Horse Health

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

Protein's Role in Fueling Performance Horses

Protein is arguably the most misunderstood essential nutrient in the equine diet. Protein is made up of amino acids, and its main function is in muscle, tendon, and ligament development and repair. But, how do protein needs change in the equine athlete? Here are three key points to remember about protein's role in fueling the sport horse.

Allergic Dermatitis in Horses: A Review

Allergic dermatitis--simply, inflammation of the skin caused by an irritating stimulus--is a common yet often treatable and manageable problem in horses. Ann Rashmir-Raven, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS, associate professor of Large Animal Clinical Sciences at Michigan State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, gave an overview of the disorder at a rece...

'Pinch Grafting' for Equine Lower Limb Wounds (AAEP 2011)

We know that time heals wounds, yet when our beloved horses sustain a traumatic wound, we still try to do everything we can to ensure a quick recovery. That can include skin grafting, according to a practitioner who described a practical "pinch grafting" technique that can allow wounds to heal faster at the 2011 American Association of Equine Pr...

A Closer Look at Treating Stifle Disease in Horses

The equine stifle is equivalent to a human knee and, like all limb joints, is prone to injury and disease. Colorado State University (CSU) researchers, for instance, recently examined 458 Western horses intended for cutting, during which routine survey radiographs (X rays) identified "abnormalities" in the stifles of almost half the horses. At t...

RSPCA Equine Inspectors to Monitor England's Grand National

A team of specially-trained Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty To Animals (RSPCA) equine inspectors will be attending the three day Grand National meeting this year, which takes place April 12-14 at Aintree Racecourse in Aintree, Merseyside, England. They will be joined the world famous course by an RSPCA superintendent, a chief inspector, and th...

Understanding Equine Osteochondrosis

Many equine athlete owners worry about bone and joint problems as their four-legged partners age. But these issues are just as important in young developing horses as they are in mature horses. One of the most common and potentially damaging developmental orthopedic disorders is osteochondrosis. Earl M. Gaughan, DVM, Dipl. ACVS, clinical professor of larg...

The Older Horse: An Immunological Perspective

In recent years there has been a shift in the U.S. horse population, with aged horses (15 years or older) an increasing percentage (20-30%). Many of these older horses remain actively involved in equestrian sport competitions, are still being bred, or serve as companion animals. Thus, further understanding of how the biology of aging affects the older hor...

UK Researcher Studying "Easy-Keeper" Horses

Equine metabolic syndrome (EMS) is a devastating disease characterized by the three main features of obesity (cresty neck and fat deposits are characteristic), insulin resistance, and laminitis. Certain breeds or individual horses and more than often middle-aged horses are predisposed to EMS, and are often referred to as "easy keepers."

Restricted Equine Diets and Wood Shaving Consumption

Obesity among equines seems to be a ubiquitous problem that leaves many owners seeking a weight loss program for their horse or pony. When it comes to devising a weight loss program, some caretakers turn to restricting the animal's caloric intake; however, one research team found that it's important to consider all possible materials that might be...

Understanding Equine Sleep Deprivation

Today's culture fuels busy lifestyles with dwindling opportunities to sleep, so it should come as no surprise that a 2011 Center for Disease Control study estimated more than one third of American adults suffer from sleep deprivation. But did you know horses can suffer sleep deprivation as well? At the 2012 Western Veterinary Conference, held Feb. 19-...

Gallium Nitrate and R. Equi Shedding (AAEP 2011)

Rhodococcus equi, a normal soil organism, can be damaging for a foal--if not now, then later. Affected foals develop fever, nasal discharge, and cough, and they become lethargic. While some succumb to subsequent pneumonia and pulmonary abscesses, survivors can experience significant performance-limiting problems later in life. Ben Buchanan, DVM, Dipl. ACV...

Spring Turnout Tips for Horses

As the seasons transition from winter to spring, it's time to start thinking about horses' nutritional needs, as well as changes in the forage available to horses grazing on pasture. The spring also brings an increased risk for several health conditions, including laminitis and insulin resistance, in all horses on pasture. Here are some tips for t...

