In the current background, whether observed in Eastern or Western regions, horses have transitioned from their traditional roles to occupy valued positions globally. Imagine this – a world where horses carry an economic weight of roughly $300 billion globally! In the USA, alone there are 7.2 million equine friends while employing close to half as many millions who keep this industry thriving with their dedication—a contribution that punches up GDP by another hefty fifty billion yearly. This growth indicates the strong development attributed to economic progress and international equestrian trade agreements since the 1960s. Given this proliferation of horses, it becomes essential to ground their healthcare in robust scientific principles for both the prevention and treatment of common diseases in horses.

Common equisetic health issues:

Common diseases in horses - horse picture

Equines’ Influenza and Bacterial Infection 

Horses can get a sickness called equine influenza by breathing in germs when another sick horse coughs. This disease spreads easily, especially because horses are often moved between countries for trade. Another illness, Contagious Equine Metritis (CEM), is caused by bacteria and passed on through mating. But it’s important to know that these diseases don’t always mean death or lasting harm for horses. Treatments for CEM work well and there’s no sign that people can catch it from horses.

Equine Viral Arteritis (EVA)

Equine Viral Arteritis (EVA) is a common horse disease caused by a virus that targets their blood vessels. It’s hard for people who raise horses to notice it early because it can spread quietly among the animals, and at first, only a few may show signs of being sick. The main symptoms are less movement and control, peeing without meaning to, feeling very tired, shaking tail movements, and weak back legs. Also, horses with EVA might lean on things like fences or have trouble getting up.r

Equine Herpesvirus (EHV)

Common diseases in horses also include EHV which can pose serious threats to the horse. Viruses of this disease are transmitted through nasal secretions by carriers who show no signs of illness at first. A virus is behind this illness, sparking symptoms like swelling. It causes small, sore blisters to pop up on the horse’s skin and inside the mouth. These blisters know how to make themselves known with all that discomfort they bring along.

To alleviate pain for the horse, one should carefully puncture each blister with a sterilized needle to allow fluid drainage while keeping the overlying skin intact. After you’ve got those lesions, dabbing some ointment can help speed up the healing.

EPM (Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis):

This illness affects the brains and backs of horses. It stems from a germ that opossums carry—these are nighttime animals which exist in South America. Research shows that between 10% to 33% of horses come into contact with this germ through things like waste, leftover food bits, and dirty water from infected opossums’ poop. Even though it’s not the most common horse disease, EPM is still dangerous. Not all sick horses get better, even with quick treatment. Other animals like armadillos, skunks, and house cats can also carry this germ but they don’t pass it to horses the way opossums do.

Horses’ nervous systems can easily get sick from many infections. When it comes to usual horse diseases, Potomac Horse Fever symptoms are obvious. Imagine horses walking unevenly and seeming less lively—these signs make it stand out from other horse sicknesses. Interestingly, those opossums often seen at night could be more than just creatures of the dark; they’re often responsible for spreading a specific disease.

Dive deeper into EPM studies and you’ll find that opossums are not just bystanders. Scientists have found antibodies in their blood link them directly to how this illness lurks around. Further research confirms that these nocturnal critters are the main cause of Potomac Horse Fever.

So far, finding a vaccine that can take this condition head-on has been quite the challenge. Delving into equine longevity, historical data suggests that the natural lifespan of horses spans between 25 to 30 years. However, under optimal conditions involving comprehensive healthcare management — encompassing diet adjustments, regular exercise routines, appropriate therapy sessions and vigilant veterinary oversight and protective measures against common diseases in horses — this lifespan can extend up to 50 or even 60 years.

Equines’ infectious anaemia virus (EIA):

Common diseases in horses also include Equine Infections Anemia (EIA), known as “swamp fever.” It has been observed that the lower, larger part of a horse’s body often remains moist. This moisture creates discomfort and attracts pests and insects seeking blood meals. These pests indiscriminately transmit diseases between sick and healthy animals, spreading infections such as EIA. This disease is prevalent in various regions of the world, including the USA, certain Middle Eastern countries, and Europe. EIA is similar to human viruses that compromise the immune system, thus hindering a horse’s ability to combat other infections.

Research indicates that EIA and so many common diseases in horses can be spread through milk, secretions, blood transfusions, and contaminated equipment. However, vectors like horse-flies or deer-flies are primarily responsible for transmitting this disease. Also, female horses can give the virus to their babies in pregnancy. Usually, this virus goes away after the baby horse is born. Likewise, if a mother’s horse gets sick from the virus, she has a higher chance of passing it on because the virus in her blood still exists when she’s ill. Even though EIA can sometimes cause pregnant mares to miscarry, there’s still a silver lining – not all babies born from these moms catch the disease. Some of them kick off life healthy, despite the odds.

