Hi stranger! Signing up for MypetMD is easy, free and puts the most relevant content at your fingertips.

Get Instant Access To

  • 24/7 alerts for pet-related recalls

  • Your own library of articles, blogs, and favorite pet names

  • Tools designed to keep your pets happy and healthy



or Connect with Facebook

By joining petMD, you agree to the Privacy Policy.

Hepatitis in Horses

ADVERTISEMENT

Liver Inflammation in Horses

 

Hepatitis is defined as inflammation of the liver. A vital organ that performs numerous metabolic functions that are necessary for life, much of the liver can shut down before the effects of the disease are apparent in horses. This also means that by the time the symptoms of hepatitis are displayed, sometimes the damage is too severe to start treatment. Therefore, it is important to bring your horse to a veterinarian immediately if you see any of the symptoms mentioned below.

 

Symptoms and Types

 

Hepatitis can occur acutely, as with ingestion of certain toxins, or can develop slowly, as with some underlying infections. However once the initial damage begins, any or all of following signs may appear:

 

    • Depression
    • Anorexia
    • Colic (abdominal pain)
    • Weight loss
    • Yellowing of the mucous membranes (jaundice)
    • Fluid accumulation (edema)
    • Neurologic signs such as head pressing, incoordination, blindness, drowsiness, confusion
    • Photosensitization
    • Diarrhea

 

Causes

 

There are several causes of hepatitis in horses. Bacteria such as Clostridia can cause liver inflammation, and there are a few viruses that can cause it as well. There are also numerous toxins that can cause hepatitis, mostly found in certain plants such as ragwort, whitebush, and sometimes ryegrass. Another cause of hepatitis is called serum sickness. This occurs when a horse is exposed to a therapeutic agent that contains equine serum. Antibodies against the foreign horse proteins then destroy the horse’s own liver.

 

Diagnosis

 

A presumptive diagnosis of liver disease can be made by your veterinarian based on your horse’s clinical signs; however, additional laboratory tests will need to be done, such as blood work and perhaps even imaging such as abdominal ultrasound. Liver biopsies can also be performed to aid with the diagnosis.

 

Comments  0

Leave Comment

Related Articles

Neurological Virus in Horses
First discovered in horses in Germany, borna disease causes neurological problems...
READ MORE
  • Lifetime Credits:
  • Today's Credits:
Hurry Before All Seats are Taken!
Enroll
Be an A++ Pet Parent! Take fun & free courses to earn badges & certifications. Choose a course»
Around the Web

MORE FROM PETMD.COM