Found  Articles :: Page 11 of 11
The horse's spine is incredibly important in all aspects of the horse's daily life. It is the structure that allows the horse to carry his or her weight, plus it also is necessary for the lowering and raising of the neck as well as movement of the legs. The spine of the horse is not like a humans that is very flexible and mobile. A horse's spine is more rigid and designed to be relatively inflexible to keep the horse stable and balanced. In addition the spinal cord of the horse is the protection for the spinal cord that carries nerve impulses to the body allowing movement and body functions to occur in an appropriate fashion.
When spinal cord compression occurs, the individual vertebrae that make up the spine from the skull through to the tail push up directly against one another, causing pain and varying degrees of immobility, largely dependent on where the spinal cord compression occurs. Some diseases such as Wobbler's Syndrome are directly related to spinal compression, but it can also be caused by hereditary factors, injury, diseases and congenital defects. [...]
Spongy hoof is just the opposite of brittle, dry hoof complications. Spongy hoof occurs when the hoof is too moist, and the soft wall or horn of the hoof is easily damaged by normal activity. This is just as problematic for the horse as dry hoof and the inside, sensitive area of the hoof is more likely to be injured as well as nicks and gouges in the hoof wall allow fungus and bacteria to penetrate the hoof wall.
Many horses that have been bred in very wet climates as may be seen in some parts of Great Britain and on the coastal areas of the United States are more prone to problems with spongy hoof. When these horses are kept in the wet, soft environment their large, flatter hooves are an asset, but once moved to dry, abrasive type ground conditions the trouble begins. [...]
Although all types of worms in any species of animal are problematic, few are as potentially deadly as the strongylus vulgaris or large strongyles. Not only do the worms and larva themselves cause damage but they can also trigger blood clots and serious internal bleeding that can lead to death over a very short period of time.
To understand the dangers of strongylus vulgaris it is important to take a closer look at their life cycle. Eggs of the adult worms are shed from the adult worms living in the horse's cecum or large intestine. These eggs are passed out of the horse's body with the fecal material, where they come in contact with the air and soil and grass of the pasture. In approximately three days in the warmer, spring, fall and summer weather the eggs hatch into tiny larvae. The larvae move to grass and vegetation and remain there until they are eaten by the unsuspecting horse. Once inside the horse's body the sheath or protective coating of the larvae comes off, allowing the very tiny larvae to move through the walls of the digestive system and into the blood stream. [...]
Horses and humans are the most likely candidates to develop tetanus, a condition caused by contact with Clostridium tetani. This bacteria is commonly found in the soil in pastures, on metal or wood or virtually any dirty surface in a stable, trailer or barn that is not regularly disinfected and cleaned. The bacteria can enter the horse's body through any open injury, but cuts or burns are the most common form of entry to the body. Large or small puncture wounds are a source of entry to the body and these are most problematic as the bacteria are able to gain deep access to the body very quickly.
In order for the bacteria to live it must be kept in an anaerobic state, or away from oxygen. The soil or dirt on a surface is ideal, especially if the area is moist and dark. A common problem in horses are injuries to the foot, especially punctures with nails or sharp wire that may be in the soil, allowing the sharp object to enter into the wound along with some of the soil and the attached bacteria. [...]
We all know that people can develop ulcers from stress, but did you know that horses can as well? Diet, exercise and training as well as competition and lifestyle changes can all cause ulcers in horses. New research shows that as many as 40% of all competition horses, including race horses, dressage horses and jumpers are likely to have some form of ulcers due to a combination of factors.
Ulcers in horses, medically known as equine gastric ulcer syndrome, have been the center of many research programs in competitive horses. Many times the very changes that the owner makes to prepare the horse for show actually contribute to the development of the ulcer, which is a lesion or sore in the lining of the stomach caused by an over-production of digestive acid. In horses, stomach acid is continually produced, since a horse that is on pasture will normally graze about 18 hours a day. When owners bring competition horses in off of the pasture and feed them high quality feeds in regular rations, the horse may only be eating one or two hours a day, leaving much more time for the stomach acid to be in direct contact with the stomach lining when food is not present. [...]
Most horses and foals will develop mild to moderate respiratory infections at some point in their life. Often horses and foals that are stressed, have other viral infections, are on poor feed or have parasite infestations are more likely to develop respiratory infections as the body is just not able to fight off the virus or bacteria that causes the problem.
Many diseases such as the equine herpes viruses strains 1 and 4, equine influenza or the horse flu, and equine viral arteritis that are viral infections will cause upper respiratory problems in horses. The symptoms of these viral infections typically range from discharge from the nasal passage, coughing, going off feed, lack of energy, problems in breathing to more serious conditions such as collapse and even death in severe cases. Viruses can often be vaccinated against, but it will not always prevent all the symptoms. In most horses the symptoms will be greatly reduced as will the length of the viral infection since the body already has antibodies built up to combat the virus. In some horses, particularly Arabians, there are some immunosuppressing genetic conditions that will prevent the foals from developing normal immune systems, leading to fatal results. [...]
For any number of reasons horses can begin to gain weight. Often horses that have been hard working or regularly exercised horses that suddenly find themselves turned on pasture, retired or even recovering from an injury will begin to put on weight due to the body's inability to change the metabolism to account for the decrease in calories burned.
Ponies are often very prone to weight gain due to being bred to have slower metabolisms. Many of the pony breeds excelled and thrived in areas where horses would have starved and over generations have adjusted to be able to live on very small amounts of low quality feeds. In modern, domestic environments with lush pastures and daily grain, these ponies simply pack on the pounds, even with regular exercise. Some horses and ponies are also given a huge number of treats, supplements and feed additives that are simply not needed or even healthy for the horses. Sugary treats, treats high in carbohydrates and fats can all lead to adding weight to your horse if they are fed in moderate to excessive amounts. [...]
There are few areas where West Nile virus is not a problem for people and horses alike. Although humans and horses can both get the disease, it can only be transmitted from one animal or human to another through the bite of the mosquito. There is no record of anyone every getting West Nile virus from a horse nor of an uninfected horse getting West Nile from contact with an infected horse.
The mosquito becomes infected with the disease by biting a bird that has West Nile virus. The virus then moves to the mosquito's salivary glands and multiplies but does not kill the mosquito, making it a carrier. The mosquito then bites the horse and the horse becomes infected. Any horse can become infected with West Nile if it is bitten by an infected mosquito. There are currently vaccinations that are being used to prevent the severity of the West Nile virus, although how effective they are is not yet fully understood. [...]
Often the characteristic gait, lack of coordination and "wobbling" movement that suddenly occurs in horses is automatically assumed to be EPM or Equine protozoal myeloencephalitis. Since this is one of the most common neurological diseases found in horses in North American, it is often noted by equine specialists that the lack of coordination and irregular gait is a common misdiagnosis.
In reality the condition may be a compression of the vertebrae in the neck that is causing the horse's movement problems. Wobbler's syndrome is caused by either an injury or degeneration of the vertebrae that crushes them together, damaging the spinal cords ability to send impulses down the spinal column and to properly orchestrate movement. Narrowing of the spinal cord space in the vertebrae, known as stenosis, is also present in many affected horses. Often Wobbler's syndrome will only affect the front legs and may become progressively more pronounced over time. [...]