It is important to keep in mind that the horse was not designed to pull or carry. Its development prepared it for a particular lifestyle  and  a  particular  diet.  This  is  rarely  duplicated  in domesticated  life. Most  of the horse’s  ailments and in j u rie s  come  from  the  “unnatural” way in which they are kept. Remembering this will facilitate “ normal” treatment of the horse and will promote health a nd well-being. This lecture should be read in conjunction with the lecture on nutrition and digestion (Lecture 4).

Diseases and ailments may be divided into two categories internal and external.


COLIC: This is probably the most common ailment of the horse. The symptoms indicate severe abdominal pain. The horse has a small stomach, and a long intestine. Food  of  the  wrong consistency can clog the system causing pressure and pain.

These causes remind us that the working horse has been made to deviate from its natural way of life. In the natural state, the horse spent the whole day moving from tufts of grass to tufts of grass. The pattern of eating a little and walking a little meant that ingestion was slow and movement aided the normal peristaltic action. When the horse is made to eat concentrates, standing in a loose box and his feeding pattern is restricted to two or three feeds a day, he is not living in his natural way, and it is not surprising that digestive problems arise from time to time. We can assume, then, that colic arises from bad feeding. The list of faults would include: too much food at a time, excessive watering, changing the kinds of food (or taking the wrong food), eating too quickly, eating old or musty food, very new hay, new oats, too much green grass when the rains first start, too little bulk food, badly prepared food, and feeding when the horse is still over-heated from work.

Other causes of  colic  include  a  blockage  in  the  intestine,  crib-biting  and  windsucking  {see vices), parasites, stones in the kidney or bladder, and sand in the stomach.

There are three kinds of colic:

Spasmodic Colic:The horse suffers from intermittent  pain  caused  by  a  local irritation  such  as sand, worms or stones. The  pain  will  be  indicated  by  violent  spasms  during  which  the  horse may roll, stamp, paw the ground or kick  at  his stomach. Patches  of  sweat  will  appear  on  the  coat, which will become  starey.  During  spasms  the  respiration  rate  will  increase  noticeably. Then as suddenly as it came, the pain will  disappear,  the horse  will  calmly  eat  and  drink  and seem quite recovered until  the  next  spasm  occurs,  whereupon  the  whole  distressing  cycle begins again. The condition can continue for two days or longer. There is often a slight rise in temperature, but this has  more  to  do  with  the  distress  and  excitement  of  the  horse  rather than the colic.

Flatulence: This is caused by an obstruction in the bowl, and the fermentation of food causing gases that exert pressure within the digestive system. Pain is not as severe with this type of colic as with spasmodic colic. The pain is continuous and the stomach can be seen to be distended. The animal shows distress by looking at and touching the stomach with the mouth, and by pawing the ground. The horse may roll or attempt to do so but the movements are not as alarming as those associated with spasmodic colic.

Twisted Gut: This is a physical injury that may result from colic; it is not really associated with colic in the pathological sense. When a horse has colic, as we have seen above, he may roll in order to seek relief from the pain. The combination of the pressure within the intestine and the physical effort of rolling sometimes cause a kink to appear in the gut. Too much boiled food may also cause this condition, and a fall. The condition is usually fatal since the twist prevents food from passing. There is a rise in temperature. In some cases, complicated and expensive surgical procedures are required.


It is essential that the horse be prevented from hurting himself by rolling or falling in his distress. Remove him from the loosebox and walk him around, or place bales of hay or straw around the stall.

In cases of acute colic call the Veterinarian immediately. In mild cases of colic, administer 20cc of anilate by intra-muscular injection. This dose may be repeated a further three times at 2 hour intervals – that is no more than 80cc over 8 hours.

Keep the bedding clean, remove all food from the manager, keep the patient warm and be sure that someone is with him at all times. When the symptoms have been alleviated, bring the horse back into work slowly.

