At times it is difficult to assess what the problem is when your horse seems under the weather but if in doubt always seek veterinary advice first. The way in which you keep your horse and the manner in which you care for it affects its health and well-being.
Signs of good/ill health Horse keepers will normally recognise the signs of good health but horses should be inspected regularly and particular attention should be paid to their feet and general body condition. Look for a good appetite and firm droppings, alertness, good body and coat condition and the absence of injury or lameness. If the horse is in ill- health the cause should be identified and the necessary care and treatment given to restore it back to full health. Veterinary advice should be sought if the horse appears to be ill or in pain.
Disease and biosecurity measures should be put into place to limit the spread of disease and isolate any horses coming onto a yard or any horse with a case of suspected Strangles. Click here to view the Checklist for Equine Health.
Strangles is a highly infectious disease; classical symptoms include swollen glands in the throat, coughing, runny nose and lethargy. Click here to read more.
The threat from exotic diseases – African Horse Sickness is a non-contagious, insect-borne, highly fatal viral disease caused by the AHSV, an Orbivirus that has nine different strains. It is one of the most devastating equine diseases on the planet as our horses have no natural immunity to the virus. Click here to read more.
Sweet Itch is an allergic skin disease that leads to intense irritation around the mane and tail when the horse is bitten by midges. Immediate veterinary advice should be sought to determine a suitable treatment and preventative method for dealing with the condition. Click here to read more.
Laminitis is an inflammation in the inner sensitive structure of the hoof. There are many causes of laminitis; the most common form is seen in obese animals. This treatment should be treated as an emergency and your vet should be called immediately. Laminitis causes excruciating pain and if not treated promptly and correctly can lead to irreversible damage. Click here to read more.
Respiratory Disease. The horse’s respiratory system has evolved to cope with its natural environment of open pasture with limitless fresh air. When horses are removed from open pasture into a more confined environment their respiratory health may be compromised which, over time, can affect the health and performance of the horse. Stables should be well ventilated. Click here to read more.
Tetanus and Influenza Vaccinations. It is advisable to vaccinate all horses and ponies against commonly occurring diseases such as tetanus and flu. The horse is the most susceptible of all domestic animals to tetanus. Prevention is ultimately better than cure and inoculation can provide horses with immunity against commonly occurring debilitating infections. Click here to read more.
Cushings. Recurring bouts of laminitis and hirsutism (abnormal coat) are two of the most common clinical signs of Cushings Other signs include excessive sweating, increased appetite, increased drinking and urination, lethargy, poor performance, reduced immune function and will often be found in older horses. Treatment centres on dealing with immediate medical problems e.g. laminitis. Whilst there is no cure for Cushings, an effective licensed medicine is now available from veterinary surgeons. Click here to read more.
Colic Signs to look out for may include a change in eating habits, continuously getting down to roll, pawing the ground, pacing up and down, difficulty with excreting, sweating and anxiety. There are different types of colic each with their own different cause so if colic is suspected veterinary advice should be sought immediately. Click here to read more.
Parasites. The importance of implementing an appropriate worming programme should not be underestimated. Parasitic worms can adversely affect the health and wellbeing of horses and ponies of all ages. These internal parasites can do irreversible damage to the gut and other organs and be responsible for poor body condition and, in serious cases, fatalities. Click here to read more.