About animals

Horse Disease Overview


Fever, as a rule, affects the horse's limbs, but can quickly spread to the stomach and the entire croup of the animal.

It is excited by the bacterium dermatophilus congolensis, which wildly breeds in damp conditions, because this disease is often found in the winter months.

Bacteria enter through a cracked, spoiled or weakened skin; wet scratches occur in the penetration areas, which lead to scab. In severe cases, the limb may swell, and the horse begins to limp. Horses or ponies with a dense nap on the limbs are especially prone to this disease, since pathogenic bacteria naturally form very easily in the hair. Horses with snow-white limbs and a pink skin are located to this fever.

In order to prevent mud fever in horses, you should watch the dry legs of the animal and painstakingly clean all the dirt. Subsequently, the cleansing of the limbs can be spread with a special cream (petroleum jelly, vegetable oil or baby cream), which will divert penetration into the skin of microbes.

For the treatment of horse mud fever in the limbs, hair is trimmed, painstakingly cleaned, bathed with bactericidal shampoo and disinfectants used. Twice a day use medication. After healing, the skin can become very susceptible, therefore it is better to use relaxing creams with castor oil or zinc.

What are horses sick with and how to distinguish a sick individual?

It’s not so difficult to distinguish a healthy horse from a sick horse. The fact is that most symptoms appear externally. For example, a healthy horse is characterized by a cheerful and cheerful mood, a brilliant mane and a good appetite. While a sick animal becomes restless and anxious, it makes poor contact with a person and can even behave aggressively.

Depending on the disease, the horse’s behavior may change - for example, disease of the limbs is often accompanied by lameness or refusal to walk. Food poisoning can be detected by repeated refusal of food and intestinal upset. To date, the most common equine diseases include:

  • fungal and bacterial infections,
  • viral infections
  • invasive diseases
  • non-communicable diseases
  • skin diseases
  • diseases of the limbs and their joints.

Each type of disease has its own set of characteristic symptoms that help determine the ailment and prescribe the necessary medical procedures.

Fungal and bacterial infections

A bacterial disease occurs as a result of the appearance of a pathogenic microbe (fungus) in the horse's body. Its reproduction entails an acute course of the disease until the death of the animal, accompanied by high temperature.

Sap is called an infectious disease, which at first is asymptomatic. As a rule, it takes at least four weeks before the horse makes it clear that she is not well. It is possible to verify that the animal is glanders by the appearance of an allergy to mallein.

The main objects of infection are the lungs, lymph nodes and liver. Sap flows in three forms:

In the acute course of the disease, the horse first fever (chills and trembling), the body temperature is kept at 41 ° C. The mucous membranes of the mouth acquire a dark red color, the pulse is threadlike, and intermittent breathing. Then the lymph nodes swell under the jaw.

With the development of the disease, yellowish nodules appear on the mucous membrane of the upper respiratory tract of the sick horse, which then turn into purulent ulcers. Nasopharyngeal edema develops, nasal septum collapses. And after 2-3 weeks from the onset of symptoms, the animal dies.

In the chronic course of the disease, everything described above proceeds slowly for several months or even years, and with latent (latent) symptoms, there are no symptoms at all, only the internal organs are destroyed and the horse dies.

Unfortunately, today there is no effective treatment for glanders, so a sick animal is euthanized.

In order to prevent the spread of infection, artiodactyls imported into the country undergo a thorough check with a veterinarian.


Anthrax is one of the most dangerous infectious diseases that occur in acute form. The disease brings unbearable suffering to the animal, causing fever, severe intoxication, the appearance of swelling and malaise in the head, neck and chest, as well as an upset gastrointestinal tract.

Death occurs at lightning speed, and the animal dies in convulsions. The danger lies in the fact that other representatives of livestock, and even humans, can become infected with this disease. The infection is transmitted through feces, urine and saliva.

As a prophylaxis, an equine is given a vaccine that causes it to be immune to anthrax. Also, the animal must be regularly shown to the veterinarian, which helps prevent the deterioration of the animal's health.

It is strictly forbidden to open the corpse of a sick horse, since the bacillus takes three days to die.

Wash is another type of infectious disease in horses, which manifests itself in the form of fever, the appearance of pustules on the upper part of the pharynx and lymph nodes.

