Thursday, October 06, 2022

Horse Health

PLEASE NOTE: Canadian Horse Trader offers the Horse Health section for your convince only. We in no way are offering an diagnosis or claim any expertise in Veterinary medicine. Please always consult you veterinarian if you have any heath concerns with your Horse. 


Bot-fly eggs can often be found on a horse’s lower part of its leg in summer. The eggs look like little yellow specks. If you find bot-fly eggs on you horse, ask an adult to scrape them off with a knife (be careful to not hurt your horse!). If your horse licks the eggs and swallows them, the eggs will develop into larvae inside its stomach or even its mouth, if they remain unswallowed. If you deworm your horse with ivermectin in early winter, it will destroy all the bot-fly larvae inside its body.


Although colic is one of the most commong diseases found in horses, it is also considered one of the most dangerous.  Veterinary attention is essential.  It is an acute gastrointestinal problem.  Some horses that are diagnosed with colic may have waste in the intestines, in other horses it may be just a stomach ache caused by changing the food or the horse eating too fast.  

Some signs of colic to watch out for are:
  • horses tend to bite at their stomachs
  • roll in their stalls
  • refuse to eat
  • their gums lack moisture
  • gut sounds will have lessened or ceased

Ear Plagues

Despite their rather frightening name, ear plagues are harmless. They are just white patches of skin in your horse’s ears. They do not need treating, and there is nothing I know of that you can use to get rid of them.

Ear Problems

If your horse shakes its head a lot, or rubs its ears against things, or has discharge from its ears, or has thick brown wax in its ears, you know that your horse cold have problems with its ears. The shaking of the head, rubbing of the ears and thick brown wax is more than likely just ear mites which are bugging your horse. However, if there is discharge coming from your horse’s ears, you should call your vet straight away. This discharge is more than likely the result of an infection and will need quick treatment.


Equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM) is a protozoal disease common to horses, particularly in the southern states. EPM is hosted by the opossum and is caused by a parasite called Sarcocystis neurona. This particular horse illness causes mostly neurological problems and can become serious if left untreated.

The most common symptom of EPM is a notable disconnection between a horse's front end and back end. He might move as though he were drunk, unsure of where to put his feet. Muscular atrophy is one of the advanced symptoms of this horse disease.

Equine Influenza

Symptoms of Equine Influenza include:

  • fever
  • dry coughs
  • increased mucus production and despondency

Viruses can be some of the most deadly horse diseases becuase they can spread quickly through the whole herd.  But unline most other horse diseases, equine influenza usually disapears on it's own after a week or two.  A veterinary consult is advised and the horse should not be ridden while it is sick.


Founder isn't necessarily a disease of the horse, but a complication of many horse diseases. Founder occurs when a disease, such as laminitis, goes untreated for a long period of time, and most horses who founder are profoundly neglected. Founder occurs when the coffin bone sinks through the hoof frog, making standing and moving impossible without extraordinary pain. Most horses that founder will require constant attention and perhaps hospitalization in an equine clinic to heal.


Laminitis is a disease found in the hoof of a horse.  It refers to the inflammation of the digital laminae, which are attached to the hoof wall and to the coffin bone.  

  • Symptoms include:
  • increased vital signs
  • profuse sweating
  • tendency to favor the afflicted hoof

Without radiographs, it is impossible to tell if a horse has laminitis or any other common hoof diesease.

Mane Rub

Some horses – even if they do not have sweet itch – will rub their manes and tail to pieces in summer. This looks awful and causes horrible blisters and raw patches. You can relieve the soreness by rubbing benzyl benzoate into the sore area or protect the horse with a lightweight, hooded rug and a fly fringe attached to its halter.

Mud Fever

Mud fever is a disease that is most likely to affect your horse in winter. You will know if your horse  has mud fever by looking at its heels. If your horse’s heels are cracked, red and sore, you know that it has mud fever. Mud  fever is caused by your horse standing in wet, damp or muddy ground for long periods of time. If you see that your horse  has mud fever, call your vet so that he or she can help you treat it.

Sweet Itch

Sweet itch is an allergy which most horses have to the bites of tiny midgets. The itching sensation of their bites makes horses rub themselves raw on anything they can find to get rid of the irritation. Normally, the mane and tail of the horse gets most affected. The midgets usually bite around dawn and dusk, so it would be best for you to stable your horse at these times. Also, if your horse suffers from sweet itch, you can get benzyl benzoate from your chemist. When this is rubbed onto the area that is being irritated, it helps to relieve the itching.

Swelling of the Legs

There are plenty of things that could be causing swelling in your horse’s legs: Ligament or tendon injuries, bruising, splints (bony enlargements of the bone in your horse’s leg), arthritis and other things like that. These swellings may be hot to the touch, hard or soft, and your horse may be lame. If you see swellings like this on your horse, you should call your vet before it gets any worse.