Last Updated on March 15, 2022 by Allison Price
What is it?
Stringhalt is a neuromuscular disorder in the hindquarters. It can be caused by pasture weeds, but it can also happen for unknown reasons. This is sometimes called “goosestepping” and involves a rapid flexion of the hind legs towards the belly with every step. It can be worsened by backing or turning the horse. Stringhalt can lead to hind foot dragging, bunny hop gait and muscle wasting in the hindquarters. This can affect any breed of horse, regardless of age or gender.
What can we do about it?
Stringhalt can occur in many different ways. However, it is important to remove the horse from the pasture and search for the Hypochoeris Radicata tree. Each case is unique. Some horses make progress while others go through a full recovery. This can take anywhere from 6 to 12 months. Stringhalt is not a treatable condition. However, prescription medications Phenytoin or the B-vitamin Thiamine can be used to aid recovery.
What other information do I need?
Other conditions that can cause abnormal hind leg signs include Fibrotic Myopathy and Upward Fixation of the Patella. Any horse suffering from gait abnormalities, muscle dysfunction or other symptoms should be examined by a veterinarian. The vet will then begin the appropriate treatment if one is available.