Found  Articles :: Page 9 of 11
There are actually two different types of equine herpes virus that is found in horses. The first variety, EHV-1 is the most problematic resulting in abortions in infected mares and respiratory tract infections and disease as well as paralysis in foals. EHV-4 is also linked to causing abortions in mares but is more likely to result in respiratory disease in foals.
For mares EHV-1 and occasionally EHV-4 cause abortion within a few months of becoming infected and pregnant. This infection can occur through close contact such as between breeding mares and stallions as well as between mares and foals. Once a mare has had an abortion she should be tested for the presence of equine herpes virus and then taken out of the breeding program, even if she recovers completely. As with humans, there is no control for the equine herpes virus and it can remain dormant in the nerve ganglia and the tissues of the respiratory tract. [...]
Equine infectious anemia has been a horse owner's worst nightmare for many years, but thanks to new federal, state and provincial government testing requirements this condition is not nearly as devastating as it was just 20 years ago in North America. Equine infectious anemia is what the Coggin's Test is designed to identify. This simple blood test is the best and easiest way for a horse owner to ensure that his or her horse is safe both for their own peace of mind as well as to let others know that the horse is free from the condition.
A vet must do the Coggin's Test, which simply includes a small blood sample that is drawn from the horse then sent to a government approved testing lab. Once a negative result is obtained, the horse is considered to be free from equine infectious anemia and can usually be moved across state lines, boarded or stabled as well as entered into events and competitions. Horses with positive results cannot and must be kept under very controlled situations to prevent the spread of the disease. [...]
We all know how achy, horrible and sick we feel when we have the flu; can you imagine how bad it must be for a horse? Horses, just like people, can come down with influenza that is caused by a virus. There are other viruses besides the influenza virus that causes flu-like symptoms in horses and they include Equine Herpes virus, Adenovirus and Rhinovirus, but the influenza virus typically produces more severe respiratory symptoms that may have more likelihood of causing secondary bacterial problems.
The first symptoms of the equine influenza virus are usually a mild to low grade fever, general depression, lack of appetite and energy and some discharge from the nostrils. Within two to five days these symptoms have usually become more pronounced and often include a very deep, dry, hacking cough as well as thick discharge from the nose, high fever as well as food refusal. Most horses will not want to exercise and should not be stressed or worked during this time. [...]
It is hard to believe that in most soils there exists a microscopic organism that is capable of killing a horse or a person just by a small amount getting into a cut or open wound. Clostridium tetani is the microbe that is responsible for causing the condition most commonly known as lockjaw in horses, but also known as tetanus in humans.
Tetanus or lockjaw is caused when an open wound, cut or lesion is in contact with the Clostridium tetani in the soil or on items that puncture the horse's skin. The microbe then produces a toxin in the body that binds itself to the nerves close to the injury, using them to travel up to the brain and spinal cord. Once in the brain or spinal cord the exotoxin begins to destroy the cells, resulting in several serious conditions. [...]
Great Britain is the country most commonly associated with grass sickness although it also occurs in high frequency in Scotland, with lesser reports in Ireland, Wales as well as France, Italy, Holland, Sweden and Belgium. The condition is only seen in horses that are on pasture although even horses that are fed dry feeds in addition to pasture may develop the same condition. Donkeys, ponies and mules will also develop grass sickness and it can strike horses of any age, condition and sex.
Grass sickness is a gut paralysis that is believed to be caused by a toxin in or on the pasture grass. Many researchers now believe that the problematic toxin comes from a variety of fungus that is almost always present in pastures where reports of grass sickness occur. The fungus most likely linked to the condition is Fusarium and often a dry, cooler period that may affect the production of spores in the Fusarium is present before an outbreak. [...]
Heat stroke is a serious issue with horses that owners should be aware of and watch for whenever they are exercising their horses. Backyard horses or horses that are only worked or exercised occasionally are at a much higher risk that horses that are used routinely. In addition horses that are overweight or have respiratory problems are more susceptible to heat stroke than horses of the same age that don't have weight problems or breathing issues.
Heat stroke is more problematic in the summer months, but it also happens in the spring and fall, especially on hot days or days where the humidity is very high. The combination of high humidity and heat is far worse than either condition separately for both horses and riders, so care must be taken under these conditions. [...]
The hoof wall is the part of the hoof that is seen and is the outside covering of the hoof. The hoof wall is responsible for protecting the hoof from infections, keeping in moisture, keeping out fungus and bacteria from the hoof as well as preventing damage to the hoof. It is roughly the same as a human's fingernails, although it is much thicker and denser. The hoof wall may become brittle, soft or cracked and damaged, leading to complications in the interior components of the hoof that can be extremely painful and even potentially prevent the horse from being able to work or move.
The most serious conditions of hoof wall problems in horses involve cracks either in the heel area or the quarters, which are the sides of the hoof. Hoof wall problems can also be seen in the toe or front area of the hoof, but this is less common. Cracks can lead to hoof wall loss if the crack is deep or becomes infected. The bacteria or fungus can spread under the surface of the hoof, gradually separating the hoof wall from the interior layers of the hoof and stripping the hoof's natural protection.
Thrush is an anaerobic bacteria that affects the bottom of the horse's hoof, more specifically the frog. If you look at the bottom of a horse's foot, you will see the rounded sole, and at the heel, where the two sides of the hoof wall come to the back of the leg, there is a V-shaped projection from the heel towards the toe. That is known as the frog, and it is rather soft compared to the sole or the hoof wall. Alongside the frog are two deep grooves that naturally collect mud, manure and other debris, making ideal conditions for an anaerobic bacteria to grow.
