Front Cover

Title: 4-H horse program : horse science
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00078697/00012
 Material Information
Title: 4-H horse program : horse science
Physical Description: Book
Creator: 4-H Youth Development Program, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, University of Florida
Publisher: 4-H Youth Development Program, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, University of Florida
Subject: University of Florida.   ( lcsh )
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00078697
Volume ID: VID00012
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
Full Text


The publications in this collection do
not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
represent the historic publishing
record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
research may be found on the
Electronic Data Information Source

site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.

Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
of Florida

horse science








This educational material has been prepared for 4-H use by the Cooperative Extension Services of the U.S.
Department of Agriculture and State Land-Grant Universities in cooperation with the National 4-H Council and the
American Quarter Horse Association.

Trade or brand names used in the publications are used only for the purpose of educational information. The
information given herein is supplied with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement
of products or breeds of horses by the Federal Extension Service or State Cooperative Extension Services is
implied, nor does it imply approval of products or breeds of horses to the exclusion of others which may also be

This material was originally published by the National 4-H Council, 7100 Connecticut Avenue, Chevy Chase,
Maryland 20815.

Programs and educational materials of National 4-H Council are available to all persons regardless of race, color,
sex, age, religion, national origin or handicap. Council is an equal opportunity employer.

Horse Science: Disease Problems of Horses

An infectious disease is one caused by the presence in
or on an animal body of a living foreign organism, which by
its presence creates a disturbance leading to the development
of symptoms.
A contagious disease is one that may be transmitted
from one animal to another by direct or indirect contact. All
contagious diseases are also infectious, but it does not
follow that all infectious diseases are contagious. For
example, tetanus, caused by organisms which live in the soil
is infectious but not contagious since it is not transmitted
directly from one animal to another.
Some infectious diseases are highly contagious. Some
are slightly contagious and a few are not contagious at all.
How contagious a disease is depends upon how the disease
organisms are eliminated from the body of the diseased
animal, their opportunity for reaching others and their ability
to produce disease in the new hosts.
Disease-causing organisms vary greatly in their ability
to produce disease. When the ability to produce disease is
great, the organisms are referred to as virulent.
Animals also vary in their ability to resist or repel
disease-producing organisms. An animal's ability to resist a
particular organism is known as immunity. The immunity of
an animal may vary from slight to absolute.
Sometimes animals develop disease-resisting properties
within their bloodstream. These properties repel the
invading organism. Sometimes these properties are strong
enough to remain for the life of the animal (permanent
immunity). Other times they pass in a few months or a year
(temporary immunity). Vaccination is a means of artificially
stimulating the immunity of the animal without giving it
actual disease. To do this the virulence of organisms is
lowered until it no longer possesses the ability to actively
cause disease but can stimulate the development of immune
properties in the body of the host animal. These live but
attenuated organisms are known as a vaccine. Other times
the organisms are completely killed and the products of their
growth used to stimulate immunity. This preparation is
known as a bacterin.
Because disease-producing organisms reach a host
animal does not always mean that the animal will develop
disease. Sometimes the animal's resistance is high enough or
the virulence low enough that the organisms are destroyed
by the host. This process is continually going on as
organisms capable of producing disease are constantly
present. If something happens to lower the resistance of the
animal or to raise the virulence of the organism, then a
disease process can start. If the host and invading organisms
reach a standoff, the infection makes little or no headway
but persists for a long time. This is known as a chronic
If the invading organisms rapidly overcome the
resistance of the animal, then death usually ensues unless
rapid resistance to the organism is developed by the host or
suitable treatment

Page 3

is received. These cases are known as acute.
During the course of any disease many organisms
escape from the host. Sometimes they are eliminated with
blood, or from an abscess. Sometimes they are passed out
with droplets of moisture which accompany a cough or a
sneeze as in respiratory infections. Sometimes the organisms
are eliminated through fecal material or urine as in intestinal
or urinary infections. (The virus of rabies is eliminated
through the salivary glands and usually enters the body of
the new host through a bite or wound and is not normally
spread otherwise.)
Occasionally an animal and the infected organism will
reach the point where the organism is unable to cause
serious damage to the host, yet the host is unable to
eliminate the organism. This situation may continue
throughout the lifetime of the animal. Such animals are
capable of shedding organisms causing disease in contact
animals. We refer to these animals as carriers. Carriers may
not show symptoms of disease but are a source of great
danger to others who lack the same amount of resistance.
The carrier is one of the great problems of control of many
infectious diseases. Animals that are obviously diseased may
be recognized, but there is no simple way of recognizing
There are many sources of infection for your animals.
We usually think of direct contact with the diseased
Disease may also occur when inanimate objects carry
infection from one animal to another. This can occur in a
trailer, a railroad stock car or trunk contaminated with the
fecal material and not properly cleaned and disinfected.
Contact with apparently healthy disease carriers is a
major hazard. These carriers may infect others directly or
indirectly as readily as the obviously diseased animal.
Infection from soil. Certain organisms live in the soil
and are able to produce disease in animals if chance carries
them to the tissues (example: tetanus).
Disease may be contracted from food and water that has
been contaminated by a diseased animal (example:
Air-bore infections occur when droplets of moisture
are sneezed or coughed into the air (example: strangles or
respiratory infections).
Some infections are carried by bloodsucking insects
(example: Equine encephalitis or sleeping sickness).
Disease Prevention. Most contagious diseases can be
prevented by: (1) avoiding contact with sick animals, (2)
preventing indirect contact by using clean trucks. Insist on
new grain sacks for purchased feed. Keep visitors from other
stables with manure or dirty clothing from contacting your
animal, his feed or water supply. Use private water pail at
fairs or shows, etc. (3) Raise your animal's resistance by
good feeding, sensible use and care and vaccination when
indicated. Normal use of the animal prevents completely
isolated or

