Health Problems of Aging Horses
Horses are some of the most majestic creatures on earth: their strength, speed, and grace have given them a special place in our lives, and in our hearts, for centuries. Thanks to advances in veterinary technology, horses are now able to enjoy a longer lifespan than ever, with a number of horses living to see birthdays well into their late 20s and even early 30s! In order to ensure that your horse is able to live his or her life to the fullest, it’s essential to understand common health problems and conditions in aging horses, as well as to learn how to treat and manage these issues for optimal health and wellness in your horse’s golden years.
Dental concerns, including worn-down teeth, are one of the most typical problems that affect horses of a certain age. As your horse ages, his or her teeth may not only begin to wear, but may also fall out. Other common dental issues in older horses include improper jaw alignment, which impacts a horse’s ability to chew food, as well as arthritis in the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, that can cause pain and stiffness when chewing. Make sure to find a veterinarian who specializes in equine dentistry to check your horse’s teeth frequently. This will go a long way toward preventing common dental problems before they arise.
Horses, like their human friends, often experience some vision deterioration as they age. They are prone to cataracts and retinal issues that can cause their eyesight to become impaired. Your aging horse may also be susceptible to developing equine recurrent uveitis, commonly known as “moon blindness,” an autoimmune condition that can lead to scarring or even blindness. Make sure to check your horse’s eyes frequently and note any changes in appearance, such as unusual discharge or cloudiness, that should be addressed by your vet without delay.
You’ve probably heard the term “swayback” to describe an aging horse with a curved, U-shaped spine. While several factors may contribute to a swayback, including pregnancy or excessive strain, the natural effects aging process can certainly be a cause for swaybacks in older horses. Additionally, horses’ spines can be negatively affected by arthritis as they age. In addition to regular exercise, certain supplements, including natural hemp-based horse supplements, may go a long way towards keeping arthritis at bay and promoting natural wellness.
Next time you saddle up your beloved horse, take a moment to think about how happy he or she has made you over the years. You owe it to your horse to help them achieve a long, happy, healthy life with as few health concerns as possible. By taking care to address common health problems in your aging horse, you can help ensure that their twilight years are comfortable, dignified, and gratifying for you both.