Horse Health

Health news, veterinary advice, and educational tools to keep your horse healthy provided by The Horse

Understanding Hay Analysis Results

For most horses, hay is a primary source of nutrients and essential fiber for hindgut health. Performing a hay analysis can help you balance the rest of your horse's diet and potentially reduce feed costs. These test results can provide a copious amount of information, but here are some important aspects to understand:

Equine Gait Abnormalities as a Diagnostic Tool

Some gait abnormalities are obvious, while others are hardly noticeable. Either way, they can indicate a variety of equine disorders. At the 2012 Western Veterinary Conference, held Feb. 19-23 in Las Vegas, Nev., one veterinarian discussed how some gait abnormalities can point to specific health problems.

Uterine Therapy Options in Broodmares

Managing a subfertile mare is a challenging and frustrating problem for breeders, especially when the exact problem remains unknown. But rest assured--researchers are working to improve equine fertility and develop new uterine therapy options. At the 2012 Western Veterinary Conference, held Feb. 19-23 in Las Vegas, Nev., one veterinarian reviewed current ...

Managing Equine Foot Problems

Managing horses goes hand in hand with managing ailments. While some horse health problems are relatively quick and simple to treat, others are more difficult and tedious. Often, foot problems fall into the latter category. At the 2012 Western Veterinary Conference, held Feb. 19-23 in Las Vegas, Nev., one veterinarian gave some helpful tips on how to best...

Bladder, Urachus, and Umbilicus Problems in Neonatal Foals

Neonatal foals are small in stature, but they can develop big problems needing immediate veterinary attention. Several of these issues center on the bladder, urachus, and umbilicus, and some are possibly life-threatening if not diagnosed and treated promptly. Robert L. Linford, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVS, a professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences at th...

Study: Nanoparticles to Deliver Therapy for Heaves in Horses

Scientists at Ludwig Maximilians University’s Department of Veterinary Medicine in Munich, Germany, are applying nanoscale molecule research in human allergy suppression to horses. In a recent study the team designed and administered a nanoparticleto deliver CpG-ODN (an immunostimulating DNA that has been shown to suppress allergies in humans) to ho...

Domestic Equids Can Still 'Chill' Like Their Ancestors

While today's domestic horses rely on humans for many of their survival needs, a recent study by researchers in Germany demonstrated that domestication has not removed all their "wild" abilities. The results of the study, led by Lea Brinkmann, MSc, and colleagues at the University of Göttingen in Germany, indicate horses can still slow ...

Understanding Breeding Soundness Exams for Stallions

Before breeding a stallion, there's one crucial step that should be performed: the breeding soundness examination. According to one veterinarian, this relatively simple evaluation can give stallion managers a good look at an animal's breeding potential before he even hits the breeding shed. Unfortunately, he added, this step is often overlooked.&n...

Feed Tags: Four Components to Evaluate

Every bag of horse feed includes a feed tag. The information it contains allows horse owners and managers to choose a feed with the proper nutrition at the best price for their individual horse. But with so much information on such a small tag, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. Here are four key things to look at on a feed tag and understand about the fe...

Genomic Research for Equine Performance Indicators

There's been a lot of excitement about equine genomic research over the past couple years, but horse buyers and breeders are still waiting for practical performance applications. The good news is that a team of French researchers might be hot on the trail to genomic evaluation of performance--even if that trail seems slow and winding--one researcher s...

Evidence-Based Equine Sarcoid Treatments Reviewed

Despite the numerous treatment choices available for equine sarcoids, no modality is 100% effective in producing a cure. So which of the numerous treatment options should veterinarians use to treat this common equine tumor? The answer depends on a number of factors, and at the 2012 Western Veterinary Conference, held Feb. 19-23 in Las Vegas, Nev., one res...

Understanding Breeding Soundness Exams for Mares

Making an informed decision to breed a mare is an exciting time in an owner's life. There are so many things to do: pick a stallion, prepare a foaling location, and dream big about the foal's potential, to name a few. But the first thing on the list should be to have a veterinarian perform a breeding soundness examination on the mare.

