About Camryn McNeill, B.B.R.M.

Cam lives in Ontario, Canada and completed her Bachelor’s of Bio-Resource Management (B.B.R.M.) at the University of Guelph with a specialization in Equine Management. She is interested in horse welfare and understands the importance of a healthy diet for a happy horse. She has over 15 years of horse experience, having worked at lesson barns and racetracks. When she’s not studying, Cam spends the majority of her time hanging out by the lake with her dog or hitting the gym.

Tetanus in Horses: Signs, Prevention & Treatment

By |2023-03-20T12:35:35-04:00March 20th, 2023|Conditions|

Tetanus, or lockjaw, is a non-contagious neurological disease that results from a bacterial infection. Horses are particularly vulnerable to tetanus, with individuals of all ages and breeds affected worldwide. Tetanus spores are particularly dangerous for horses as they survive for long periods and can be found everywhere in the environment, including in soil, dust, manure and even the digestive tract. The smallest wound can make a horse susceptible to tetanus once these spores enter the body. Fortunately, tetanus is entirely preventable with regular immunization and other protective measures.

Photosensitization in Horses: Causes, Signs, Treatment & Prognosis

By |2023-02-26T15:52:10-05:00February 26th, 2023|Conditions|

Photosensitization, or light-induced dermatitis (photodermatitis), is a noncontagious condition in horses where the skin becomes extremely sensitive to sunlight. This condition often mimics a sunburn, but it is much more serious and painful. Photosensitization is most commonly caused by ingesting toxic plants containing pigments, which are absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract and transported to the skin. When exposed to ultraviolet (UV) rays from sunlight, the pigments cause a complex photosensitivity reaction in the horse's skin. Non-pigmented (i.e. white) skin is especially sensitive to reactive compounds, as is skin with little hair cover (i.e. muzzle, eyelids, ears).

Shipping Fever in Horses: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

By |2023-02-06T10:54:15-05:00February 6th, 2023|Conditions|

Shipping fever is a lower respiratory tract infection seen in horses transported over long distances or experiencing unusual or stressful events. Known causes of shipping fever include prolonged periods of head elevation, strenuous exercise, anesthesia or complications from a viral illness. These events increase the amount of debris aspirated by the horse and inhibit the horse’s ability to clear debris from the lungs. Stress also compromises the immune system, making horses susceptible to a viral respiratory infection. Without prompt medical intervention, shipping fever can develop into pleuropneumonia, which is a dangerous form of equine pneumonia. It is caused by fluid build-up in the lungs and pleural cavity, which is the space between the lungs and chest wall.

Sand Colic & Impaction in Horses: Signs, Treatment & Prevention

By |2023-02-02T14:03:58-05:00February 2nd, 2023|Gut Health|

Sand colic is a term for abdominal pain in horses caused by the ingestion of sand. Depending on the geographic region, five to thirty percent of all colic cases are caused by sand or sediment accumulation in the gut. Sand colic typically occurs in dry areas with poor vegetation growth. When horses forage, sand particles and other sediments (such as silt and gravel) are ingested and may remain in the large colon for long periods. Sand enteropathy or impaction occurs when sand accumulation damages the large intestine, leading to inflammation of the colon wall, distress or complete bowel obstruction. Without medical intervention, impaction colic can be fatal. Acute colic is a serious condition that requires medical attention. If your horse forages in a sandy region and presents clinical signs of sand colic, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Myofibrillar Myopathy (MFM) in Horses: Signs, Diagnosis, Management & Prognosis

By |2023-01-26T11:28:45-05:00January 26th, 2023|Conditions|

Myofibrillar myopathy (MFM) is a newly identified muscle disorder that causes exercise intolerance in horses. MFM is a genetic condition that results from the abnormal build-up of desmin in muscle tissue. Desmin is a protein that is important for muscle contraction. In response to strenuous exercise, horses with MFM may experience pain, stiffness, lameness, poor stamina and intermittent gait abnormalities. This disorder has been identified mostly in Warmblood, Arabian horses and their crosses. Affected Warmbloods often refuse to collect under saddle while Arabians tend to have episodes of tying-up or extreme cramping.

Slobbers in Horses: Slaframine Poisoning Signs, Causes & Treatment

By |2023-01-25T09:47:47-05:00January 25th, 2023|Conditions|

Slobbers, otherwise known as slaframine poisoning or salivary syndrome, is a condition that causes excessive salivation or drooling in horses. It is relatively rare and usually occurs in outbreaks, with multiple horses affected at once. Slaframine intoxication is caused by horses consuming a fungus that grows on legume forages under wet and humid conditions. Horses who ingest infected pasture, hay or silage can develop clinical signs, including hypersalivation and difficulty swallowing. While many animals are affected by this fungus, horses are particularly sensitive. Outbreaks of slobbers have occurred in humid climates, including North America, Europe and South America. Slobbers is non-life threatening, but the drool hanging from an affected horse’s mouth is unsightly and can be a nuisance.

