Which Common Illnesses Should Your Horse Be Screened For?

Which Common Illnesses Should Your Horse Be Screened For?

Whether you’re an experienced horse owner or a newcomer, prioritizing your horse’s health is crucial. Early detection of common illnesses can significantly improve treatment outcomes and overall well-being. Horses should be screened for respiratory infections, colic, laminitis, equine influenza, and dental issues. Regular veterinary check-ups, vaccinations, and keen observation for any changes in behavior or physical condition are vital. Being proactive allows for timely intervention, ensuring your horse remains healthy and active. Let’s explore these illnesses further to keep your equine companion in top shape.

Common Illnesses to Screen For

Equine Influenza

Equine influenza is one of the most contagious diseases among horses. It spreads quickly through direct contact, contaminated equipment, or even the air. Symptoms often include:

  • Coughing

  • Fever

  • Nasal discharge

Regular vaccinations and screenings can help prevent outbreaks in your stable.

Equine Herpesvirus (EHV)

EHV is another contagious disease that affects horses. It can manifest in respiratory, neurological, and reproductive forms. Signs to watch for include:

  • Fever

  • Respiratory distress

  • Loss of coordination

  • Abortions in pregnant mares

Timely vaccinations and quarantining new or sick horses can help curb the spread.


Strangles is a bacterial infection that primarily targets young horses but can affect any age group. It is highly contagious and has symptoms such as:

  • Swelling of lymph nodes

  • Nasal discharge

  • Fever

  • Difficulty swallowing

Screening and isolating infected horses can significantly reduce the risk of spreading this disease.


Laminitis is a painful condition affecting the hooves, often requiring immediate veterinary attention. It can be caused by various factors like overeating, infections, and stress. Symptoms include:

  • Lameness

  • Heat in hooves

  • Reluctance to move

Early detection and management can prevent long-term damage.

Equine Cushings Disease (PPID)

This chronic condition affects older horses and can lead to serious complications if left untreated. Symptoms to look out for include:

  • Long, curly coat

  • Increased thirst and urination

  • Muscle wasting

  • Recurring laminitis

A simple blood test can diagnose PPID, allowing for timely treatment and management.

Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS)

EMS is characterized by insulin resistance and often leads to laminitis. Symptoms include:

  • Obesity

  • Fat deposits in unusual locations

  • Lameness

Regular screenings can help you manage your horse’s diet and exercise to prevent EMS.

It’s also worthwhile considering other services, such as equine veterinary services for comprehensive health checks, ensuring your horse remains in peak condition year-round.

Hoof Problems

Regular hoof screenings can help prevent problems like abscesses, cracks, and fungal infections. Common hoof-related issues to watch out for include:

  • Thrush

  • White line disease

  • Hoof abscesses

Ensuring proper hoof care and hygiene can go a long way in maintaining your horse’s hoof health.

Parasite Infestation

Internal and external parasites can cause significant health issues in horses. Symptoms of parasite infestation include:

  • Weight loss

  • Poor coat condition

  • Diarrhea

  • Colic

Regular fecal exams and deworming schedules can help keep your horse parasite-free.

Additionally, if you have other pets like dogs, consider services such as dog vaccinations in Union City, TN, which can ensure overall pet health in your household and also help reduce the risk of cross-species contamination.

Dental Issues

Horses require regular dental check-ups to prevent issues like tooth decay, sharp edges, and gum disease. Common signs of dental problems include:

  • Dropping food

  • Facial swelling

  • Weight loss

  • Difficulty chewing

Your veterinarian can perform dental exams and floating to keep your horse’s mouth healthy.

If you ever need veterinary surgeries or specialized treatments for your pets, including horses, consulting a general dog surgeon in Union City, TN may offer some insight into qualified veterinary services available in your area.

Regular Veterinary Care

Maintaining a healthy routine with regular veterinary check-ups is crucial. Routine screenings and vaccinations can save you from unexpected health issues. Horses, much like humans, benefit from preventative care. Timely intervention and appropriate treatments can ensure your horse enjoys a long, healthy life.

  • Vaccinations: Vaccinations play a significant role in preventing many of the diseases discussed. Regular vaccination schedules should be maintained for optimal protection against contagious diseases.

  • Nutritional Management: Proper nutrition is essential for preventing illnesses like EMS and laminitis. Consult your veterinarian to create a diet plan tailored to your horse’s specific needs.

  • Exercise and Mental Health: A well-rounded exercise regimen can prevent obesity and related issues. Just like us, horses need mental stimulation to prevent boredom and stress.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re a seasoned horse owner or new to equines, prioritizing your horse’s health is essential. Early detection of illnesses significantly impacts effective treatment and overall well-being. Common ailments to screen for include colic, respiratory infections, laminitis, and equine influenza. Regular veterinary check-ups, vaccinations, and maintaining good, stable hygiene are crucial preventive measures. Recognizing early signs like changes in appetite, behavior, or mobility can help manage and mitigate these conditions promptly. Staying informed and proactive ensures your horse remains healthy and happy, enhancing their quality of life.