Notable symptoms include sudden temperature spikes, swelling around the legs and abdomen areas, and overall weakness. This condition potentially leads to abrupt mortality events within afflicted populations.

Strangles – One of the common diseases in horses

Imagine a horse finding it hard to breathe because of an infection. This is what strangles does – it’s a usual sickness in horses caused by nasty bacteria. Horses can catch this disease from touching each other, drinking dirty water, or using unclean shared gear. Horses with good immune systems might get through the illness without much trouble. However, those with weaker defences could face more severe signs of being sick. The symptoms of strangles in horses include sore throat, coughing, difficulty swallowing, not wanting to eat, feeling tired, fever, and runny nose.

Horse caretakers should follow strict safety steps to stop the spread of diseases like strangles, although it’s very unlikely for these diseases to pass on to people. They should wear gloves, keep distance from sick animals, and keep ill horses away from others until they’re completely better. To keep horse illnesses from spreading, don’t let healthy and sick horses share things or drink from the same water.

Though treatment for strangles often isn’t necessary; isolation, waste management, and a well-ventilated environment are critical. Apart from this, healthcare techniques, a hygienic environment, grooming and vaccination play a vital role in facilitating quicker recovery times and the spread of diseases in horses in the stable.


Colic is a common illness in horses. It often happens when food or other things like parasites block the horse’s digestive system, making it hard for them to digest their food properly. Sometimes, this can lead to a very serious problem where the intestines get twisted. However, taking simple steps to prevent colic can greatly lower the chances of a horse getting sick with it.

Keeping horses safe from colic starts with some basic steps. Stick to a regular feeding schedule, balance their diet, always have fresh water available, and take it slow when changing what they eat. Regular grooming practices, sufficient exercise routines, and effective manure management techniques coupled with the usage of dry bedding material can decrease exposure to bacteria/parasites. A breezy environment does wonders, seriously slashing the chance of colic while warding off different kinds of health issues too.


The germ that causes tetanus lives in dirt and manure. If it enters the body through a cut, it spreads all over, causing a lot of problems. Because this germ is such a survivor, finding it all over the place and hanging on for the horse’s life, getting lame becomes way more likely. It grows fast where there is damaged tissue and doesn’t need air to do so. A germ cranks out poison and ultimately results in tetanus. Though tetanus is not among the most common diseases in horses, in half to three-quarters of cases, horses with tetanus expire.

Imagine your horse struggling with tight muscles that just won’t loosen up or jerking uncontrollably. They might find it difficult to move freely or chew properly. Keep an eye out for signs like excessive sweating, painful expressions on their face, and a rigid tail—these are telltale signs of tetanus which in dire situations can lead to fatal breathing difficulties due to intense spasms.

Prevention of common diseases in horses

Tetanus is also among the most common diseases in horses. This ailment is preventable through vaccination and proper preventive measures. Incorporating routine grooming and vigilant monitoring for injuries or parasites on your horse is advisable. In the event of any wound or scratch, it is imperative to clean it immediately with an antibacterial solution.

Although tetanus does not transmit from one individual to another, utilizing gloves is a wise precautionary measure. It’s super important to keep things tidy and hazard-free around the house, so you don’t accidentally put your pet in harm’s way. Immunization against tetanus before exposure fortifies the horse’s immune response against this fatal condition before the onset of symptoms.

Guttural Pouch

New findings suggest our equine friends are full of surprises. A part of them we don’t often consider, called the guttural pouch, is more important than we thought. It acts like a built-in air conditioner for their blood when they exercise. They manage to keep cool and comfy on the go by keeping their body temp low. The cool blood then moves to the head through big arteries in the neck.

Guttural Pouch is not among the common diseases in horses. The presence of a guttural pouch is predominantly observed in young females, known as fillies (under four years old), and male horses termed colts (up to five years of age). Digging a bit deeper, we’ve found out that Arabian and German warm-blood breeds tend to have a tougher time when it comes to dealing with complications tied to this particular body part. In some cases, issues arise due to sensitivity or infections within the respiratory tract.

Diving into the world of horse health, there’s a peculiar and pretty nasty condition that doesn’t come around often but hits hard when it does. It’s all about an issue in their guttural pouch, where a sneaky fungal infection grows and causes havoc. Affected horses exhibit sluggish behaviour and extreme lethargy.

