Horse Health

Health news, veterinary advice, and educational tools to keep your horse healthy.

  • Drug Testing Delays Mount, States Eye Options

    Delays at the respected Lexington drug-testing laboratory LGC have forced two of its biggest customers, the Indiana Horse Racing Commission and Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, to consider other options.

  • 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.

  • Choosing Corticosteroids for RAO: Systemic or Inhaled?

    While there's no definitive cure for recurrent airway obstruction (RAO, commonly known as heaves), veterinarians are well-versed in managing the condition. Many will add a corticosteroid—either systemic or inhaled—to an affected horse's therapeutic regimen, but which type is the better choice?

  • 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...

  • How to Manage a Collapsed Foal

    Foals have seemingly endless energy, darting around their fields, playing with their pasturemates, and recharging with a quick nap and a drink from Mom. But, occasionally, a foal develops a health problem that zaps that energy and leaves him in a collapsed heap, looking sickly and vulnerable. What should you do if this happens to your foal?

  • What Causes Equine Grass Sickness?

    We all know that horses residing at pasture spend the majority of their days grazing. But did you know that, in certain parts of the world, grazing could put a horse at risk for contracting a potentially fatal disease? And what's more, researchers still aren't sure what causes the disease, called equine grass sickness (EGS).

  • Study Compares Abdominal Bandage Types

    It's no secret that leg wraps and bandages applied to horses' lower limbs protect and support the soft tissues within. But what about the abdominal bandages veterinarians wrap around horses' bodies post-colic surgery—do they function in the same way?

  • Study: Low-Dose Omeprazole and Gastric Ulcers

    If you’ve ever had to deal with equine gastric ulcers, you—and your wallet—will likely be happy that researchers have learned that a much lower dose of one omeprazole formulation could be just as effective in treating the condition as the standard dose.

  • Oaklawn to Offer Bonuses for Lasix-Free Wins

    Charles J. Cella, president of Oaklawn Racing & Gaming, announced Sept. 18 that the Arkansas track in 2015 will offer purse bonuses for horses that run and win without furosemide (Salix or commonly called Lasix).

  • Jockey Club: Study Shows Lasix Not Needed

    Jockey Club says a recent study's findings challenge long-held opinions in North American racing, including the contention that the use of the diuretic furosemide is necessary to ensure long-term careers of horses.

  • Study: Boots, Wraps Increase Leg Heat During Exercise

    Tendon boots help protect horses’ front legs from injuries such as hoof strikes or collisions with jumps. Wraps protect this sensitive area during travel or flat work. But Austrian researchers have determined that boots and wraps have definite effects on skin and tendon temperature as well—and those effects are probably not without health cons...

  • Study: Vets Disagree on Equine Neurologic Assessments

    Is that horse lame, or is he exhibiting neurologic signs such as ataxia (incoordination)? For some horse owners, answering this question can be difficult. Recent study results suggest, however, that owners aren't the only ones that find it challenging to evaluate a possibly ataxic horse: Researchers determined that equine health experts have difficult...

  • Kentucky to Tackle Drug Compounder Concerns

    In a 12-month period that has seen drug compounders linked to horse deaths at a training center and integrity issues at the track, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission is researching ways it could add regulatory oversight.

  • My Miss Sophia blisses out as Carol Seaver works her magic.

    Magic Touch: Human Therapist Helps Racehorses

    A keen observer of the subtle nuances of movement, balance, and alignment, Carol Seaver takes it all in and tunes into the Thoroughbreds that need her attention. When she works on horses, magic happens.

  • Haynet Design and Forage Consumption Rates Studied

    It’s no secret that horses in modern management situations can benefit from slowed forage intake, which mimics feral horses' natural foraging tendencies. But do these slow feeders really work? A group of University of Minnesota researchers recently put two slow-feed haynets—one with medium-sized and one with small-sized openings—to t...

  • Compound Pharmacy Reinforces Safety Standards

    A Lexington pharmacy that makes compound products for horses said it has taken steps to reinforce its safety and quality standards and has cooperated with a federal agency's inquiry into "adverse events earlier this year."

  • Strangles Signs, Risk Factors, and Complications Evaluated

    If your horse had strangles, would you be able to tell? He'd probably have those token swollen lymph nodes and maybe a fever, right? It's possible, but researchers recently determined that these signs alone might not be the only ones that should prompt a strangles test. In fact, more than a quarter of the horses in their recent research presented ...

  • Equine Coronavirus Identified in European Horses

    It started in a diarrheic foal in North Carolina in 1999. A few years later, researchers found it in Japan. Today, scientists have discovered the virus in Europe. And what’s more, they’ve found it in horses' respiratory fluid, whereas before, it’s only been isolated in feces.

  • Rehabilitating Horses with Back Problems

    Horses can suffer musculoskeletal pain and injuries anywhere along the axial skeleton that comprises the skull, vertebral column, sternum, and ribs. Bringing these horses back to form post-injury can be difficult and time-consuming, but possible thanks to both time-tested mobilization exercises and cutting-edge physical therapy techniques.

  • Health Zone: Vaccines

    A behind-the-scenes look at how your horse's immune system is best primed for battle.

  • Effort Aims to Improve Animal Feed Safety

    If a problem occurs with horse feed, a new collaboration between the U.S. Food & Drug Administration and the Partnership for Food Protection aims to improve reaction time by sharing information about feed-related issues.

  • Check Ligament Surgery Helps Racehorses with SDFT Injuries

    Moderate to severe superficial digital flexor (SDF) tendon lesions in Thoroughbred racehorses have typically carried a poor prognosis for a return to racing and a lengthy rehabilitation process for horses that do return. But a team of veterinarians recently took a closer look at a procedure that could help improve the outcome for Thoroughbreds with such i...

  • Risk Factors for EIPH in Australian Racehorses Studied

    Researchers know that exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage, or EIPH, can hinder a horse's lung function and athletic performance. What they're still not clear on, however, is which horses will bleed and when. But an Australian research team recently took a step closer to finding the answer.

  • Monitor Mares' Progesterone Levels before Inducing Labor

    Inducing labor in humans might be commonplace, but performing the same procedure in pregnant mares is tricky business. If the timing’s off, the foal isn’t likely to be strong enough to survive. But French researchers say that monitoring mares' progesterone levels—combined with veterinary and breeding experience—could be the key...

  • Clenbuterol's Impact on Horses' Body Fat Percentage

    With any medication comes a risk of side effects. For instance, long-term phenylbutazone administration to treat a musculoskeletal issue can result in gastrointestinal problems; pergolide to treat Cushing's disease can cause a decreased appetite; and vaccine administration to protect against disease can cause injection site swelling and muscle sorenes...

  • The Thoroughbred Racehorse Foot

    Foot problems can commonly cause horses to be scratched from a race, lose training days, overload other structures, and have shortened careers. Functionally adapted for speed and efficient use of energy, the Thoroughbred foot is light and lacks the mass for protection commonly seen in heavier boned breeds.

  • Equine Infectious Disease Outbreak Response 101

    From equine herpesvirus and influenza to strangles and coronavirus, infectious diseases can cause quite a stir in the horse industry—quarantines, canceled competitions, and, in some cases, even horse deaths or the threat of human infection. And something all horse owners and veterinarians should know is how to respond in the face of an infectious di...