Horse Health

News for caring for the health of your horse provided by The Horse.

Researchers Examine Fatal Lumbar Vertebral Fractures

When it comes to catastrophic injuries in racehorses, most people immediately think of severe limb fractures. But these athletes sometimes suffer life-threatening fractures beyond the limbs. Lumbar vertebral fractures, for instance, can occur in the loin area near where the rear of the saddle sits.

Colic: To Refer or Not to Refer

Four out of every 100 horses colic each year, making it the most common equine emergency. While most cases do not require surgery, 7-10% of them do involve lesions that are only correctable through surgery.

Carbohydrate Composition and Equine Digestion

Carbohydrates, including starches, sugars, and fiber, provide horses with the energy they need to meet their daily requirements. But what type of carbs should you be feeding? High-starch diets, for instance, can increase the risk of metabolic disease, while high-fiber diets might better support horses' nutritional health.

The Vet Tech's Role in Colic Surgery

Despite veterinary advancements and dramatically improved postoperative survival rates, colic is still a leading cause of death among horses. Colic, by definition, is abdominal pain; this is a clinical sign rather than a disease. A horse can be “colicky” for many reasons—large colon torsions, small intestinal strangulations, spasmodic ep...

Study: Cortisol and Noncribbing Cribbers

Back in 2011 an equine ethicist suggested that cribbers should be allowed to crib. That it could actually do them some good (provided it’s not causing colic or severe dental damage, of course). That cribbing might be a coping mechanism for these horses, faced with stress, and that stopping horses from doing it might even be cruel.

How Do Muzzles Impact Horses' Grass Selection and Intake?

In theory, turning a horse out isn't rocket science: Bring horse to pasture, remove halter and lead rope, close gate behind you. But if you're turning an easy keeper out in a big grassy field that happens to be the only pasture you have access to, turnout can be much more complicated—and hazardous to the horse's health. In situations lik...

Preventing Injuries in Thoroughbred Racehorses

The big names are recognizable: Barbaro, Eight Belles, St Nicholas Abbey. But hundreds of other racehorses have suffered racing or training injuries that ultimately proved fatal, as well. And while everyone would like to see the number of catastrophic injuries that occur on racetracks reduced, finding ways to actually accomplish that is easier said than d...

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