Many of the most common horse diseases can be prevented, just as long as your horse gets the proper vaccinations. A vaccination plan for your horse is crucial to prevent horse diseases, which can be fatal. For most horse owners, their horse is family, neglecting to protect them with a proper vaccination schedule is just not an option.
Horse Diseases – Tetanus
Tetanus is bacteria that get into the body through a wound or even through the umbilical cord stump in a new foal. Symptoms of Tetanus include early signs of colic as well as stiffness. The muscles around the wound, jaw, hind legs and neck will develop spasms.
If left untreated, Tetanus will cause the horse’s breathing to become labored. The front and hind legs will become stiff. The nostrils will flare, the ears will stand erect and the tail will go stiff. The horse’s jaw contracts and he will not be able to open his mouth. Finally, the horse will simply lie down and die from respiratory paralysis.
In order to treat Tetanus, the wound has to be widely opened to eliminate infected tissue. The wound must then be washed thoroughly and injected with penicillin. The wound must remain open to allow drainage.
To prevent Tetanus, treat and clean all wounds thoroughly and make sure to give all new foals Tetanus shots as soon as they are born.
Horse Diseases – Equine Encephalitis
Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis (VEE), Western Equine Encephalitis (WEE) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) are mosquito transmitted horse diseases that attack the central nervous system. The most dangerous of the three, EEE has a mortality rate of 70% – 90% percent. WEE is the least perilous of these horse diseases and has a mortality rate of 20% – 50%.
Early symptoms of Equine Encephalitis include a high fever that can last for up to three days. Signs of brain inflammation will begin to appear, such as compulsive walking, apparent blindness and coordination loss. Eventually, as the disease worsens, the horse will become oblivious to his surroundings and extremely lethargic. This stage of the disease is known as “sleeping sickness”.
Equine Encephalitis will begin to affect the spinal cord, causing muscle twitching, weakness and a staggering gait. Finally, the horse will become paralyzed, develop seizures, collapse with breathing failure.
If you suspect that your horse is suffering from Equine Encephalitis, is it critical that you call your veterinarian immediately. With swift and intensive treatment, a successful outcome for many horse diseases is possible.