Equine Health – Part I

equine vet careYour horse, just like yourself, will go through a variety of health issues during their lifetime. A top priority of any horse owner is establishing a good relationship with a Veterinarian. Your Vet will get to know your horse and understand when a symptom is something that needs to be taken seriously. Always ask your Vet before making any significant changes to your horse’s diet or routine.

A Farrier is another important part of your horse’s health care team. The money spent on keeping your horse’s hooves healthy will be repaid by not having to pay for expensive medications and surgery that will happen if you do not. Farrier A good farrier will also be able to identify other health issues your horse maybe experiencing that you may not notice.

Your horse’s dental care is vital to the longevity and health of your horse. Vets can identify if a young horse’s teeth are coming in wrong and work to fix the problem. Domesticated horses teeth often become uneven and require “floating” every 12 months. Floating is where the teeth are smoothed down. This is done by a Vet or a specially trained dental veterinarian assistant. Older horse’s experience molar loss – a bad tooth is more than just painful for a horse, it can become a serious health issue.

Horse Health News Articles

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You, the horse owner, are the most important member of your horse’s health care team. Understanding the basics of grooming, feeding and exercise are vital to you and your horse’s partnership. For youths, many communities have 4H clubs and other equestrian community groups they can join to learn more about horsemanship. Adults wishing to learn more can turn to riding stables and other community groups. A fantastic way to learn about horse care is to volunteer at your local horse rescue. There are many great books and videos on the subject, but hands on experience is the best way to learn how to care for a horse.

Top Horse Health Care Concerns

Colic: Abdominal pain caused by a variety of digestive problems – many which can be very serious to your horse’s health. Intestinal blockages, parasites, intestinal twisting, and excessive gas can all cause colic and are very dangerous. Symptoms to look for: lack of appetite, stretching, frequent pawing on the ground / rolling, salivating, frequent curling of the upper lip (flehmen response), and nipping at their sides. You must contact your Vet immediately if you suspect colic – quick diagnosis and care can save your horse’s life.

Important Colic Observations

From: The Horse.com

A history of the events that preceded the colic examination often provides valuable information in interpreting the findings.

A detailed history may not be practical or possible in an emergency; however, any history of previous health problems (including colic), the age, breed, and sex of the horse, the duration of the clinical signs, the severity and frequency of the colic episodes, fecal production, and the time the horse was last judged to be normal are helpful information the owner should try to provide his or her veterinarian.

Nutrition may also be an appropriate topic to address, since it is believed that changes in feeding or other factors of nutrition may be involved in the development of colic. Access to sand and/or poor-quality forage is noteworthy. In certain geographic areas, feeding improperly cured alfalfa hay may be linked to colic associated with blister beetles. An owner should provide the history and specific practices of deworming.

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Heaves Often compared to asthma in humans, “heaves” is the common name for the medical condition known as Recurrent Airway Obstruction. Anytime you observe your horse struggling for breath, wheezing or coughing (with or without copious amounts of phlegm) this is an emergency and you should call your Vet right away. Often caused by allergies, medications can relieve the symptoms as well as removal of allergens such as mold in hay.

Heaves in Horses

From: The Horse.com

Heaves is a common equine respiratory condition most frequently diagnosed in horses 8 years of age and older. Also called recurrent airway obstruction, heaves is similar to asthma in humans. Inhalation of allergens and irritants that exist in the horse’s environment cause inflammation, mucus accumulation, and constriction of the horse’s airways. Common allergens and irritants that induce RAO include mold spores from straw bedding and hay, small molecules, and other irritants like ammonia.

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Next – Equine Health Part II – Laminitis, Other hoof problems, and more.