Unlike many species of livestock that will mask symptoms of injury or disease, horses will usually display symptoms of health problems fairly quickly. Certain changes should be investigated because they can indicate serious problems that need to be taken care of. Signs of pain in the hooves and changes in the digestive system can be signs of laminitis or colic, two of the most serious horse health problems. There are other equine health problems that are not necessarily fatal, but that do require immediate veterinary attention. The way a horse moves can reveal horse health problems. If a horse suddenly starts to nod its head when trotting or jogging, this can be a sign of lameness or problems within the hoof. Horses will lift their heads when putting weight on the sore foot. Head nodding is normal at the lope or canter; however, horses may refuse to pick up these gaits when they are in severe pain. The problem may be as simple as a pebble lodged in a hoof, but if the hoof seems warmer than normal to the touch or if any part of the foot is swollen, it requires veterinary attention. These can be signs that laminitis is developing. Changes in the horse's digestive system can also be indicators of very serious problems. If a horse suddenly stops producing manure, won't eat and won't drink water, it can be a sign of colic. Colic can be fatal and sometimes requires surgery in order for a horse to survive. When a horse acts anxious, bites at its sides and stops eating, it can indicate a blockage in the digestive tract. Mild cases of colic can sometimes resolves themselves, but this is a serious horse health issue that calls for consultation with a vet. A horse that refuses to leave its stall or seems unable to move may also be displaying signs of tying-up disease, a horse health problem also known as Rhabdomyolysis. This is a muscle disorder that tends to occur in horses that eat high-nutrient grain and are under heavy work such as racehorses and working draft horses. It can sometimes happen in horses that are beginning training or that have exerted themselves after a long break. It is usually not fatal, but can give the horse great pain and distress. If a horse suddenly seems to be resistant to being ridden, or is unwilling to be led out of its stall, it could indicate tying up disease or a similar muscle disorder known as PSSM (Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy). Horses do not typically have "off days" where they prefer to stay in their stalls, so if they seem frozen in place or hesitant to move, there is probably something wrong. These too disorders are a result of the inability to process sugars and carbohydrates, which causes the muscles to become so stiff that the horse can't move. There are several medications that a veterinarian can administer that will both relieve pain and loosen the muscles. These many horses with muscle disorders can benefit from equine supplements that contain selenium, vitamin E and calcium, all of which help the horse metabolize carbohydrates. The way a horse eats can also reveal health problems. When horses start dropping grain or hesitating to eat grain altogether, it can indicate problems with their teeth. The teeth can grow sharp hooks and points when not filed regularly by a veterinarian. Not only is this very painful for the horse, but it can mean that the horse is not absorbing critical nutrients from the grain. Older horses may completely lose teeth, making it impossible to eat grain or dry hay. Horses with dental problems need to be evaluated by a vet and fed appropriate grain substitutes such as bran mash or beet pulp. In addition, they may need powdered equine supplements added to their water so that they can get the vitamins and minerals that they need. The key to maintaining equine health is to investigate any changes from normal behavior and to never to assume that symptoms will go away on their own. Click here for more information.Share
23 December 2013
Do you have a cat in your house that refuses to use the litter box regularly? This is a problem that many cat owners have experienced. I know that I struggled with one female that I had rescued from a local shelter. Since she was an adult cat when I took her in, it was very difficult to teach her what she needed to do in the house. After a lot of trial and error, I found a method that has worked to train her in the litter box, as well as the other cats that I have fostered since. To learn my methods, visit my website.