Prevention and Treatment of Common Horse Health Issues
LamenessLameness is the most common complaint among horses, and it can be caused by a variety of issues. Know your horse's normal gait and be able to spot any variations right away. Your horse's head bobbing can be a sign of lameness as it tries to compensate for pain in other parts of its body. Sprains, strains, and fractures, as well as degenerative diseases like arthritis and hoof problems like abscesses and laminitis, are the most common causes of lameness in horses. Keep horses well-conditioned for the jobs they do and don't overwork them to avoid sprains and strains. Also, at the conclusion of each day, inspect your horse's hooves for any problems, stones, cracks, or irregularities.
Digestive ProblemsHorses' digestive systems are extremely complicated and sensitive, making them susceptible to colic (a catchall term for a wide variety of potentially fatal digestive problems). Make sure your horse gets lots of fresh, clean water and eats a proper, clean food (slowly, throughout the day). Call Dr. Chastain right away if your horse refuses to eat, is constipated, nips at his or her sides, is drooling, teeth clenching, parking, getting up and down constantly, or shows any other signs of pain. If not handled promptly, digestive disorders can be fatal.
Viruses and Bacterial InfectionsIt's vital to keep your horse up to date on his or her basic immunizations (as well as any other vaccinations advised by your veterinarian depending on your horse's geography, travel, employment, lifestyle, and health conditions) to avoid painful and potentially fatal infections. West Nile virus, rabies, tetanus, and eastern/western equine encephalitis should all be vaccinated in every horse. Botulism, anthrax, Equine viral arteritis, Equine influenza, Equine herpesvirus (EHV), Potomac horse disease, rotavirus, and streptococcus equi are among the vaccines that may be useful. Discuss your horse's immunization needs and schedule with Dr. Chastain on a frequent basis.
Respiratory ProblemsWhen horses are exposed to fungus and dust from old hay and straw, they get allergies and asthma-like symptoms known as "heaves."
Shortness of breath in horses is a medical emergency, and coughing and phlegm are signs.
ParasitesPinworms, ticks, lice, tapeworms, lungworms, and roundworms are all common parasites in horses. Maintain a regular deworming and bathing program, as well as cleaning out the paddocks and stables. Call your veterinarian if your horse is itching or losing hair.