Tryon Equine Hospital P.L.L.C




Horse Care FAQ


Horse Care FAQ

How do you diagnose equine lameness?







How do I know if my horse has worms?

There are several signs of parasite infestation, although some horses don’t show any symptoms.  A few signs are listed below


•Lack of appetite

•Weight loss



•Dull coat, loss of condition

If you suspect your horse has worms, please consult with your veterinarian.  A fecal egg count and a blood test are fast and inexpensive ways to quantify your horse's parasite issue.  Based on the results of the test, a deworming program will be tailored to the needs of your horse.

How do I identify colic in my horse?

There are several signs that a horse may display during a colic episode.  Some horses may exhibit a majority of the signs, while others will act quiet and stoic.  Several signs of colic are listed below.  If you suspect your horse is experiencing colic, best to contact your veterinarian as soon a spossible.

  • Biting or looking at flanks
  • No interest in feed
  • Restlessness/Pacing
  • Apathy
  • Sweating
  • Standing stretched out.
  • Kicking at his abdomen.
  • Less than normal or no manure produced.
  • Rolling (If the horse has colic he will roll repeatedly and stand uncomfortably, without shaking and often get down to roll again. If the horse is in extreme pain the rolling may be violent.)
  • Laying down more than usual/repeatedly
  • Flehmen response (Curling the upper lip and baring the upper teeth)

    What constitutes an equine emergency?

Some horses seem to have a knack for finding trouble. There are several emergency situations that may arise as a horse owner.The following is a list of several emergencies that require immediate veterinary attention. If you feel your horse is showing any of the signs below, it is best to call your vet as soon as possible.

  • Colic- rolling, listlessness, lack of interest in feed, sweating, pawing and biting/looking  at flanks, restlessness/pacing, standing stretched out, little or no manure, laying down more than usual, and the flehmen response.
  • Reproductive Emergencies-Dystocia (difficult birth), abortion, uterine hemorrhage(bleeding from the vulva, acting shocky), uterine prolapse are all included in this category.  If your broodmare is showing any of these signs, it is crucial that you call your veterinarian for immediate attention.
  • Acute lameness-This includes founder, puncture wounds, joint and tendon injuries, abscesses and fractures. A basic way to tell if your horse’s lameness is an emergency; if your horse was sound yesterday and lame or non-weight bearing today, it is best to call a vet.  Any time a horse has stepped on a nail or other penetrating object, call immediately.
  • Lacerations and punctures- anything that is deeper than just the skin requires sutures and  needs immediate attention. Although these injuries are rarely life-threatening, it is important that they be cleaned up and sutured to avoid infection or further injury.
  • Eye injuries-This includes corneal ulcers, uveitis and lacerations near or involving the eye. If your horse’s eye seems swollen, the eye is squinting or is producing any discharge, it should be examined immediately.  It is best not to take chances at permanently damaging the horse’s sight.
  • Choke- This occurs when feed is lodged in the esophagus and the horse is unable to swallow. You will see a green nasal discharge and often times, lots of coughing paired with raspy breathing. The horse will be in distress but if taken care of immediately, is rarely life threatening.

When should I blanket my horse?

All horse owners have their own theory about blanketing, but generally speaking, it’s not a necessary ritual for every horse. Horses grow their own coat and many are able to maintain insulation without the help of a blanket or sheet.

The most brutal weather for horses to withstand is a cold, whipping wind and heavy, cold rain. The rain soaks down to the horse’s skin, fighting natural insulation and the wind whisks away body heat faster than some horses can keep up. If you blanket your horse to protect him against wind and cold rain, it is important to use a waterproof blanket to keep the rain from soaking the fabric and penetrating the hair coat.

A few categories of horses that may require blankets include: horses clipped throughout the year, older horses that have a hard time keeping warm, or horses moved from a warm climate to cooler climate. Horses with a coat allowed to grow naturally throughout the winter months may be blanketed at the owner’s discretion.

How do I prevent founder/laminitis in my horse?

In rare cases, laminitis can stem from a secondary infection, stress, metabolic disease, or an injury but most cases of laminitis are feed related. When horses are allowed to gorge themselves on starches (sugars and carbohydrates) they are at risk for laminitis. Prevention is important and simple as long as you pay close attention to your horse’s feed intake. Steps and signs are listed below to help you identify and prevent laminitis in your horse

  • Be sure to switch or increase feed gradually
  • Keep a close eye on weight gain and decrease feed as needed.
  • Keep an eye on the pastures-lush spring grass or stressed grass can be a risk
  • Note any lameness or “founder stance”-a horse that is foundering on his front feet will tend to shift his weight to his hindquarters, extending his forelimbs to take the pressure off his forelimbs. If all feet are affected, the horse will stand with his feet under his body. The movement of a laminitic horse will look like the horse is walking on eggshells; movement will be short-strided.

If you suspect your horse is possibly foundering, it is best to contact veterinarian immediately.