Newsletter Vol 3 2017
Banner image
Contents of this newsletter

01 Prevention of tetanus in horses

02 Laminitis: learn the warning signs

01 Prevention of tetanus in horses

Tetanus is a life-threatening neurological disease of horses caused by a toxin. Clostridial bacteria, commonly found in soil, can infect your horse through wounds, the mouth and the intestines. Once infection is established the bacteria produce the deadly tetanus toxin which spreads around the body.

Signs of tetanus include: stiffness of the head and neck, over-reacting to stimulation, unsteady movement, increased breathing and general pain.

Treatment of tetanus can be unrewarding, however vaccination is extremely effective in preventing the disease.

  • Two initial intramuscular injections are given four weeks apart, followed by a booster 12 months later
  • Boosters are recommended annually as horses are extremely sensitive to the tetanus toxin and as we know, some horses are inclined to injure themselves regularly. Keeping track of yearly vaccinations is easy if you pick an important date such as your horse's birthday or your own.
  • Foals should be vaccinated at 3 months of age and pregnant mares should be given a booster 4 weeks prior to foaling
  • Non-vaccinated horses can be given a tetanus anti-toxin to provide immediate but short-term protection if required

Call us for expert advice on protecting your horses against this heartbreaking disease.

02 Laminitis: learn the warning signs

A healthy hoof X-ray


Laminitis is one of the most common and devastating diseases of horses and ponies. It is inflammation of connective tissue between the foot bone and inside of the hoof wall.

Advanced laminitis causes severe and chronic pain, eventually leaving affected horses unable to stand at all. Laminitis can cause the hoof wall to lose its attachment to the underlying bone. In very severe cases the bone can rotate away from the hoof, and protrude through the sole of the foot.

Some risk factors for laminitis are:

  • insulin resistance or Cushing's disease
  • carbohydrate-dense feeds
  • severe systemic infections
  • abnormal biomechanical forces on the hoof
  • ponies, miniature horses, broodmares and overweight animals are at increased risk of laminitis

The signs of laminitis to watch out for include:

  • lameness and reluctance to move
  • bounding digital pulses and hot hooves
  • lying down excessively
  • ‘rocking horse’ stance
  • concentric hoof rings

Learn the warning signs of laminitis. Early management is critical as there is no magic cure!

Call us if you'd like to discuss laminitis prevention and management.