Although it is generally not considered contagious, there have been reports of breed-specific transmission rates. Characterized by an inflation of air within the guttural pouch leading to swelling near the ears, the early stages of this disease may not induce pain or discomfort. Though this is not among the common diseases in horses, if left untreated, it could lead to significant neurological impairments over time.

Internal Parasites in horses:

A Horse owner must have basic knowledge regarding common diseases in horses like internal parasites. Equines are consistently exposed to a myriad of parasitic threats. Regrettably, it appears a significant number of these animals do not receive adequate prophylactic measures against end-parasites. People caring for horses need to get smart about stopping worm infections. Such measures are essential not only for maintaining equine health but also for precluding severe complications subsequently.

The preponderance of these creatures is incessantly susceptible to infestation by various parasites, with grazing areas serving as fertile environments for propagation. As equines feed on these infested pastures, they ingest parasitic ova that find a conducive environment within the gastrointestinal and pulmonary systems of the host where they rear. Over time, these pesky worms multiply and start causing trouble in the gut and other soft tissues from the inside out.

Rabies – a fatal disease in horses

Rabies in equines is not considered among the common diseases in horses. It is an infrequent but grave disease, with an annual confirmation of 30 to 60 cases within the United States. The carriers of this virus are predominantly wild fauna such as raccoons, bats, skunks, and foxes. vaccinated against rabies and other equine-specific diseases is crucial.

Giving your horses their shots against rabies protects them from the scary brain damage that this virus brings on board. While all mammals are vulnerable to rabies infection, skunks and foxes often serve as primary vectors for its transmission. Normally, equine species display a natural curiosity towards wildlife which increases their risk of exposure through bites on the muzzle, face or legs.

Symptoms of Rabies in Horses

Diseases in Horses - colic fever

The time it takes for rabies symptoms to show up after being infected can be from two weeks to three months. Once the virus enters the body, it moves quickly through the nerves to the brain, causing severe swelling that almost always leads to death. In horses, signs of rabies include strange movements, acting very upset or aggressive, hurting themselves, feeling scared or sad, and then dying a few days after these symptoms start. These signs often begin with a slight fever and changes in how they act. The only way to be sure a horse has rabies is by examining it after death. Even though rabies isn’t very common in horses, taking steps to prevent it is still critical.

Treatment for Rabies

Rabies might not hit the headlines when it comes to horse health issues because it’s quite rare, but make no mistake – once a horse catches it, survival chances drop to zero. Regular vaccinations are crucial here; think of them as an armour shield against this invisible enemy. Keeping horses away from wildlife known to carry rabies adds another layer of protection while good hygiene practices and balanced care keep your horse ready to fight off illnesses.

Many common diseases in horses stem from poor sanitary practices and inadequate diet. Regular cleaning appropriate waste management stable maintenance coupled with preemptive healthcare measures notably vaccination protocols play pivotal roles in preventing numerous diseases beyond just rabies.

Hoof issues – a common ailment in horses

Regular check-ups and trims are essential to prevent splitting hooves and maintain your horse’s stability. Starting with prevention means healthier hooves for our horses – that’s half the battle against common diseases in horses. Ensuring they remain upright and balanced comes naturally after. It is advised that during the summer months, hoof trimming should be conducted every 6 to 8 weeks, whereas in winter, this interval may extend from 6 to 12 weeks due to a deceleration in hoof growth rates.

The frequency of these care procedures may vary depending on the horse’s level of activity and the -terrain it navigates. The hooves bear the substantial load of both the horse’s mass and that of the rider. A solid hoof care routine ensures heels are properly supported. As a result, animals move more freely without overburdening their skeletal system or soft tissues. The burden of such significant weight can lead to deterioration in improperly formed or weakened hooves.

Stress Management in Horses

Stress management must be addressed at par with other common diseases in horses. Horses get worked up for a lot of reasons which could seriously affect their well-being. Horses do their best when they have a steady schedule, especially with what and when they eat. Significant deviations in their feeding schedules, habitats, and general lifestyle may markedly elevate their levels of stress.

Take heart in knowing there’s a whole toolbox full of methods designed to soothe and comfort your nervous horse. Comparable to humans, horses are inherently social creatures; interactions with other well-mannered horses and humans can greatly reduce their anxiety and stress levels. Mixing up their routines too often can stress animals out and even make them grumpy and aggressive. Moreover, the poor condition of the saddles might inflict pain or injury upon the horse—further intensifying its distress.

Regular Grooming – Prevention against common diseases in horses

Grooming is a bulwark against several common diseases in horses. Keeping your horse healthy and looking sharp comes down to sticking with good healthcare routines and keeping them well-groomed. A good groom doesn’t just leave pets looking fabulous. It even acts as our undercover hero in the fight against those sneaky health threats. These fleas and ticks use the furry skin of horses as a breeding ground and cause deadly diseases and frustration in our four-legged friend.

