Recurrent exertional rhabdomyolysis, also called tying-up syndrome, refers to the severe muscle cramping and cellular damage seen in some exercising horses. Various forms of tying-up affect horses of several breeds and are caused by different metabolic processes.
These terms are common names for conditions that restrict airflow in the laryngeal area. In both cases, noisy breathing and exercise intolerance are probably the first signs that will alert an owner or trainer to the problem.
Some foals don't seem to recognize the mare and are unable to nurse. They may wander around the stall, getting stuck in a corner and being unable to find their way out. Others slip into frequent periods of deep sleep, have seizures, or make strange "barking" vocalizations.
At the present time there is no evidence that horses are susceptible to any prion diseases, and transmission to equines from infected cows, deer, or other species has not been noted. Some scientists, however, warn that many mammals are susceptible, at least under laboratory conditions, where infection has been experimentally introduced into pigs, monkeys, and other species.
Lyme disease can affect horses in various ways. Signs may be subtle and may mimic those of neurologic disorders. Lameness that seems to shift from joint to joint, sensitivity to touch, irritability, behavioral changes, low energy level, weight loss, eye inflammation, and pain in the muscles or joints are some of the more common indications.
Equine grass sickness (EGS) is a mysterious and often-fatal disease that strikes down healthy young horses as they graze. Most cases have occurred in England, Wales, and Scotland, but EGS has also been seen in Europeand South America. Mal seco, an equine disease reported in South Africa, appears to be identical.
Dorsal displacement of the soft palate (DDSP) is a misalignment of tissues in the horse's throat. This condition, which is common in horses that work at high speeds, causes a drop in performance because affected horses are unable to breathe freely.
Mares come into estrus about seven to 14 days after giving birth. This period coincides with the occurrence of diarrhea in about 80% of foals, hence the name "foal heat diarrhea." There is no certain explanation as to why foals get diarrhea at this time, and various possible causes-influence of hormonal changes in mare's milk, foal begins to eat mare's manure, bacterial infection, parasite infestation-have been advanced.
Foal pneumonia is a common disease of young horses, and one of the leading causes of death in foals. Estimates put the incidence of infection as high in one in ten for all foals.
Many equine diseases, conditions, or problems are frequently referred to by their initials. Full names, a brief explanation of each condition, and management tips, if applicable, are given below. The list also contains a few diseases that don't affect horses but are nevertheless "hot topics" among livestock producers.
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