Horses are large animals, but they’re very vulnerable to various diseases that may lead to their death if left untreated. Listed below are some of the common diseases that a horse can get.
Rain rot is a skin condition that’s caused by bacteria. The other name for this skin disease is rain scald. The infected skin will have scabs with yellow to green pus underneath. It’s painful and irritating when touched. A horse can develop rain rot when its skin is always wet or moist from being in the rain most of the time.
Keep the horse’s skin dry all the time to prevent rain rot from developing. If getting wet in the rain is unavoidable, make sure that the horse’s skin gets dry right after.
Potomac Horse Fever
Potomac horse fever is a kind of disease that’s common from spring to the early part of autumn. It’s caused by Neorickettsia risticii, the bacteria that are found in flatworms that reside inside aquatic snails. As the weather becomes hotter and the water in creeks and ponds becomes warmer, these flatworms go out from the snails into the water and they will be picked up by various water insects like mosquitoes. Horses can also intake these flatworms when they drink water from these water sources.
Commercial vaccines are available to lessen the effects of the disease on the horse, but not to cure the disease. It’s still best to consult a veterinarian for proper medication.
Colic is a digestive disorder that causes different levels of pain in the abdomen. It’s common in horses. There are mild colic conditions, but some are so severe that they become fatal to the affected horse. The horse’s gut gets so much gas in it, that it becomes stretched beyond its limit. The pain comes when the gut wall contracts to push out the excessive gas. The horse will try to kick or bite their belly area because of the pain.
It’s best to call a veterinarian when this happens, to help relieve the horse from its suffering.
Flu is a common respiratory disease of horses, and is also known as equine influenza. It’s a viral infection that’s very contagious. The virus can be transmitted by direct contact with an infected horse. It can also be transmitted in indirect ways, like being in a contaminated environment.
When one or two of the horses in a barn are diagnosed with flu, it will mostly lead to an outbreak, because the virus usually takes about 3 days to incubate before symptoms are visible.
To prevent an influenza outbreak in a barn, it’s best to implement biosecurity practices. It’s a good idea to quarantine any newly acquired horses, and those that come from shows and other places. The quarantine should last at least 14 days, to ensure that there’s no infection.