The frog of the hoof acts like a cushion for the horse when walking, and is also used in balance and weight distribution. The frog has two separate layers, a protective, harder outer layer and an inside, vascular layer that provides blood supply to the deep cushion that is under the vascular layer. When a horse is stabled in wet conditions, especially those of soiled bedding where manure and urine is present, the bacteria grow rampant in the environment. [...]
Almost any joint in the skeleton of the horse could be potentially hyperextended through some abnormal movement or injury. Hyperextension basically refers to any movement that causes the joint to move past its normal range of motion, resulting in pain, swelling and restriction of movement either for short or long periods of time.
Hyperextension in horses is common in the legs, in particular the hindquarters. Often horses that are defined as "post-legged" or have hindquarters that are too straight in conformation or horses with very long pasterns are more likely to have hyperextensions during movement. Hyperextensions can happen at any gait but are more likely at faster gaits than at walks and jogging gaits. Post-legged horses have limited impulsion or forward thrust because of the straight up and down structure of the legs, and may use the joints to generate the forward motion, resulting in strain on the joints and the greater likelihood of over-extension. [...]
Any breed of horse or pony can be affected by inflammation in the muscles and joints. In many cases this inflammation or swelling is due to infections, injury and less commonly to congenital genetic conditions. In any horse with inflammation it is important to determine the cause of the swelling and heat in order to correct the problem and help prevent further occurrences.
A horse's body responds to pain or injury by flooding the area with fluids to prevent further injury and to supply red and white blood cells to the area to combat the infection and bacteria. This is all triggered by hormones and chemicals released by the injured or infected cells that trigger the production of three different compounds or hormones that react in different ways within the body. Prostacyclin is the first compound released, which results in the expansion or dilation of the blood vessels in the area of the injury or infection. This allows a greater amount of blood flow to the area to fight the infection and to supply nutrients to the damaged cells. [...]
There is a huge range of reasons why a horse may become lame and they can be relatively simple and easy to treat to severely debilitating and permanently damaging to the horse. As with most types of health conditions the earlier the condition is noted, diagnosed and treated the greater the likelihood that the condition can be controlled and the damage minimized.
One of the most common causes of lameness in horses is injury to the joint, muscles or tendons in the leg itself. Horses, just like humans, can strain, hyperextend, twist or bruise their limbs, resulting in troubles moving. Usually lameness that is a result of an injury will occur only in one limb, but may be more severe if the horse fell or was in an accident. As with many types of sprains or muscle stress, there may be no external signs of damage to the area but there may be swelling and an increased temperature to the area. Of the joints of the legs will be most prone to this type of injury. [...]
As with any animal the horse's liver plays a key role in detoxifying the blood, regulating parts of the metabolic process, as well as storage of nutrients and synthesis of essential chemicals and proteins in the body. The liver is also very important in producing bile, which is necessary for proper digestion.
Liver diseases and disorders can occur due to injury, infections, disease, genetic conditions or even toxicity. Depending on the decrease in functioning of the liver the clinical signs of liver problems can range from a jaundiced or yellow appearance to the whites of the eyes to severe causes resulting in rapid death. In mild to moderate cases there will also be colic or digestive problems, swelling of the abdominal area and weight loss, and even central nervous system problems such as staggering, lack of coordination and muscle weakness due to a condition known as hepatic encephalopathy. Depending on the type of onset of the condition these symptoms may be very sudden or may develop slowly over time. [...]
Locking patella, more properly known as intermittent upward fixation of the patella is an interesting issue in horses as part of the horse's ability to sleep or rest while standing up is directly related to their ability to "lock" their knees to keep them upright. Locking stifle becomes a problem with this locking mechanism and actually kicks in while the horse is moving or wants to move.
Locking stifle is noticed in either one or both back legs and is more problematic in horses with poor conformation on the hind end. Often horses with post-legs or very straight hind legs will have more problems with locking stifle. The first signs that the owner may notice is a dragging of the toe of the hind leg or legs and a slight hesitation in the bending motion of the hind leg when the horse is moving forward. Occasionally flexion may seem very extreme and exaggerated and a loud popping or clicking sound can be heard as the horse moves. [...]
It is very sad to report that thousands of horses per year die as a direct result of malnourishment in the United States alone. These horses may range in age from newborns that are removed from the mare or are with a mare that is too malnourished herself to provide milk, up to horses that are kept on inadequate or non-existent pasture areas. In some cases owners leave the horse in someone else's care and misplace their trust, resulting in the horse paying the price. In less common cases a boarding stable fails to feed the horse's left in its care, resulting in the death of many horses if they are not rescued.
Malnourished horses, besides being thin and failing to thrive, will also be more likely to have compromised immune systems, infections, parasite problems and other associated health problems. Most malnourished horses have worms, respiratory infections and complications, as well as greater likelihood of colic and influenza. Hoof problems, joint and muscle problems as well as skeletal problems are often secondary conditions that must be treated in malnourished horses. [...]
Mites are small insects that can be invisible to the naked eye or so small that they are literally impossible to see. Mites can be found in the skin of the horse, and this variety is often known as itch or mange mites. There are also mites that live in the ear, known, not surprisingly, as ear mites.
There are several different types of skin or mange mites found in horses and the type of mite that is prevalent in your area will be determined by the climate and the horses that your horse may have been in contact with. Horses that are moved to different areas of the country or are taken to shows or events where they come in contact with mite infected horses are more likely to develop mites even if your area is mite free. Tack from infected horses or even used brushes that have groomed a horse with mites are often a method of transmission of mites. [...]