Horses and People

We share your passion

At newsagents in Australia and New Zealand,
in print, as an app or by subscription.
App Store - Logo Google Play Store - Logo



Rattles, a lung infection that affects foals between two and five months of age, is one on the most researched diseases in horses because of the significant affect it can have on foals being reared in intensive situations, such as Thoroughbred breeding farms.  Dr Christine Myers, a registered specialist in equine internal medicine, explains what breeders should look out for in their foals, how this debilitating disease can be treated and, more importantly, how it can be prevented.


Exertional Rhabdomyolysis, Tying Up, Azoturia, Monday Morning Sickness and Poly Saccharide Storage Myopathy are all names of common muscle metabolism problems.  The scientific name for tying up is rhabdomyolysis, which simply translated means muscle (‘rhabdo’) breakdown (‘lysis’). The causes are several, but the result is the same - muscle cramping. 


It’s essential every horse owner knows their horse’s normal, healthy resting temperature, heart rate and respiration (breathing) rate, so they can respond quickly in an emergency.  Last month, Dr Rachel O’Higgins explained the normal vital signs, so you can be familiar with your own horse. This month, she delves into horse emergencies and how you should respond to ensure the best outcome. Emergencies When you encounter a condition that requires veterinary care, the most important thing is to remain calm. 


The veterinary chiropractor or osteopath will deal with stifle pain in horses almost on a daily basis. Stifle pain is very common in the equine - be it a primary pathology of the stifle joint or secondary to other influences on the body.  In this article, veterinary chiropractor Dr Grant Harris discusses the chiropractic and osteopathic approach to treating stifle pain and disease.


It’s essential that every horse owner knows their horse’s normal, healthy resting temperature, heart rate and respiration (breathing) rate.  As prey animals, horses can be very good at hiding signs of illness to avoid attracting unwanted attention, so checking your horse’s vital signs regularly will allow you to know what is normal and can help you to spot early on when something is wrong. 


Like specialists in human medicine, veterinary specialists have extensive experience and expertise in a relatively narrow aspect of veterinary medicine. As such, specialists in equine surgery or medicine are often able to provide services that might be beyond what is possible in general ambulatory practice.  Although not all specialists work from referral hospitals, many do and these facilities enable them to provide an exceptional level of care to your horse. 


"Your horse has colic." These are the dreaded words feared by many horse owners. Unforunately, swift action is fundamental to overcoming a colic episode and, when colic surgery is discussed, the cost and associated post-operative performance of the horse make the decision difficult for both owner and veterinarian. However, a recent study, funded by Morris Animal Foundation and published in the scientific journal Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica shows that colic surgery results in overwhelmingly positive outcomes for both horses and owners.


Vaccination against various diseases must be one of the most common equine veterinary procedures, certainly in the developed world and, as an ambulatory vet, it’s something I do almost every day.   The frequency and, in most cases, ease with which this is practiced can lead to complacency with regard to its importance and certainly doesn’t do justice to the complexity of the science behind it - something which has been baffling and bewildering veterinary students for centuries!


Anatomy and function of the skin The skin is the largest organ of the body and it serves to provide environmental protection, help maintain body temperature, allow sensory perception and plays a role in the immune system.  Skin consists of a superficial layer, the epidermis, and a deep layer of connective tissue, the dermis. Hence, dermatology is the branch of medicine dealing with the skin. Underneath the dermis is a fat layer, which acts as a shock absorber and provides insulation, while muscle fibres within the fatty tissue allow the skin to move, for example, when shivering.


Winter is well and truly upon us, and these colder months can be particularly tough on our equine friends. One particular condition that all of us are familiar with is arthritis. It can affect us as well as our pets and the colder weather often exacerbates this condition. In this article, Dr Sarah Van Dyk from WestVETS Animal Hospital and Equine Reproduction Centre gives an overview of how arthritis affects older horses, the signs they may show, its diagnosis and treatment options. What is arthritis?


Subscribe to Veterinary