Horse Health

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

Vestibular Disease in Horses Reviewed

Although they don't tend to garner as much attention as infectious neurologic diseases, vestibular diseases (those that pertain to the balance mechanisms) are common and important causes of neurologic problems in horses. At the 2013 Western Veterinary Conference, held Feb. 17-21, Laurie Beard, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVIM, associate clinical professor at Kans...

Study Evaluates Effects of Probiotics for Horses

Nutritional supplements containing probiotics are popular purchases for some horse owners, even if not all of these products' label claims are backed by research. But some researchers are working to better understand these probiotics' effects on horses. At the 2013 Western Veterinary Conference, held Feb. 17-21, in Las Vegas, Nev., one veterinaria...

Current Diagnostic Options for PPID

Veterinarians can typically diagnose a horse with late-stage pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID, or equine Cushing's disease) easily. Diagnosing early stage PPID and, thus, allowing treatment to begin earlier in the course of the disease, remains more challenging. Fortunately, research is ongoing and more reliable diagnostic tests are being d...

Top Reasons for Early Embryonic Death Described (AAEP 2012)

Pregnancy loss in the early days of gestation perplex veterinarians and owners perpetually; after taking every measure to protect the embryo visible at Day 15 after ovulation, mares sometimes come up empty. And while scientists have learned volumes about getting mares in foal, there’s plenty left to decipher when it comes to keeping them there in th...

Novel Use of Stems Cells in Horses Reported (AAEP 2012)

Getting a subfertile mare in foal usually often necessitates repeated veterinary examinations and treatments, such as medications and uterine flushes. Still, success is not always guaranteed. Researchers recently revealed that stem cells and other biologic therapies might also be useful in the quest to promote “sub” mares to fully fertile.

Handling Hyperthermia and Hypothermia in Horses

They might be on opposite ends of the spectrum, but hyperthermia and hypothermia in horses are more alike than one might think. At the 2013 Western Veterinary Conference, held Feb. 17-21 in Las Vegas, Nev., Amelia S. Munsterman, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS, ACVECC, reviewed these two equine environmental emergencies and how to best manage affected horses.

Ultrasonography to Diagnose Equine Lung Problems (AAEP 2012)

Ultrasound is a noninvasive tool veterinarians can use to diagnose myriad medical maladies, including those affecting either the lungs or the space around the lungs. Although practitioners perform thoracic ultrasound exams in referral settings routinely, they can also conduct these efficiently and effectively in an ambulatory setting, explained Virginia B...

Beware of Problems up to Two Weeks after Foaling (AAEP 2012)

Mares can make the entire birthing process look easy; some mares produce a healthy foal in as few as two hours, and most have a foal by their side within five to six hours. But Ahmed Tibary, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACT, from Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, warns that even though mare and foal might seem fine initially, complica...

Equine Field Anesthesia Considerations

Have you ever observed or seen photos of a horse in a hospital undergoing surgery that requires general anesthesia? After he's anesthetized in a padded room he's hoisted onto a table where, while the surgeon takes care of the procedure at hand, numerous assistants monitor the patient's vital signs, ready to spring into action if any problems o...

Subfertile Mares Need Conscientious Monitoring (AAEP 2012)

Many reproductive losses occur in the very early stages of pregnancy, but veterinarians emphasize that losses late in gestation can happen as well. A Louisiana State University (LSU) reproduction specialist recently described how practitioners can monitor pregnant mares to minimize such losses, particularly those mares difficult to get in foal in the firs...

Sample Handling's Effects on Plasma CO2 Levels (AAEP 2012)

By its very nature the practice of “milkshaking,” or administering bicarbonate or other alkalinizing substances to racehorses as performance enhancers, can be tough to pinpoint—horses metabolize the substances quickly, and testing laboratories must look for elevated blood total carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations as evidence. So to prese...

Treating Head Injuries in Horses

Anyone who's ever been inadvertently bumped by their horse's head knows just how heavy and solid these structures are. But horses' heads aren't invincible: They can suffer injuries ranging from harmless scratches to severe bone fractures.

Helping Pregnant Mares' Final Month be Fruitful (AAEP 2012)

Although a great deal of the literature on breeding pertains to fertility and pregnancy rates, the last month of gestation is equally (if not more) important. Even in seemingly healthy mares, pregnancy can change from heavenly to horrific in the wink of a vulva, as one researcher explained during the 2012 American Association of Equine Practitioners&rsquo...

Biomechanics and Hoof Problems, Treatment (AAEP 2012)

Lameness caused by foot problems is common in the horse, and it can significantly impact how well a horse can perform. Hoof bruising, heel soreness, hoof cracks all create discomfort that alter a horse’s gait and prevent him from giving his utmost to an athletic task. Nearly all equine foot diseases have their root in biomechanics, noted a Universit...

Researchers Study Early Postpartum Breeding in Horses

Covering broodmares during the first month postpartum, often on the first postpartum estrus (termed "foal heat"), is routine practice at many dedicated breeding operations to ensure mares foal at roughly the same time each year. A mare that fails to conceive shortly after foaling continues to have subsequently later foaling dates, eventually mis...

What to Consider Before Tooth Removal in Horses (AAEP 2012)

The goal of equine dentistry is to preserve teeth whenever possible, but sometimes that broken or rotten tooth just has to go before it causes more problems such as infection of the sinuses or jawbone. However, before deciding to extract a horse’s tooth, owners and veterinarians must consider a number of important factors, noted a Cornell University...

