Common Horse Health Problems

FurryTips is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Common Horse Health Problems

Horses are very hardy animals but they are still prone to some illnesses so here are the most common horse health problems and what you can do to treat them. Of course, injuries aren’t included here and aside from them it seems that the most common health problems today are arthritis, colic, gastric ulcers, laminitis and desmitis so let us learn more about them.


Osteoarthritis is also known as Degenerative Joint Disease and it develops slowly through the inflammation of the joint tissues as the cartilage is damaged. It is very painful and it will reduce the range of movement leading to stiffness, swelling and lameness. Sadly there is no cure for it but there are ways of reducing the pain.

To prevent it as much as you can try to take time warming up the horse before exercising and ride on various surfaces while also monitoring the weight of the horse since obesity will increase the pressure on the joints.

Common Horse Health Problems


Abdominal pains are usually caused by this condition and their severity will range from mild to extremely painful, a case in which surgery might be required. Most horse owners fear this problem the most and you will see the horse scraping the ground, looking at their abdomen, being restless and even rolling on the ground.

The prevention can be done through regular health checks, worming treatments and providing fresh water constantly. Stress can also raise the risk of this problem so keep your horse happy and relaxed most of the time. If you think they have this condition a veterinarian has to be consulted and they will tell you how serious the problem actually is.

Gastric Ulcers

Small erosions in the stomach will mean that the horse will lose its appetite and they may prefer only certain types of food as the long fibers of the hay can cause more pain. You will hear grumbling in the stomach, their coat can become duller in color and they might have a different temperament. If they are stressed and ridden frequently then this can cause even more pain and often owners think the horse is just being stubborn.

Stress is the main cause of this and thus you can prevent it by allowing the horse to relax as well as by ensuring that they always have sufficient food that won’t increase their acidity level. If your horse has this problem there is a treatment that will fix it in about a month.


A problem with the feet, it means the inflammation of the laminae, the soft tissue under the hoof and it can become so serious that the horse won’t be able to stand. Monitor the weight of the animal to prevent it and avoid hard ground but if they already suffer from this there are special shoes for this problem.

Common Horse Health Problems

Inflamed Ligaments or Desmitis

The inflammation of a ligament, usually in the limbs, will lead to lameness and the behavior or performance of the horse will change. There are ways of strengthening the ligaments but you should discuss them with a veterinarian or trainer since they can lead to the increased risk of having other problems if you do it without specialized help. The treatment depends on the severity and could take up to two months.

Leave a Comment