Exploring The Top 5 Common Diseases In Horses

This blog article covers the top 5 common diseases in horses, including symptoms, causes, prevention, and treatment. As an equine lover, you must be aware of the most prevalent health issues that can affect your equine companion. In this blog post, we will learn about the top 5 most common diseases in horses, providing you with a comprehensive guide to symptoms, causes, and the best prevention and treatment. Horse ownership is exciting, but you must face difficulties like their diseases. This article will help you face these difficulties.

The Top Five Common Diseases In Horses

  1. Aspergillosis
  2. Equine Influenza
  3. HYPP
  4. Strangles
  5. Colic


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by The Pets Room (@thepetsr00m)

1. Aspergillosis 

Aspergillosis is a fungal illness caused by mold Aspergillus spp. in horses that mostly affects the respiratory system, namely the guttural pouches. The guttural pouches are sacs that link the horse’s middle ear and throat. They are a frequent source of aspergillosis infection.


The main symptoms of Aspergillosis in horses include:

  • Runny Nose tinged with blood
  • Difficulty in Respiration and swallowing
  • Head-shaking

In extreme situations, the infection may spread to blood arteries, the lungs, and even the brain, resulting in death. Intestinal inflammation may weaken the horse’s immune system, allowing the fungus to spread more rapidly.


Causes of Aspergillosis in horses include:

  • Immunosuppression
  • Respiratory tract infection
  • Compromised gastrointestinal (GI) tract
  • Environmental exposure to Aspergillus spp.

Treatment options for Aspergillosis include:

  • Surgery for removing fungal debris from the guttural pouches
  • Topical and oral antifungal medicines.

Exploring The Top 5 Common Diseases In Horses

2. Equine Influenza

Equine influenza is a highly contagious respiratory disease in horses present in vast range certainly in the region of Australia caused by the Influenza A virus.


Causes of Equine Influenza include:

  • It is caused by influenza A virus: H7N7 and H3N8
  • It is transmitted through direct contact with infected horses
  • In addition, it is transmitted through respiratory secretions like mucus and saliva
  • Lack of immunity

The symptoms include:

  • Pyrexia(elevated body temperature between 39 and 41°C)
  • Dry Coughing
  • Profuse Nasal Flu
  • Emaciation
  • Anorexic Condition
  • Wheezing when breathing in severe cases
  • Lymph Nodes Swollen

Preventive measures include:

  • Vaccination
  • Biosecurity
  • Quarantine

There is no proper cure for influenza virus. The primary focus is on allowing the horse to proper rest and recover naturally through its own immunity. Rest is important for at least 6 weeks. During it’s recovery period, it is essential to provide a clean well-ventilated environment, after it’s incubation period ,antibodies are produced in the body against pathogen . If it become worse then take a veterinarian appointment.

3. HYPP (Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis)

HYPP (Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis) is a genetic disorder affects certain horse breeds, Affected horse my face muscle twitching, weakness, and in severe cases respiratory problems and sudden death. It is commonly seen in Quarter Horses, Paints, Appaloosas, and related breeds.


Horse with HYPP (Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis) can experience:

  • Muscle strength resilience 
  • Respiratory adaptability
  • awareness and making emergency preparedness plans for sudden conditions

HYPP can caused by:

Genetic mutation in the skeletal muscle sodium channel gene (SCN4A).

  • Reduce dietary potassium intake to minimize HYPP
  • Horse should feed low potassium diet
  • Medications like acetazolamide can be use to recover.

4. Strangles

Strangles is a contagious and highly infectious bacterial illness that affects horses’ upper respiratory tracts, resulting in abscesses surrounding enlarged lymph nodes. Streptococcus equi is the G+ bacteria characterized by fever, nasal discharge, and lymph node blockage in horses.


Symptoms of Strangles include

  • By Phasing Fever (103°F to 106°F, 39.4°C to 41.1°C)
  • Depression 
  • Off Feed
  • Swollen lymph nodes Palpated easily
  • Coughing due to Upper Respiratory Tract Infection
  • It is caused by gram positive bacteria Streptococcus equi 
  • It is easily spread through direct horse-to-horse contact, contaminated equipment, and water sources.
  • Apply heat, such as hot packs, to the swollen glands 
  • Broad spectrum Antibiotics
  • Isolating the horse
  • Vaccination

Exploring The Top 5 Common Diseases In Horses

5. Colic

Colic is abdominal pain most common in Racing horses, Issue in Colon part of large intestine is Colic that may be caused by a variety of gastrointestinal disorders.


The symptoms of Colic in horses include:

  • Creating Coping Mechanism(Tapping hind Legs on ground due to pain)
  • Rolling is the pain management technique
  • Tympany
  • Mindful eating habits
  • Unique postures (sitting and stretching)
  • Absence of gut sounds
  • Adaptive Resting (Recumbency in severe situations)

Causes Include:

  • Alterations in food, such as feeding too much grain in one meal, might cause sudden alterations.
  • High Grain diet may lead to increased gas production so Fiber intake help to prevent this situation.
  • Address the deficiency of  pure and fresh water and make a better future for all.
  • Improper feeding techniques, such as bolting and cribbing
  • Remove access to the feed.
  • Allow the horse to rest, but avoid excessive walking.
  • Medication (NSAID’S, stomach Powders, Laxatives) and Veterinary Care
  • Rectal Palpation by expert


What are most common diseases in horses?

The most common diseases in horses include:

  1. Aspergillosis
  2. Equine Influenza
  3. HYPP (Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis)
  4. Strangles
  5. Colic

What are the most abundant disease of horses in Australia?

The most common diseases in Australia include:

  1. Equine Influenza (EI)
  2. Hendra Virus
  3. Strangles
  4. Equine Herpesvirus (EHV)

What are common fungal diseases in horses?

Fungal diseases of horses include:

  1. Ringworm
  2. Thrush
  3. Candidiasis
  4. Aspergillosis is the one of the most common fungal disease in horses.

Which are the most common genetic disorders in horses?

Most common genetic disorders include:

  1. Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis (HYPP)
  2. Hereditary Equine Regional Dermal Asthenia (HERDA)
  3. Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy (PSSM)
  4. Glycogen Branching Enzyme Deficiency (GBED)
  5. Lavender Foal Syndrome (LFS)

What are the most common respiratory issues in Horses?

The most common respiratory issues include:

  1. Equine Influenza
  2. Equine Herpesvirus (EHV) Infection
  3. Recurrent Airway Obstruction (RAO)
  4. Exercise-Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage (EIPH)
  5. Pneumonia


In conclusion, being a good horse devotee means learning and preparing for frequent health conditions that may affect your equine friend. This comprehensive guide has identified the top five most common illnesses in horses, offering useful information on their symptoms, causes, prevention, and treatment choices. By becoming familiar with these problems and applying relevant preventative measures like as immunization, biosecurity procedures, and good management techniques, you may help protect your horse’s health and well-being.

While horse ownership surely presents problems, with education and proactive care, you can successfully manage these hurdles and maintain your horse’s health and well-being.

If you have any queries, then let us know in comment section below:)

Please follow and like us:
Pin Share

Leave a Comment

Follow by Email