Common Horse Health Issues & How to Prevent Them

It goes without saying that caring for your equine friend is a major responsibility. A horse is a magnificent creature, offering companionship, leisure activities, and even therapy. However, maintaining health is a challenge akin to taking care of an athlete.

The fact is, they can and do get ill or injured. Some horse health issues are quite common and easily preventable, provided you are aware and vigilant. This blog aims to detail these common horse health issues and offer tips on how to prevent them from occurring. By the end of it, you’ll have an extensive understanding of how to better care for your equine friend.


Colic in horses is an incredibly common and potentially serious health issue. It’s essentially abdominal pain and can have various causes, such as gas build-up, impactions in the gut, or even severe problems like torsion or twist in the gut. 

Preventing colic involves regular, consistent feeding, ensuring your horse’s diet is high in fiber, and not suddenly changing the feed. Also, access to clean, fresh water at all times is essential. Regular exercise and routine deworming can also help prevent colic.


Laminitis is inflammation of the laminae, the tissues connecting the horse’s hoof wall to the pedal (coffin) bone in the hoof. It can cause severe pain and lameness, and if left untreated, it can lead to permanent damage.

The prevention of laminitis involves managing your horse’s diet, especially if they are prone to obesity or have metabolic issues. Avoid letting them overgraze on lush, rich grass and restrict access to grain and other high-starch feeds. Regular exercise is also key.

Equine Influenza

Equine Influenza is a highly contagious respiratory disease, and it spreads rapidly among horse populations. Symptoms include a high fever, dry cough, nasal discharge, and loss of appetite.

Preventing equine influenza requires routine vaccination. Also, be cautious when introducing new horses to your herd – isolation for a week can help prevent the spread of the virus.

Dental Problems

Horses can suffer from various dental problems, such as sharp edges causing cheek ulcers, retained baby teeth, or even broken teeth. Dental problems can cause difficulty eating, weight loss, and behavior changes. Preventing dental problems is relatively straightforward – schedule a dental examination by a vet or equine dentist at least once a year. 

Skin Diseases

Skin problems, including dermatitis, rain rot, and ringworm, are common in horses. These issues can cause itching, hair loss, and discomfort.

Maintaining good hygiene can help prevent most skin diseases. Regular grooming, ensuring your horse is dry before putting on a blanket and keeping your horse’s living environment clean are crucial preventive measures. And don’t forget about the importance of horse riding clothes, as the correct clothing can help reduce the risk of skin irritation.


Just like humans, horses can suffer from arthritis. The wear and tear on their joints can lead to inflammation, pain, and stiffness; thus impacting the horse’s movement. To prevent arthritis, manage your horse’s weight to reduce the load on their joints. Regular, low-impact exercise, like walking or swimming, can help. Also, a balanced diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids can support joint health.

Keep these tips in mind to keep your horse happy and healthy

Horses, with their strength and beauty, have been a part of human life for thousands of years. As caretakers, we must ensure their well-being. Awareness of these common health issues and their prevention is a step in that direction. Remember, when you’re unsure or in doubt, always seek advice from a veterinary professional. Happy riding!