Horse Health

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

  • Top Reproduction Studies of 2012-'13

    Veterinarians and researchers with interests in equine reproduction gathered Aug. 7-10 in Louisville, Ky., for the 2013 American College of Theriogenology (ACT) Symposia and Conference. On the last day of the event presenters Mary Beth Stanton, DVM, Dipl. ACT, of Equine Veterinary Reproduction Specialists, in Ocala, Fla., and Audrey Kelleman, DVM, Dipl. A...

  • Study: Sires' Genes Form the Equine Placenta

    The term "do-it-all-dad" just took on a whole new meaning: Cornell University researchers have recently determined that, in equids at least, it’s the father’s genes that take the lead in developing the mare's placenta.

  • Does Feeding Hay Before Grain Reduce Cribbing?

    Which comes first, the grain or the hay? You might love rewarding that excited nickering with a bucket full of sweet feed, followed by hay for hours of chewing pleasure. But according to recent research, if you’ve got a cribber, you’re probably better off doing the opposite.

  • Choosing an Antibiotic for Use in Foals

    Treating bacterial diseases in horses—or really, in any species—is much easier when the causative agents are sensitive to available antibiotics. But unfortunately, this isn't always the case anymore: antibiotic-resistant bacteria are popping up all over the world.

  • Parasite Control Recommendations for Mares and Foals

    Times are changing when it comes to equine parasite control: Anthelmintic-resistant parasites have prompted new, more targeted deworming recommendations. Two important classes of horses that fall under this deworming protocol are broodmares and foals. At the 2013 Society for Theriogenology Conference, held Aug. 7-10 in Louisville, Ky., Wendy Vaala, VMD, D...

  • Study: Young Horses Can't Read Subtle Human Body Cues

    Four years ago, The Horse reported on research showing that horses are capable of reading subtle human body cues. Today, those researchers are back to tell us that although adult horses have this capacity, young horses do not. And this, they say, fails to support the theory that such a skill is innate in this species.

  • Honey for Treating Horse Wounds

    Scottish researchers have some sweet news in the field of equine wound healing: Honey’s all the buzz in natural wound remedies, and according to recent research, it works with horses, too. Better yet, it’s not just the tried-and-true manuka honey that works, but a wide variety of honeys from different parts of the world.

  • Equine Osteochondrosis Terminology Revamped

    If you’ve ever been confused by the differences between osteochondrosis and osteochondritis dissecans, or wondered whether these are the same as developmental orthopedic disease (DOD) or just examples of it, you’re not alone. For decades, diseases of the bones, joints, and cartilage in young horses have sparked many word-slinging debates among...

  • Study Confirms Horses Respond to Negative Reinforcement

    If we train our horses correctly, we should sense that they get “lighter” as training progresses. In other words, we should be able to execute cues with less force and get the same result. But until now, measuring that “lightness” has always just been a matter of “feeling,” so to speak: Danish researchers have put the s...

  • Could Intrauterine Marbles Cause Pyometra in Mares?

    Mares in estrus can be challenging—and even dangerous—to deal with. So some owners seek a veterinarians' help to control their mares' estrous cycles and reduce estrus-related behavior. One of those methods involves placing a marble in the mare's uterus, which essentially keeps the mare from cycling.

  • Studying the Rider-Saddle-Horse Interface

    Horses are big, sturdy animals capable of carrying hundreds of pounds of weight. They've hauled us around for centuries, across battlefields, farmland, and show rings. But just how do the forces applied by saddle and rider affect a horse's performance and welfare? With advent of electronic pressure-measuring devices, researchers are now able to an...

  • Monmouth to Host Jockey Health Conference

    The latest developments in medical and technological research that may improve the welfare, health, and safety of jockeys will be presented at an international conference to be held at Monmouth Park Sept. 13-14.

  • Horse Pain and its Impact on Reproduction

    A broodmare battling chronic laminitis, a stallion with recurrent uveitis, and a maiden mare with persistent tendinitis: While these horses and their conditions are each distinct, the animals do share the potential for exhibiting pain-related fertility problems. A University of Florida (UF) veterinarian described how equine pain might influence reproducti...

  • L. intracellularis Research Review

    Researchers around the world are always working to better understand a bevy of horse health problems. And while moving forward is the ultimate goal, sometimes it pays to look back at what previous research has revealed.

  • Oviduct Issues in Mares

    When many breeders consider mare fertility issues, most don't consider that the oviduct—the slender channel through which eggs travel from ovary to uterus—could be causing problems. While oviduct-related fertility issues are rare in horses, breeders should be aware of what can go wrong with this important structure.

  • Accessory Sex Glands in Geldings: Establishing the Norm

    A gelding’s gonads are gone, but he’s still susceptible to problems developing in his reproductive tract, particularly abnormal growths in the accessory sex glands. Take, for example, prostatic tumors, which can cause difficulty urinating or blood to show up in the urine. When a gelding has signs of discomfort associated with the urogenital tr...

  • Prostaglandins for Controlling Mares' Estrous Cycles

    Breeders always appreciate ways to help improve their mares' chances of becoming pregnant, and one way veterinarians can help is by administering prostaglandins. At the 2013 Society for Theriogenology Conference, held Aug. 7-10 in Louisville, Ky., Carlos R. F. Pinto, MedVet, PhD, Dipl. ACT, presented a lecture on using prostaglandin F2? (PGF) to contr...

