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Horse Health


Summer is upon us, and no doubt we have all noticed the temperature and humidity steadily creeping up. Whilst many of us are able to hide away from the heat in air conditioned homes and offices, most of our big, four-legged friends are not so fortunate and have to tough it out in the elements.  This article will help highlight some of the dangers of living in a hotter climate, as well as provide some management tips that can help your horse through the Summer months. Temperature control

Series: Managing your Broodmare


Managing your Broodmare Part 2: The 'Problem' Broodmare

31/12/2012 by Craig Simon BVSc (hons) GPCert (EqP) MACVSc (Eq.Surg) CMAVA

    In the last issue we discussed the mare’s oestrous cycle and highlighted issues to consider when preparing your broodmare for the coming breeding season. This month’s article describes the most common cause of infertility – mating induced endometritis.


We’ve all had a case of the hiccups, but did you know that your horse can actually get the hiccups as well? Equine hiccups are more commonly referred to as ‘Thumps’, but are far more serious than the human form and scientifically known as Synchronous Diaphragmatic Flutter (SDF). A horse with thumps will typically present with muscle twitching in their flanks, which are caused by abnormal contractions of the diaphragm. These twitches are normally at regular intervals and can even produce a ‘thump’ noise upon contraction, hence the common name.


Every day, your horse’s respiratory tract is challenged by pathogens, such as bacteria, viruses and fungal elements. In the majority of cases, your horse’s immune system and defence mechanisms easily overcome these small challenges without any external symptoms. Sometimes, however, when the challenge is too great or the defence mechanisms are overwhelmed, clinical infection and symptoms can result. The anatomy of the respiratory tract has already been discussed in Part One of this series, but will be described in greater detail below in relation to specific conditions. 


For many horses prone to obesity, laminitis or those that suffer metabolic disorders, such as insulin resistance, grazing pastures can be risky. General guidance for the management of such horses includes restricting pasture intake and confining the horse or pony to a small, bare paddock.


Vet expenses are one of the realities of having a horse that every owner dreads. Let’s face it, receiving an invoice for an $8,000 trip to the vets is downright scary and most owners would struggle to afford the full cost upfront. The thought of being in a position where you are not able to save your horse because you cannot afford the treatment is even scarier. Whether you own a horse for pleasure, are a serious competitor, breeder or enjoy pony club, there are different options available that can suit your needs and budget. The basics


The horse has an extraordinary heart, capable of pumping 30 to 40 litres per minute at rest and up to 250 litres per minute around the body during peak exercise. However, like all things, this magnificent piece of engineering can fail.  Heart disease can cause poor performance since performance is directly related to the ability of the heart to pump blood loaded with oxygen around the body. If the pumping ability is reduced, then the body does not get enough oxygen and poor performance occurs. 


It is common to suddenly discover your horse has one or more lumps or bumps somewhere on its body.  In this article Dr Sarah Behan from from Equine Veterinary Dentistry explains some of the common skin conditions that may show up as lumps and bumps. As with most conditions, a correct veterinary diagnosis will determine the exact cause, so if you are unsure, the lump persists, it is painful or in a particularly sensitive area, a proper veterinary diagnosis is recommended.


Stomach ulcers affect both foals and adult horses and are reported to occur in up to 93% of Thoroughbreds, 70% of endurance horses and 60% of performance horses in training. The vast majority of horses that have stomach ulcers do not, however, exhibit obvious clinical signs, hindering the diagnosis and thus treatment of the condition. 


Blood transfusions aren’t just needed in human medicine. Animals, like horses, also need blood donations, especially during operations that involve high blood loss. The University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna has operated a blood bank for dogs for more than a decade. 


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