-113. doi: 10.4102/jsava.v80i2.183

Submitted: 22 May 2009
Published:  22 May 2009


The medical records of 2 Thoroughbred horses that developed headshaking after blunt trauma to the occipital region are reviewed. The history, signalment, clinical signs, diagnostic methods, diagnosis and treatment were recorded in each case. Both horses displayed headshaking, while one horse repeatedly lifted its upper lip and pawed excessively at the ground. In both horses, diagnostic imaging of the occipital region revealed avulsion fragments of the nuchal crest and a nuchal desmitis in association with hyperfibrinogenaemia. The presence of an avulsion fragment of the nuchal crest with associated nuchal desmitis should be considered in horses presenting with headshaking and may respond favourably to conservative therapy.

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Author affiliations

A. Voigt,
M.N. Saulez,
C.M. Donnellan,


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