Ultrasound Beats X Rays for Identifying Articular Lesions

When a horse is lame, computed and digital radiographs (X rays) have, for years, allowed veterinarians to easily visualize bone and joint problems that aren't always visible to the naked eye. But when dealing with abnormalities on joint surfaces, it now appears that ultrasonographic imaging could be the tool of choice, according to one researcher team...

Protein's Role in Fueling Performance Horses

Protein is arguably the most misunderstood essential nutrient in the equine diet. Protein is made up of amino acids, and its main function is in muscle, tendon, and ligament development and repair. But, how do protein needs change in the equine athlete? Here are three key points to remember about protein's role in fueling the sport horse.

Allergic Dermatitis in Horses: A Review

Allergic dermatitis--simply, inflammation of the skin caused by an irritating stimulus--is a common yet often treatable and manageable problem in horses. Ann Rashmir-Raven, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS, associate professor of Large Animal Clinical Sciences at Michigan State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, gave an overview of the disorder at a rece...

'Pinch Grafting' for Equine Lower Limb Wounds (AAEP 2011)

We know that time heals wounds, yet when our beloved horses sustain a traumatic wound, we still try to do everything we can to ensure a quick recovery. That can include skin grafting, according to a practitioner who described a practical "pinch grafting" technique that can allow wounds to heal faster at the 2011 American Association of Equine Pr...

RSPCA Equine Inspectors to Monitor England's Grand National

A team of specially-trained Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty To Animals (RSPCA) equine inspectors will be attending the three day Grand National meeting this year, which takes place April 12-14 at Aintree Racecourse in Aintree, Merseyside, England. They will be joined the world famous course by an RSPCA superintendent, a chief inspector, and th...

A Closer Look at Treating Stifle Disease in Horses

The equine stifle is equivalent to a human knee and, like all limb joints, is prone to injury and disease. Colorado State University (CSU) researchers, for instance, recently examined 458 Western horses intended for cutting, during which routine survey radiographs (X rays) identified "abnormalities" in the stifles of almost half the horses. At t...

Understanding Equine Osteochondrosis

Many equine athlete owners worry about bone and joint problems as their four-legged partners age. But these issues are just as important in young developing horses as they are in mature horses. One of the most common and potentially damaging developmental orthopedic disorders is osteochondrosis. Earl M. Gaughan, DVM, Dipl. ACVS, clinical professor of larg...

The Older Horse: An Immunological Perspective

In recent years there has been a shift in the U.S. horse population, with aged horses (15 years or older) an increasing percentage (20-30%). Many of these older horses remain actively involved in equestrian sport competitions, are still being bred, or serve as companion animals. Thus, further understanding of how the biology of aging affects the older hor...

UK Researcher Studying "Easy-Keeper" Horses

Equine metabolic syndrome (EMS) is a devastating disease characterized by the three main features of obesity (cresty neck and fat deposits are characteristic), insulin resistance, and laminitis. Certain breeds or individual horses and more than often middle-aged horses are predisposed to EMS, and are often referred to as "easy keepers."

Restricted Equine Diets and Wood Shaving Consumption

Obesity among equines seems to be a ubiquitous problem that leaves many owners seeking a weight loss program for their horse or pony. When it comes to devising a weight loss program, some caretakers turn to restricting the animal's caloric intake; however, one research team found that it's important to consider all possible materials that might be...

Understanding Equine Sleep Deprivation

Today's culture fuels busy lifestyles with dwindling opportunities to sleep, so it should come as no surprise that a 2011 Center for Disease Control study estimated more than one third of American adults suffer from sleep deprivation. But did you know horses can suffer sleep deprivation as well? At the 2012 Western Veterinary Conference, held Feb. 19-...

Gallium Nitrate and R. Equi Shedding (AAEP 2011)

Rhodococcus equi, a normal soil organism, can be damaging for a foal--if not now, then later. Affected foals develop fever, nasal discharge, and cough, and they become lethargic. While some succumb to subsequent pneumonia and pulmonary abscesses, survivors can experience significant performance-limiting problems later in life. Ben Buchanan, DVM, Dipl. ACV...

