There are many diseases that can pose a serious risk to the health and welfare of any equine (horse, pony, donkey and their hybrids). Some diseases are already widespread in the UK, while other ‘exotic’ diseases are a cause for concern, for example, due to climate change.
Strangles is one of the most common diseases diagnosed in horses worldwide, with around 600 UK outbreaks each year. Strangles can affect any age, sex or breed of horse. It’s widely feared because of its debilitating effects and its potential economic impact
Equine herpes virus (EHV)
Equine Herpes Virus (EHV) is a highly contagious airborne disease and occurs in horses worldwide. There are nine strains of EHV, but EHV-1 and EHV-4 are the most common
Horse conditions and non-contagious diseases
Colic is used to describe clinical signs of abdominal pain or discomfort in the horse; hence colic is technically a symptom rather than being a disease. Colic is the most common equine emergency and cause of death in horses worldwide
Laminitis is an extremely painful condition affecting 1 in 10 horses/ponies every year and can cause permanent damage to the hooves. Laminitis can affect any equine, at any time of the year and not just in spring – there is no ‘safe season’
Equine Grass Sickness (EGS)
Equine Grass Sickness (EGS) is a debilitating and frequently fatal disease, affecting grazing horses, ponies, and donkeys. However, there have been a few cases where horses with no access to grass have developed EGS where hay has been found to be the cause
Horse conditions and non-contagious diseases continued
Equine Metabolic Syndrome
Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) is a hormonal disorder similar to Type 2 diabetes in humans. Any horse or pony is at risk, although it is seen much more often in overweight animals, as obesity is the main known risk factor for EMS.
Arthritis is inflammation of a joint or joints and can cause reduced performance, pain and lameness.
West Nile Virus
West Nile Virus is not currently circulating in the UK, but with horses being transported globally and the ongoing impact of climate change, there’s a risk that outbreaks could occur in the future.
Equine Asthma (EA) is an umbrella term used to describe respiratory diseases1 previously known as Inflammatory Airway Disease (IAD), Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Recurrent Airway Obstruction (RAO) and Heaves.
Mud fever is a non-contagious (which means it doesn’t spread from one horse to another, or to people) skin condition that causes irritation, soreness, matted areas of hair, and scabs that form on the horse’s lower legs.
Rain scald is a non-contagious skin condition, which can be caused by the same bacteria as mud fever. However, scabs form in places along the horse’s neck, back and hindquarters rather than the lower legs.
There are many plants, shrubs, hedges, and trees poisonous to horses. You need to be aware of what plants are unsafe for your horse so that you can regularly check for and remove them.
Atypical Myopathy (AM), also referred to as Seasonal Pasture Myopathy (SPM), is a disease associated with horses eating sycamore seeds or seedlings
If eaten, acorns, leaves and branches from oak trees pose a risk of poisoning to horses. So, it is important to know what we can do for our horses to minimise the risk
Grass cuttings are potentially very dangerous for horses to eat, and sadly many have died as a result of people putting lawn mowings over the fence into horse pastures.
Get in touch – we’re here to help
The Horse Care and Welfare Team are here to help and can offer you further advice with any questions you may have. Contact us on 02476 840517* or email firstname.lastname@example.org – You can also get in touch with us via our social media channels.
Opening times are 8:35 am - 5 pm from Monday – Thursday and 8:35 am - 3 pm on Friday.
*Calls may be recorded for monitoring purposes.