June 1989

Horse Science: Disease Problems of Horses

100% protection from exposure. Therefore you should strive
to raise the resistance of your animal by keeping him well
nourished and in a good state of health. Do not allow an
animal to become too tired or to chill. Chilling might occur
from riding for long distances in cold, windy, uncovered
trucks or being tied in a cold rainstorm. Such stresses greatly
lower an animal's resistance to disease.
Always provide clean drinking water, and when horses
are gathered in large groups, water your horse from an
individual bucket, drawing the water directly from the tap,
not dipping it from the trough. Many people go to the bother

Page 4

providing their own water bucket at fairs or shows then
make the mistake of filling the bucket from a common
Vaccination will raise an animal's resistance to many
diseases. Strangles (or distemper), tetanus (or lockjaw) are
examples. Your veterinarian can advise you as to diseases
common in your area that can be prevented by vaccination.
General information concerning common diseases of
horses is presented in table 1.
For additional information of diseases of horses, contact
your Veterinarian.


Outstanding Symptoms

Treatment or Control

Fever, impaired vision, irregular gait,
incoordination, yawning, grinding of teeth,
drowsiness, inability to swallow, inability to rise
when down, paralysis and death.

High temperature, increased respiration,
depression, nasal discharge after 2nd or 3rd day,
swelling of lymph nodes which usually abcess.

Follows infection of deep puncture wound,
incubation period from 1 week to several months.
First symptoms stiffness and third eyelid may
draw over the eye when excited. Spasms occur
after 24 hours, reflexes increased, animal
frightened or excited. Spasms of neck and back
muscles cause extension of the head and neck.

Occurs soon after being put to work, stiffness,
sweating, affected muscles, swollen, tense, may
assume sitting dog position.

May be acute or chronic, follows feeding of
excessive grain or lush pasture, fast work on hard
roads, large amount of cold water while animal is
hot, toxemias following pneumonia or metritis,
acute case shows inflammation of sensitive
laminae on one or more feet, feet warm, sensitive
to touch, very lame, pain on standing, temperature
to 106, sweating, chronic cases hoof becomes
distorted, anterior hoof wall concave, wall
becomes corrugated (rings parallel to hair line).

Annual vaccination is recommended in areas
where the disease is prevalent. No specific
agent is available for treatment and treatment
consists of supportive measures and good
nursing. Consult your veterinarian.

Antiserum and bacterin are available. Provide
complete rest. Avoid stresses of cold, drafts, or
moisture. Fresh drinking water at all times.
Encourage eating. Consult your veterinarian
for systemic treatment and care of abcesses.

This disease requires professional treatment.
Mortality is high. Disease is widespread and it
is recommended that all animals receive
prophylaxic vaccination. This is particularly
desirable in brood mares because of the added
danger of infection at foaling.

Decrease grain feeding and allow exercise
when animals are off work. Careful, slow
warm-up after rest. Animal stopped
immediately after beginning of symptoms have
a good chance to recover. Do not move the
animal any distance. Blanket the animal to
keep it warm and quiet. Call your veterinarian
for systemic treatment.

Acute case, apply cold pack to feet. Call
veterinarian. Chronic founder, trim feet shoe
to protect sole. Prognosis not good.

June 1989


Equine Encephalitis
(Sleeping Sickness)

Strangles (Distemper)

Tetanus (Lockjaw)

Azoturia (Monday
Morning Sickness)

Laminitis (Founder)

Horse Science: Disease Problems of Horses


June 1989

Page 5

Horse Science: Disease Problems of Horses


June 1989

Page 6

Horse Science: Disease Problems of Horses


June 1989

Page 7

1. This document is section 12 of 14 of 4HHSGO1, which supersedes CO 201, one of a series of the 4-H Youth
Development Program, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University
of Florida. Date first printed August 1965. Date revised June 1989. Please visit the FAIRS Website at

2. Roy Hostetler, Washington State University. Debbie Glauer, member of 4-H Animal Science Design Team,
Department of Family, Youth and Community Science, Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and
Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, 32611.


Cooperative Extension Service
Institute of Food and Agrcultural Sciences

Taylor Waddill, Director, in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture, publishes this information to further the purpose of
the May 8 and June 30, 1914 Acts of Congress; and is authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to
individuals and institutions that function without regard to race, color, age, sex, handicap or national origin. The information in this publication
is available in alternate formats. Single copies of extension publications (excluding 4-H and youth publications) are available free to Florida
residents from county extension offices. Information on copies for out-of-state purchase is available from Publications Distribution Center,
University of Florida, PO Box 110011, Gainesville, FL 32611-0011. Information about alternate formats is available from Educational Media and
Services, University of Florida, PO Box 110810, Gainesville, FL 32611-0810. This information was published June 1989 as CO 201, which is
superseded by 4HHSG01, Florida Cooperative Extension Service.

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