Equis ISSN 2398-2977

Heart: disease - overview

Contributor(s): Christopher Brown, Lesley Young

Cardiac disease in the horse in comparison with other species

  • A wide variety of clinical signs can result from cardiac disease in the horse; these signs must be distinguished from similar signs which may result from diseases in other body systems.
  • In comparison with small animals, horses are usually presented with relatively mild signs and they rarely present in overt cardiac failure. A more usual presentation is reduced athletic performance or tachycardia at low levels of exercise.
  • Most horses are required to be athletes to a certain degree. The problems that face the equine clinician are establishing whether a cardiac condition is causing the presenting problem, eg exercise intolerance, and if it is not causing a current problem, predicting whether it will in the future.
  • In small animal cardiology the goal is often to maintain quality of life in animals in heart failure. In equine cardiology the main priorities are establishing the significance of a cardiac problem.
Print off the Owner factsheet on Heart disease to give to your clients.

Clinical signs and cardiac examination

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Congential heart disease

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Acquired heart disease

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Cardiac arrhythmias

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers
  • Recent references fromPubMed.
  • Schober K E, Kaufhold J & Kipar A (2000)Mitral valve dysplasia in a foal. Equine Vet J32, 170-173PubMed.
  • Young L E & Wood J L N (2000)Effect of age and training on murmurs of atrioventricular valvular regurgitation in young Thoroughbreds. Equine Vet J32, 195-199PubMed.
  • Bonagura J D (1985)Equine heart disease. An overview. Vet Clin North Am Equine Pract1(2), 267-274PubMed.


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