The disease makes itself felt only after fifteen days. The animal rises in temperature and appetite disappears.

The treatment consists in isolating the horse in a warm place and carefully remove and disinfect all pustules. Then antibiotics are administered intramuscularly for several days. In most cases, the wash appears after an exacerbation of a cold, with a prolonged stay in a draft or under a shower.

Laminitis horses

Laminitis (a traumatic lesion of the leaflet layer of the hoof) usually affects the forelimbs of an animal, and ponies are more prone to this disease than horses. The main symptoms of laminitis: the temperature of the forelimbs rises, the animal moves with mincing steps, not wanting to transfer the load to the front legs. In difficult cases, the horse may refuse to move at all. Rapid pulse and breathing may be observed. Usually the cause of the disease is excessive feeding, movement on a hard surface (for example, on asphalt) and spring grass. Other diseases increase the risk of this disease. These include cancer, toxemia, and the use of corticosteroids. In some cases, not a single apparent reason is observed. Despite the fact that it is not always possible to prevent this disease, there are a number of general rules: do not let the animal gain weight, limit the eating of grass, properly care for your limbs. If you find the first symptoms of the disease, you should immediately consult a veterinarian. It is advisable to place the horse in a stall with thick litter and not feed him. In severe cases, the animal should not be moved. There are medicines that can greatly improve the condition of the animal. Treatment may include removing horseshoes, hoof surgery, limiting eating grass, and exercising on grass to improve blood circulation to the limbs. Antihistamines, as well as drugs containing cortisone, may also be used. In the most difficult cases, euthanasia is used.

The most dangerous disease that affects horses, as well as almost all other animals and humans, is anthrax. Moreover, in horses this disease proceeds so lightning fast that death occurs before the owner has time to figure out something. An animal can become infected during grazing in unfavorable zones or from other animals. Vaccination protects against disease for one year. There is a disease for which all horses must be examined once a year. This is glanders. People are sick with a sap. This is a chronic (rarely acute) incurable disease. It is believed that there has been no glanders on the territory of Russia since the 30s of this century. However, it can be imported from other countries with sick horses. Therefore, as the saying goes: "He saves God who is safe." Recently, leptospirosis has become widespread. Horses are usually infected from rodents, which literally swarm with stables. Moreover, in horses this disease often proceeds secretly, manifesting itself clinically only in young and depleted animals. But people who can become infected by horses get seriously ill. Therefore, a vaccine against leptospirosis is best done. In my practice, there have been several cases of death of horses from tetanus. Believe me, the sight is not pleasant. Moreover, if a tetanus microbe gets into the wound, the doctor is almost powerless to help such an animal. Anti-tetanus serum does not always give results. Therefore, it is better to get vaccinated in advance. With flu, horses are affected just like humans. But horses have their own flu virus. Complications that develop against the background of a flu illness often make a horse unusable, and sometimes it dies. A flu vaccine also exists. And the last thing I would like to dwell on today is lichen. Depriving, of course, is not a deadly disease, but if the co-owner wants to see his pet with even shiny hair, then it is better to vaccinate him from deprivation, since a horse can be infected from cats, dogs, and other horses through a harness, saddle or care items.

Bells (Squats)

Bells or squats are a form of dermatitis that affects the horse's legs in the area of ​​the brushes. And the bacteria Dermatophilus congolensis, constantly living in the soil, cause it. The defeat of these bacteria leads to reddening of the skin, it becomes hot and painful, then bubbles appear on the damaged areas with liquid, then they burst, and when dried, the liquid forms dense crusts. The crusts fall off, pink and wet skin remains under them. Inflamed skin cracks when the horse moves; in severe cases, lameness may occur. Most often, biting midges appear in the lower part of the legs, under the brushes. All horses are susceptible to a varying degree of disease, more often biting midges appear in horses with white legs, and more often on the hind legs than on the front. Preventing the disease is easier than curing, but it is not always possible to minimize all risk factors. If in the levada where you let the horses go for a walk it is very dirty after rains or snow melt, wait with walks until the soil dries. Wash the horse’s dirty legs with running water from a hose or bucket, wring it out with your hands, then wipe it dry with a clean cloth. Keep your bedding clean and dry. For the prevention of biting midges, before releasing the horse outside, lubricate the legs with castor oil or petroleum jelly, this creates some protection against dirt and moisture. Please note that before this, the horse's legs must be dry and clean. It is very important to start treatment at the first sign of biting midges and not start the disease. First, it is necessary to wash the damaged areas with a weak warm solution of potassium permanganate, cut the coat, wipe it dry with clean gauze and lubricate with zinc ointment (or the sentimycin liniment). Affected areas can be treated with Tetcin aerosol. Warm poultices from bran work well. Sprinkle wet sores with clean charcoal powder. To soften the crusts, it is useful to lubricate them with hemp oil. In severely advanced cases, antibiotic injections are used (for example, penicillin or norocillin, 20 ml intramuscularly for 5 consecutive days).

