My horse recently got facial paralysis in the left side of her face (so she is not able to move her ear, and her lip is hanging). We have sewed her eye shut due to it getting ulcers in it. Due to school, I have not had the opportunity of talking to my vet about it, nor the eye doctor. They both are currently out of town, so I won’t be able to discuss with either anything. We have consulted with university vet schools (Texas A&M, University of Florida, etc.), and they all said getting x-rays on her head would not be useful because of all the layers of bones running behind her ears. We have antibiotic to put in her eye four times per day, solely to prevent it from ulcering. However, my trainer is just saying to give it time and hope it gets better, but I don’t want to sit around and wait and hope by luck she gets better. If anybody has gone through similar things with their horse and know of anything I can do to even strengthen the muscles, from like a massage or anything, I would greatly appreciate it if you let me know what you did to make your horse healthy again. Thanks!
I had a horse get a much more minor facial paralysis once. His eye was fine, but his nose/face drooped, and he couldn’t feel pressure from his left eye to left nostril.
It did resolve over time with no lasting effects. This was a long time ago, so I don’t remember how long it took, but I am thinking weeks not months.
I would be curious if someone who does kinesiology taping could offer some help. I use similar types of therapy for my own diminished nerve function.
Not a horse of mine, but I did know a horse who had some sort of nerve injury (trigeminal?) and had one side of the face droopy. Eye was not involved, IIRC.
Horse was fed soft mashes that it could manage to eat, since horse was unable to chew. Dropped a lot of mash, lost weight, drooled a bit, but did recover full function (and appetite). Now eats as normal.
In people, Lyme can cause facial nerve damage. I have no idea if Lyme or EPM can cause this in horses. It is worth looking into, as both are treatable.
Might want to consider, check into electro acupuncture treatment. Reasonably inexpensive and can be very beneficial for nerve,muscle issues.
I second this suggestion.
Is the cause of the facial nerve paralysis known?
my BO’s appendix gelding had a run-in with a sharp edge and severed the nerves at the base of his left ear, leaving his whole left side of his face paralyzed. After the initial healing of the gash at the base of his ear, he went on to have many more years of success in the show ring and at home giving lessons. His lip was droopy and his tongue would flop out that side if he got really relaxed, but he was still happy and loved his job. He was just a little more recognizable, is all.
He wore a fly mask 24/7 to minimize the crud that might get in his eye, but that’s really the only accommodation he needed.
First thing I would do is have a good chiropractor check her out. I had a horse that his nostril was drooping and he started rubbing his head on the fence at feeding time. Vet didn’t know why his nostril was drooping and when I had him adjusted it went back to normal and he quit rubbing his head on the fence.
We are not 100% sure of the cause, but we think most likely while she was being trailered, the three year old next to her was making her angry (because she has always trailered perfectly since she started being trailered in her two year old year), and she reared up and the sharp pressure the halter pressed on the nerve. We aren’t 100% sure, or it could have been that while she was at the show (she is also cribber and won’t stop no matter what we do) she was cribbing on the very top rail, and she could have gotten stuck because it would have been a very awkward position, that she pulled back and severed the nerves on the side of her face.
I have looked into acupuncture and the closest one to where we are is more than five hours away. I found that massages have helped some horses regenerate nerves and strengthen the muscles, but I am not sure how to do that, and if anybody knows I would greatly appreciate it if you could explain how I can do that.
(Also, I forgot to say in the original post, but about a week and a half after the initial paralysis, she got a bit of feeling back. So when we touch the side she reacts, but she still can’t move anything)
My old mare got this. Ear stuck out to the side, eye wouldn’t blink, muzzle drooped on one side, couldn’t chew. We fed her roughly 18 pounds a day of Senior as that was what she could eat and it would disintegrate easily. Her EPM titer was 93% (is that the right term?) so we treated her for EPM. It resolved somewhat but not enough for her to actually be able to graze. She was maybe 26 at the time. We are in a high EPM area.
My 2 year old at the time had temporary facial paralysis. When he was gelded, it was in my back yard. I was a “beginner” to this on a horse. The vet knocked him out, laid him down, we laid a towel over his head. I held a leg…well…he woke up uneventfully…When the tech called me later to check on him, I explained “that end is fine”, but his face is crooked. I sent pics to the vet. She said the halter buckle must have pressed on his facial nerve. She said she heard about it in vet school, but had never seen it before. The eye was not involved, but she reccomended boost the Vitamin E, and time. He did recover…He still eats his grain strange and hangs his bottom lip sometimes, but I think that’s a habit.
…wonder if acupuncture would help?..
We were taught to make sure we took halters off for that very reason.
Well…unfortunately since it was my first “knock 'em out in my backyard”, and the vet didn’t think about it- I had no clue.
Ah but you vet should have–I’m not blaming you.
Fortunately, that type of injury is usually transient. But embarrassing.