Prevention is always better than cure. Warm the horse regularly, remove stale food, watch the diet, and be careful that grazing times do not become the cause of colic.

It must be noted that each attack of colic affects the heart. If in any doubt at all, call the vet. Colic may be no more than a pain in the tummy but its consequences can be fatal.

AZOTURIA: This is  a  degenerative  condition  of  muscle,  especially  over  the  loin  and  hind quarter. It occurs when a horse, in peak condition, is suddenly rested without a compensatory reduction in food intake, or when a horse has been rested is out of  condition,  and  is  then rigorously used.

This condition is caused  by  an  accumulation  of  glycogen  in the  muscles  when  the horse is at  rest and becomes depleted as soon as the horse exerts itself. This leads to the production of lactic acid which causes the muscle fibres to  swell  and  degenerate. A  deficiency in  Vitamin  C  may  cause the same ailment.

LAMINITIS: Symptoms: The horse seems to be sound, but after exercise slows down, appears stiff and wants to roll. The muscles over the loin begin to quiver and the urine is coffee-coloured. The horse, when viewed from behind, shows obvious signs of lameness. The temperature may rise to 40°C. Should this occur while you are riding some distance from the stables, you must dismount and arrange for the horse to be boxed home. Call the vet immediately keep the horse quiet and stay with it while waiting for the vet. The recovery diet must be based on bran mashes.

Again, prevention is better than cure. When work is reduced, reduce feed.

Although laminitis is associated with an upset digestive system, it can manifest itself as lameness. It is, however, a digestive disorder but this aspect will be dealt with under lameness.



All horses get worms. Worms are parasites that cause loss of condition, which can be seen in loss of weight, poor coat and a rubbed tail. Worms have a cycle that is linked to the digestive system of the horse. Worm eggs pass through the digestive tract, to pass out in droppings which are then picked up by other horses.

Worms tend to be more numerous in low-lying, boggy areas. There are several kinds of worm, two important types being the Strongyles and the Oxyuris. These may be treated in a similar way, but a third variety, the Bats worm, requires a different treatment. The causes are irregular de-worming, overgrazed paddocks, wet grazing, leaving manure lying in the paddock after worming, and introducing a new unwormed horse into the paddock.

Symptoms: The horse may have diarrhoea and show signs of anaemia. There may be a cough (if lung worm is present), and colic. You will see the yellowish white eggs of the Bot Worm on the legs of a horse suffering from Bots.

Treatment: De-worming every six weeks during the wet season and every eight weeks during the dry is essential. An accepted medication for most worms in this country is Panacur. This is a paste which may be administered in the feed or given directly to the horse. The Bots worm needs a different kind of treatment, and it is possible, if the case is not too severe, to scrape off the eggs using a Bots knife on the horse’s legs.


The mange caused by mites mainly affects manes and tails. The parasites penetrate the skin, causing irritation. To relieve the itching, the horse rubs the affected parts, an action that results in balding. Treatment of this kind of mange begins with isolating the affected animal, clipping the hair around the affected parts and then disinfecting the grooming equipment to safeguard the other horses. The grooming equipment should also be kept separately. The veterinarian should be called to confirm diagnosis and prescribe medication. Grass mange, which results from improper diet, seems to be more prevalent during the dry season, which indicates that it may be due to lack of vitamins. The symptoms are patches on the neck, tail and legs that cause irritation. The horse rubs these vigorously. An effective treatment is Savlon cream, coconut oil and Alugan. Prevention of the spread of the disease is important. Ensure that each horse has its own head collar, grooming kit and fly fringe, all of which should be kept scrupulously clean, especially when there

is infection in the stable. To improve the diet, lucerne may be added to the feed in appropriate quantities.


It should be noted that the diseases discussed above are endemic to Europe, as well as Africa. We now consider the diseases that are peculiar to Africa and other tropical areas.