Horse Mud Fever Fever usually affects the horse's limbs, but can also spread to the stomach. It is caused by the bacterium dermatophilus congolensis, which multiplies rapidly in humid conditions, so this disease is often found in the winter months. Bacteria penetrate cracked, damaged, or softened skin, and moist wounds appear at the points of entry that lead to scab. In severe cases, the limb may swell and the horse begins to limp. Horses or ponies with thick overgrowth on the limbs are especially prone to this disease, because pathogenic bacteria usually grow very well in the hair. Prone to this fever and horses with white limbs and pink skin. In order to prevent mud fever, the dry legs of the animal should be monitored and all dirt thoroughly cleaned. After cleaning the limbs, they can be smeared with a special cream (petroleum jelly, vegetable oil or baby cream), which will prevent bacteria from getting on the skin. To treat mud fever on the extremities, hair is trimmed, thoroughly cleaned, washed with antibacterial shampoo and antiseptic agents are used. Antibiotics are used twice a day. After treatment, the skin may become too sensitive, so it is advisable to use soothing creams with castor oil or zinc.


The scientific name for ringworm is trichophytosis. It is a viral disease, which is expressed in the occurrence of local baldness in an equine hoof. A person can be infected with ringworm by being in direct contact with a horse.

Only young individuals in poorly ventilated, dirty rooms and in the absence of proper care are susceptible to disease. The disease is transmitted by rodents.

In order for the animal to recover, it will be necessary to regularly treat the wounds with fungicide for several days. As a prophylaxis, the horse is vaccinated every two years.


Horse flu manifests itself in the form of an acute inflammatory process in the respiratory system of an animal, a suppressed and febrile state, and a dry cough. If untreated, the flu quickly enough flows into pneumonia.

The disease does not reveal itself in any way within 5-6 days. At the first sign, the horse is isolated and transferred to easily digestible food. In case of complication and the appearance of a bacterial infection, the animal will need a course of antibiotics.

While recovering, the horse gains immunity to viral infections, the effectiveness of which is followed during the next year. After which the horse will need a vaccine.


An acute viral disease that occurs in the form of edema of the mucous membranes and lungs, as well as the appearance of conjunctivitis, is called rhinopneumonia. It can be found under such names as viral abortion of mares and sexual exanthema. Most often, it is young individuals who have not reached the age of one year. The virus is carried along with urine, sexually, through dirty food, fluid, and saliva.

Effective treatment for rhinopneumonia today does not exist. Cephalosporin antibiotics and strict adherence to sanitary standards are used as a prophylactic. In a cured animal, immunity appears, which lasts six months.

Viral anemia

Viral anemia is an infectious disease that causes disturbances in the activity of the heart, blood vessels and the process of blood formation. Anemia is transmitted through saliva, the blood of a sick animal and a blood-sucking insect. The young organism of the foal is not able to cope with this disease, therefore, as a rule, it dies.

The main symptoms of viral anemia are lethargic, febrile seizures and a sharp decrease in weight.

In case of virus diagnosis, animals are quarantined. Infected horses are euthanized and thoroughly disinfected. The quarantine is removed after 90 days, provided that no sick animals have been detected during this period.

Infectious Encephalomyelitis

Another viral disease that occurs in acute form is infectious encephalomyelitis. It has a detrimental effect on the central nervous system and gastrointestinal tract of the horse. May flow into jaundice.

