Posts Tagged ‘disease prevention’

Common Diseases in Horses and How to Prevent Them

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Caring for your horses requires a thorough knowledge of how to prevent any disease and ailment , as well as keeping their health and wellness in check at all times. The following list will help you in getting information about the most common diseases that affect horses and what measures can you take to avoid them in the first place. Remember, if left ignored, some of these diseases can be fatal.

Continue reading to find out how you can ensure a safe and healthy environment for your horses.


Lockjaw, or tetanus, is a bacterial disease that enters the horses body through an open wound. If left untreated, it causes the horse to get spasms in muscles, followed by flared nostrils, stiffness, and contracted jaws that make the horse unable to open his mouth. In the final stages of the disease, the horse can die of respiratory paralysis. Treatment of tetanus involves wide opening and thorough cleaning of the wound to remove all signs of infection. After that, penicillin is injected into the wound to treat the virus.

In order to avoid the condition, make sure that you tend to all wounds or scratches on your horses body as soon as possible to keep them free from bacteria. Tetanus shots and vaccinations are also a must for newborn foals.

Sleeping Sickness

This condition is characterized by three diseases that are transmitted by mosquitoes- Eastern, Western, and Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis. They affect the nervous system of the horses and are extremely dangerous. Early symptoms of this condition include a high fever, lack of coordination, lethargy, and staggering. In the final stages, the horses develops seizures and paralysis, which can result in an untimely death.

Basic measures to avoid this disease include keeping your horses in a clean environment and conducting proper and regular vaccinations.

Equine Influenza

Equine Influenza is a respiratory condition that involves fever, dry cough, watery nasal discharge, irritation, weakness, depression, and a lack of appetite. It spreads by inhaling infectious material and can progress on to more critical conditions like bronchitis or pneumonia if left untreated.

If you notice the symptoms of Equine Influenza in any of the horses, keep them away from the rest of the herd and provide them with ample rest and medication to treat the fever and stiffness.


Scientifically termed as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, it is a condition that is similar to asthma in humans. Symptoms include coughing, loss of weight, lethargy and weakness, and mostly effects horses that are stalled in winter.

To avoid this condition, horses should be kept in barns that are free from dust and mold. Avoid exposure to extreme cold temperatures for long amounts of time, and make sure that the barn does not contain moldy hay. Replace shavings and straw in stalls with rubber mats.


Strangles is a dangerous and extremely contagious condition that usually affects young horses and foals. It causes the lymph nodes in the throats to swell in size which gives rise to difficulty in breathing. Other symptoms include poor appetite, weakness, and high fever.

Vaccination is the main preventive measure that you can take in order to avoid strangles.