Common Signs of Illness in A Horse

Common Signs of Illness in A Horse

Taking care of a horse requires much time and commitment. If you own a horse, you need to spend time with it regularly every day to maintain and inspect it overall. However, there are some times when your horse gets sick even if you are taking care of it well.

Since a horse can’t really tell you directly if they are sick, they just show it through subtle signs. When you spend much time with your horse it would be easy to determine if there’s something off with its behavior. Here are some of the common signs that your horse is not feeling well or is suffering from an internal illness.

Diminished or Changes in Appetite

Just like us humans, your horse also experienced a diminished appetite when not feeling well. Observe your horse every day during feeding to know more about its normal feeding pattern. If it suddenly looks uninterested in food or just eating less than usual, most likely there is something wrong going on with its digestive system.

Colic is the most common digestive issue in horses. However, a diminished appetite can also signal other illnesses in other systems of the body. In worst cases, a vet may order a diagnostic imaging to check the insides of your horse and detect where the problem is.

A Horse
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Changes in Excretions

Since you know what your horse’s normal stool and urine look like, changes in these excretions is actually worth noting. Changes in the bowel movement in your horses such as diarrhea, constipation, and even decreased defecation than usual are a sign that something is not right with your horse’s health. Aside from that, you could also take a look at its urine to see if it looks normal or not. Yellow or tan is the normal color of horse urine. If it looks different like brownish, reddish, or has streaks, contacts a vet for a check-up.


Sick horses usually don’t like to move around like they used to. You’ll notice a lethargic horse when it doesn’t like keeping up with the herd or when it just wants to rest quietly by itself and doesn’t look as energetic as usual. Lethargy also refers to a condition when a horse gets tired easily, especially when doing exercises or going out for a ride.

Fever and Changes in Other Vital Signs

Fever is a really common sign of an infection or illness in both animals and humans. It’s easy to notice fever in horses – you’ll know it when the horse feels hotter than usual to touch. You can also notice other changes in its vital signs such as rapid breathing and excessive sweating. These signs indicate that your horses are really sick and you need to call a vet immediately for diagnosis and get the right treatment to prevent it from getting worse.

Recognizing an illness early on is really helpful in easier and faster treatment and management of a horse disease. By giving treatment to the horse early on, you can be sure that it has a higher chance of survival and a faster rate of recovery.

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