The asymptomatic period lasts from 15 to 40 days. After that, the animal rises in temperature, appetite decreases, a depressive state and incessant yawning occur.

The infected horse is isolated in a spacious and dark place. For several days, sodium sulfate is administered through the nose twice a day and intravenous injection with urotropine.

Accidental illness

A one-celled creature that causes a horse to have a random illness is called trypanosome. It lives in the seminal plasma, on the mucous membranes of the vagina, on the skin and in the blood vessels. It functions by consuming nutrient fluids found in the body of the animal.

The disease is transmitted through sexual intercourse. The main symptom is the appearance of round bulges on the body of an artiodactyl. A couple of days after infection, the horse is paralyzed and dies. At present, the use of an antitripasomal agent that was previously used is prohibited. A sick animal is euthanized.


Like any other animal, a horse can suffer from unpleasant parasites such as worms. After infection, the animal's appetite disappears, lethargy and tarnishing of the mane appear. Occurrence of cough and constipation is sometimes observed. You can identify the disease by means of a coprological study.

In most cases, a roundworm parasitizes in a horse’s body. The treatment takes place in the form of applying a finished paste-like medicine to the tongue. As a prophylaxis, this procedure is repeated every six months in order to prevent the development of a new group of parasites.


Since the horse is one of the representatives of herbivores, it perfectly absorbs fiber. An excess of this substance (often the source of which is poor-quality feed) leads to disruption of the digestive system. The main symptoms that detect the occurrence of colic in a horse are pain in the diaphragm.

As a rule, each horse is faced with a mild form of this disease. For ongoing pain, you should immediately contact your veterinarian. Treatment consists of anesthetic injection and a healthy nutrition plan.

Esophageal blockage

The special anatomical structure of the digestive system of the horse provokes the occurrence of pathologies associated with the functioning of the stomach, esophagus and intestines. The cause of the pathology is clogging of the feed mass. This process can occur once or proceed in a chronic form.

Symptoms of blockage of the esophagus appear instantly - the horse draws its face and tries to cough. Sometimes you can observe vomiting and leakage of saliva from the oral cavity.

Treatment is reduced to a hungry diet with a duration of 24 hours, an injection is introduced with substances such as acepromazine and xylazine.

Respiratory disease

A similar group of the disease occurs due to inadequate care, an incorrectly selected treatment plan for colds and complications arising from an infectious disease. Dust and lack of fresh air provokes asthma in horses.

To cure an animal, you must first identify the cause of the disease, and then eliminate it. To facilitate the course of the disease, an expectorant is prescribed for expectorants, which allow the respiratory system to function better, herbal inhalation is prescribed.


Bells (or putative dermatitis, or squats) are a fairly common and extremely painful disease for a horse. An animal can catch this ailment in the autumn, when there is a lot of slush and dirt, and hygiene standards are not respected. The causative agent is actinomycete microorganisms living in the ground and penetrating into the damaged area of ​​the skin.

The carrier of the disease may be a fly. Bells occur, as a rule, in the area of ​​the legs and look like layered scales. Also, the limb often swells.

Treatment consists in the careful and thorough removal of dirt from the damaged area, the removal of biting midges and the application of a bandage soaked in petroleum jelly.


The causative agent of this disease is a tick that parasitizes on the body of an animal. The main symptoms are the horse’s nervous state, various rashes on the skin, a regular attempt to bite the trunk and legs. At the place of occurrence of the tick, lichen develops over time, the hair falls out.

In most cases, a tick bite does not cause any complications and passes on its own. However, the resulting rashes will need to be treated with special ointments and gels.


Eczema is called damage to the upper layer of the skin. The disease can occur due to timely untreated mechanical damage, the harmful effects of high temperature and as an allergic reaction to taking medications. It appears in the form of a dense tubercle and small abscess, may be accompanied by a scaly crust.

To cure a horse of eczema that has appeared, it is necessary to identify its pathogen and eliminate it. A compress of 5% picric acid is applied to the damaged area. With the approval of the veterinarian, you can use the help of gels based on antibiotics that facilitate the course of the disease.


This disease occurs in acute and chronic form. The main symptoms are itching, inflammation of the skin, hair loss and anxiety of the animal. The causative agent is a skin-mite tick, which causes the horse's desire to comb the damaged area.

