Don't ~Fall~ Behind on Horse Safety!

Thursday, September 28, 2017 - 12:45pm
Victoria Morel

Fall is when the cooler weather starts to finally roll in after the heat of the summer! While there are many ways to enjoy this weather with our equine companions, here are a few precautions to take to keep your horses happy and healthy!

Atypical Myopathy

This disease is most often contracted during the fall and spring. Horses who pick up atypical myopathy are often on over-grazed pasture, that contain a large amount of dead leaves. A 2013 study in the Equine Journal, found that seeds from the Sycamore tree are a likely cause of this illness. Outbreaks of the fatal disease tends to be seasonal, with most cases occurring in the fall. While this is not contagious, younger horses may be more susceptible to contracting atypical myopathy. The signs that a horse has developed this illness are: muscular weakness and stiffness, dark urine, fatigue, colic-like signs, shivering, sweating and trembling. A few tips to prevent atypical myopathy would be to check your horse's pasture for sycamore trees and remove leaves and seeds. Supply extra hay where there is poor grazing to prevent the eating of leaves, and if your horse shows signs of any symptoms of atypical myopathy, immediately contact your vet.

Acorn Poisoning

Acorns along with other parts of the oak tree including leaves, stems and oak blossoms, are toxic to horses when consumed in significant quantities. Most horses will not choose to eat acorns if their pasture allows for sufficient grazing, but some will develop a habit of snacking on acorns. Oak trees contain a toxin called tannins that can cause kidney failure, colic, bloody urine, dehydration, and occasionally death. Tips: While it is difficult to remove all acorns from a horse's pasture, if possible have your turned out in a paddock without oak trees. If your horse starts showing symptoms, contact your vet immediately.


Laminitis is typically perceived as a spring disease, but there are a few factors that cause an increase in laminitis diagnoses in the Fall. Laminitis is a serious disease of the equine foot that can cause changes in anatomy that can lead to long-lasting, crippling changes in function. The blood flow to the laminae is affected, resulting in inflammation and swelling in the tissues within the hoof. This disease can be caused by obesity, stress potentially from change of environment, high intake of sugars and starch, and hormonal problems. Tips: Monitor your horse's diet, make sure they are not intaking too much hay or grass. Maintain a good exercise program and have your horse cared for by a farrier regularly.

Have a happy and healthy Fall!

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