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Horses: Equine Flu and Arthritis

Mar 30, 2008
The name for the Equine Flu condition is Allergic Respiratory Disease (ARD) and it shows up with flu-like symptoms rather than sinus or nasal difficulties. The horse's lungs will get inflamed, making them far more susceptible to virus and bacterial infections. This manifests as a recurring problem your horse never quite gets over. You'll also likely see coughing, excessive eye discharge and discover they get tired easily.

If you're at home solutions aren't helping much, call you're Vet and have her take a look at the fluid and cells in the horse's lungs to figure out how severe the allergy is. There's also a new blood test that can tell the Vet precisely what the horse is allergic to. Exciting news, because that means customized treatments for each horse. Other treatments include corticosteroids (cortisone) and bronchodilators.

Arthritis and the Older Horse Remedies

Just because your horse is older does not mean he is ready to retire and not get ridden. Even aging equines need exercise. Not to mention the fact that they get bored doing nothing if they were active in their day. Aging horses still have sharp minds and although the body may not be keeping up as well as it once did - they appreciate being useful. Being ignored and left alone can lead to depression in a once active horse.

If his joints are really swollen and painful and the Vet has suggested he be confined for a 24 hour or longer period, either use a box stall with lots of cushy hay or a small turn out pen with lots of soft grass underfoot. If your horse is herd sour and pitches a fit when out of sight of its buddy, put the buddy someplace close. The last thing you want is your sore horse to be fretting and pacing more trying to find his friend.

Throw in some passive stretching exercises as well. For instance, pick up the affected leg, gently bend and straighten it - about ten times per joint. Try to do this about 3 - 4 times a day. This assists cartilage and soft-tissue healing and decreases scar-tissue formation.

You'll be doing controlled exercises like hand-walking, ponying at a walk or slow trot or riding at a walk or slow trot. These all depend on what condition your senior is in, so use your discretion. If the swelling comes back, you need to slow down.
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