Nonsurgical treatment of suprascapular nerve injury in horses: 8 cases (1988-1998). Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE: To determine the outcome of horses with suprascapular nerve injury treated with stall rest alone. DESIGN: Retrospective case series. ANIMALS: 8 horses. PROCEDURE: Information on signalment, history, limbs affected, severity of lameness, degree of muscle atrophy, gait abnormalities, and results of radiography and electromyography was obtained from medical records. All horses were treated with stall rest. Follow-up information on severity of lameness, gait abnormalities, degree of muscle atrophy, time between injury and resolution of gait abnormalities, and outcome was obtained during reexamination at the hospital or through telephone conversations with owners. RESULTS: In 4 horses, the injury was a result of trauma; in the other 4, the injury was suspected to be a result of trauma. All horses had pronounced instability of the shoulder joint during the weight-bearing phase. Follow-up information was available for 7 horses. Shoulder joint instability resolved in all 7 horses within 3 to 12 months (mean, 7.4 months) after the original injury. Two horses had complete return of the supraspinatus and infraspinatus muscle mass 15 and 18 months after the injury. Two horses used as broodmares before the injury and 4 of 5 horses used for riding or in race training before the injury were able to return to preinjury activities. CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: Horses with suprascapular nerve injury treated with stall rest alone have a good prognosis for recovery of normal gait and return to performance; however, the recovery period may be prolonged.

published proceedings

  • J Am Vet Med Assoc

author list (cited authors)

  • Dutton, D. M., Honnas, C. M., & Watkins, J. P

citation count

  • 19

complete list of authors

  • Dutton, DM||Honnas, CM||Watkins, JP

publication date

  • June 1999