Glycogen Branching Enzyme Deficiency (GBED) in Horses

By |2023-01-24T10:43:45-05:00January 24th, 2023|Conditions|

Glycogen branching enzyme deficiency (GBED) is a fatal disorder caused by a gene mutation found in the Quarter Horse and Paint Horse bloodlines. GBED causes abortion in late-term pregnancies, stillbirth or severe muscle weakness and eventually death in newborn foals. GBED prevents foals from properly storing sugars in the body. As a result, there is not enough energy to fuel the important organs and muscles of the body. This causes severe weakness and other clinical signs. Genetic testing for diseases is required for most QH and APH horses in breeding programs to ensure healthy offspring and prevent financial loss associated with losing a foal.

Black Walnut Tree Poisoning in Horses: Symptoms & Treatment

By |2023-01-17T10:21:31-05:00January 17th, 2023|Horse Health|

Black walnut tree poisoning occurs when horses come into contact with toxic compounds in the black walnut (Juglans nigra) tree. The roots, bark, wood, nuts, pollen and leaves of the tree contain a chemical that is poisonous to horses upon ingestion or skin contact. Horses are particularly at risk of poisoning from exposure to black walnut shavings. The hardwood shavings of the tree are sold as animal bedding in North America. Horses that come into contact with black walnut shavings, sawdust or tree materials can develop mild to severe symptoms and acute laminitis in only a few hours.

Equine Grass Sickness: Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

By |2023-01-23T14:49:01-05:00January 9th, 2023|Conditions|

Equine grass sickness (EGS), or equine dysautonomia, is a rare and fatal disease in horses. It almost exclusively affects grazing horses kept on pasture. EGS is characterized by the development of severe lesions on the neurons of the peripheral and central nervous systems. Symptoms vary in severity depending on the neuronal degeneration in the horse. EGS results in loss of normal function of the gastrointestinal tract, affecting the horse’s ability to swallow and digest food.This disease results in a decrease in gut motility, increasing the risk of colic and causing severe weight loss. Although the exact cause of EGS is unknown, it is believed to result from a combination of environmental factors and bacterial infection.

Stringhalt in Horses: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

By |2022-12-22T12:25:07-05:00December 22nd, 2022|Conditions|

Stringhalt, or equine reflex hypertonia, is a neuromuscular condition that causes abnormal hindlimb movement in the horse. Horses with stringhalt have excessive and prolonged flexion of the pelvic limbs while in forward movement, showing signs of the condition at most gaits. One (unilateral) or both (bilateral) legs may be affected. Some horses experience mild cases characterized by involuntary jerking of the hindlimb, while others experience lameness and difficulty standing up. Horses of all ages and breeds can be affected by stringhalt. In some cases, it is caused by ingesting toxic plants at pasture, but other cases develop quickly without apparent cause.

Botflies in Horses: Symptoms, Prevention & Treatment

By |2022-12-01T16:43:02-05:00December 1st, 2022|Conditions|

Botflies (Gasterophilus spp) are parasitic flies that affect the horse's digestive tract and can cause negative health consequences. Botflies lay eggs on the horse's coat in the summer. Some of these eggs, known as horse bots, are ingested as the horse licks and grooms itself. The bot eggs hatch and the larvae develop in the horse's mouth before migrating to the stomach where they attach to the gastric mucosa. Once mature, they detach and are passed through the manure. They pupate into flies, and the cycle repeats with new botflies seeking out horses to host their eggs.

Feeding Straw to Horses: A Low-Energy Forage Alternative

By |2022-11-21T11:55:59-05:00November 21st, 2022|Nutrition|

Straw or chaff is a high-fibre low-sugar forage that is ideal for horses that are overweight or insulin-resistant. Straw adds bulk to your horse's diet without contributing significant calories or protein. Research shows that adding straw to a forage ration can increase time spent grazing and the expression of natural foraging behaviours. This can improve wellness and prevent boredom without adding excess energy to the diet. While straw is not widely used as horse feed in North America, chaff or chopped straw is commonly fed in the United Kingdom. Mixing straw with other forages is recommended to avoid health concerns that are associated with feeding a straw-only ration.

Weaving in Horses: Causes, Effects & How to Prevent

By |2022-11-02T11:46:31-04:00November 2nd, 2022|Care & Management|

Weaving is a locomotive stereotypic behaviour typically seen in stabled horses. It is estimated that between 3 to 10% of horses kept in stables weave. The expression of this behaviour involves repetitive shifting of body weight from one front leg to the other, combined with a sideways swaying of the head. Occasionally, this repetitive swaying motion involves the hindquarters. Stall weaving serves no function or purpose. This stereotypy may develop when a horse is prevented from walking toward a desired goal, such as a feed or other horses. Horses may begin weaving as a result of stress, frustration, their environment, or an inability to express natural equine behaviours. Over time, weaving can cause hoof and joint problems or lead to weight loss if it interferes with eating behaviour.