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Signs of Pain in Horses

Signs of Pain in Horses

Pain management is a high priority for veterinarians caring for their equine patients. Your veterinarian can diagnose the cause of your horse’s pain and help treat it.

Some signs of pain are obvious, such as vigorous rolling and kicking at the belly indicative of colic, but other signs of pain are more subtle.

Watch for changes in your horse's activity level and behavior as these are the best indicators of pain.

Consult your veterinarian if your horse is not acting normally or if your horse shows any of these signs:

  • Lameness or abnormal gait
  • Unusual posture
  • Shifting weight from one leg to another
  • Muscle tremors
  • Abnormal sweating
  • Lying down more than usual
  • Mood or temperament changes
  • Decreased appetite
  • Abnormal reaction to grooming, saddle or bit and bridle
  • Changes in feeding behavior
  • Grinding teeth and/or excessive drooling
  • Weight loss
  • Squinting or closed eyes
  • Biting or staring at a particular body region
  • Any evidence of injury

How Veterinarians Alleviate Pain in Horses

  • Treat the illness or injury that is causing pain
  • Prescribe pain medication appropriate for horses
  • Acupuncture
  • Physical therapy
  • Laser therapy