Knowledge Hub

Condition Guide


Sweet Itch

Sweet itch or Summer Seasonal Recurrent Dermatitis (SSRD) is the inflammation of horses skin as a result of an allergic reaction.

The saliva of a (female) biting midge called a Culiciodes, causes an allergic reaction which the horse attempts to find relief from by itching. Extreme cases can cause the horse to develop large, red sore patches as they try to find relief from the irritation. Common sites sweet itch affects are across the back and along the mane and tail of the horse. 

Once the horse has suffered from Sweet Itch they will continue to suffer from it in the future although the intensity can vary on environmental factors where the horse is kept (such as woodland and near water sources. 


Joint Disease

Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD) is a term used to describe changes affecting joints and is common in horses as they age. Arthtirits (joint inflammation) and Osteoarthritis (inflammarotry process affecting the joint and bone) are examples. 

Symptoms and sign your horse may be experiencing joint disease:

  • lameness
  • joint swelling
  • stiffness
  • lack of enthusiasm for activities they usually enjoy

As with many complex diseases, cause and treatment can depend on the ease of diagnosis and location of the disease. You vet will be able to provide a suitable treatment plan.  






Arthritis is a common problem for many dogs and is not breed specific.

Common signs are pain, stiffness and discomfort often presenting as reluctance to perform specific tasks or movements.

Like humans, Arthitis symptoms can vary and is often caused by joint instability and abnormal development or damage to cartlidge in the joints. 

It is important to seek diagnosis from your vet who can investigate the underlying cause and joint(s) involved then provide a suitable treatment plan for your dog. 

Weight control and excerise management will help reduce loads on joints, maximise the fitness and range of motion in the supporting muscles of the joints.  

Skin Conditons/Infections

There are approximiatley 160 documented types of skin conditions that can affect canines. A vet will be able to diagnose and provide an appropriate treatment plan.

Examples include:

Mange – 3 types: Sarcoptic (extremely itching and often causes dog to itch until skin is raw), Demodectic (usually starts as a small hairless patch near the chin or eye) and Cheyletiella (can live on dogs and humans so all parties will need to be treated).

Hotspots – often appear ‘overnight’ and can be caused by mites, bacterial or fungal infections, allergies and many more. Often look like angry sores as the dog obsessively itches or licks the area to try and provide relief.  

For good overall skin health: ensure you are using a feed appropriate for your dogs breed, groom them accordingly (ie. don’t over/under groom/bathe) and maintain effective flea and tick protection.  

Digestive Disorders

Disorders affecting a dogs stomach and digestive system often present as pain and other symptoms such as vomiting, constipation or diarrhoea. 

Occasional bouts of vomiting and diarrhoea is common in dogs but episodes of severe or prolonged cases veterinary advice should be obtained. 

Some common examples of conditions include:

Colitis – inflammation of the large intestine or colon often caused by bacteria or parasites.

Gastroenteritis – acute vomiting and diarrhoea caused by infection or inflammation of the stomach. 

Gastrointestinal Ulcers – sores or lesions in the stomach lining most commonly caused by allergies, stress and infection. Presenting symptoms include decreased appetite, pain in the stomach are and general weakness.




Terminology / Glossary - Guide to common terms used in animal health

Area between the forearms and loins.

Pattern of footfalls during movement. Most common in horses = walk, trot, canter, gallop. Most common in dogs = walk, pace, amble, trot, canter and gallop.

Unit of measurement equal to 4 inches used to estimate a horses height.

Evading flies or displaying excitability is classed as normal headshaking. When the headshaking begins to interfere with normal activities such as riding or eating this is classed as severe. Often accompanied by snorting, extreme agitation and violent shaking of head and neck.

Problems relating to the foot or limbs often caused by injury, trauma or disease.

Area that includes the back, thorax and pelvic area.

Right side of the horse.

Condition where horses drop food out of their mouth whilst eating.

Describes when an animals feet/hooves are turned out and the heels point inwards.

Disease affecting the legs of a horse involving a growth on the leg.

Strain of a joint which causes pain and swelling. .

Belonging to the chest area.

Term used to describe an animal who walks with feet/hooves turned outwards.

Smooth, stiff hairs on the coat. Also referred to as Guard hairs.

Refers to the area across a horse or dogs back from the withers to the base of the tail.

Method of submersing a horses foot in a bucket/tub of water usually with hot water and salt to soften the hoof.

Bone in the spinal column.

First molar in a horse, usually shed as the horses ages.