Horse Health

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

Switching Horse Feeds Safely

Horse owners sometimes find it necessary to change their horse’s feeding program--fluctuations in temperature, season, and performance level are just some of the reasons. But with the known link between diet changes and health conditions such as colic or laminitis, how can owners safely transition their horse’s feed without negatively affectin...

Saddle Fit Can be a Problem for Racehorses

Both sport and pleasure riders know how important saddle fit is to keeping their mounts healthy and comfortable. But what effects could considerably smaller and lighter racing saddles have on horses that are traveling considerably faster than the average reiner or jumper? Turns out these tiny pieces of tack can have a substantial impact.

Managing Equine Cystic Stifle Lesions

Could something even smaller than a pea end a horse's athletic career? If that something is a cystic lesion in the stifle (or femoral condylar cyst), it's entirely possible. Fortunately, specific management approaches can help some horses return to their jobs in the arena or on the track with few, if any, lasting effects.

A Better Way to Treat Equine Eyes: Subpalpebral Lavage

Anyone who's ever managed an equine eye issue knows how challenging it can be to administer treatment. Horses have an uncanny ability to morph into giraffes when they'd rather not have their eyes touched, and an owner's inability to provide appropriate treatment can hinder a horse's recovery. Fortunately, there's an easier way: the sub...

Placentitis Could be Detected Early with Hormone Testing

Equine placentitis is subtle in its onset, often causing the death of its victim—the unborn foal—before veterinarians can detect and treat it. Equipping veterinarians to identify these cases of placental infection early could help them prevent abortions, lost time on the breeding calendar, and the general heartbreak that can come with losing a...

Diagnosing Unusual Hock Lameness

With six bones articulating in close range and multiple tendons and ligaments controlling extension and flexion, the hock, or the horse equivalent of the human ankle, has many moving and shock-absorbing parts. Add to those the animal’s weight and the fact the joint is almost always in flexion, and you’ve got a recipe for a perplexing number of...

What to Expect with Standing Enucleations

While severe equine eye injuries or disorders can be gruesome in appearance, they generally aren't life-threatening. Thanks to medical and technological advances, veterinarians can now treat eye issues more effectively than they have in the past. But if treatment fails, veterinarians also have the option of removing the eye without the risks associate...

Researchers Study Coronavirus Outbreaks in Adult Horses

Equine coronavirus, or ECoV, has been on many veterinarians' radars lately: While they've long known the virus is commonly found in foals, it's recently been implicated in several outbreaks among adult horses. So to better understand the disease it causes and how to best diagnose and manage outbreaks, researchers recently completed a study on ...

Equine Metabolic Syndrome: What We Know, Where We're Headed

Easy keepers—horses that remain rotund despite restricted diets and rigid exercise plans—must be managed carefully to prevent or minimize more serious health issues. Equine metabolic syndrome (EMS), one condition associated with obesity, can have a serious negative impact on horses' health. Fortunately, over the past few years, veterinaria...

Understanding Immunosenescence in Horses

With more horses living to a ripe old age than in the past, veterinarians have become incredibly well-versed in managing senior equids. But there are still some points that researchers are working to understand. For instance, exactly what impact does aging have on the immune system?

Outcomes of Solar Surface Penetration Injuries Studied

Hoof sole penetration injuries are no small matter, though they might be nearly indiscernible to the eye and affect a small area. It’s more about what’s going on deep inside the hoof, where concealed damage to internal structures can be disastrous; the prognosis for horses injuring these structures to return to their prior athletic level is of...

How Effective is Cribbing Surgery?

Cribbing isn't just annoying for owners and destructive to property. It can also negatively impact your horse's health and is notoriously difficult to control. But there's a glimmer of hope for owners with cribbers: Researchers found that a surgical procedure intended to control cribbing is very effective.

Does Silver Dressing Improve Equine Leg Wound Healing?

When it comes to healing horse wounds many owners will try any and everything to help the defect recover quickly—regardless of whether the product has scientific backing. Recently, researchers put some evidence behind one type of wound dressing: silver sodium zirconium phosphate polyurethane foam wound dressing, or, more simply, SPF dressing.

Researchers Identify EOTRH Risk Factors

As if horses weren't prone to enough injuries and health issues, a new dental disease surfaced in 2004. It's literally a mouthful: equine odontoclastic tooth resorption and hypercementosis (EOTRH). And because it's so recently identified, Ann Pearson, MS, DVM, and her colleagues at Reata Equine Veterinary Group, in Tucson, Ariz., conducted a s...

No Additional Signs of EHV-1 at Fair Hill

The horse quarantined with a suspect case of equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1) at the Fair Hill Training Center, in Elkton, Md., will be retested next week, according to a statement from Kathleen Anderson, DVM, owner and manager of the Elkton-based Equine Veterinary Care, PC.

High-Speed Exercise and Bone Response

Bone was once considered an inert material with its structure defined by genetics. But it turns out there’s a lot more at work, explained Larry Bramlage, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS: “Selective breeding dictates the initial skeleton, but adaptive training in response to exercise modifies it further.” He and other racehorse surgeons are striving ...

Melanoma Implications in Prepurchase Exams

A prepurchase exam can provide valuable insight on a horse’s health status, equipping you to make an informed investment decision. And while veterinarians commonly assess copious qualities from soundness to suitability, if it’s a stunning gray you have you have in your sights, it’s also important to consider whether the horse has melanom...

Managing Racehorse Joints with Strict Medication Regulations

In the face of new racing medication rules, veterinarians are revisiting treatment approaches for injured animals on layup that trainers hope to send back to the track soon. At the American Association of Equine Practitioners' Convention, held Dec. 7-11 in Nashville, Tenn., Wayne McIlwraith, BVSc, PhD, Dipl. ACVS, ACVSMR, described how these restricti...

Study: Not All WNV Vaccines Render Same Immune Response

When it comes to getting shots, a single needle prick might seem like a better idea compared to multiple pokes. But when it comes to your horses' West Nile virus (WNV) vaccinations, multiple injections might be the way to go: Researchers recently tested horses' serologic (blood) response to six WNV vaccination regimens and found some significant d...

Top Equine Reproduction Studies of 2013

While your veterinarian is stitching wounds, delivering foals, and monitoring colics, researchers from around the world are publishing research that often advances the collective of horse health care. So to bring busy practitioners up to speed on the top studies in a variety of fields, a panel of veterinarians presents a news-type program each year at the...

Some Vaccines Safe to Administer to Younger Foals

By the time a human infant reaches 4 months of age he or she has likely received a battery of vaccinations, starting shortly after birth. In contrast, four- to six-month-old foals whose dams were vaccinated properly are likely just starting to receive immunizations, as recommended by the American Association of Equine Practitioners' (AAEP) vaccination...

Can Vaccination Protect Horses from Neurologic EHV-1?

In the equine industry three simple letters, when said in order, can silent a room of horsemen, turn a showground into a ghost town, and send shockwaves through barns. They're E, H, and V, and they stand for equine herpesvirus-1, a contagious equine virus that can cause serious neurologic problems in affected horses. Fortunately for owners, veterinari...

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