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Illness - Azoturia, Colic & Equine Influenza

Notes that may help anyone going for their BHS Stage 1 exam or doing their NVQ level 1 or 2 in Horse Care and Riding
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Illness - Azoturia, Colic & Equine Influenza

Post by TracingEquines » 18 Nov 2011, 9:52 pm


Azoturia is also known by other names - Monday Morning Disease, Tying-Up, Paralytic Myoglobinuria, Myositis and Setfast.

Azoturia can develop rapidly and most happens when a horse is in hard work and is given a day of rest without having his diet reduced. Azoturia happens for a number of reasons; due to excessive levels of latric acid. Correct feeding and regular exercise will help prevent azoturia. When exercised the muscles over the loins and quarters harden resulting in cramps and muscular stiffness.

The horse's stride becomes shorter, it staggers behind and goes lame, if work is continued the horse may collapse. The horse has a high temperature and sweating may be evident.

Examination of hind quarters will show stiffing. In severe cases the myogolbin released from damaged muscles turns the urine a dark red.

The horse should be dismounted and made to rest where ever it is and veterinary advice should be sought immediately.

A low energy diet should be fed and the horse may also require a few days rest. It is more common in Mares and fillies then gelding and stallions.

Also Some horses are more prone to Azoturia then others, the ones that suffer with it need careful management in order to prevent further attacks


A horse receiving high concentrate rations after a day of rest
Carbohydrate overload
Local Hypoxia
Thiamine Deficiency (A part of the vitamin B group)
Vitamin E and Selenium Deficiency
Hormonal Disturbances
Electrolyte Imbalances
Viral Causes


The back and hindquarter muscles feel unusually firm, mild hind-limb stiffness or a reluctance to move, sweating, obvious severe pain
Increased pulse and respiration rate
Dark red urine


Treatment for Azoturia may consist of a laxative diet, anti-inflammatory drugs, a sedative, muscle relaxants and massage of the affected muscles. Reduce concentrate feed.


Types of Colic

* Spasmodic - (comes and goes) more likely to twist the gut
* Impacted - (blockage)
* Flactulent - (wind)
* Parasitic
* Distention or Tympanic
* Integtinal Catastrophe


* Distressed looking horse
* Signs of sweating
* Constant lying down and getting up
* Looking at the flank area
* Kicking at the abdomen
* Rolling
* Trashed bed
* Not eaten feed
* Unable to pass droppings
* No stomach sounds/too much gurgling
* Passing wind
* Lethargic looking
* Rise in temperature
* Increase in pulse


* Bad quality feed
* Irregular feed times
* Too much feed
* Eaten feed too fast
* Work before digestion occurs
* Water (hot horse, cold water) after exercise
* Large amount of dry feed
* Feed quickly after exercise
* Stress
* Injury
* Travelling
* Reaction to drugs
* Mass migration of worms
* Sand in stomach
* Wind-sucking
* Crib-biting


* Spasmodic - A relaxant drug solves the problem quickly
* Impactive - Administration of liquid paraffin, salt water and some agent is used to stimulate the gut movement through a stomach tube
* Tympany - A tube is inserted into the stomach to allow the release of gas

Equine Influenza

Causes - a virus which is followed by a bacterial infection

Symptoms - a harsh dry cough, high temperature, a watery discharge from the nose

Treatment - fresh air, rest, isolation, a walk for short periods


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