A horse is such a huge investment and is part of the over 1.3 million pets insured in the UK. Most horse owners insure their horses because of the many health conditions they are susceptible to. In this useful article, we look at five common equine health conditions you should be aware of.
This isn’t actually a disease, but it is among the leading causes of death in horses. Colic affects horses at any age, regardless of the breed or gender. Some of the symptoms of colic include severe abdominal pain, restlessness, rolling, and pawing, among others. Make sure to call your vet immediately your horse shows any of the above signs. There are different types of equine colic, but the common ones are obstructive colic and gas colic.
2. Respiratory Illnesses
Horses are susceptible to many respiratory infections, especially viral ones. Among the common equine diseases your horse could catch are the herpes virus infection, equine influenza, and equine viral arteritis. The symptoms of respiratory illnesses in horses include anorexia, pyrexia, nasal discharge, submandibular lymphadenopathy, and a cough.
3. Equine Degenerative Arthritis
Also occasionally known as Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD), this is a condition that manifests itself in the form of pain and inflammation of the joints as the cartilage is degenerating, or completely worn out. Unfortunately, there is no cure for osteoarthritis, but there are several ways to manage the condition.
4. Gastric Ulcers
Just like humans, horses can also be affected by gastric ulcers. These are basically small erosions in the gut. Gastric ulcers are often painful and affect the health and wellbeing of the horse. Some of the signs and symptoms of gastric ulcers are loss of appetite, low grumbling colic, constant abdominal pain, and a changed coat and mood. A vet will accurately diagnose gastric ulcers, and recommend a special diet, or a daily dose of Omeprazole that can clear the sores in four to six weeks.
Laminitis refers to the inflammation of the soft sensitive layers of tissue found in the hooves of horses. One of the most prominent signs of laminitis is lameness and distress when standing. The area affected is also hotter, and the horse will have digital pulses. There is also an increased heartbeat. Early laminitis diagnosis will be a big favour to the horse. A vet will recommend a low-calorie diet, weight management, or even special shoes.
These are just some of the common health conditions that your horse may have from time to time. Other worthy mentions include Streptococcus Equi (Strangles), desmitis, abscesses, lacerations, and Tetanus (Lockjaw), among others. As a horse owner, one thing you should know is that the earlier the diagnosis, the better.