Illness & Injury

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Joint disease and osteoarthritis in horses can be game changers, not only for elite performance animals but also for recreational mounts when stiffness, soreness, and lameness interfere with so many activities.

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The Inside Story - For as long as horses have been grazing the hillsides and meadows, the pest of parasite infestation has plagued them. Perennial as the grass, intestinal parasites find every possible opportunity to enter their horse host, and live out their life cycle.

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A healthy joint in the limb of a horse provides a frictionless system and facilitates movement with ease. Each joint depends on the function of each of its components to serve this purpose in an equine athlete. Bone, articular cartilage, synovial fluid, synovial membrane, fibrous joint capsule, and ligamentous structures make up these components.

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Veterinary and engineering researchers at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) have teamed up to harness imaging technology to fill in a blank area in animal health — what goes on in a horse’s gut? “Whenever I talk to students about the horse abdomen, I put up a picture of a horse and put a big question mark in the middle,” said veterinary researcher Dr. Julia Montgomery in the U of S Western College of Veterinary Medicine.

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Common Conditions, Challenges and Pain Recognition - Keeping a horse comfortable into their senior years requires an attentive caretaker backed by a knowledgeable team. It is important to seek the input from your veterinarian and farrier to help maintain the health of an elderly equine and to spot conditions that will need special treatment sooner rather than later. Recognizing changes and not just dismissing them as “old age setting in” is a large part of the responsibility assumed when caring for the senior horse.

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Why is my horse lame? Why does he keep stumbling? Why does he seem to trip over his own feet? The horse suffering from back pain or injuries can exhibit symptomatic lameness, which can also manifest as behaviour issues including stubbornness or resistance. When the horse is displaying symptoms of lameness and logical treatments are not working, the horse’s owner may turn to injections, anti-inflammatory creams, or chiropractic adjustments at the sacroiliac joint.

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Research may hold clues about Alzheimer’s Disease - Horses, as mammals, share common ground with humans when it comes to suffering similar conditions. They can get allergies, cancer, blood disorders, cystitis, heart disease, skin tumours, and a variety of other ailments.

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