Most Common Diseases in Horses

Many conditions are related to diet. A horse can also get viral problems and infections due to insect bites. These issues can be extremely serious.
Most Common Diseases in Horses

Last update: 26 July, 2020

Horses are herbivores that have lived on Earth, according to experts, for over 50 million years. There are more than 400 different breeds. In fact, these animals inhabit almost every country in the world. This equine, by nature, lives in herds and is a sociable creature. However, they can have delicate health. In this article, we’re going to look at the most common diseases in horses.

Although you might not think so, horses have one very small stomach. This means they need to spend most of the day eating. Their digestive system is characteristic of many herbivorous animals. In fact, this is the main cause of some diseases in horses, such as colic. However, this isn’t the only disease that affects these beautiful, noble creatures.

To prevent or cure diseases in horses, it’s necessary to be aware of various signs of distress. For example, heavy breathing, change in behavior, abnormal feces, changes to legs or hooves, and a loss of shine in the horse’s coat can all indicate disease.

Colic is one of the common diseases in horses.

Some common diseases in horses


This infection occurs due to the effect of bacteria that gets into an animal’s wound. However, tetanus can cause respiratory paralysis and, ultimately, death. As a result, it’s essential to see a vet immediately. If you notice any injuries or wounds on your horse, you call the vet.

Some symptoms of tetanus are stiff muscles in the horse’s jaw, hind legs, and neck. However, since wounds are common in horses, we recommend you vaccinate your horse against tetanus once a year.

Diseases in horses: Scabies

Although this is a common, well-known disease in dogs, scabies is also a common disease in horses. Parasitic mites cause this skin condition. This infestation causes horses to have decreased appetite, blisters, and sores.

However, in some cases, this parasite is resistant to conventional treatments. To eliminate a mite infestation, you need to be aware of the mite’s biological cycle.

Mites that cause scabies live in humid places and climates. As a result, you should clean and disinfect the horse’s habitat. This is one of the most effective measures to prevent scabies.

The flu

The flu is also one of the most common diseases in horses. This disease causes a high fever, dry cough, conjunctivitis, colic, and weakness. These symptoms also cause a decreased appetite. If the condition gets worse, it can last for months and lead to bronchitis.

Equine influenza is highly contagious. Unfortunately, there is no treatment to get rid of the virus. Antibiotics help minimize any secondary symptoms. Also, although vaccines can help prevent your horse from contracting the flu, it doesn’t guarantee that your horse won’t get the flu in the future.

Diseases in horses: mumps

Mumps is highly contagious. You can easily identify this disease because your horse’s lymph nodes will appear very swollen in the jaw area.


Unlike colic in humans, colic is a major cause of death for horses. However, both its origins and prevention are based on the quality of your horse’s water and food.

Mumps is one of the most common diseases in horses.


Encephalitis in horses is caused by an infection, usually from mosquito bites. This causes inflammation of the brain. It can also cause seizures and paralysis.

Currently, encephalitis is a serious disease with a poor prognosis. As a result, we recommend that you prevent the disease through vaccination. You also should regularly disinfect stables and separate sick animals from the healthy ones.


Laminitis is the inflammation of the horse’s foot. It’s caused by the interruption of blood flow to laminae of the horse’s hoof. However, we should point out that it’s possible to prevent this disease by not overfeeding your horse.

Tick-borne diseases

Tick bites are actually the origin of many diseases in horses. One disease is bacterial Lyme disease, also known as equine ehrlichiosis.

Other diseases caused by ticks are extreme anemia and Colorado tick fever, a very serious viral infection.

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