AHP Seeks Participation in Second Equine Industry Survey

The American Horse Publications (AHP) is seeking horse industry participation in its second Equine Industry Survey to gauge trends in the U.S. equine industry. The AHP Equine Industry Survey is being sponsored by Kentucky Equine Research, Merck Animal Health, and Pfizer Animal Health. The survey was launched in early March, and runs through May 15.

Effects of Behavior-Modifying Drug Investigated (AAEP 2011)

"If only he'd stand still and keep quiet!" Many situations faced by horse owners and trainers would be far easier to manage if a temperamental horse would do this, and it might be tempting to initiate long-term sedation when confinement, stall rest, and tractability are necessary. But one veterinarian explained that sometimes the drawbacks o...

Delayed Suturing for Equine Lower Limb Wounds (AAEP 2011)

Just as "there's more than one way to skin a cat," there is more than one way to repair a horse's wound, particularly if it's located on the lower limb. And while many of us might be under the impression that all horse wounds should be stitched closed as soon as possible, this is not always an option. Richard Hackett, DVM, MS, Dipl. ...

Alternative Treatment for "Roaring" in Horses (AAEP 2011)

Most approaches to solving "roaring" in horses--a noisy, performance-limiting condition of the equine airway--involve wielding a scalpel, but a Cornell University-based research team recently examined an alternative, treatment for roarers. Jon Cheetham, VetMB, PhD, Dipl. ACVS, of the College of Veterinary Medicine's Department of Clinical Sc...

Granulation Tissue Management in the Horse (AAEP 2011)

There is a saying that "anything worth doing is worth overdoing." When it comes to healing lower leg wounds, some horses take this advice to heart and essentially "overheal" their injuries, resulting in the production of unsightly granulation (scar) tissue, commonly known as proud flesh. At 2011 American Association of Equine Prac...

FDA No Longer Supports Compounded Pergolide Production

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will no longer support the production of compounded pergolide for use in horses, according to a recent statement from the agency. The change comes several months after the FDA approved a pergolide mesylate tablet (marketed as Prascend) for the treatment of clinical signs associated with pituitary pars inter...

New 'Cancer Vaccine' for Horses in the Works (AAEP 2011)

Cancer isn't diagnosed nearly as frequently in horses as it is in humans, but approximately 80% of all white or gray horses will develop melanomas by the time they are 15 years old. Partly because of melanomas' preferred location (near the tail, anus, groin, or salivary glands) and partly because they often aren't diagnosed early enough, there...

Treating Equine Upper Respiratory Tract Ailments (AAEP 2011)

A horse in respiratory distress or displaying other signs of airway ailments warrants a prompt call to the veterinarian; he or she has tools and experience to attempt to resolve the problem.  At the 2011 American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention, held Nov. 18-22 in San Antonio, Texas, Brett Woodie, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS, a surgeon and own...

Acupuncture Use in Equine Reproduction (AAEP 2011)

Breeding season can mean a growth in acupuncture needle inventory for many horse reproduction specialists. Such veterinarians combine strategic insertion of tiny needles with Western veterinary techniques to address subfertility issues in mares--and even stallions. During a presentation at the 2011 American Association of Equine Practitioners convention, ...

The Equine Mind: Top 10 Things to Know

"Why does he do that?" "What is she so scared of … there's nothing there!" Most—if not all—horse owners have been there and asked those questions. Even though we don't always understand equine behavior, there's got to be a reason behind it, right? Absolutely. Horses’ behaviors date back to equine ev...

Complicated Equine Skin Diseases

"The practice of equine dermatology is usually straightforward with clinical examination and diagnostic testing; it is a rare occasion for an equine skin condition to be considered an actual emergency," began Ann Rashmir-Raven, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS, associate professor in the department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences at Michigan State Universi...

Equine Head Flexion and Airway Inflammation (AAEP 2011)

Sure, you can watch an exercising horse’s airways with an endoscope while he’s on a treadmill, but this technique does not account for travel over varying terrain or for the influences of rider intervention on his respiratory efficiency. At the 2011 American Association of Equine Practitioners convention, held Nov. 18-22 in San Antonio, Texas,...

Equine NSAID Use: Indications and Complications

Many equine caretakers have given or received these suggestions time and time again: "Just give him some Bute," or "a little Banamine should do the trick." While the use of these medications—both non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs—are indicated in some cases, it's not uncommon for the substances to be over...

