How to Help Your Horse to Live a Long and Happy Life

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How to Help Your Horse to Live a Long and Happy Life

Horses, like humans, are prone to health problems. To ensure you are able to treat common horse problems in a timely manner, you will need to familiarise yourself with some of the ailments that affect horses.

Exertional Rhabdomyolysis

Exertional rhabdomyolysis, also known as tying up, azoturia and Monday morning disease, is a syndrome that results in severe muscle damage when left untreated. While it is widely agreed that there is no single cause of this health problem, a sudden increase in a horse’s workload tends to play a significant role in its development. Other contributing factors include mineral imbalances, an underactive thyroid, and selenium and vitamin E deficiencies. The signs of exertional rhabdomyolysis are a stiff gait and soreness in the back or hind limbs, all of which may contribute to your horse’s reluctance to move.


Colic is a catchall term for a range of digestive problems. It is associated with several causes, including gastrointestinal parasites, excessive gas in the intestines, a blockage of the intestines and twisting of the intestines. The signs of colic include constipation and frequent rolling, pacing and pawing of the ground. If you suspect your horse may be suffering from colic, you should seek immediate advice from your veterinarian as all forms of this condition can be fatal. Colic resulting from twisting of the intestines is particularly serious and warrants the need for surgery. Surgery for severe colic is costly. However, your horse insurance should help you to cover the cost.

Recurrent Airway Obstruction

Recurrent airway obstruction, also known as heaves, is the name given to the inflammation of the lungs, caused by an allergic reaction to airborne particles. The condition is often seen in horses who remain in their stables for long periods. The signs of recurrent airway obstruction include coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. Recurrent airway obstruction is a long-term condition, which means that a horse may need to take medication for the rest of his life. If left untreated, the condition can cause heave lines, which are characterised by a bulge of muscle along the ribs.

If your horse exhibits any signs of illness, you must contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. The sooner you are able to detect a problem, the sooner you can take action to resolve it.


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