Horse Illnesses

Horse Illnesses


Horse illnesses are something that strikes fear into the heart of even the most experienced horse
owners. Even if your horse lives in the top-rated stables and is cared for by the most experienced professionals,
he or she will suffer from some form of horse illnesses at least once in their life. To make sure you can identify a
horse illness if your horse happens to catch a horse illness, read up on the basic horse illnesses on this page.

Sweet Itch – Sweet itch is an allergy which most horses have to the bites of tiny midgets. The itching
sensation of their bites makes horses rub themselves raw on anything they can find to get rid of the irritation.
Normally, the mane and tail of the horse gets most affected. The midgets usually bite around dawn and dusk, so it
would be best for you to stable your horse at these times. Also, if your horse suffers from sweet itch, you
can get benzyl benzoate from your chemist. When this is rubbed onto the area that is being irritated, it helps
to relieve the itching.

Mane Rub – Some horses – even if they do not have sweet itch – will rub their manes and tail to pieces in
summer. This looks awful and causes horrible blisters and raw patches. You can relieve the soreness by rubbing
benzyl benzoate into the sore area or protect the horse with a lightweight, hooded rug and a fly fringe attached
to its halter.

Bot-Flies – Bot-fly eggs can often be found on a horse’s lower part of its leg in summer. The eggs look
like little yellow specks. If you find bot-fly eggs on you horse, ask an adult to scrape them off with a knife
(be careful to not hurt your horse!). If your horse licks the eggs and swallows them, the eggs will develop into
larvae inside its stomach or even its mouth, if they remain unswallowed. If you deworm your horse with ivermectin
in early winter, it will destroy all the bot-fly larvae inside its body.

Ear Plagues – Despite their rather frightening name, ear plagues are harmless. They are just white patches of
skin in your horse’s ears. They do not need treating, and there is nothing I know of that you can use to get rid of them.

Ear Problems – If your horse shakes its head a lot, or rubs its ears against things, or has discharge from its
ears, or has thick brown wax in its ears, you know that your horse cold have problems with its ears. The shaking of the
head, rubbing of the ears and thick brown wax is more than likely just ear mites which are bugging your horse. However,
if there is discharge coming from your horse’s ears, you should call your vet straight away. This discharge is more than
likely the result of an infection and will need quick treatment.

Swelling of the Legs – There are plenty of things that could be causing swelling in your horse’s legs: Ligament or
tendon injuries, bruising, splints (bony enlargements of the bone in your horse’s leg), arthritis and other things like
that. These swellings may be hot to the touch, hard or soft, and your horse may be lame. If you see swellings like this on
your horse, you should call your vet before it gets any worse.

Colic – Colic is probably the most dangerous of all horse illnesses you are likely to encounter in your adventure as a
horse owner. It is a digestive problem that can be caused by allergies, eating poisonous plants or overeating. The symptoms
of colic are excessive rolling (you will know if it Colic rolling if your horse does not shake after rolling), lying down
and getting up frequently, biting of its belly and sweating. If you notice that your horse is acting in this way, keep it
walking in big circles while someone calls the vet. Whatever you do, DO NOT LET YOUR HORSE ROLL!!! If your
horse rolls while it has colic, it will probably end up with a twisted gut, which normally ends in death.

Mud Fever – Mud fever is a disease that is most likely to affect your horse in winter. You will know if your horse
has mud fever by looking at its heels. If your horse’s heels are cracked, red and sore, you know that it has mud fever. Mud
fever is caused by your horse standing in wet, damp or muddy ground for long periods of time. If you see that your horse
has mud fever, call your vet so that he or she can help you treat it.

Laminitis – Whereas mud fever is a winter problem, laminitis is a summer horse illness. It is caused by your horse
eating too much rich grass. Laminitis is an inflammation of the lamina of the hoof. It usually affects the front hooves of
horses. A hoof that is infected should feel hot and the horse will probably be lame. One of my best friend’s little pony named
Tinker is prone to laminitis. The way my friend keeps him from getting the horse illness is by keeping him in a non-richly
grassed paddock, and not feeding him too many treats. If you think your horse has laminitis, get it out of the field and call
your vet.

Well those are all the basic horse illnesses. If you want to know a bit more about how to tell whether your horse is healthy,
go to my Horse Health page. Or you can go my
Horse Grooming, Horse Washing,
Feeding Your Horse, Seasonal Care
and Mucking Out pages to learn more about horse care.

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