• Poll Trauma & Poll Evil

    Poll Trauma. If you use a halter and tie your horse, your horse has this injury.

    “Poll” is defined as the prominent, hairy top or back of the head, and that’s exactly the region that your horse’s halter passes over, just behind his ears. When you tie your horse to a fence or even cross ties in the barn while you’re grooming him, the halter puts a lot of stress onto the poll. [Read More…]

  • Navicular Syndrome

    Navicular Syndrome is a poorly understood condition of the foot. What is clear is that your horse has pain in his foot, usually in both forefeet. The pain is centered in the heel area.

    There are many theories as to the cause of this disorder. Most imply a problem with blood flow or clots, but some theorize an irregularity in the navicular bursa, a small fluid-filled sac that surrounds the coffin joint. Check out an anatomy chart for details. We have an excellent laminated wall chart devoted to the anatomy of Navicular Syndrome. [Read More…]

  • Lacerations

    Lacerations can be among the most alarming horse injuries that you’ll ever face. Since wound treatment is such an extensive field, we provide you with an overview here. You can find veterinary books with more complete information on lacerations.

    There are three main types of open wounds: Superficial Lacerations, Deep Lacerations, and Puncture Wounds; treatments for each have commonalities, but also some specific differences. When you discover that your horse has sustained an open wound, your first responsibility is to determine the location, nature, and extent of the injury. Here are some guidelines: [Read More…]

  • Hock Conditions & Injuries

    The hock is not a simple joint. Rather, it consists of several different joints. The uppermost and the largest of these is the tarsocrural joint, or the true hock, and this is where most of the joint’s flexion takes place. Adjacent to this joint is the calcaneus bone, which forms the point of the hock. Below the tarsocrural joint are three smaller joints in which occur very little motion. [Read More…]

  • Horse Founder (Laminitis)

    Horse Founder, technically known as Laminitis, is a condition of the foot that is almost always caused by the horse’s diet. Grain overload or overeating lush pasturage are the most common causes, but it can also be the result of trauma, systemic infection from the retained placenta, ingestion of cold water, and apparently from some anti-inflammatory drug treatments. [Read More…]

  • Horse Hoof Injuries

    Horse hoof injuries are the first cause of lameness. The horse’s hoof is a remarkably small structure to support such a large animal, and as such it’s subject to tremendous forces. The hoof is also in constant contact with a wide variety of environmental conditions that will naturally impact its health.

    Sustained wet or damp conditions can foster the growth of bacteria. Stones and hard surfaces cause bruises; excessive dry conditions can cause the hard hoof lamina to crack, and systemic infections and overeating can manifest themselves in foot injuries and diseases. Here are some of the more common horse hoof injuries.

    • Brittle Feet: Numerous small cracks at the bottom of the hoof wall.
    • Bruised Sole and Corns: Occurs in horses with thin soles or flat feet.
    • Gravel: Common term for drainage at the coronary band.
    • Horse Founder (Laminitis): This condition is so severe that we’ve got the main page for it.
    • Mud Fever, Cracked Heels, Scratches Three terms for the same condition.
    • Navicular Syndrome: This is a poorly understood condition of the foot.
    • Hoof Wall Cracks: Usually, originate at the weight-bearing surface.
    • Seedy Toe: Can be secondary to the founder (Laminitis).
    • Thrush: Easily corrected.

    [Read More…]

  • Equine Colic – The Number One Killer of Horses

    Equine colic is still the number one killer of horses, but despite its high profile, it remains a little-understood critical ailment.

    Technically, colic means pain in the abdomen. In the worst case, it can be a blockage in the intestines. Since every horse reacts differently to pain, it’s hard to judge the severity of the situation by the severity of the symptoms, but here’s what to look for: The horse is clearly uncomfortable. He may be lying down more than usual, getting up and lying down repeatedly, standing stretched out, standing frequently as if to urinate, turning his head towards his flank, repeatedly curling the upper lip, pawing the ground, kicking at his abdomen, or rolling. [Read More…]

  • Cold Backed Horse

    Cold-backed horse is a quaint term for a horse with a sensitive back, or who’s sensitive to the girth. A horse with this condition may also be called “cinchy” or “girthy”. Cute terms, but what does it all mean?

    A cold-backed horse is one that has a negative reaction to being saddled or mounted. Usually, the reaction is immediate and after a short time, the animal gets used to the sensation and is fine to ride.

    As always, different horses react differently. The horse’s response can vary from mild to dramatic. A mild reaction might be collapsing his back and shrinking away from the saddle after being cinched up. More dramatic reactions could be trotting or cantering off immediately upon being mounted, perhaps with a well-timed buck or two thrown in for good measure.

    The descriptions of extreme reactions range from hilarious to horrifying. One person described a horse that “humps all up, pig-roots and kicks like a trooper.” Another said her horse collapsed onto the ground and dented a car! The horse was fine, but we can’t say as much for the car.

    Much of the available research and opinion indicate that this cold-backed horse condition is a behavior and not an injury. We’re not so sure. Horse trainer Doris Eraldi says, “It’s very likely the horse is reacting to pain or the memory of pain. This is usually the case if the horse tries to lie down when girthed up or mounted, or those who pull back wildly.” Check out our library for more detailed information on cold-backed horses. [Read More…]

  • Bowed Tendon Injuries (tendonitis)

    Bowed Tendon Injuries are a common occurrence and account for a third or more of injuries to young horses in training.

    The condition occurs most frequently in racing Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses, but Hunters, Jumpers, Barrel Racers, and Endurance horses are not immune. Recovery is frequently long and difficult — but the key solution to any bowed tendon injury is prompting it to heal with minimal scar tissue formation (Type 3 Collagen) and with as much realignment of tendon fibers as possible. [Read More…]