Found  Articles :: Page 27 of 30
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. [...]
Laminitis is often called founder, but the two are really not the same thing. Laminitis is the actual damage to the tissue of the laminae of the hoof, while founder is the ongoing conditions that occur that are a result of the laminitis. Since most horse owners interchange the two terms, it is always important to confirm which condition they are referring too. Laminitis as well as founder can occur in a range of severities from mild to severe and debilitating to the horse. In very severe cases of laminitis and the resulting founder the horse may have to be destroyed if they are no longer able to bear weight on the foot or feet.
Laminitis can be caused by several factors including diet and stress. In many horses laminitis is a direct result of overweight horses being turned out on lush pastures and overeating, or getting into feed bins and eating grains or feed pellets without restriction. Some horses may also show signs of laminitis by eating large amounts of grass clippings from lawn grasses. [...]
Lavender foal syndrome or LFS is a newly classified genetic condition that exists in the Arabian horse breed. It is caused by an autosomal recessive gene, which means that it is directly inherited from each of the parents. Both the sire and dam must have the recessive gene for LFS and must pass it to the foal in order for the foal to have the defect. A horse, either male or female, that has only one copy of the gene for LFS will not exhibit any signs or problems throughout their life, it will only be their foal, if they are crossed with another LFS recessive horse that will have the risk of being born with the syndrome.
The most telling diagnosis of LFS is the unique color of the foal. He or she will be born with a lavender, silver or pinkish tinge to the coat that is different from a gray or roan coloration, it is very abnormal in color. The eyes may also be somewhat bluish to gray in color, but this is often not as noticeable. The mare will usually have troubles during the delivery of the foal and the foal will be unable to stand or move his or her legs. [...]
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. [...]
Moon blindness in horses has nothing to do with the moon, but historically many people though that the occurrence or reoccurrence of the disease become worse during different phases of the moon, hence the name.
The correct name for moon blindness is equine recurrent uveitis or ERU and is still not fully understood by vets and horse owners. There are several different factors or precursors that can bring on the first episode of moon blindness, often it's relatively mild in nature and may not be problematic for the horse at all. Many times the first episode seems to correct itself, lulling the owner into a false sense of security about the horse's eyes. Every subsequent bout of the disease causes greater damage to the eye and the long term prognosis for horses with ERU is total blindness at some point in time. Since the episodes of moon blindness may occur frequently, within one or two weeks of each other or many only happen once a year or once every several years each horse will have a different progression of the condition. [...]
Often considered a result of specific line crosses and inbreeding, naval rupture has been noted in several breeds, including the Friesen Horse. Naval rupture is often called umbilical hernia, and can be serious is not treated. It is estimated that about one to two percent of all foals born have some type of umbilical hernia or naval rupture, not all which are obvious or serious.
The naval rupture occurs when the abdominal walls around the umbilical cord do not form correctly, leaving a hole or weak area around the naval cord. When the foal is born the pressure through the birth canal as well as the act of struggling to stand can force loops of the intestine or fatty tissue down through the abdominal wall to form a bulge at the naval. This can happen in both male and female foals, although male foals also run the risk of having scrotal hernias as well. [...]
OAAM is actually the abbreviation for the congenital condition known as Occipital Atlanto-Axial Malformation that occurs almost exclusively in Arabian horses. This condition results in a fusing of the spinal vertebrae in the neck and where the neck and skull join. The results of this lethal condition may initially be mild to debilitating and severe as the foal will have limited movement of the neck throughout its short life. In severe cases paralysis and extreme lack of coordination will also be noted as the foal tries to move.
OAAM can be diagnosed when the foal is less than one month old although in some cases it can be weeks before it is identified and diagnosed. In early diagnosed cases it is often very severe as the foal is unable to position his or her head correctly to nurse. The spine has fused so tightly at the base of the skull that they are not able to extend the head into the correct position to access the mare. In addition the foal may not be able to stand or to move once he or she is in the standing position. OAAM will cause the gross motor muscles or the large muscles of the body to lack control resulting in poor if any coordination. [...]
Overweight or obese horses are at the same types of health risks as overweight humans, dogs and any other type of animal. Since in the wild horses would be continually required to graze and forage, the chance of a horse in the wild becoming obese is almost non-existent. In captivity, horses are restricted to small areas, fed high carbohydrate, protein and fat diets, and only exercised for small periods of time per day, all leading to obesity problems.
Obesity puts more strain on all the various aspects of the horse's body from breathing and respiration through to digestion and cardiac functioning. The more weight the horse is carrying the greater the stress will be on the cardiac and respiratory system, especially when the horse is being exercised. Since obese horses rarely get routine exercise, this difference in respiration and heart rate, especially in hot or humid weather can quickly lead to heat stroke and heat intolerance. The excessive body weight will also prevent the dissipation of heat in the natural body cooling process, further leading to problems with heat stroke and stress. [...]