Equine Articles

Angular Limb Deformities

Angular limb deformities are either congenital (present at birth) or acquired (caused by disease that affects bone growth). The condition describes a deviation in the shape of the limb bones from what is considered normal. When present, the bones bow toward or away from the center of the foal’s midline as observed from the front […]


Anthrax is a very serious, often lethal, reportable disease that is caused by toxins produced by bacteria called Bacillus anthracis.  In most livestock, mass die-off may be the first indicator that anthrax has infected the herd; horses have a slight resistance to the effects of the toxins, so a sick horse may be seen before […]

Blister Beetle Toxicity

Blister Beetles are extremely toxic to horses when the insects are accidentally ingested.  They may contaminate alfalfa hay which is a very popular feed for its excellent nutritional profile.  Only six grams, or two tenths of one ounce, of blister beetle parts are potentially lethal to a fully grown horse.  The insects’ toxic potency does […]

Botulism (Clostridium botulinum toxin)

What is Botulism? Botulism is widely known as a severe form of food poisoning in people, but horses, especially foals, are also susceptible.  The disease is caused by the effects of toxins produced by several strains of bacteria in the genus Clostridium.  Specifically, C. botulinum is responsible for the neurotoxins that result in generalized weakness, […]

Castration: why, when, and how?

Castration means the complete surgical removal of the testicles.  There are three common reasons that this procedure is performed:  to prevent breeding, to reduce aggressiveness / unruliness, and in the case of undescended testicles (cryptorchidism). Castration surgery is very common and is not considered technically challenging to the veterinarian; nonetheless, it should be left to the […]

Causes and Prevention of Choke

In horses, “Choke” describes the affected animal’s visible symptoms and the possible outcome of an episode, but it is only secondarily a disease of the airway and respiratory system, even if this is the more serious manifestation of the underlying problem.  It is first caused by an obstruction of the esophagus, or the passage between […]

Causes of Weight Loss in Horses

Horses may lose weight for a number of reasons, but three primary causes are most common: intestinal parasites, malocclusion of the teeth, and malnutrition (improper diet or feeding regimen).  The Henneke scale is commonly used to assess the “body condition” of horses, rating them on a scale of one to nine.  Body condition scoring (BCS) […]

Colic and its Causes

Colic simply means abdominal pain, but the term doesn’t suggest what caused it or the degree of its severity.  Horses are especially susceptible to colic, so it is important to understand the factors that can result in this condition.  The problem can be mild, or it can become life-threatening.  Colic can occur as a result […]

Cushing’s Disease – Causes and Consequences

Cushing’s Disease (Pituitary Pars Intermediate Dysfunction; PPID) is an endocrine hormonal imbalance caused dysfunction of the pituitary gland.  The dysfunction overproduces several hormones that are responsible for critical functions throughout the body.  One of which is ACTH.  ACTH in turn stimulates the adrenal glands to produce cortisol, a hormone that is released when the body […]

Dental Care Basics

“Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.” We are all familiar with this old adage instructing us to be gracious for what we receive, no matter its monetary value.  However, most of us have not stopped to think about exactly why the condition of the horse’s mouth has a direct relationship to its “value”.  […]