5 Precautions to Prevent Horse Illnesses

precautions to prevent horse illness

5 Precautions to Prevent Horse Illnesses

Owning a horse isn’t like owning any other pet; your life and soul goes into looking after your animal. Whether your horse races, participates in shows, or is your pastime companion, they are all the same when it comes to their health.

Although we can’t always shelter our horses from the diseases and illnesses out there, there are steps you can take to prevent illness.

1) Implement Correct Hygiene Procedures

This is a given really, but not every owner knows how to clean their items correctly.

Although horses do not have quite the same hygiene needs as us, the principles are generally the same. Ensure each horse (if you have more than one in the stable) has their own grooming equipment and outdoor wear.


Wash the following items regularly:

  • Hair brushes
  • Hoof cleaning equipment
  • Feed buckets
  • Tack

Each horse will ideally have their own brush. You must be sure that any other horse that is sharing is free from disease. Sanitising, mopping and sweeping the stable will also keep unwanted illnesses at bay.

Be careful with wet and muddy conditions, too. This environment is not only brimming with bacteria but could result in mud fever for your horse.

2) Be Careful with Other Horses

Try and keep horse-to-horse contact to a minimum at shows. It sounds antisocial, but you never know what one horse is carrying, or how easy disease can be spread quickly in these situations.

Illnesses such as influenza, equine herpesvirus and strangles are a few of the diseases that horses can spread to each other. Make sure you wash your hands at these events especially after handling other equines. This will also help prevent diseases from making their way back to your pet.

3) Know the Signs and Symptoms

Clue yourself up on common horse illnesses. Even getting to know the less-common ones might help you in a worst case scenario. With some viruses, such as equine infections anaemia (EIA), horses do not even tend to show symptoms. So, it’s good to adopt regular health checks.

Knowing symptoms won’t necessarily prevent a horses illness (if they’re showing symptoms, it’s usually too late!). However, it can prevent disease from getting much worse.

4) Keep Pests at Bay

Pests can be one of the most dangerous carriers of illnesses. In the US, mosquitos have been known to spread a vast variety of viruses. These include West Nile, eastern equine encephalitis and western equestrian encephalitis.

Flies are also a huge culprit for contributing to horses being ill. Flies tend to carry bacteria on their feet, which can deposit larva and parasites on the horses. They can also spread Habronema larvae onto skin, eyes or in wounds.

To prevent these hosts from spreading some potentially awful illnesses, find the best fly spray for your beloved horses.

5) Vaccinate Your Horse

Just like us, horses can have vaccinations that will provide them with immunity from certain diseases. Professionals highly recommend horses getting equine influenza jabs to stop your horse from not only getting horribly ill, but also to prevent fatal infection.

Influenza vaccines need to be given initially in two doses, between 21 to 92 days apart. Then, a third injection will need to be given 5-7 months after the first two. An annual booster is then required to ensure optimum health for your horse.

Tetanus jabs are up there with one of the most important vaccines that your horse should receive. Your furry friends can also be vaccinated and protected from some of the nasty health problems mentioned above. This includes western equestrian encephalitis and eastern equine encephalitis.

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