Horses, like humans, are living longer, healthier lives and as a consequence, certain age related diseases are becoming more prevalent. Equine Cushing’s Syndrome (ECS) is a disease of the endocrine system caused by an abnormality of the pituitary gland situated at the base of the brain. A characteristic of ECS is the production of excessive amounts of the hormone cortisol which negatively impacts on the horse’s ability to effectively regulate blood pressure/cardiac function and protein/carbohydrate/fat metabolism. Equine Cushing’s Syndrome (ECS) has been documented to affect more than 10% of horses over 15 years of age (McGowan, 2003). While the condition
What are gastric ulcers? Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome (EGUS) is the result of the progressive erosion of the lining within the distal oesophagus, stomach and proximal small intestine caused by gastric acid attack. EGUS can be a painful condition with serious health and performance implications for affected horses. Gastric ulcers are most often present on the upper lining of the stomach and also at the junction between the upper and lower regions (Margo Plicatus). The lower portion of the stomach (glandular region) secretes a protective mucous in addition to having the capacity to produce digestive enzymes, thereby reducing the effects
Laminitis is one of the most common causes of lameness in horses and ponies. Within the hoof are sensitive, thin plate like structures called laminae, which supply nutrition to hoof and act as primary support to the pedal bone within the hoof. The term laminitis refers to inflammation of these laminae, which is instigated via the reaction of the laminitic trigger factors and laminae. Consequently, the degradation and separation of the laminae leads to cascade of problems for horses’ health and quality of life. Common causative agents for instigating an episode of laminitis include the following; Excessive intake of high
Winter Feeding As winter sets in and temperatures begin to drop, some changes in your horses ration may be required. Horses are well adapted to cope with climatic extremes and have an innate ability to seek shelter and suitable feedstuffs. This ability will help to cope with harsh climatic variables such as sub-zero temperatures and ice cold winds. However, domestication has seen horses confined to a stable or paddock in which they are unable to exercise this ability and must therefore rely on the feed and shelter provided. A horses coat is the first line of defence against the cold.