Horse Health

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

  • 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...

  • 2014 Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit.

    No Consensus on Fewer Starts, Shorter Fields

    A panel discussion during the first day of the Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit yielded no consensus on possible reasons for declines in average starts per horse and average field sizes over the past five decades.

  • Doug Byars, D.V.M.

    Kentucky Horses Lose a Friend in Vet Byars

    On the morning of July 8, the word "irreplaceable" kept bouncing around the head of Old Friends founder Michael Blowen as he thought about the previous night's death of Central Kentucky veterinarian Doug Byars, D.V.M.

  • Can Fecal Albumin Tests Identify Equine Parasite Burdens?

    Over the past few years equine parasite control guidelines have been on a roller coaster ride. Many veterinarians now recommend owners focus their attention on horses with the highest parasite burdens, but how can you tell which horses are infected? Researchers recently tested whether a stall-side fecal test could identify horses with high internal parasi...

  • Are Coughing and Nasal Discharge Early Indicators of Heaves?

    Horse owners might dismiss mild coughing or nasal discharge in their horses, but could these two inflammatory airway disease (IAD) signs be linked to a more serious condition? Recent research results from the University of Berne's Swiss Institute of Equine Medicine indicate that, yes, these signs could be early indicators of recurrent airway obstructi...

  • Tests for EHM Come Back Negative at Suffolk

    Bio-security measures and protocols to stop the spread of the contagious disease, which can cause respiratory distress, neurological disease, and death, had been in place since June 9.

  • 10 Hot Weather Horse Care Tips

    Summer heat can be dangerous for horses, resulting in dehydration, lethargy, and general malaise. Severe heat stress can cause diarrhea, or even colic. But owners can take important steps to keep horses safe and comfortable during the hot days ahead.

  • Jockey Club Urging Potential Salix Study

    The Jockey Club has called on leading industry organizations to come together to conduct a Salix study that would examine the timing of administration on the medication used to prevent exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage.

  • What Makes Horses More or Less Likely to Miss Training Days?

    The next time your equine athlete is on stall rest, don't ask why his barnmates seem so much sounder than him unless you really want to hear the answer: Researchers recently determined that several factors—from the animal's history to your own training and management techniques—appear to make horses more or less likely to miss training...

  • Researchers Study the Genetics of Heaves

    Recurrent airway obstruction (RAO, also called heaves) appears to have a genetic basis, but that genetic basis isn’t the same in all horses, Swiss researchers say. While the clinical signs can be the same, the disease's underlying genetic mechanisms can vary from one horse family to another.

  • Opening Windows for Equine Social Interaction

    As social relationships between horses become a greater equine welfare focus, scientists are seeking ways to allow social interactions for animals housed in traditionally isolating box stall settings. But don't tear your barn and stalls down just yet: French researchers recently tested another solution—windows between stalls—with positive ...

  • UK Equine Expo Set for June 3

    The University of Kentucky Ag Equine Programs will host the sixth annual Equine Farm and Facilities Expo June 3 from 4 to 8 p.m. EDT at the Kentucky Equine Humane Center in Nicholasville, Ky.

  • Equine Laparoscopic Castration's Success Rates Studied

    Researchers and veterinarians constantly seek safer ways to perform common surgical procedures, and the castration of stallions is no exception. In the 1990s, laparoscopic castration, which cuts off the testes' blood supply but leaves them in place, was developed as an alternative to conventional castration methods that removes the testes from the bod...

  • Two More Horses Dead After Receiving Compound

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports the number of Thoroughbreds who died after receiving a compounded drug from Wickliffe Pharmacy in Lexington, Ky. has grown to four, and six others have become ill.

  • KHRC Collecting Corticosteroid Information

    The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission is collecting information on corticosteroid elimination times following specific uses of the medications provided by participating racetrack veterinarians.

  • Treating Suspensory Injuries with Fetlock Support Shoes

    Veterinarians and farriers apply a wide variety of horseshoes to treat the plethora of hoof problems that come our horses’ way, not to mention issues farther up the limb. Injuries to the suspensory ligament (a structure crucial to a horse's limb support system) are notoriously difficult to treat, so veterinarians recently tested a modern version...

  • Compounded Drug Eyed in Thoroughbred Deaths

    A University of Florida veterinarian said a compounded drug from the Wickliffe Pharmacy in Lexington may have led to the deaths of two Thoroughbreds and caused neurological disturbances with six others.

  • Diagnosing and Managing Endocrine Disorders in Senior Horses

    More than 20% of aged horses are known to suffer from equine Cushing’s disease (also known as pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction, or PPID), a harmful endocrine condition that can carry with it a host of other dangerous health problems. To give our elderly equids their best chance at comfort, one researcher recently described best practices for di...

  • Study: Tongue Ties Appear to Benefit Racehorses

    For more than a century, racehorse trainers have tied horses’ tongues to the front and side when they work or race. The purpose, trainers say, is to reduce breathing noises and help the horses perform better. But, until now, researchers have never confirmed that the tongue tie actually has a physical effect on the upper respiratory structures.

  • Graham Motion on Animal Kingdom and Travel

    What kept Kentucky Derby and Dubai World Cup winner Animal Kingdom performing at his best as he traveled the world? His trainer Graham Motion explains.

  • Surgically Treating 'Kissing Spines' in the Standing Horse

    A kiss is typically synonymous with romance and affection. But when it's your horse's spine that's doing the kissing, it's also synonymous with pain and poor performance. "Kissing spines" is traditionally treated surgically under general anesthesia, which carries its own risks, ranging from the dangers of recovery to death. But t...