Horse Health Care – Common Ailments

When it comes to horse health care, there is quite a bit that you will need to learn. From caring for their hooves on a daily basis to maintaining their dental, joint and overall health, horse care is a major responsibility.

Horse Health CareIn order to keep your horse healthy, you must choose the right food (see our horse feeding tips), keep an eye out for signs of colic or other digestion issues, watch for leg and foot problems, proper tacking, regular grooming, deworming , vaccinations and much, much more.

Just as humans are affected by the weather, so are horses. Therefore, you must ensure that your horse is fed properly and has adequate housing.

From time to time, you may have to deal with sore legs, sore back, strains, sprains, illness and pain. Such issues will not only affect the way that your horse moves, but also the way that he feels, meaning a healthy horse is a happy horse.

Some injuries and illnesses will change your horse’s mood. If your normally cheerful and equable horse is moody, unwilling or surly, you need to check your horse for physical problems such as sickness, lameness or injury.

To ensure your horse lives a long and happy life, as part of horse health care, it’s important to become familiar with some of the most common ailments that affect horses..


The term ‘colic’ actually refers to a number of different digestive issues that afflict horses. It is crucial that you take care of your horse immediately if you suspect colic, as it can be fatal.

Horse ColicColic can be caused by a number of things, such as:

  • Blockage in the intestines, which may be the result of foreign objects, improper food or a number of other factors.
  • Excessive gas in the intestine due to a rapid change in the horse’s diet.
  • Twisted intestines, the cause of which is not yet well understood.
  • Gastrointestinal parasites.

Symptoms of horse colic include constipation, sign of pain, teeth clenching, pacing, nipping at his sides, rolling frequently or pawing at the ground. If you notice any of these symptoms in your horse, call your vet immediately.


Also known as recurrent airway obstruction, or RAO, heaves is chronic respiratory inflammation due to an allergic reaction to particles in the air. This condition, which is similar to asthma in humans, is often caused by a stable that contains high levels of dust and mould from old straw and hay.

Symptoms of heaves include a moist cough that does not always produce phlegm, shortness of breath and wheezing. Horses that experience this condition for a prolonged amount of time may develop heave lines, which is a prominent bulge of muscle that can be seen along the ribs.

These are only a couple of the most common issues that plague horses. You must also take the time to learn about other disorders such as laminitis and other hoof problems, parasites and exertional rhabdomyolysis.

Being familiar with all facets of horse health care will ensure you are equipped to keep your horse fit and healthy, allowing him to lead a happy life!


  1. Hi!

    Wow and I thought raising a dog is much work. It must be alot alot of responsibility to have a horse. There’s so many things to look out for and great article for much needed information on taking care of horses!

    Best Regards,

  2. I have just started horse placement as a part of studying to become a vet so I am just starting to learn about all the stuff to do with horses! Thank you so much for this information it makes it a little easier to wrap my head around the common ailments in horses!

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