Horse Health

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

NAHMS Planning for Third Equine Industry Study

The National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS), a nonregulatory division of USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service—Veterinary Services, in collaboration with the National Agricultural Statistics Service, is planning for its third national study of the equine industry. The survey is scheduled to begin in summer 2015.

Researchers Study Sesamoid Bone Shape Differences

The training and racing of 2-year-old Thoroughbreds has always been a source of debate in the racing world due to concerns that exerting young skeletons might make horses more likely to injure themselves. But recent study results from Italian researchers suggest that at least one set of bones in Thoroughbreds might not impacted by training as juveniles: t...

Researchers Study Racehorses' Bone Fatigue Life

When you buy a new horse trailer, chances are you'll also get lots technical information about the “fatigue life” of mechanical parts like the shocks or the clamp to close the hitch. That fatigue life refers to how long these parts can be used—opening and closing, absorbing shock, clamping, or whatever they do—before they break.

Hair Coat Conundrums

Beautiful hair is a widely sought-after commodity. Just look at the millions of dollars people spend on various hair treatments. Britney Spears alone reportedly spends more than $60,000 on personal grooming expenses every year! Horses are similarly pampered and preened, as evidenced by the fact that nutritional supplements marketed for skin and coat are t...

Researchers Review Equine Multinodular Pulmonary Fibrosis

Since it was first identified in 2007, deadly equine multinodular pulmonary fibrosis (EMPF) has been reported in numerous horses across North America and Europe. While still considered a rare disease, EMPF appears to be related to a very common one—equine herpesvirus (EHV)—and early treatment appears to be the main hope for survival.

What are Third Trochanter Fractures in Horses?

Ever heard of the horse's third trochanter? It's a part of a bone, and guess what: It can break. While not common, third trochanter fractures can cause almost instant, severe hind limb lameness that can be difficult to diagnose. But the news isn't all bad: French researchers say these fractures probably won’t end a horse's athletic c...

Which Deworming Method is Most Cost-Effective?

One topic horse owners have heard a lot about in the past few years is anthelmintic resistance. And while many veterinarians encourage their clients to change to fecal egg count (FEC) directed deworming from rotational deworming—something many have practiced for years or decades—some are slow to adapt. But new study results from Scotland sugge...

Researchers Evaluate Equine Hematology Parameters

Italian researchers believe that a wide number of “healthy” variables—such as breed and geographic location—might impact horses' blood test results. And with the current textbook reference hematology values being based on the Thoroughbred horse in the United Kingdom, the team believes it might be time to develop new reference v...

BHA Looks Ahead to IFHA Debate on Anabolic Steroids

Paul Bittar, chief executive of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), outlined his hopes yesterday (Oct. 3) ahead of the sessions at the forthcoming International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) Conference, when the subject of the use of anabolic steroids in racing will be considered. The conference will take place Oct. 7-8 in Paris, France.

CEM Screening Techniques Tested

Researchers have confirmed the importance of including exposed mares when conducting surveillance for contagious equine metritis (CEM) in the recent South African outbreak, along with specific stallion sampling and screening methods in that country for the venereal disease.

Study: Horses Able to Stay Fit When Kept at Pasture

There are many theories on how to best manage performance horses during periods with no forced exercise (whether after sustaining an injury or just for a rest period), and owners are often left with a dilemma: stall rest or pasture turnout? To find the answer, a team of researchers recently completed a study evaluating how well horses maintain a certain f...

Top Reproduction Studies of 2012-'13

Veterinarians and researchers with interests in equine reproduction gathered Aug. 7-10 in Louisville, Ky., for the 2013 American College of Theriogenology (ACT) Symposia and Conference. On the last day of the event presenters Mary Beth Stanton, DVM, Dipl. ACT, of Equine Veterinary Reproduction Specialists, in Ocala, Fla., and Audrey Kelleman, DVM, Dipl. A...

Does Feeding Hay Before Grain Reduce Cribbing?

Which comes first, the grain or the hay? You might love rewarding that excited nickering with a bucket full of sweet feed, followed by hay for hours of chewing pleasure. But according to recent research, if you’ve got a cribber, you’re probably better off doing the opposite.

Choosing an Antibiotic for Use in Foals

Treating bacterial diseases in horses—or really, in any species—is much easier when the causative agents are sensitive to available antibiotics. But unfortunately, this isn't always the case anymore: antibiotic-resistant bacteria are popping up all over the world.

Parasite Control Recommendations for Mares and Foals

Times are changing when it comes to equine parasite control: Anthelmintic-resistant parasites have prompted new, more targeted deworming recommendations. Two important classes of horses that fall under this deworming protocol are broodmares and foals. At the 2013 Society for Theriogenology Conference, held Aug. 7-10 in Louisville, Ky., Wendy Vaala, VMD, D...

Study: Young Horses Can't Read Subtle Human Body Cues

Four years ago, The Horse reported on research showing that horses are capable of reading subtle human body cues. Today, those researchers are back to tell us that although adult horses have this capacity, young horses do not. And this, they say, fails to support the theory that such a skill is innate in this species.

Honey for Treating Horse Wounds

Scottish researchers have some sweet news in the field of equine wound healing: Honey’s all the buzz in natural wound remedies, and according to recent research, it works with horses, too. Better yet, it’s not just the tried-and-true manuka honey that works, but a wide variety of honeys from different parts of the world.

Equine Osteochondrosis Terminology Revamped

If you’ve ever been confused by the differences between osteochondrosis and osteochondritis dissecans, or wondered whether these are the same as developmental orthopedic disease (DOD) or just examples of it, you’re not alone. For decades, diseases of the bones, joints, and cartilage in young horses have sparked many word-slinging debates among...

Study Confirms Horses Respond to Negative Reinforcement

If we train our horses correctly, we should sense that they get “lighter” as training progresses. In other words, we should be able to execute cues with less force and get the same result. But until now, measuring that “lightness” has always just been a matter of “feeling,” so to speak: Danish researchers have put the s...

Could Intrauterine Marbles Cause Pyometra in Mares?

Mares in estrus can be challenging—and even dangerous—to deal with. So some owners seek a veterinarians' help to control their mares' estrous cycles and reduce estrus-related behavior. One of those methods involves placing a marble in the mare's uterus, which essentially keeps the mare from cycling.

Studying the Rider-Saddle-Horse Interface

Horses are big, sturdy animals capable of carrying hundreds of pounds of weight. They've hauled us around for centuries, across battlefields, farmland, and show rings. But just how do the forces applied by saddle and rider affect a horse's performance and welfare? With advent of electronic pressure-measuring devices, researchers are now able to an...

Horse Pain and its Impact on Reproduction

A broodmare battling chronic laminitis, a stallion with recurrent uveitis, and a maiden mare with persistent tendinitis: While these horses and their conditions are each distinct, the animals do share the potential for exhibiting pain-related fertility problems. A University of Florida (UF) veterinarian described how equine pain might influence reproducti...

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