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Category: Infectious diseases

There are a number of highly infectious and potentially fatal diseases that can affect your horse. For many of these conditions, such as influenza and tetanus, there is a simple protection in the form of vaccination. Ensuring that your horse completes an initial course of vaccinations and then receives regular booster jabs is important if you want to keep your horse fit and healthy.

Equine influenza is a highly contagious viral disease that affects the upper and lower respiratory tract of the horse, caused by different strains of influenza virus. It can be caught through contact with an infected horse or indirectly by contaminated environments or air. Equine influenza spreads rapidly therefore vaccination is essential.

Tetanus is caused by a neurotoxin found in soil that enters the horse’s bloodstream, usually via an open wound. Even small wounds, including puncture wounds allow contamination, and because the incubation period is 7-21 days, the wound has usually healed by the time the first signs of the disease are apparent. Tetanus can be a fatal disease, therefore vaccination is essential to protect your horse.

There are other infectious diseases for which there is no vaccine. We are fortunate in the UK that most infectious diseases not covered by vaccinations are relatively rare. However, if you are taking your horse abroad you need to be aware that there are some nasty diseases like West Nile virus and Equine Herpes virus that your horse may be exposed to.

Many parasitic diseases also affect horses and these can be picked up from apparently healthy animals and preventative healthcare can be beneficial to protect your horse from worms, equine flu and other potential diseases. Your vet will be able to advise you on what products you need to buy to keep your horse healthy.

West Nile Virus – what owners should know

West Nile Virus (WNV) is a viral disease previously only seen in Africa, western Asia, and southern Europe. Now it can also be found in the Middle East, Mediterranean region of Europe and the US. Prevention is the name of

Tetanus – ‘lockjaw’

Horses are susceptible to a number of serious infectious diseases, e.g. tetanus (lockjaw) and influenza (flu), fortunately there are vaccines available for some of these common conditions. What is tetanus? Tetanus can be a fatal disease, caused by the neurotoxin

Strangles (Streptococcus equi infection)

Strangles in a highly contagious infectious disease and can be serious or occasionally even fatal as a result of late diagnosis. Know what to look out for and you will almost certainly avoid the unnecessary suffering of your horse and

Pinworms – an unwanted irritation

Although pinworms are not generally considered harmful, they are a nuisance and irritating for the horse. If your horse is particularly itchy around its tail and anal region then it might be suffering from a pinworm burden. What are pinworms?

Equine viral arteritis (EVA)

Equine viral arteritis (EVA) is a contagious disease of equids (horses, donkeys, mules) caused by equine arteritis virus (EAV) that is present in many equine populations worldwide. The disease, referred to in the past by a variety of clinically descriptive terms,

Equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM)

Equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM) is a common neurologic disease in horses in the USA. It is not generally seen in the UK, except in imported horses. What is EPM? EPM is a disease caused by infection with the protozoa Sarcocystis neurona or Neospora

Equine Influenza – ‘flu’

Horses are susceptible to a number of serious infectious diseases, eg influenza (flu) and tetanus (lockjaw). Fortunately there are vaccines available for some of these common conditions. What is equine influenza? Equine influenza is a highly contagious viral disease that

Equine infectious anaemia (EIA)

Equine infectious anaemia (EIA) is a disease of horses, mules and donkeys. Also called swamp fever, this disease has been present since the early 1800s, and has been reported worldwide. It remains a significant cause of mortality and morbidity in

Equine herpesvirus (EHV)

Horses can suffer from a number of viral diseases, EHV is just one of many. If you are considering breeding your horse you should be aware of this disease and how it can affect breeding status as well and your horse's

Disease control

Horses are susceptible to many different diseases which can be passed between them. Horses are traveling and mixing with other horses at shows and events more and more and this increases the risk of them catching different infections. Disease control