A meticulously maintained coat can induce a state of tranquillity in horses, mitigating stress and anxiety which consequently cultivates an enhanced bond between the owner and their equine counterpart. Your horse’s grooming box should have some key items, like germ killers, creams and relevant drugs/medicines just for them, to stop sicknesses in their tracks while warding off tiny invaders. Regular grooming can prevent your horses from falling victim to so many unknown common diseases in horses.

Horses are very sensitive to how their caretakers act around them. So, if you take good care of them, gently groom them, and encourage them positively without being too harsh or punishing, it can really help them live longer. In today’s economy, it’s important to understand that owning a horse costs quite a bit of money.

On average, in the United States, the monthly expenditure for maintaining a horse is approximately $600. This estimated figure takes into account everything from where your horse sleeps, and what it eats, to its hoof care and more. Individuals experiencing financial limitations or those constrained by inadequate space may encounter difficulties in dedicating themselves fully to equine care and addressing common diseases in horses amidst various personal obligations.

Dietetic for Horses:

It is one of the primary obligations of the owner of horses to keep them healthy and physically fit and protect them against a lot of common diseases in horses. The dietary fibre necessary for equines should predominantly consist of grass, hay, alfalfa, or other forms of fodder. Horses by nature engage themselves in continuous grazing, throughout the day. So it is imperative to ensure they have sufficient access to adequate roughage and water for optimal digestion. Overall, roughage should represent approximately sixty per cent of an equine’s nutritional intake.

Leguminous plants shine when it comes to their nutrition game, packing a punch with proteins, energy, and calcium that you just don’t get from your everyday forage. Most of a horse’s caloric intake is derived from forage, which perfectly aligns with their dietary requirements. Premium hay or pasture is adequate for equines engaged in laborious activities. Cereals might act as an appropriate alternative in scenarios where hay is scarce. It is frequently observed that horses excessively consume verdant spring grass, which could potentially disturb their gastrointestinal system and precipitate conditions such as laminitis. A good health and strong immunity system ward off the threat of common diseases in horses.

Equine Nutrition – A bulwark against common diseases in horses

A varied menu packed with fibrous foods plus an occasional grain addition could be just the ticket to dodging digestive drama in horses caused by quick diet switches. Determining the right quantity and variety requires considering the horse’s weight, breed type, and activity level. Introducing fresh fodder slowly but surely alongside minor adjustments here and there plays a big role in warding off unwelcome surprises sickness-wise.

Before rushing to fill up your horse’s feeder post-exercise, pause for a moment. Eating immediately can hamper their ability to catch breath as food crowds around the lungs preventing easy airflow; waiting around fifteen minutes could be beneficial especially when followed by nourishing options geared towards rebuilding those hardworking muscles.

Guaranteeing uninterrupted access to pristine, uncontaminated water at a frequency of no less than twice per diem is essential for their optimal health. Providing modestly saline water after physical activity contributes significantly towards ensuring expedient rehydration.

Hydration and clean water:

If we skimp on hydrating our horses, we’re opening the door to an array of possible health troubles. A grave condition known as colic, characterized by abdominal discomfort and various digestive disturbances, poses significant risks if not promptly addressed. A well-watered horse is a happy one – ensuring they get enough can head off common diseases in horses before they start.

Strength and good health help the horse to resist common diseases in horses. A horse weighing approximately 1,100 pounds may consume between 6 to 10 gallons of water daily in cooler climates. In hotter conditions, this consumption can increase up to 15 gallons per day. Horses engaged in strenuous activities might require water ranging from 10 to 18 gallons each day and this need could further escalate in warm weather. It is, therefore highly recommended to always provide your horse unrestricted access to fresh and clean water.

Dental care – one of the most common diseases in horses

The food that animals consume travels first through the mouth and teeth. For a horse to thrive, make sure its dental care is on point. Horses have incredibly strong jaws that play a big role in breaking down their food and getting it ready for digestion. However, the recurrent use can lead to the formation of sharp protuberances on the teeth, necessitating a procedure known as “floating.” This process involves smoothing out these edges from the buckle aspect of the upper molars and the lingual side of the lower molars. Ensuring the dental integrity of horses through regular examinations and floating is essential. Adherence to this practice not is essential not only for their physical health but also for maintaining them in a state conducive to efficient feeding practices without discomfort.

