Horse Health

Photograph of a healthy horse running




  • Biomechanical – The mechanical aspects of living organisms.
  • Broach – To puncture an infected cavity.
  • Bone turnover – The process of bone deposition and resorption.


  • Chiropractic – Diagnoses, treats and relieves disease problems by manipulation of body structures, particularly the spinal vertebrae.
  • Chronic pain – See What is the difference between acute and chronic pain?
  • Coffin joint – Common name for distal interphalangeal.
  • Colic – See Colic.
  • Cornea – The transparent surface of the eyeball.
  • Corticosteroids – A steroid hormone, which is produced by the adrenal cortex or manufactured synthetically.


  • Exudates – Circulating fluid that filters into areas of inflammation or lesions.


  • Fetlock – Common name for metacarpophalangeal.


  • Gate control – Theory that activation of non-transmitting nerves can interfere with signals from pain fibres thereby inhibiting pain.


  • Hock joints – Common name for tarsometatarsal and distal intertarsal.
  • Hyaluronan (or hyaluronic acid) – A naturally occuring glycosaminoglycan, which acts as a lubricating, binding and protective agent.
  • Hyperalgesia – Extreme sensitivity to pain, which can be experienced in localised areas or in a diffuse, body-wide form. See Why do pain and inflammation go hand in hand?


  • Inflammation – See What is inflammation?
  • Innervated – Supplied with nerves.
  • Ion – Molecule or atom with a positive or negative charge.


  • Laminae – The structure that suspends the distal phalanx (P3 or pedal bone) from the hoof wall.
  • Laminitis – See Laminitis.
  • Lavage – Cleaning or rinsing of a specific area eg: “joint flush.”
  • Lipoma – A benign tumor, comprised largely of fat cells.
  • Lower mandible – The U-shaped bone forming the lower jaw.


  • Maxillary teeth – Teeth in the upper jaw.


  • Nociceptors – Pain receptors in the body.


  • Opthalmological – Relates to the visual pathways, including the eye and brain disease.
  • Osteogenic – Factors promoting bone growth.
  • Osteoporosis – A disease which causes the bones to become very porous.
  • Osteopathy – Treatment based on the theory that a disorder within the musculoskeletal system can affect other body parts. It works on the principle that these disorders can be corrected by a combination of manipulative techniques and conventional medicine.


  • Pain – See My horse is in pain.
  • Physiotherapy – The use of physical “hands on” treatment to restore functional ability and movement.
  • Point – Where the contents of an abscess inclines towards the surface to develop a head.
  • Prostaglandins – Hormone-like substances which play a wide role in the functions of the body.
  • Proximal Suspensory Desmitis – See Proximal Suspensory Desmitis.


  • Radiography – The use of radiology to obtain internal images of the body. See Diagnostic imaging options.
  • Robert Jones bandage – A bulky, well-padded compression bandage which is often used following elective surgery or trauma.


  • Sepsis – Serious medical condition arising from the immune system’s response to an infection.
  • Sweet itch – A hypersensitivity to the Culicoidies midge.
  • Synovial structures – Joints, bursa and tendons.