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21 February 2019   
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 Equine Ailments
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  and Frog
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  and Injuries
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  Capped Elbow
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  Equine Herpes
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  Equine Infectious
  Anaemia (EIA)
  Equine Influenza
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  Filled Legs
   Grass Sickness
  Head Shaker
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  Locking Patella
  Mud Fever
  (greasy heel)
  Navicular Disease
  Nose Bleeds
  Pedal Ostitis
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  Ringbone and
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  Seedy Toe
  Sore Shin
  Stringhalt or
  Sweet Itch
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  (nettle rash, hives)
  Wind Diseases
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Equine Ailments - A to Z

Grass Sickness - Fatal condition that contrary to its name also affects stabled horses that have no grass in their feed at all. While the disease is largely confined to Scotland and the north of England, there have been cases as far south as Hampshire. The disease is also fairly well known in Sweden but as far as is known it has not been recognised or does not exist in other countries. The acute type affects the ability of the horse to swallow. Water and food come down the nose when the horse attempts to drink or eat. The food is chewed very slowly and a great deal of saliva is produced. The symptoms at the onset are similar to those of a horse that has an obstruction. There is a general apathy, even sleepiness; trembling movements over the shoulders and flanks, periodic patchy sweating and sometimes foam under the tail. These symptoms are similar to colic. Grass sickness affects the nervous system and the bowel is paralysed; large amounts of foodstuffs collect in the colon and can be felt by the vet when he makes an examination. Not surprisingly this disease is sometimes mistaken for being a stoppage or impactation. However it does not respond to any treatment and even if the vet empties the stomach through a tube it will only give temporary relief. It is believed to be caused through a virus, and there are several forms. The acute form the horse dies within a matter of hours, or in the more chronic form the horse lingers on for weeks gradually becoming emaciated. If the horse is affected by the chronic form, complete recovery is very rare and the horse is usually of little further use. If it is caused through a virus, hopefully a vaccine will soon be developed.

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