BILIARY: The veterinary term used is Equine Piroplasmosis. This disease affects horses and donkeys,

attacking red blood corpuscles through a protozoan parasite. It is characterised by an alteration of the blood which leads to fever symptoms and the appearance of jaundice. The disease is found in most tropical countries, being mostly prevalent during the rainy season, but not unknown during dry, cooler weather. Imported horses appear to be more susceptible to this disease than home-bred animals.

Causes: The parasite is carried by a tick, and is transmitted when the horse is bitten by it. There is an incubation period of about two weeks between the bite and the onset of the disease. It has been suggested that horses become more prone to this disease when they are moved from a country environment to town or vice versa. Another commonly held belief is that when a horse that has had little tick control is brought into a more controlled environment, and begins to receive medication to remove and prevent tick infestation, it may suffer from an attack of biliary. Horses passing through long grass may pick up the disease because of ticks clinging to long grass stalks.

The symptoms of biliary are manifested when the horse goes off its feed and has a high temperature (40°C+). These are the early symptoms and the veterinarian should be called without delay.

Later symptoms show signs of jaundice in a yellowing of the whites of the eyes, the horse lying down, sweating and looking very ill. If the horse reaches this stage, a vet must be summoned immediately.

The recovery period varies between one and two months. The horse must be kept quiet and out of the sun. The horse is unlikely to be eager for food during this time, but should be coaxed with bran mashes, lucerne, carrots etc. Ensure that flies and mosquitoes are kept at bay; there should be no ticks in the stable. Extra vitamins should be fed during this recovery period.

Prevention is based on tick control. Use sprays and tick grease, checking animals daily for ticks.

HORSE SICKNESS: This disease is fatal, caused by a virus found in Africa. It is not contagious, and is carried by nocturnal insects, via mosquitoes and midges.

The symptoms may vary according to the area. An incubation period of 5 – 7 days separates the infecting bite and the first symptoms. There are four varieties of the disease:

  • Horse Sickness Fever
    • Fever Pulmonary
    • Cardiac Form
    • Combined pulmonary and cardiac

Horse sickness fever is a relatively mild form of the disease. It is seldom fatal. There is a rise in temperature, the animal loses appetite, and the breathing seems laboured.

The pulmonary type of horse sickness is acute. The temperature spikes and white foam may be observed at mouth and nostril. Once this has been observed, the prognosis is death within twelve hours. The horse pants, is in deep distress and shows signs of acute pain.

Cardiac horse sickness is serious, but less so than the pulmonary type. The virus attacks the heart causing swelling at the head and neck. The most telling symptom  is  the  appearance  of  fluid forming above the eyes, creating a bulge above them. Foaming at the mouth and nostril may be observed. This form of the sickness may last from twelve hours to a week. It is rarely fatal.

The mixed pulmonary and cardiac forms will show combined symptoms of the two forms noted

above. This form of the disease is invariably fatal.

There is no known treatment for horse sickness. The vet should be called to diagnose the form the disease is taking, and then common sense will determine measures to reduce temperature and alleviate discomfort.

Prevention of this disease is absolutely essential. A yearly vaccination, given just before the rains provide the best protection. However, the vaccination does not guarantee immunity from the disease because of the many strains of horse sickness virus. Two injections are given, at an interval of about three weeks. Special care should be taken over a horse that has never been vaccinated before

  • unfortunate side-effects may occur. After injecting the horse, it should not be worked hard. Indeed, many owners will not use an injected horse even during the second week after the injection.

Preventative measures include providing smoky fires during the hours of darkness, mosquito netting over windows, regular stable fumigation, and the strategic placing of flybait (keeping it out of reach of horses and children).

TETANUS (Lockjaw):This condition is caused by a virus that lives in soil. It is an  acute  disease,  caused when the virus,  which  can  remain  dormant  for  up  to  two  years,  enters  the  blood stream through a wound that has not been cleaned. The incubation  period  for  this  disease  is about three weeks.

