How to Recognize a Sick Horse


by Al Badia,

It’s important for horse owners to be able to recognize when their horse is sick, as early detection and treatment can help prevent more serious health issues from developing. Here are some signs to look out for that may indicate a horse is sick:

  1. Loss of Appetite: A horse that is sick may have a decreased appetite or may refuse to eat altogether.
  2. Changes in Behavior: A sick horse may display changes in behavior, such as lethargy, depression, or agitation.
  3. Abnormal Vital Signs: Take note of your horse’s vital signs such as heart rate, respiratory rate, and temperature. An abnormal reading could be an indication of illness.
  4. Nasal Discharge: Excessive nasal discharge or discharge that is discolored or foul-smelling can be a sign of respiratory issues or infection.
  5. Coughing: A persistent cough can be a sign of respiratory problems, allergies, or other health issues.
  6. Diarrhea: Diarrhea or loose stools can be a sign of digestive problems or infections.
  7. Lameness: If your horse is limping or displaying signs of lameness, this could indicate an injury or underlying health issue.
  8. Skin Abnormalities: Take note of any lumps, bumps, or lesions on your horse’s skin. These could be signs of skin infections or other health issues.
  9. Dehydration: A sick horse may be dehydrated, which can be indicated by dry mucous membranes, sunken eyes, or a lack of skin elasticity.

If you notice any of these signs in your horse, it’s important to contact your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. Early detection and treatment can help prevent more serious health issues from developing and ensure your horse stays healthy and happy.


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