Spotting Common Diseases In Horses

Even if you invested in the best healthcare, horses can still suffer from the occasional illness or injury. Some hoof diseases have visual cues, such as bruising and breakage. Knowing how to spot these diseases can ease your worries, helping you focus on your horses treatment.


If your horse shows signs of lameness without visual injuries, check his hoof. He might be suffering from a hoof abscess, caused by bacteria or dirt. Call your vet or farrier for a proper diagnosis. Once dealt with, you will see your horses health improve.

Thin Soles

Horses with thin soles tend to bruise easily. The sole protects your horses coffin bone, which sits within the hoof capsule. The hoof capsule has three parts: the wall, hoof frog, and sole. If your horse has thin soles, give him the support he needs. Add gel or padding to protect the sole and prevent further damage. Have your horses hooves cleaned every day to remove rocks and other debris.


The root cause of ringworm is direct contact from an infected horse. This includes shared grooming brushes, bedding, or tack. Check your horse for any round, itchy patches of skin. If its left untreated, the disease can damage your horses coat.

Foals and older horses are more likely to contract ringworm, as their immune systems arent as strong. Dont despair though. Once your horse has recovered from ringworm, he will develop a resistance to it. He may not be immune to the disease, but it will lessen your horses chances of catching ringworm again.


Rainscald can occur in horses with weak immune systems, or horses that dont have the natural layer of grease that protects your horses coat. If you suspect your horse has this disease, check his turnout rug. Using a leaky or non-breathable rug can cause your horses back to retain moisture from his own sweat, or the rain.

One sign of rainscald is hair loss around the quarters and back. Your horses skin may also have painful sores and weeping wounds. Prevent it by using the best type of rug for his back and giving your horse shelter from the field.

Common Cold

One sign your horse is coming down with a cold is white or yellow discharge. His temperature might be higher than normal, and his throat glands can swell up. Your horse is more vulnerable to getting a cold if he stays in a stable that isnt well-ventilated.

When your horse has the sniffles, it’s important to call your vet immediately. Keep him isolated from the other horses to limit the infection. Feed your horse soaked hay and other soft meals. Ensure your horses stable is free of dust and has adequate ventilation. Finally, if your horse is competing in shows, try not to let your horse drink from a common water trough.