The infection is more likely to be caused by a puncture wound rather than a tearing wound: that is, by a nail penetrating the foot rather than a graze. Other possible dangers would be during the process of castration, or even the cutting of the umbilicus of a foal.

Symptoms begin with the horse appearing to be rather stiff, either in front or behind. Then, muscles go into spasm, the head and neck may stretch out, and the horse appears unable to move them sideways (laterally) or downwards. The horse is disinterested in food, the nostrils dilate, the ears are held erect, and the horse is unable to move its jaw. At this stage, the horse can only suck liquids. It becomes very excited, respiration accelerates, temperature rises (to as much as 42°C), and the horse has difficulty in urinating.

The mortality rate in this disease is about 60%. An indication of the chance of a patient’s likelihood of recovery may be estimated from the rapidity with which the symptoms develop. Where the progression is rapid, the patient usually dies. Less acute cases may survive provided they can eat sufficiently to maintain strength. Usually, if a horse can get through the ninth day, it stands a chance of survival. Full recovery will take six weeks, perhaps longer.

Treatment begins by calling the veterinarian. The veterinarian will administer an injection, and then the horse will require intensive nursing. Laxatives should be administered and soft foods given. Both food and water should be placed so that the horse may reach them easily. The loose box should be kept darkened and quiet so as to avoid exciting the horse. In some cases a sling may be made to keep the horse upright. The horse can usually suck liquids through his jaws, and in this case, milk and gruel may be given. Glucose injections are also helpful. Find the wound and keep it clean, ensuring that it is kept open to allow necessary drainage. If the wound was located on the foot, Stockholm Tar would be applied.

To echo what has been said above, prevention is a thousand times better than cure. The yearly tetanus injection should be given at the same time as the Horse Sickness injections – the one is as necessary as the other.

RABIES: This is an exceedingly contagious disease, contracted through wounds inflicted by another animal suffering from the disease. Incubation varies between 9 days and 15 months. Man and all animals are susceptible to this disease which, as yet, remains incurable.

The symptoms are that the horse becomes  very  excitable,  most  often  aggressively so,  breaking out into patches of sweat and appears to be very  thirsty. The  disease is  fatal,  death  occurring some 3 – 4 days after the onset of symptoms.

There is no treatment. The affected animal must be put down. All who have handled the horse while it was showing even the most minor symptoms must undergo a course of rabies injections, administered by the doctor or at a clinic. Failure to do this may result in human death.



The timely observation and treatment of lameness is important.

Often, the first indication of lameness in the front leg will be noticed in the stable, with the horse resting one of the front legs. A horse will frequently rest a perfectly sound hind leg, but a front leg that is being favoured needs to be checked.

To see whether there is lameness or not, trot the horse. If there is lameness, nodding of the head will be observed, the head raising as the lame foot strikes the ground, and going down as the sound foot falls. The quarters should also be observed. The quarters will drop as the sound foot strikes the ground and will rise to protect the unsound foot. When the unsound limb has been identified, immediate treatment is to pick up the feet, look for a nail or stone in the hoof, and then  check the leg for swelling. If swelling is not found in the muscles and joints of the leg, the shoulder, hip or stifle must be checked.

Often lameness is seated in the foot itself. It may be found on the under parts of the foot, on the surface, or inside.


Lameness on the underside of the foot is the most common cause by infection resulting from the presence of bacteria, often a result of dirt and poor management. Thrush and canker are both  caused by bacteria breaking down tissue. Canker is a chronic form of thrush. The disease provokes excessive secretions from glands situated deep in the frog. The condition is aggravated by dampness, dirty feet or bad shoeing.

The symptom is initially a bad smell from the feet – this can hardly be missed. The frog and the sole become soft and spongy. Canker causes a foot to become soft and mushy, at which stage the horse may not show signs of lameness.