Spring Turnout Tips for Horses

As the seasons transition from winter to spring, it's time to start thinking about horses' nutritional needs, as well as changes in the forage available to horses grazing on pasture. The spring also brings an increased risk for several health conditions, including laminitis and insulin resistance, in all horses on pasture. Here are some tips for t...

AHP Seeks Participation in Second Equine Industry Survey

The American Horse Publications (AHP) is seeking horse industry participation in its second Equine Industry Survey to gauge trends in the U.S. equine industry. The AHP Equine Industry Survey is being sponsored by Kentucky Equine Research, Merck Animal Health, and Pfizer Animal Health. The survey was launched in early March, and runs through May 15.

Effects of Behavior-Modifying Drug Investigated (AAEP 2011)

"If only he'd stand still and keep quiet!" Many situations faced by horse owners and trainers would be far easier to manage if a temperamental horse would do this, and it might be tempting to initiate long-term sedation when confinement, stall rest, and tractability are necessary. But one veterinarian explained that sometimes the drawbacks o...

Delayed Suturing for Equine Lower Limb Wounds (AAEP 2011)

Just as "there's more than one way to skin a cat," there is more than one way to repair a horse's wound, particularly if it's located on the lower limb. And while many of us might be under the impression that all horse wounds should be stitched closed as soon as possible, this is not always an option. Richard Hackett, DVM, MS, Dipl. ...

Alternative Treatment for "Roaring" in Horses (AAEP 2011)

Most approaches to solving "roaring" in horses--a noisy, performance-limiting condition of the equine airway--involve wielding a scalpel, but a Cornell University-based research team recently examined an alternative, treatment for roarers. Jon Cheetham, VetMB, PhD, Dipl. ACVS, of the College of Veterinary Medicine's Department of Clinical Sc...

FDA No Longer Supports Compounded Pergolide Production

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will no longer support the production of compounded pergolide for use in horses, according to a recent statement from the agency. The change comes several months after the FDA approved a pergolide mesylate tablet (marketed as Prascend) for the treatment of clinical signs associated with pituitary pars inter...

Granulation Tissue Management in the Horse (AAEP 2011)

There is a saying that "anything worth doing is worth overdoing." When it comes to healing lower leg wounds, some horses take this advice to heart and essentially "overheal" their injuries, resulting in the production of unsightly granulation (scar) tissue, commonly known as proud flesh. At 2011 American Association of Equine Prac...

New 'Cancer Vaccine' for Horses in the Works (AAEP 2011)

Cancer isn't diagnosed nearly as frequently in horses as it is in humans, but approximately 80% of all white or gray horses will develop melanomas by the time they are 15 years old. Partly because of melanomas' preferred location (near the tail, anus, groin, or salivary glands) and partly because they often aren't diagnosed early enough, there...

Treating Equine Upper Respiratory Tract Ailments (AAEP 2011)

A horse in respiratory distress or displaying other signs of airway ailments warrants a prompt call to the veterinarian; he or she has tools and experience to attempt to resolve the problem.  At the 2011 American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention, held Nov. 18-22 in San Antonio, Texas, Brett Woodie, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS, a surgeon and own...

Acupuncture Use in Equine Reproduction (AAEP 2011)

Breeding season can mean a growth in acupuncture needle inventory for many horse reproduction specialists. Such veterinarians combine strategic insertion of tiny needles with Western veterinary techniques to address subfertility issues in mares--and even stallions. During a presentation at the 2011 American Association of Equine Practitioners convention, ...

The Equine Mind: Top 10 Things to Know

"Why does he do that?" "What is she so scared of … there's nothing there!" Most—if not all—horse owners have been there and asked those questions. Even though we don't always understand equine behavior, there's got to be a reason behind it, right? Absolutely. Horses’ behaviors date back to equine ev...

Complicated Equine Skin Diseases

"The practice of equine dermatology is usually straightforward with clinical examination and diagnostic testing; it is a rare occasion for an equine skin condition to be considered an actual emergency," began Ann Rashmir-Raven, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS, associate professor in the department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences at Michigan State Universi...

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