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Hi Bob,

I have a question about horses. It is for a class. What are some health problems that horses have?

D. P.


As I mention in my "Campfire Conversation" about Wild Horses, folks who think it's good for horses to run "wild and free" either don't know anything about horses -- or they hate horses. To quote that little essay: "The fact of the matter is that there ain't hardly a critter on God's green earth that lives a more miserable life than a wild horse. They live scared, are always in danger, have a lot of pain, and die young. Horses were designed in such a way that they need people carin' for them so's they can live a good long life."

The simple truth is that the horse is one of the most sickness and accident prone creatures you'll ever find.

Horses can have health problems caused by bacteria; viruses; parasites; too much or too little of various feeds; eating too quickly; moldy feed; puncture wounds; broken bones; pulled muscles; eating poisonous plants; eating too much sand with their food; insufficient vitamins or minerals; bad water or not enough water; sunburn; sensitivity to light; insect or snake bites; attacks by various predators or other horses; eye diseases; dental problems; deafness; hoof diseases or lack of proper trimming; problem pregnancies; and a whole lot more. One of the big problems with a horse is the fact that, unlike people, it can't vomit when it gets sick. As a result, the poisons that made it sick will stay in the body a long time unless a human is there to help get the poisons out.

Learning to be a veterinarian is a harder job than learning how to doctor for people -- it's not uncommon for veterinary school drop-outs to transfer to a medical school and become physicians! I'm not meaning any disrespect to physicians, but it seems that people are a lot easier to care for than horses!

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