A veterinarian should be called, and treatment prescribed. For thrush, clean the foot as well as possible, and disinfect it. Dead skin and tissue must be trimmed from the affected area, and medication, such as copper sulphate should be applied. Correct shoeing is important: the frog must touch the ground. Clean bedding is essential, and the horse should be kept inside if the ground is muddy. Cod liver oil may be added to the food to promote horn growth.

NAIL PRICK: As the name suggests, the condition is caused when a horse stands on a nail.

The symptom is lameness.

To treat it administer a tetanus injection as soon as possible after removing the nail. Stockholm Tar may be applied to the wound once it has been cleaned.

CORNS: Corns may begin when there is a bruise on the  sole  of  the  foot.  It  may  be  caused through bad shoeing, shoes pinching, shoes being left on too long, flat feet with weak heels and thin soles. Even riding on hard ground may cause corns.

Symptoms to watch for include an initial slight lameness associated with heat in the foot and a swelling that may be felt up to the fetlock.

The treatment is to rest the horse and include a laxative in the diet (e.g. bran mash). The shoes must be removed and the affected foot fitted with a three quarter shoe that does not press on the affected part of the foot.

Lameness seated in surface conditions includes the following:

SANDCRACKS: The hoof splits at the coronet in a downward direction. Note that grass cracks begin at the bottom of the hoof and then split upwards. The condition is caused by an injury to the coronet, grazing against a wall, or through weak feet. The condition is serious and likely to cause lameness. The vet should be called to treat this condition. Should the split go from the coronet to the bottom of the foot, the foot will be split and will require a long and uncomfortable course of treatment. The split may be stopped before it reaches the bottom by using of a foot knife to cut across the part next to the split. Alternatively, if the split has reached the bottom of

the foot, the farrier will clip the hoof together and fit special shoes. Medication to promote growth must be given.

GRASS CRACKS: These are less serious than sand cracks, and are caused by brittle hooves and riding on hard ground, among other things.

The symptoms are cracks that begin at the bottom of the hoof and proceed upwards. They may be stopped by making a u- shaped notch in the hoof just above the crack. The horse should then be properly shod and medicated and its diet

changed to promote growth. This implies use of cod liver oil, hoof oil and medicine. Diseases that occur at the undersides of feet:

SEEDY TOE: This is seated between the outer and inner parts of the hoof wall, causing a cavity. It is a result of the bruising of an unshod foot riding on hard ground, or riding over fine gravel which may become embedded in the wall of the hoof. The condition causes inflammation of the sensitive lamina, injury to the coronet and a harmful effect upon the horn cells.

Treatment: clean the hoof thoroughly, pack the cavity with cotton wool and apply Stockholm Tar. This condition is dangerous because there is no lameness. The cavity in the hoof wall must be inspected regularly.

CORONITIS: There are two forms of this condition.

The ‘ordinary’ form is recognised by a powdery-chalkiness of the coronet, usually caused by a

nutritional imbalance. The principal effect is upon horn growth.

The ‘acute’ form is caused by an injury to the hoof. Initial treatment with hot poultice may  be helpful, but the vet should be called before the condition causes extreme lameness.

Diseases that occur within the feet:

LAMINITIS: We have discussed the dietary causes of laminitis above. The danger of the condition is that the foot may be permanently disfigured if neglected. Once the shape  has  changed,  the hoof will never return to its natural conformation. The condition may be  induced by too  little or  too much work, concussion of the foot, problems during foaling, or bad diet. The symptoms are acute lameness, the horse assuming the classic pose with feet thrust forward, the weight being taken by the knees. The feet will be hot, and the horse reluctant to move at all, will seek to lie down.

Treatment must be prescribed by a veterinarian. Obviously, attempts to reduce discomfort by cooling, feet, by  hosing down, and by applying a poultice will be helpful. A strict diet should be introduced. Bran mash is beneficial, and the horse should be prevented from eating green grass. The horse may be fitted with special shoes – the rocking bar shoe,  to reduce the harmful effects of the condition.