  • Equine Placentitis Update

    What's the most common cause of late-term abortion in horses and remains challenging for veterinarians to diagnose and treat, despite ongoing research? If you said placentitis, you're right. To bring attendees of the 2013 Society for Theriogenology Conference, held Aug. 7-10 in Louisville, Ky., up to speed on the latest research on the complex top...

  • Positive, Negative Reinforcement in Horse Training Compared

    As the concept of positive reinforcement gains popularity, researchers are trying to confirm its effectiveness at a more baseline level. According to a group of Midwestern equitation scientists, training young horses to load into a trailer is equally effective and stressful whether they’re trained using positive or negative reinforcement.

  • Health Zone: A Hard Look at Laminitis

    The causes and mechanics of laminitis still stump many researchers, but progress is being made to understand and, thus, treat this destructive disease better.

  • Top Foal-Related Studies of 2012-'13

    Even though they're small in stature, foals can have some big health problems. And researchers around the world are continually working to better understand these health problems and find more effective ways to treat them. At the 2013 Society for Theriogenology Conference, held Aug. 7-10 in Louisville, Ky., Chris Sanchez, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM, associ...

  • Botulism in Horses: An Update

    Rising hay prices and the financial crunch caused by 2009's Great Recession drove many horse owners to seek less expensive forage sources, including large round bales, haylage, and silage. But according to Amy Johnson, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM, compromising on hay quality and feeding from half-ton bales led to a larger problem: an uptick in reported cases of ...

  • BHA Investigation into Drug 'Sungate' Concludes

    The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) announced Aug. 7 the conclusion of the investigation into the use of "Sungate," a veterinary product which contains stanozolol, an anabolic steroid and, therefore, a prohibited substance under the authority's rules of racing.

  • Commentary: Avoiding the Edge

    Eric Mitchell, editorial director and editor-in-chief of The Blood-Horse, shares his thoughts on the recent Texas ruling about registration of cloned foals for the American Quarter Horse Association and how that might impact the Thoroughbred industry.

  • Zinc's Role in Young Horses' Immunity

    Young horses require specific levels of amino acids, vitamins, and minerals for proper development, and researchers know that zinc, in particular, is vital for growing horses' enzyme and immune function. However, there's been little research done in horses evaluating the relationship between zinc and the equine immune system. So researchers from A...

  • Equine Immunodeficiencies Reviewed

    A strong immune system is crucial to a horse's overall health status, as a weakened immune system can leave the animal at increased disease risk. And although they're uncommon in horses, immunodeficiencies can have serious consequences for affected animals.

  • Can Fatty Acid Supplementation Help IR Horses?

    Equine insulin resistance—a condition in which cells fail to respond normally to the hormone insulin—requires careful dietary management to prevent laminitis and other complications from developing. So it's no surprise that both veterinarians and horse owners are on the lookout for new ways to help manage this disorder.

  • Equine Emerging Diseases Reviewed

    Tracking emerging and re-emerging equine diseases helps the horse world attempt to stay a step ahead of economically devastating and deadly outbreaks. For that reason, equine veterinarians and industry members gathered on June 14, for Merck Animal Health’s "Equine Emerging and Re-emerging Disease Luncheon" at the 2013 American College of V...

  • Researchers Study Abnormal Behavior Prevalence in Racehorses

    Many horse owners don't think about equine stereotypic behaviors until they own a cribber, a stall walker, a weaver, or a horse that passes his time with any abnormal behavior. But these stereotypies are more important than some might think: They could indicate compromised equine welfare. Recently, Chilean researchers set out to evaluate the prevalenc...

  • Fetal Consciousness' Impact on Equine Neonatal Health

    Somewhere between when the birthing process begins and when the long-legged foal takes his first wobbly steps, he transitions from an unconscious fetus to a conscious horse. And while owners might just be happy to see their new arrival waking up to the world, researchers now believe that the fetal consciousness transition could have a significant impact o...

  • New Bolton Center Receives TCA Grant

    The board of directors of Thoroughbred Charities of America has approved a grant of $7,175 for Penn Vet's New Bolton Center to support scholarship and hospital needs.

  • Equine Postoperative Ileus Insights

    When an owner sends a horse under the knife for colic surgery, he or she is first and foremost hoping the horse survives the operation. But just because he makes it through the procedure doesn't mean he's out of the woods: Many horses develop a dangerous complication called postoperative ileus—a lack of gut motility after surgery.

  • Osteochondrosis Field Evaluation Protocol Developed

    It's common knowledge that osteochondrosis—a developmental orthopedic disease that results from a disruption in the growth of articular cartilage located in specific joints—can cause problems for young horses, but how common is it? How are different breeds affected? Where are the most common lesion sites? And, of course, what’s the m...

  • Equine Collapse Reviewed

    There are few things more frightening for an owner than watching their horse collapse without warning or apparent cause. By the same token, unraveling the cause behind an equine collapse often presents veterinarians with a diagnostic challenge, and in many cases the root cause of a horse's collapse can't be determined.