Horse Health

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

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...

Oviduct Issues in Mares

When many breeders consider mare fertility issues, most don't consider that the oviduct—the slender channel through which eggs travel from ovary to uterus—could be causing problems. While oviduct-related fertility issues are rare in horses, breeders should be aware of what can go wrong with this important structure.

Prostaglandins for Controlling Mares' Estrous Cycles

Breeders always appreciate ways to help improve their mares' chances of becoming pregnant, and one way veterinarians can help is by administering prostaglandins. At the 2013 Society for Theriogenology Conference, held Aug. 7-10 in Louisville, Ky., Carlos R. F. Pinto, MedVet, PhD, Dipl. ACT, presented a lecture on using prostaglandin F2? (PGF) to contr...

Equine Placentitis Update

What's the most common cause of late-term abortion in horses and remains challenging for veterinarians to diagnose and treat, despite ongoing research? If you said placentitis, you're right. To bring attendees of the 2013 Society for Theriogenology Conference, held Aug. 7-10 in Louisville, Ky., up to speed on the latest research on the complex top...

Top Foal-Related Studies of 2012-'13

Even though they're small in stature, foals can have some big health problems. And researchers around the world are continually working to better understand these health problems and find more effective ways to treat them. At the 2013 Society for Theriogenology Conference, held Aug. 7-10 in Louisville, Ky., Chris Sanchez, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM, associ...

Botulism in Horses: An Update

Rising hay prices and the financial crunch caused by 2009's Great Recession drove many horse owners to seek less expensive forage sources, including large round bales, haylage, and silage. But according to Amy Johnson, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM, compromising on hay quality and feeding from half-ton bales led to a larger problem: an uptick in reported cases of ...

Commentary: Avoiding the Edge

Eric Mitchell, editorial director and editor-in-chief of The Blood-Horse, shares his thoughts on the recent Texas ruling about registration of cloned foals for the American Quarter Horse Association and how that might impact the Thoroughbred industry.

Zinc's Role in Young Horses' Immunity

Young horses require specific levels of amino acids, vitamins, and minerals for proper development, and researchers know that zinc, in particular, is vital for growing horses' enzyme and immune function. However, there's been little research done in horses evaluating the relationship between zinc and the equine immune system. So researchers from A...

Equine Immunodeficiencies Reviewed

A strong immune system is crucial to a horse's overall health status, as a weakened immune system can leave the animal at increased disease risk. And although they're uncommon in horses, immunodeficiencies can have serious consequences for affected animals.

Can Fatty Acid Supplementation Help IR Horses?

Equine insulin resistance—a condition in which cells fail to respond normally to the hormone insulin—requires careful dietary management to prevent laminitis and other complications from developing. So it's no surprise that both veterinarians and horse owners are on the lookout for new ways to help manage this disorder.

Equine Emerging Diseases Reviewed

Tracking emerging and re-emerging equine diseases helps the horse world attempt to stay a step ahead of economically devastating and deadly outbreaks. For that reason, equine veterinarians and industry members gathered on June 14, for Merck Animal Health’s "Equine Emerging and Re-emerging Disease Luncheon" at the 2013 American College of V...

Fetal Consciousness' Impact on Equine Neonatal Health

Somewhere between when the birthing process begins and when the long-legged foal takes his first wobbly steps, he transitions from an unconscious fetus to a conscious horse. And while owners might just be happy to see their new arrival waking up to the world, researchers now believe that the fetal consciousness transition could have a significant impact o...

Equine Postoperative Ileus Insights

When an owner sends a horse under the knife for colic surgery, he or she is first and foremost hoping the horse survives the operation. But just because he makes it through the procedure doesn't mean he's out of the woods: Many horses develop a dangerous complication called postoperative ileus—a lack of gut motility after surgery.

Osteochondrosis Field Evaluation Protocol Developed

It's common knowledge that osteochondrosis—a developmental orthopedic disease that results from a disruption in the growth of articular cartilage located in specific joints—can cause problems for young horses, but how common is it? How are different breeds affected? Where are the most common lesion sites? And, of course, what’s the m...

Equine Collapse Reviewed

There are few things more frightening for an owner than watching their horse collapse without warning or apparent cause. By the same token, unraveling the cause behind an equine collapse often presents veterinarians with a diagnostic challenge, and in many cases the root cause of a horse's collapse can't be determined.

Snakebite in Horses

With warm weather comes the increased risk of snakebite. The major venomous snakes in the United States are the pit vipers, including rattlesnakes, water moccasins, and copperheads. Pit vipers are named after the heat-detecting holes, or pits, on each side of the head that help the snake locate prey. Pit vipers can be differentiated from other snakes by t...

Turnout Time's Impact on Grass Consumption and Fecal pH

Many a horse or pony owner has restricted their overweight equid's turnout time in an effort to help him shed pounds. And while researchers know weight loss helps improve horses' overall health, until now they haven't known exactly what impact restricted grazing has on the equine gastrointestinal health or calorie intake. A group of North Caro...

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