Common Equine Health Problems

As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure—which goes for common equine health problems, too. Understanding the health issues your horses are most likely to experience can help you prevent them from happening or worsening. Look over this list to learn more about common health issues, then call a horse vet in Cannon Falls, MN to ensure your horses thrive.

Poor dental health

If your horse’s breath is worse than normal, they likely have dental health issues. Watch for abnormal behavior: this could indicate that their teeth are hurting them. Over time, their teeth wear down unevenly, which can make chewing difficult. Your vet can file their teeth down as often as necessary to ensure they can chew properly.
Horses under five should get their teeth checked every six months, and horses over age five should have annual dental checkups. However, they may need additional visits. Don’t neglect their dental health—like humans, poor dental health can cause other health problems to develop over time.


Osteoarthritis affects many horses, and is one of the main reasons owners decide to retire their animals. This disease causes joints to swell, which can make the joints look larger and limits the horse’s range of motion. Your horse may be walking around looking stiff—that’s a strong sign they may have arthritis.
Although arthritis has no cure, there are a few things you can do to prevent it. Make sure your horses remain at a healthy weight, and vary the terrain upon which you ride. Finally, make it a point to give them plenty of warm-up and cool-down time.

Back problems

Horses—especially performance horses—need plenty of rest in between exercise and competitions. If your horse’s performance changes over time, consider giving them a day or two to rest. You should also make sure their saddles fit perfectly. Otherwise, you risk causing or exacerbating back issues.

Some horses benefit from special liniments, while severe back issues may require injections or mesotherapy. Your vet can help you determine which course of action is best for your animals.


Laminitis is a painful equine condition in which horses’ hooves experience structural changes. Signs include hot hooves for several hours, a reluctance to walk or move, an increased heart rate and rocking on their heels. Proper exercise and well-fitting performance boots can prevent laminitis.


Colic is the number one killer of horses. It causes severe abdominal pain, and can affect any horse regardless of age, sex, weight or breed. To prevent colic, make sure your horses get plenty of water and have a roughage-rich diet. Only feed them what they need. Finally, ask your vet about whether your horse may need digestive supplements, and what they recommend.

Caring for your horse is much easier when you work with a skilled horse vet in Cannon Falls, MN. Cannon Veterinary Services Ltd. can diagnose and treat horses, as well as dogs, cats and other small mammals—call us today to schedule an appointment.