Horse Health

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

Researchers Developing Equine Sweet Itch Test

Your horse is itchy. You find patches of missing hair on his sides and shoulders. There are gaps in his mane, holes in his tail. Sweet itch? It could be. But then again, maybe not. Belgian researchers say the only way to be sure that your horse is affected by sweet itch is to evaluate him using a confirmed diagnostic test for the disease.

Steaming's Effect Horse Hay Studied

Soaking hay in water is a common practice used to reduce dust and non-structural carbohydrate (NSC) levels for horses with respiratory or metabolic conditions. But soaking can leach essential nutrients, such as phosphorus and magnesium, from hay and be labor-intensive.

Genetics Behind Horses' Face and Leg Markings Studied

Depending on the breed and breeder, white markings on horses might be something to strive for or against. Swiss and Australian researchers have recently tuned into the genetics of white leg and face markings, and they've learned that these features are the result of complex genetic processes—but not too complex for modern science.

Hoof Kinematics in Mild Lameness Diagnoses

You know that nagging feeling when your performance horse is just not quite right, yet you can’t pinpoint the problem zone? Here's some good news: By using hoof kinematics, researchers at the Gail Holmes Equine Orthopaedic Research Center at Colorado State University (CSU) are developing a technique to aid in the diagnosis of mild or subclinical...

Examining the Trot to Canter Transition Step by Step

Whether your horse takes several short, quick trot steps into the canter or jumps right into that rocking-horse gait, the moment when his legs change sequence probably seems fleeting. To a group of researchers from Michigan State University (MSU) though, that moment of change is of great interest.

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...

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