Supplement to Support Post-Surgical Joint Health (AAEP 2012)

A research team from the Nutraceutical Alliance Inc. shared some good news for owners of horses with osteoarthritis at the 2012 American Association of Equine Practitioners convention: A nutritional supplement fed immediately after osteochondral fragment removal surgery could help reduce the amount of post-surgical inflammation in the joint.

AAEP Vets to Assist Telecasts of 2013 Triple Crown Trail

Media-trained equine veterinarians representing the American Association of Equine Practitioners’ (AAEP) On Call program will support another season of live Thoroughbred racing telecasts when the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” series on the NBC Sports Group kicks off this weekend. The On Call program is designed to deliver accurate veterin...

AHC, AAEP Issue Letter on Equine Disease Outbreaks

The American Horse Council and the American Association of Equine Practitioners issued an open letter to the horse industry March 28 regarding equine disease outbreaks in the United States. In their communication, the organizations outline current horse health issues facing the industry and seek equine community participation in developing a National Equi...

Wobbler Syndrome in Older Horses

The neurologic condition cervical vertebral stenotic myopathy (CVSM, commonly known as wobbler syndrome) is much less common in older horses than it is in young, growing animals. But according to one clinician, this condition should be on all veterinarians' differential diagnoses list when evaluating an aged horse presenting with neurologic signs and/...

Pervious Concrete Reduces Equine Injury, Environmental Risks

Any owner who has ever bathed a horse while standing on a conventional concrete surface knows the soapy runoff can quickly turn that surface into a slick hazard for both animal and human. Stephen Higgins, PhD, director of Environmental Compliance for the Agricultural Experiment Station at the University of Kentucky’s College of Agriculture, says hor...

Blood Collection Tube Size and CO2 Concentration (AAEP 2012)

Veterinarians screen racehorses regularly for evidence of performance enhancers, aiming to use sample collection methods that yield accurate and consistent results. Blood-draw supplies vary among veterinarians, however, and could conceivably impact test results, so a Purdue University research team recently evaluated how such variables impact a common mea...

Handling Equine Oral Tooth Extraction Failures (AAEP 2012)

Dental extractions don’t always go according to plan, so the practitioner needs to be ready for potential complications before removing a tooth. A Pennyslvania practitioner recently described typical reasons why oral extraction fail, alternative approaches when these problems occur, and the equipment, facilities, assistance, and skill a veterinarian...

Researchers Review Equine Sarcoidosis Cases

While still rare, equine sarcoidosis—not to be confused with sarcoid tumors, an unrelated skin condition—can appear in even the healthiest of horses. But don’t be too quick to treat sarcoidosis-associated hair loss, scaly and flaking skin, and crusting with creams, ointments, and lotions. According to Dutch researchers, it’s better...

Triaging Acute Equine Neurologic Emergencies

A horse owner's day can go from great to horrific in a matter of seconds if he or she arrives at the barn to find their charge either staggering around the field or completely unable to rise. A prompt call to the veterinarian is warranted in these scenarios, but what should an owner expect when the veterinarian arrives?

New Test Could Detect Equine Lyme Disease Sooner (AAEP 2012)

Diagnosing Lyme disease in horses is tricky business; not all horses that contract the causative bacterium, Borrellia burgdorferi, from infected ticks develop the debilitating condition, and those that do might not show signs until several months after infection. As with many diseases, early detection can mean swifter resolution, along with better recover...

New Hyperinsulinemia Screening Test Promising (AAEP 2012)

In a perfect world, veterinarians would be able to detect every horse afflicted with insulin dysregulation before the animal developed the painful and debilitating disease laminitis. Screening for insulin issues is typically cumbersome, because existing tests are time-consuming and involved. A team from the University of Tennessee (UT) led by Nicholas Fra...

Equine Herpesvirus-1 Q&A

Equine Herpesvirus-1 Q&A

Equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1) is a highly contagious disease that can cause epidemic abortion in mares and respiratory and/or neurologic disease. The neurologic form is often fatal. Our experts answer your EHV-1 questions.

Stem Cell Approach Ineffective for SDFT Injuries (AAEP 2012)

Musculoskeletal injuries are an all-too common cause of lameness in horses. Thanks to the advent of biologic therapies, including stem cells, tendon injuries aren’t the “death sentence” they once were. Despite the positive results associated with stem cells in equine tendon injuries, however, the “best” way to obtain and use ...

Back to Basics: Equine Dental Terminology and Anatomy

When discussing our dental health, we are familiar with commonly used terms such as plaque, cavity, or root canal. But discussing our horses' teeth can be a bit more confusing: Mesial. Occlusal surface. Interproximal space. What does it all mean? Fortunately, at the 2013 Western Veterinary Conference, held Feb. 17-21 in Las Vegas, Nev., Cleet Griffin,...

Top Equine Reproduction Studies of 2012 (AAEP 2012)

Veterinary researchers publish scores of scientific papers annually, but if practitioners are out examining and treating patients they don't necessarily have time to brush up on every study's take-home message. The annual Kester News Hour presentation at the American Association of Equine Practitioners' convention gives practitioners a chance ...

Medication Mishaps in Horses (AAEP 2012)

Paracelsus, a 16th century Swiss physician and alchemist, once said, "Poison is in everything, and no thing is without poison. The dosage makes it either a poison or a remedy." Similarly in horses, determining what medication dose is therapeutic vs. detrimental, and knowing which drugs can poison some horses while helping others, are among the c...

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