Use coupon code "SAVE20" to get FLAT 20% Off


Your Cart is Empty

Back To Shop

Common Horse Diseases and Treatments

Common Horse Diseases and Treatments

Horse health diseases, treatment, and well-being are of paramount importance to those who care for them. While a well-balanced diet and regular exercise are vital components of equine care, understanding and addressing common horse diseases and treatments are equally essential. In this barticle, we will delve into the world of equine health, exploring the origins, symptoms, and treatments of common horse diseases. By understanding these conditions and their management, you can ensure a long, healthy life for your equine friend.

Read Also: The Most Common Health Issues in Horses

Common Horse Diseases and Treatments

1. Equine Influenza:

Overview: Equine influenza, often referred to as horse flu, is a contagious respiratory disease caused by influenza viruses. It can quickly spread among horses in close proximity, making it a significant concern for equine communities. It is characterized by symptoms like coughing, nasal discharge, and fever.


  • Coughing
  • Nasal discharge
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite


  • Rest and isolation to prevent further transmission
  • Symptomatic relief with anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Intranasal or injectable influenza vaccines for prevention

2. Strangles:

Overview: Strangles is a highly contagious bacterial infection caused by Streptococcus equi. It’s named for the swelling and abscesses it causes in the lymph nodes of a horse’s throat.


  • Swollen lymph nodes in the throat
  • Nasal discharge
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • High fever
  • Lethargy

Treatment includes:

  • Antibiotics to combat the infection
  • Drainage of abscesses
  • Strict isolation to prevent spread
  • Vaccination for prevention

3. Colic:

Overview: Colic is a term used to describe various types of abdominal pain in horses. It can range from mild discomfort to severe, life-threatening conditions, digestive issues to obstruction.


  • Pawing the ground
  • Rolling or lying down excessively
  • Restlessness
  • Lack of appetite
  • Elevated heart rate


  • Pain relief medications
  • Intravenous fluids therapy
  • Medical management or surgery if necessary
  • Preventive measures, including proper feeding and deworming

See Also: 6 Tips to Improve Your Horse’s Health

4. Equine West Nile Virus:

Overview: West Nile Virus (WNV) is transmitted to horses through mosquito bites. It can lead to neurological symptoms and, in severe cases, be fatal, West Nile Virus can lead to neurological symptoms in horses.


  • Muscle tremors or weakness
  • Loss of coordination
  • Fever
  • Depression
  • Head pressing


  • Focuses on supportive care
  • Including anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Intravenous fluids to maintain hydration
  • Vaccination to prevent infection

5. Laminitis:

Overview: Laminitis affects the hooves and is often linked to diet, overeating, or other metabolic issues. Laminitis is a painful condition that primarily affects a horse’s hooves and is often linked to dietary issues, overeating, addressing the underlying cause or other metabolic problems.


  • Lameness
  • Heat in the hooves
  • Increased digital pulse in the hoof
  • Reluctance to move
  • Shifting weight between hooves


  • Addressing the underlying cause, such as dietary adjustments
  • Pain management with anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Adequate rest and support
  • Hoof care and trimming

6. Equine Herpesvirus (EHV):

Overview: Equine Herpesvirus can manifest in various forms, including respiratory symptoms, abortion in pregnant mares, and neurological issues.


  • Neurological symptoms (in severe cases)
  • Abortion in pregnant mares
  • Nasal discharge
  • High fever
  • Coughing


  • Symptomatic care, including anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Vaccination for certain strains of EHV
  • Isolation to prevent transmission

Now that we’ve explored some horse diseases and treatments, let’s discuss the importance of early diagnosis.

Read More: Plan a Healthy Diet for Your Horse

Early Diagnosis and Veterinary Care for Horse Diseases and Treatment

Early detection of horse diseases is crucial for effective treatment. Regular veterinary check-ups, vaccinations, deworming, and dental care are essential components of equine health maintenance. Routine vaccinations and preventive measures can significantly reduce the risk of disease. It is recommended that regular veterinary check-ups be scheduled.