To confirm the diagnosis, it is necessary to pass a scraping of the skin. Treatment consists in the use of an acaricidal preparation every 7-9 days.

Parafilariasis ("section" of horses)

This disease is possible only in the warm period of the year in horses no younger than 3 years old. Parafilariasis is manifested in the form of capillary bleeding on the body of an equine. The causative agent is a fly-fly, parasitic by the consumption of blood.

A small tubercle appears at the site of the bite; at high air temperature it begins to emit blood. Subsequently, this tubercle is covered with a crust, and the hemoglobin decreases in the animal and overall weight loss is noted.

Anthelmintic drugs are used (fenbendazole at a dose of 15 mg per kilogram of body weight once a day for five days, or 1 ml per 50 kg of horse's body weight is injected subcutaneously). Additionally, locally wipe the affected areas of the skin with 1-2% solutions of carbolic acid or chlorophos. Inside, they also prescribe 1% avermectin paste (put on the root of the tongue) and equisect paste.


Inflammation of the skin of the hooves of horses is called laminitis, sometimes it can be called pododermatitis. Without providing timely assistance to the animal, a violation may occur in the process of blood supply to the limb. Due to the fact that the required blood volume is not enough, fluid begins to collect in the joints, which presses on the limbs and causes edema.

For the effectiveness of treatment, the animal is temporarily exempted from training or work. The load on the legs should be minimal. A series of injections is performed to help relieve the inflammatory process and promote better blood flow to the joints.

"Cavity" rings on the hoofs of a horse carried laminitis

Rheumatic hoof inflammation

With rheumatoid inflammation of the hooves, the horse rises in temperature, appetite decreases, his back is hunched and the animal tries to lie down, thereby reducing the load on the hooves. The resulting lameness indicates the need for urgent medical measures.

To begin with, the animal is transferred to a place with soft soil, and if necessary, remove the horseshoes. To alleviate the painful condition of the equidoids, sawing of the walls of the hooves helps. This contributes to the expansion of blood vessels, thereby the blood supply process begins to function normally.

"Hedgehog" hoof in a patient with a given horse disease

Puncture and namina hooves

These diseases are most often affected only by not savvy equids, since the hoof of the animal is not protected. A foreign sharp object caught in the “sole” of the horse and not timely removed can cause a serious inflammatory process.

Symptoms of pricking and namin are the animal’s refusal to move long distances, lameness (since the horse is trying not to burden the affected area), gait changes and joint inflammation. Treatment consists in removing the splinter and treating the damaged area with an antibacterial agent.

Extremely effective means are based on tar and iodine. After removing a sharp object and disinfection, the horse must pass at least a day with a specially prepared cooling compress. This will prevent the possible occurrence of edema in the affected area. If necessary, the horse is exempted from physical activity or agricultural activity for several days.

Tendon stretch

With prolonged and strong tension on the tendon, for example, with a sharp jump, a horse may experience a sprain. Visually determining this disease is quite simple: the place of stretching becomes dense, swelling appears and the animal experiences pain.

No serious medical treatment is required. The stretching takes place independently, it is only necessary to limit any physical activity and apply a specially prepared cold compress to the sore spot, and use a bandage when grazing.

Rotting Hoof Arrow

Rotting of the arrow of the hoof is one of the varieties of an infectious disease, which is expressed as the appearance of a huge accumulation of black mass in the area of ​​the hooves. The causative agent of rotting of the horse's limbs is improper care, rarely cleaned from the stables mud, an improperly installed horseshoe and violation of the rules for cutting hoofed horns.

You can read about the proper maintenance and care of horses in this article.

Symptoms occur almost immediately after the onset of decay. The horse begins to arch its back strongly, trying to transfer weight from a sick hoof.

If treatment is not started in time, the hoof becomes soft to such an extent that by pressing on it, a recess will remain. It is possible to stop the process of decay by scrubbing and thoroughly removing dead tissue. After that, the affected area is treated with an antiseptic or iodine diluted in water (in a 2: 1 ratio).

Careful and attentive animal care will help to avoid various diseases. It is important to regularly show the horse to the veterinarian and conduct a routine inspection. These simple steps will help keep your animal in perfect condition.