NAVICULAR DISEASE: This condition is the result of a change in the navicular bone. Its surface is usually smooth; this disease

causes the surface to become rough so the flexor tendon cannot move across its surface without causing pain. The causes of this condition include riding over rough ground, direct injury, which may arise from bad shoeing, rheumatism, the bone being improperly formed at birth, or from hereditary causes. It seems that little is really known about the causes of this disease – some horses seem to have a propensity for the condition while others do not. Hence, little can be said about prevention.

The symptoms include lameness, especially when first brought out of the stable and which diminishes as the horse is worked. Each time work is reduced the lameness returns. When standing, the horse will exhibit a foot pointing and will be restless. As the disease develops, the heel becomes longer and the toe shatters.

Treatment is possible if the condition is identified early enough. Surgical shoes which reduce  pressure on the navicular bone are helpful. Such shoes are likely to be wedge-shaped with a thick heel and thin toe. The vet may decide to give cortisone injections. If the condition is really severe, the nerve may be removed from the foot, but this is an extreme remedy which would need a great deal of justification to warrant it. A good farrier is essential, and gentle exercise (walking) is helpful.

QUITTOR: This is a suppurating wound in the hoof which appears in the coronet. It results  from direct injury to the bottom of the foot or coronet, and ineffective treatment of the wound.

The symptoms are acute pain and lameness, with a suppurating area at the coronet. Normal treatment is not difficult but the vet should be called. The wound must be treated. A poultice is beneficial or placing the foot in a bucket of warm water containing Epsom Salts. Rest and a laxative diet should be given. The condition should be treated as potentially serious.

PEDALOESTRITUS: This is the bruising of the pedal bone. It is caused by concussion in the foot, or may be an after effect of laminitis.

Symptoms include acute lameness that is more pronounced after exercise, heat in the foot which, when tapped, causes obvious discomfort.

Treatment demands rest, and a poultice to the foot is beneficial. The vet must be called. Treatment usually includes shoeing with pads to protectthe under parts of  the foot  which exert pressure  on the pedal bone.

SIDE BONES: The condition is seen as the ossification of cartilage at the side of the foot. These side bones act as shock absorbers. The causes are not perfectly understood. There appears to be an element of heredity to the condition, as well as overwork or severe concussion. As the condition worsens, the cartilage becomes ossified and appears as lumps at the side of the feet. The condition does not cause lameness but lameness could arise from the loss of the shock-absorbing properties of the bones. No treatment is necessary.

SPRAINED TENDONS: This is a very common condition in horses and there are many forms of treatment. The term covers damage to the ligaments as well as the tendons. The condition may be caused by galloping over hard ground, muddy ground, jumping drop fences, slipping or  bolting, either at work or in the paddock. Some horses have a hereditary tendency to contracting this condition, and it may also result from the horse’s conformation.

The symptoms are  sudden lameness followed  by heat and swelling. If a leg is lifted  and the tendon is pinched the horse will show signs of severe pain. If there is a sprain of the tendon the fetlock will drop

Treatment: This depends on the severity of the condition. A minor sprain  may  be treated  by rest and a laxative diet.

A more severe one should have the swelling reduced by hot poultices for a week or so,  and  the  heat reduced, by hosing down with cold water, two or three times a day for up to two  weeks. A badly affected leg should be tightly bandaged with padding. This should be changed  twice a day,  and the limb should be massaged whenever the dressing is changed. An elastic bandage is useful. A slight sprain will take about six weeks to cure.

A severe condition will take between six months and a year. When the horse is being brought back into work after a sprain, the load should be increased very gradually. Surgical shoes may be used since these will reduce the weight taken by the tendon.


These include splints, bone spavins and ring bone.

SPLINT: This is a bony enlargementof the cannon bone or splint bone. It is caused by concussion or too much work in a young horse. In the young horse, the condition occurs  when  the  splint  bone and cannon bone fuse after rubbing together. The condition may be caused  after  a  blow, sometimes a kick from another horse or from the horse’s leg.