Horses have two main kinds of teeth: front teeth called incisors, which they use to chop food, and back teeth known as molars for grinding up their meals. These back teeth are close together to help break down the food better. It’s very important to regularly check a horse’s teeth, especially from ages 2 to 5, because that’s when a lot of changes happen in their mouths.

Unobserved common diseases in horses can have serious impacts of your horses. Annual examinations to detect conditions such as acute edges on the molars or incisors is crucial. Disregarding such essential care could precipitate a variety of complications in horses. These may include oral ulcers, dorsal discomfort, oesophagal obstruction, gastric lesions, and impediments in bit management.

Sign of dental problem:

Obvious signs of dental complications include alterations in behaviour, weight loss and decline in performance. Conditions such as uneven tooth surfaces, fractured teeth, or unusual growths among the incisors can significantly affect their health. Spotting these clues early is super important so we can jump in and help right away.

Signs such as halitosis (bad breath), the spewing out of partially digested feed, and a decrease in appetite are common. Additionally, accumulation of food within the cheek areas, an unsteady walk, and nasal discharge are all critical indicators. Time’s ticking when these warning signs show up. To avoid a trip down the road towards tougher dental troubles, sticking to tried and true prevention methods is key. Simple dental care steps like floatation play a huge role in fixing issues and getting you back to peak health. To keep horses healthy, spotting trouble before it blooms and blocking issues with smart prevention is the way to go.

Lameness – A very painful disease in horses

Hoof infection transpires when bacteria permeate the hoof through a lesion on the sole or limbs. It results in the accumulation of pus cells from the affected area. While sudden onset isslameness in equines may arise from various etiologies, it is commonly linked to inflammation of the hoof. Apart from these concerns, soft tissue injuries, fractures, or even infestations by parasites can cause lameness.

Beyond infections, inherited anomalies such as contracted muscles and prenatal traumas might also precipitate lameness. Lameness involves several indicators like an uneven gait, dragging of feet; hesitance to advance and swelling in legs. Administering appropriate medications and drugs and engaging in targeted therapy sessions can markedly ameliorate this disease in horses.


Common diseases in horses - vaccination

Setting up a strong line of defence with vaccinations wards off dangers like influenza and tetanus among other harmful organisms. Vaccination is an invisible armour which fortifies your four-legged companion against a range of common diseases in horses. The intricacies of immunization schedules are contingent upon the horse’s geographical location and breed.

International Trade in Equines’ Semen, And Embryos

Horses often travel beyond international borders for competitions or to show off in events like polo matches and races. This practice allows them to meet a lot of other horses, similar to how we meet different people during travel. Horses hanging out together is great, but it also means they could easily share diseases. The transportation of reproductive materials like semen and embryos, across countries, is carefully regulated to prevent the transmission of diseases. Similarly, in countries like America, where there’s heavy trading of these items, halting the spread of diseases gets trickier.

FAQs about Common Diseases in Horses

Q1: What are some common diseases in horses?

A1: Some common diseases in horses include Equine Influenza, Equine Viral Arteritis (EVA), and Equine Herpesvirus (EHV). Eequine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis (EPM), Potomac horse fever, Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA), Strangles, Colic, Lameness, Tetanus, Guttural Pouch Disease, Internal Parasites, and Rabies are the most common diseases in horses.

Q2: How can equine owners prevent common diseases in horses such as colic and tetanus?

A2: Equine owners can prevent diseases like colic and tetanus by sticking to a regular feeding schedule. Moreover, balancing the horse’s diet, fresh water, changes in diet, grooming, and vaccination against tetanus are also important.

Q3: What are some symptoms of rabies in horses?

A3: Symptoms of rabies in horses include erratic movements, agitation, self-harm, anxiety, depression, and ultimately death. These symptoms may initially present as mild fever alongside notable behavioural changes.

Q4: Does the movement across countries inadvertently spread common diseases in horses?

A4: It is correct that international trade of horses horses cause spread of diseases in horses.

By Munir Jan

With over two decades of writing experience, I am a seasoned male blogger who delves into deep insights and shares vast knowledge through engaging content. My journey has seen me enriching my blog with valuable perspectives, and establishing myself as a credible authority in my field. Presently, I contribute to my website (, where I have published several blogs, with numerous similar contents on various topics soon to follow. Focusing primarily on Local and International Tourism for the time being, I hold a Master's degree in English Literature. This background empowers me to craft articles, content, and blogs across multiple topics. My tenure includes teaching English Literature at Oxford College in Pakistan and participating in seminars and workshops sponsored by international donors. My blogs have garnered wide appreciation from optimistic readers worldwide. Eager to collaborate with renowned clients, I aim to share my extensive experience and acumen as a passionate freelancer.

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