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For a horse owner, there are few sights more welcome than the first signs of spring. As the snow melts away and the pastures begin to turn green, horse owners are glad to see the end of short days, frozen water buckets, and woolly coats. Springtime means longer, warmer days to spend working in the arena or hitting the trails. The season is also an ideal time to catch up on your horse’s healthcare needs.

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Horses can develop equine asthma when they’re exposed to airborne organic dust that can found anywhere — in a dirt paddock, on a gravel road, or in an indoor arena. But the most common culprit is dusty, moldy hay. Round bales can be particularly problematic as horses tend to tunnel their muzzles into the bales and inhale dust and mold.

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It’s been a gruelling season but the end is in sight. Looking back, training camp seems so long ago, so many months of hard work, of getting in shape. Last season certainly took its toll on the team. Coaches, trainers, and even the owner commented on the past year’s success and the hard work that went into it.

What is Equine Recurrent Uveitis (eru), UC Davis Center for Equine Health, moon blindness HORSES, IS MY HORSE BLIND? types of horses that go blind, insidious uveitis

Equine recurrent uveitis (ERU), also known as moon blindness, is the most common cause of blindness in horses worldwide. It affects 2 to 25 percent of horses globally, with 56 percent of affected horses eventually becoming blind. More than 60 percent of affected horses are unable to return to previous levels of work. ERU is most often characterized by repeated episodes of inflammation of the uveal tract of the eye (the middle layer), involving one or both eyes. A subclinical manifestation, known as insidious uveitis, does not present as outwardly painful episodes, and instead is consistent low grade inflammation (not episodic) that causes cumulative damage to the eye. Cumulative damage caused by ERU can lead to cataracts, glaucoma, and eventually blindness. Although not all horses that experience a single episode of uveitis will develop ERU, they are at risk for disease.

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Abdominal surgery is a major undertaking in horses, and not without significant risks to the patient. Colic operations, especially those that involve opening the gut wall, risk contaminating the wound with bacteria. One of the most common complications after equine abdominal surgery is surgical site infection (SSI) of the abdominal incision.

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Congenital stationary night blindness (CSNB) is the inability to see in low to no-light conditions (essentially dusk to dawn). It is found in horses with two copies of a specific white spotting pattern mutation known as leopard complex spotting (LP), which is characterized by a symmetrical white pattern centered over the rump with few or no spots of pigment in this white patterned area. This coat pattern is common in Appaloosas, Miniature Horses, Knabstruppers, Norikers, and some other breeds.

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Nothing can drain the colour from a horse owner’s face quicker than hearing the word COLIC! Winter is an important season to focus on colic prevention and ward off water woes that can lead to impaction in the equine gut.

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