New Insulin Resistance Test Method for Horses (AAEP 2011)

An obese horse is often—though not always—an insulin-resistant one, and detection methods for insulin resistance can be tricky to time, not to mention labor-intensive. François R. Bertin, DVM, a resident at the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital described a new testing technique that he has found useful f...

Third Eyelid Removal in Horses: Options Compared (AAEP 2011)

Avoiding general anesthesia for surgery in horses, when possible, is not only safer for the horse and surgeons but also more economical for the owner. However, not all surgeries can be performed without anesthesia, partly because the procedure is too uncomfortable for the horse to remain awake (even if sedated and given pain medications) and also because ...

Benefits of Casts for Severe Horse Limb Injuries (AAEP 2011)

Casts are veritable double-edged swords in equine practice: While they play an important role in stabilizing fractures and treating wounds and tendon lacerations, they can cause a variety of complications. Some horses don’t tolerate casts well, casts can cause pressure sores, and many veterinarians prefer to hospitalize horses with casts--an overwhe...

Local Anesthesia's Effect on MRIs of Horse Feet (AAEP 2011)

Certain things just don't mix: oil and water, or wearing metal during X rays, for instance. But what about diagnostic anesthesia (nerve blocks) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a combination that sometimes occurs because a horse undergoes an MRI study soon after nerve blocks in a lameness exam? A team of researchers recently examined whether diag...

Grayson Foundation Funds Eight New Projects

Grayson Foundation Funds Eight New Projects

The Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation's board of directors has approved funding for eight new research projects on problems that include foal pneumonia, laminitis, vitamin D's role in immunity, and stem cell therapy.

Managing Inflammatory Airway Disease in Horses (AAEP 2011)

Of the many ailments that can limit an athletic horse’s performance, lower airway inflammation is a top cause, affecting as many as 50% of young equine athletes. The good news about inflammatory airway disease (IAD) is the condition is treatable, and most affected horses can make a full recovery. During a presentation at the 2011 American Assoc...

Equine Electrolyte Use and Gastric Emptying (AAEP 2011)

A horse’s prolonged sweating during athletic activity or travel means a need for fluid and electrolyte replacement, and horse owners commonly turn to electrolyte products for this purpose. A team of equine researchers examined one electrolyte supplement’s (ES) effect on fluid replacement and performance, and Michael Lindinger, PhD, associate p...

Improved Test for Equine Ovarian Tumor Diagnosis (AAEP 2011)

Just because a particular type of anomaly in a horse is rare doesn't mean it's not important to investigate and understand better: Take granulosa cell tumors (GCTs), for instance. While these only represent about 2.5% of all equine tumors and usually are benign, GCTs are most common neoplasm (tumor) found in the equine reproductive tract; further,...

Supportive Care for Foals with Pharyngeal Dysfunction

Little is known about what causes pharyngeal dysfunction—a defect in the muscle or nerve functions of the pharynx—in newborn foals. This important area of anatomy, where the paths for air and food or liquids intersect, was the topic of interest recently for a team of researchers who completed a study on the prognosis of foals with dysphagia (d...

Bute and Banamine: Avoid Using Together (AAEP 2011)

A common approach to lameness in the equine athlete is non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) treatments, such as phenylbutazone (PBZ, Bute) or flunixin meglumine (FM, Banamine) alone or sometimes in combination. At the 2011 American Association of Equine Practitioners convention, held Nov. 18-22 in San Antonio, Jonathan Foreman, DVM, MS, Di...

Equine Motor Neuron Disease: What We Know

There's something not right with your horse. He's sweating, his muscles are twitching, and he can't seem to stand still. He just looks uncomfortable. You call your veterinarian and suggest it could be colic, but at the 2012 Western Veterinary Conference, held Feb. 19-23 in Las Vegas, Nev., one researcher suggested another ailment to consider: ...

MRI to Detect Wobbler Syndrome? (AAEP 2011)

In most cases--if not all--a clearer picture is better. One would be hard-pressed to find a person who would walk into a store and ask for a television with a fuzzy picture. So when it comes to disease diagnosis, such as that for cervical stenotic myelopathy (CSM, also known as cervical vertebral stenotic myelopathy), wouldn't a clearer picture that r...

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