Horse Health

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

Spring Cleaning? Don't forget Sheath Cleaning

The coming of spring is, in some ways, a rebirth. It's the time when many horse owners dig out their grooming supplies and clippers and breathe fresh life into their furry charges (aka, the Spring Cleaning Frenzy). Some owners have "The Frenzy" down to a science, but others might forget to clean of one of the darkest—and possibly dirti...

New Method for Scoring Sweat Losses in Horses Proposed

Warm summer weather is just around the corner, which means many owners will be hosing sweaty horses after exercise on a regular basis. But how much sweat are you rinsing down the drain after each ride? The National Research Council and German Society for Nutrition Physiology's current estimation methods depend on the amount of work the horse performs,...

Caring for the Disciplines: Racing

When more than 50,000 people cheered Zenyatta to victory in the 2009 Breeders' Cup Classic, they were responding to the mare's personality and charisma as well as the sheer athletic prowess with which she defeated rivals repeatedly.

PPID Risk Factors in Horses Studied

Veterinarians and scientists have made great strides in understanding, diagnosing, and treating pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID, often referred to as equine Cushing's disease)—a neuro-degenerative disorder of aged horses, in which dopamine production of the pituitary gland decreases. However, questions about the disease still abound....

Shock Wave Therapy for Lower Leg Wounds on Horses

Wounds located on a horse’s lower (distal) limb can be extremely challenging to treat due to the small amount of “extra” soft tissue in the area (to suture, for example) and the propensity for excessive proud flesh to form, which prolongs rehabilitation. Over the years, veterinarians have tried multiple techniques to improve tissue heali...

Bandages for Fracture Stabilization Evaluated (AAEP 2012)

Fracture stabilization is one of the most important steps in addressing potentially catastrophic injuries in horses. One of the staples veterinarians use to stabilize equine limb fractures is the Robert Jones bandage, a layered and padded bandage, sometimes used in conjunction with a splint layered inside the wrap, designed to limit limb mobility.

Drug Peramivir Could Help Horses Suffering from Flu

Flu season for horses can be any season. And considering that even horses vaccinated against the equine influenza virus (EIV) can still “catch the flu,” this disease is cause for concern. A group of Japanese researchers, however, recently evaluated a flu inhibitor in horses and found that it could help EIV-infected animals recover more quickly.

How Horse Wounds Heal

Whether large or small, serious or innocuous, all wounds follow a distinct and complex healing process. During the 2013 Western Veterinary Conference, held Feb. 17-21 in Las Vegas, Nev., one veterinarian reviewed how wounds heal and how owners can help facilitate healing.

AAEP, AHC Partner to Prevent Equine Disease Outbreaks

When a horse contracts a disease, the owner or caretaker usually focuses solely on getting the horse healthy again and protecting others on the farm from illness. But in reality, certain ailments could have community-, region-, and even industry-wide effects. For instance, an equine viral arteritis or contagious equine metritis outbreak could shutter the ...

New Weight Loss Program for EMS Horses a Welcomed Success

One of the first steps to helping an obese horse drop a few pounds is recognizing that he's overweight in the first place. The next step? Implementing a diet program. But that hasn't always been as easy as it seems, as few tried and true weight loss programs for horses exist. British researchers recently tested a weight loss plan designed specific...

Therapeutic Ultrasound Settings for Horses Identified

Did you know that ultrasound can be used for more than just diagnosing tendon and ligament injuries in horses? Indeed, veterinarians can also use it therapeutically to treat soft tissue injuries, but what settings they should use and how long they should treat an injured horse has, until now, been a bit of a "guesstimation" game.

CFS Classification System Developed (AAEP 2012)

Foals with contracted limbs, which can prevent them from standing or walking normally, often display a variety of other physical abnormalities that veterinarians haven’t directly tied to the contractures. Understanding correlations between these characteristics could help veterinarians build a bank of knowledge to help guide treatment down the most ...

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...

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