1. Botulism

Overview: Botulism is a rare but serious disease in horses caused by the toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum.


  • Difficulty swallowing and chewing
  • Muscle weakness or paralysis
  • Reduced tongue control
  • Drooping eyelids
  • Constipation


  • Wound care if the source of infection is a contaminated wound
  • Supportive care, including feeding via a nasal tube
  • Antitoxin administration

2. Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA)

Overview: Equine Infectious Anemia is a viral disease transmitted by blood-feeding insects and contaminated needles.


  • Swollen abdomen
  • Weight loss
  • Weakness
  • Anemia
  • Fever


  • Strict biosecurity measures to prevent spread
  • Euthanasia or quarantine for life (no cure)

3. Nutrition and Dietary Considerations

A well-balanced diet tailored to your horse’s specific needs is fundamental to their overall health. Proper nutrition helps prevent various health issues, including obesity, colic, and laminitis.

4. Treatment Options

  1. Medications: Medications are often prescribed by veterinarians to alleviate symptoms.
  2. Surgery: Surgical procedures are often deemed necessary for conditions like colic.
  3. Supportive Care: Supportive care is essential for a horse’s comfort and recovery.

5. Quarantine and Isolation:

This practice is crucial in a stable or equestrian facility to protect the health of other horses. When a horse is diagnosed with a contagious disease, isolation is necessary to prevent further spread. Proper quarantine measures are vital in stable or equestrian facility management. Let’s delve into the significance of vaccinations in preventing common horse diseases.

6. Vaccinations:

Vaccinations are a cornerstone of equine disease prevention. They stimulate the horse’s immune system to build resistance against specific diseases. Consult your veterinarian for a vaccination schedule tailored to your horse’s needs. Vaccinations are administered to stimulate the horse’s immune system.

Next, we’ll explore some lesser-known horse diseases and treatments that require attention.

Check Also: Plan a Healthy Diet for Your Horse

Lesser-Known Horse Diseases and Treatments

1. Equine Cushing’s Disease (PPID):

Overview: Equine Cushing’s Disease, also known as Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction (PPID), primarily affects older horses and can lead to a range of symptoms, including excessive hair growth, weight loss, and laminitis. Medication may be prescribed to manage hormonal imbalances in horses with PPID.


  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Excessive hair growth
  • Muscle wasting
  • Weight loss
  • Laminitis


  • Medication may be prescribed to manage hormonal imbalances in horses with PPID.
  • Medications to manage hormonal imbalances
  • Exercise to promote muscle strength
  • Dietary modifications

2. Equine Recurrent Uveitis (ERU):

Overview: Equine Recurrent Uveitis, also known as Moon Blindness, is an inflammatory condition that affects the horse’s eye.


  • Photophobia (sensitivity to light)
  • Eye redness and cloudiness
  • Blindness in severe cases
  • Excessive tearing
  • Squinting


  • Anti-inflammatory drugs are frequently used in the treatment of ERU.
  • Identifying and addressing underlying causes
  • Ocular care and protection
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs

As we conclude, let’s emphasize the importance of a holistic approach to horse health.


As responsible horse owners, we need to realize that our role goes beyond treatment and prevention. It is undoubtedly better to prevent these diseases than to cure them. Note that early diagnosis is still of paramount importance and regular vet check-ups are highly recommended. The vaccination schedule must be strictly adhered to. With this knowledge, you’ll be better able to recognize warning signs, seek timely veterinary attention, and take preventive measures.

Related Resources:

Horse Health Tips: Avoiding Premature Death

7 Expert Tips to Reduce Horse Health Risks

Health & Safety: Horseback Riding Activity

Written by

The author of the article is Alicia Nelson. She is a professional writer who is keenly interested in learning more about horses and their riding essentials. Apart from being a writer, Alicia is interested in equine life and is also a learned person in English riding disciplines. It’s also her profession to gather more and more knowledge about equine life and let others know about it in a correct manner.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Your Cart is Empty

Back To Shop