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.
Cushing’s disease, or Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction (PPID) is a chronic, progressive condition caused by an imbalance in the hormones produced by the pituitary gland. The disease commonly affects horses and ponies over the age of 15 and due to rising life expectancy rates, it is becoming increasingly prevalent.
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.
Atypical Myopathy (AM), also referred to as Seasonal Pasture Myopathy (SPM), is a disease associated with horses eating sycamore seeds or seedlings.
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.