The symptoms are a bony lump on the fore legs. Fluctuating lameness  may  be  observed,  seen when the horse is in trot. Treatment is rest, until the lameness goes. This happens when the two bones have fused together. The horse will then be able to work again, but will not be suitable for showing. This condition reduces the value of a horse being sold.

BONE SPAVIN: This is a bone enlargement seated on the hock. Like the splint, it is caused by concussion, or through working a horse when it is still immature. The condition is also hereditary. The symptoms include a greater degree of lameness with the splint. There may be lameness, and a definite lump may be felt in the hock. The treatment is rest and hosing down with cold water.

RING BONE: This is osteitis of the pastern bone. There are two forms of the condition. True ring- bone affects the joints. False ring-bone does not. The  causes  are  concussion,  hereditary weaknesses in conformation, etc. The symptoms: Bone growth may be observed on the pastern, in which case there will be no lameness. The condition  usually  affects more  than  one foot. If  the  joint becomes ossified it will be unable to move.

Treatment: Cold water hosing relieves some of the discomfort. The veterinarian may be called but there is little that can be done to rectify the condition.


COUGHS: The fundamental cause is inflammation of the membrane lining the larynx or the upper windpipe. There are several possible causes, including a reflex action from the stomach to the throat irritation of the tubes (possible lung worm), and broken wind.

Obviously, a cough is a cough but there is a recognisable feature in a cough that helps with the diagnosis. A stomach cough is short, hollow sounding and hard. The lungworm cough is dry and harsh and is accompanied by other evidence of worm infestation. A cough arising from a throat infection will be accompanied by a running nose and a rise in temperature

Broken wind is a permanent condition. There is a short, hollow cough that persists, and the horse’s breathing will become laboured if even light work is attempted.

Treatment: A veterinarian should be called to diagnose the type of cough. If a stomach disorder has caused it, the diet probably needs to be changed, and bran mashes and bicarbonate of soda should be given.

Lung worm infestation: Treat with an appropriate medication.

Throat infection: This should be treated with antibiotics. Keep  the  horse  warm,  and  watch carefully for a rise in temperature as this condition  could  develop  into  a  bad  attack  of pneumonia.

RING WORM: This condition is easily seen on the skin, as it causes  bare patches. The  ringworm  that affects horses is equally  able  to  affect  dogs  and humans. Treatment  should  be determined by the vet, but all bedding should be burnt, and the horse should be isolated.

GALLS: This term is applied to skin irritations (or wounds) caused by friction from ill-fitting or wrongly-fitted saddles. Obviously, the cause must be eliminated by the correct  use  of  properly fitted saddles. The horse should not be saddled while recovering from galls. The irritations themselves should be treated with salt water and kept free from infection.

POLL EVIL: This condition is caused by a blow to the head, or it may result from a badly fitted bridle. Call the vet.

FISTULA OF THE WITHERS: Again call the vet.

MUD FEVER: This is a common condition in which the skin becomes inflamed, the result of irritation from mud or wet ground. The condition is observed from the knees and hocks down. Symptoms are swollen legs and a hot skin that becomes dry and cracked. There is a possibility of suppuration in the cracks. Treatment begins with keeping the legs dry after hosing or brushing off the mud. Zinc and castor oil cream is effective in relieving discomfort where cracking has occurred, and should be applied to the heels. If there is suppuration, antibiotics should be used. The horse should be kept stabled until the condition has been cured. It is obviously important that the horse be provided with clean, dry bedding, and if the horse must be taken out, his legs should be bandaged.

URTICARIA (Nettle-Rash): This is a general term used to identify skin allergies. Lumps appear on the skin quite suddenly, and then disappear just as inexplicably. There seems to be little irritation and the condition is unsightly rather than dangerous. Cooling lotions may be applied, or, for more severe cases, an anti-histamine cream.