7 Common Horse Illness and Diseases

7 Common Horse Illnesses

Like any other living beings, horses are also prone to illness and diseases. There are various reasons why horses may suffer from different kinds of diseases. Even with all the proper care being provided for the horse, there are several other factors of protection that are sometimes ignored. The horse riders and the caretakers need to take care of the horse and protect them from all different kinds of diseases.

This does not only include the protection given by the caretaker, but it also includes equine vet treatment, vaccinations, and proper routine check-ups for the horse. If you merely provide the horse protection and neglect the vaccinations or vet visits, the horse might get contract some sort of diseases.

There are various types of diseases that a horse can get, and some donu2019t have any treatment. The best way to prevent most of these diseases is to get your horse vaccinated. If it is done at the right time your horse will be protected.

Some of the horse illnesses and horse illness treatments are discussed below. It will give you an insight into what the horse illness symptoms are and some additional information. The following are some horse illnesses and their treatment are also mentioned.


Ringworm in horses is a skin condition found in horses. Ringworm is not really a worm, itu2019s a fungal infection thatu2019s spread through direct or indirect contact with an infected horse. It is shaped like a ring, hence its name. Ringworm not only affect horses, but also their surroundings, the rider, and the caretaker. Ringworm can also infect the environment around the horse, such as the tack, stable, bedding and all the horse’s equipment.

Ringworm Symptoms

The ringworm symptoms in horses are as follows:

  • Ring-shaped lesion (can also be found in other shapes)
  • Round, bald patches
  • Affected skin is dry and scaly
  • Size of lesions vary
  • Usually not associated with itchiness

Treatment for Ringworm in Horses

If you see any of the above symptoms in your horse, rush it to your equine vet. The more negligence you show, the more fungi will affect the horse. The equine vet will provide you different oral antibiotics for the horse. Other than that, because of the fungal infection, the hair, and skin are most affected. The vet will also recommend various creams and shampoos for the horse.

Remember the immediate environment of your horse is also affected by the ringworm in the horse, so what you need to do is to destroy the bedding and the tack and clean the stable with disinfectants. All the other equine equipment also needs to be cleaned with disinfectants.

Potomac Horse Fever

This horse disease happens more in springs when the water from the river is at full flow and the flatworms from the snails infect the water. At times the flatworms are ingested into the horse through water and at other times the insects eat the flatworm and these infected insects then infect the horse and the environment. The horse might suffer from diarrhea or fever.

Symptoms of Potomac Horse Fever

The symptoms of PHF are:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Depression
  • Decreased intestinal sounds
  • Diarrhea
  • Mild colic

Treatment of PHF

There are several factors through which the horse can be infected, but a cure is possible with a vaccination. If you get your horse vaccinated beforehand there will not be zero possibility of catching this disease, but the severity of the disease will be less. There are many ways that this horse illness can be life-threatening. It is better to take safety measures beforehand.

Equine Herpesvirusu00a0(EHV)/Rhinopneumonitis

EHV is a contagious disease, and it can be life-threatening. The outbreak of EHV is highly contagious. It can even contaminate the water and feeding utensils. It can also infect the other horses and can also transmit the bacteria to humans. It is a highly dangerous disease that affects the respiratory system and can also result in inflammation and abortions in pregnant mares.

There are several stages of EHV, and each has a different level of severity.

Symptoms of EHV

There are several symptoms of EHV. This threatening infection can cause a lot of damage which includes:

  • Nasal discharge
  • Problems with coordination
  • Hind limb weakness
  • Loss of tail tone
  • Lethargy
  • Urine dribbling
  • Head tilt
  • Leaning against a fence or a wall to maintain balance
  • Inability to rise

Treatment of THV

As soon as you find the symptoms in your horse, the first and the foremost thing is to separate it from that rest of the herd. The contagious virus can easily affect the herd and put them all into a life-threatening condition.

Next step you need to take is to vaccinate your horse for the virus. If you notice the symptoms you need to rush to the equine vet to further vaccinate and treat your horse. Also, when there is a new horse on your farm, make sure it is clean from any kind of virus. Make bio-security a routine practice on your farm. This means you need to groom the horses that are new and wash them properly before introducing them to the rest of the herd.

Equine Influenza (Flu)

Equine influenza is the most common horse illness. It is a respiratory illness. It can be slightly contagious and can spread with direct contact with the horse.

It is not considered as one of the life-threatening horse illness, but it needs to be taken care of before it is severe.

Symptoms of the Equine Influenza

Followings are the symptoms of flu in the horse.

  • Fever
  • A harsh, dry cough (a cough that continues for 2-3 weeks)
  • Clear nasal discharge (the discharge will be progressing to thick, yellowish green)
  • Lethargy/depression
  • Loss of appetite

Treatment for Equine Influenza

Equine influenza can be prevnted by getting the proper vaccinations that your vet can recommend. Also, practicing biosecurity will help in the treatment of equine influenza.

There are multiple other horse illness and horse diseases that can be life-threatening. If the proper treatment and the vaccinations are provided to the horses serious outbreak of the diseases can be stopped. You need to practice regular and routine visits to the equine vet to help with horse illness treatments.

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