The five freedoms are a set of internationally recognised and commonly adopted animal welfare standards. They outline what we as animal owners or carers must provide for the animals in our care. These are not just things we must aim to do, but things we have to do in order to be responsible animal owners.… Read More »The five freedoms

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Q: Is it worthwhile to pay for insurance in case my horse needs a colic op in future? A; Ultimately, colic surgery is not cheap.…

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Q: What is the difference between therapeutic and diagnostic ultrasound? Asked by Caitlin White A: Diagnostic ultrasound involves the use of ultrasound waves to produce…

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By Dr Luke Poore A locking stifle is caused by upward fixation of the patella in the stifle joint of the horse. The patella The…

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Q: Do Miniature Horses wear shoes? A: Miniature Horses have no need for shoes. They have very hardy hooves and with correct trimming they do…

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All over the world and more and more in South Africa, equestrians are seeing the benefits of solarium therapy for their horses. Many professional yards…

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Mud fever, taxonomically known as pastern dermatitis, encompasses a whole range of diseases that cause irritations and dermatitis to the lower limbs of horses. It is frequently caused by a bacterium known as Dermatophilus congolensis, which thrives in wet and muddy conditions. This infection is known to occasionally stay dormant […]
Recent research now suggests that particularly trotting horses on tar roads leads to more incidences of lameness than was originally thought. The benefits of riding on roads are that they are flat, generally even surfaces and many people have previously suggested that roadwork is good for joint, tendon and bone […]
Q: Is aloe juice good for horses? A: Aloe has been used by horse owners in many countries for a long time, to improve the overall health and well-being of their horses. Aloe is known, first and foremost, for its beneficial effect on the digestive system and particularly its reported […]
Q: My friend’s horse has been diagnosed with a fractured pelvis, yet the horse is not having surgery. Is this normal?  A: Pelvic fractures are challenging to handle in horses, not just because of the horse’s size but because of the heavy muscling and tissue that surround the pelvic area. […]
Q: My horse’s fetlocks click when I pick up his feet. What could it be?  A: Clicking joints and fetlocks are fairly common in horses, and are generally speaking nothing to worry about. Clicking joints in horses are very similar to clicking joints like knuckles and knees in humans, where […]
What they are: These are big, commonly dark-coloured masses that occur around the tail, genitals, mouth and throat-latch of mature grey horses. These tumours are usually benign and grow slowly, although in a small number of animals they will continue to be a problem and may even prove fatal. Owners […]
What they are: Sarcoids are unfortunately very common, being the most common skin tumour affecting horses. Sarcoids can have a varied appearance and will appear as anything ranging from a hairless area of skin to a big multi-lobed ulcerated mass. It is often difficult to identify sarcoids as they have […]
What they are: Warts are a type of tumour and are the most common growths found in horses. They are raised grey or pinkish cauliflower-like growths that are usually fairly small (usually not much bigger than the size of a pea). They can appear alone or in groups, and the […]
What they are: Abscesses are an accumulation of pus under the skin or in the deeper tissues. Abscesses can occur anywhere on a horse’s body and are caused when a foreign body or infection stimulates white blood cells to congregate in one place. The white blood cells form pus and […]
What they are: Nodules are referred to as simply nodules or as pressure bumps or sweat bumps. In medical terms they are referred to as eosinophilic granulomas with collagen degeneration, nodular collagenolytic granulomas or nodular necrobiosis. They are distinct, firm nodules about the size of a R2 coin, usually found […]
Lumps and bumps are all too common in our equine friends. Some just need a ‘watch and wait’ approach and others need urgent veterinary attention. The difficulty comes in differentiating between the two variants. Over the next few days we will be running through several of the common causes of […]
Q: My mare has osteoarthritis in her hocks, which can make some schooling difficult for her. I want to maintain her fitness, without stressing her joints or making her arthritis flare. Do you have any advice for how best to achieve this? A: Osteoarthitis is a condition that commonly affects […]
Underberg, KwaZulu-Natal  29 August 2019  Horses are very much like people. They are not only acutely sensitive to emotions but also social animals that often mirror our own behaviour and relationships through their actions. As a result, horses can play an important role in healing the human psyche. Gert van […]
Sweet itch is caused by an allergic reaction to the saliva of the Cullicoides midge (the same midge involved in the transmission of the dreaded African Horse Sickness). The midges bite the horse, and in horses with allergic sensitivity they develop itching of the mane and tail and, in some […]
Horses are trickle feeders, designed to eat fibre all day long, rather than consuming large meals less frequently. Fibre digestion takes place in the hindgut where a population of micro-organisms break down the fibre, in a process called fermentation, to provide a source of slow-release energy. Fermentation requires a healthy […]
Q: Why is a concave sole desirable? A: Concavity of the sole is a far better sign than a ‘flat foot’. Part of the foot’s shock-absorbing mechanism is the ability of the sole to drop when weight is put on the foot, allowing the hoof wall to flex, and in […]
The white line is the area on the ground surface of the foot that appears as a narrow ring at the outside of the sole but inside the rim of the hoof.
Q: What exactly is thrush? A: Thrush is a bacterial infection that commonly affects the frog. It is often associated with wet and dirty bedding, poor hoof management, inadequate trimming, or shoeing with pads that have trapped dirt and moisture. Thrush is commonly noticed due to the unpleasant odour it […]
Q: If vaccines work, why do vaccinated horses still contract flu? A: Vaccines don’t stop infection entirely, but they increase your horse’s immunity to the infection. This means that the vaccine helps to reduce the severity of the disease and the clinical signs your horse will show. They also minimise […]
Poor quality horn in the feet can be suggestive of nutritional deficiencies, and rings can be signs of previous episodes of laminitis.
Every owner should know their horse’s legs. Every day before and after you ride you should palpate the legs from top to toe, to find any changes from previous examinations. Old injuries are unlikely to cause any issues, but if you know they are there, it can save you investigating […]
Droppings should be in firm, well-formed balls.
Looking at your horse’s condition can tell you a lot about his health.
You should be able to hear your horses’s gut sounds as your horse digests his food by putting your ear to his abdomen.
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