Horse Health Tips on Equine Flu and Arthritis

by Letho Maseko

The name for the Equine Flu condition is Allergic Respiratory Disease (ARD) and it shows up with flu-like symptoms rather than sinus or nasal difficulties. The horse’s lungs will get inflamed, making them far more susceptible to virus and bacterial infections. This manifests as a recurring problem your horse never quite gets over. You’ll also likely see coughing, excessive eye discharge and discover they get tired easily.

If you’re at home solutions aren’t helping much, call you’re Vet and have her take a look at the fluid and cells in the horse’s lungs to figure out how severe the allergy is. There’s also a new blood test that can tell the Vet precisely what the horse is allergic to. Exciting news, because that means customized treatments for each horse. Other treatments include corticosteroids (cortisone) and bronchodilators.

Arthritis in the Older Horses

There are a variety of home remedies or treatments you can use for your senior horse companion if he is having a lot of pain and inflammation with his arthritis. And several of them can be done at the same time. The thing to remember is that your horse is an individual and may not take too kindly to some treatments, and be just fine with others. Treat them accordingly and go with the flow.

You can try using a flexible ice pack or even a bag of frozen peas tucked in a towel on the swollen joint for 5 minutes. Remove for 15 minutes, repeat 3 times in a row. If you can wrap the joint, then try a standing bandage to help reduce swelling and inflammation. You can also try Neo-Ice Equine bandages or an ice gel that provides deep penetrating action to help reduce edema and inflammation.

Since he’ll just get as stiff as all get out if left standing in a stall, take him out twice a day and hand walk him. Remove his bandage first then walk for about 15 minutes to get limber. When you take him back to his stall or pen, rewrap the bandage. Every day gradually increase his exercise. You will need to do this about four times a day as he progresses and then also reduce the length of time he is to be confined to about half the original period of time.

If there is no swelling an hour after the exercise session(s) you should be able to turn your senior back out into this regular pasture and then slowly get back into an easy exercise program. If however there is swelling, you will need to call your Veterinarian to re-evaluate the situation.

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