Common Equine Diseases

March 7, 2017 by Linda

The cold weather can make horses more susceptible to illness so it is important to know and understand the symptoms of common horse diseases.

Equine Flu (Influenza)

This disease is very contagious and can affect your horse quickly, leaving him extremely tired and weak. Some of the conditions are a fever, coughing, discharge from the nose, and lack of appetite. If you believe your horse is suffering from the flu, it is important to keep him away from other horses and give him complete rest. This is essential to his recovery because the illness can get worse from other bacterial infections such as pneumonia. To prevent your horse from getting the equine flu, you should consider having a horse doctor give him the flu shot.


This is a contagious bacterial disease and it is usually more common in young horses. It can be spread by infected nasal secretions from other horses, pus from a draining abscesses, filthy hands, flies carrying bacterial infections, and any surfaces that have the bacteria on it. The typical symptoms are cough, lack of appetite, fever, trouble swallowing, and swollen lymph nodes in their head. If you believe your horse is suffering from this disease, it is important to get your licensed horse doctor to look at him or her, right away. The swollen lymph nodes can lead to impaired breathing and even asphyxiation.


This fatal viral disease is spread when an infected animal bites your horse. Some of these animals that carry the rabies bacteria are raccoons, bats, skunks, foxes, and coyotes. The symptoms of equine rabies can be a fever, muscle twitching, and incontinence. There is also an increase in aggression or a weakness and depression depending on what form of rabies it is.

Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis

This can be a tricky disease to identify because a lot of the symptoms are similar to other infections and illnesses. Also, a lot of horses are exposed to the organism that causes EPM however, only a small percentage of horses that are exposed to the organism do not get EPM. The infection is spread by its host which is usually opossums and when they defecate near your horse’s grazing patch, your horse can eat the contaminated feed or drinking water.


If you believe your horse is suffering from any of these illnesses, it is highly recommended you see your horse doctor immediately. For high quality horse insurance plans, please give the experts at Ark Agency a call today at (320)243-7250 or (800)328-8895.

Comments are closed.

Facebook Feed

Unable to display Facebook posts.
Show error

Error: Error validating access token: The session has been invalidated because the user changed their password or Facebook has changed the session for security reasons.
Type: OAuthException
Code: 190
Subcode: 460
Please refer to our Error Message Reference.