One of the most common equine health conditions impacting the performance horse involves the respiratory tract. Inhalation of oxygen is vital for energy production and overall cellular health, but in manty equine athletes, they struggle to move air in and out, resulting in decreased performance and quality of life. As horse owners, we rely on pharmaceutical medications such as steroids and bronchodilators, but despite their use, we continue to struggle to gain results and improve life for our equine companions.
Respiratory conditions in the horse are very common, but present in many forms. As horse owners, you may be familiar with terms including allergies, inflammatory airway disease (IAD) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). These terms get tossed around quite often and in many cases, despite the final diagnosis, we fail to see the connection between all of them and the possibility that one can progress to another over time.
Joint disease is a common manifestation of life, aging and often a result of many contributing factors including conformation, deformities and repetitive overuse. In horses, joint pain is common not only with aging due to deterioration, but is also present in the younger group secondary to high levels of stress to the areas associated with training and competition. In all groups, we have an often daily dependence on pain medications, but in horses, this progresses one step further to include repetitive joint injections to help keep the athlete competing. In many respects, we have come to accept these therapies as the only means of management, but are they really helping and is there more that can be done? Is it also possible that some of these therapies, despite good intentions, may be creating more harm in the end? With further knowledge, we can understand better and consider different options.
Equine recurrent uveitis (ERU) is unfortunately a common condition in horses, impacting up to 7% of farms with at least one horse affected. ERU is considered one of the most common causes of blindness in the horse and seems to impact many breeds, but with certain predilections to the Appaloosa and Paint breeds. The condition is very complex with much to be learned and understood in terms of pathophysiology, but treatment options can offer some help in managment and preservation of vision.