Over the past five years, vet Stephen Ashdown has written many articles, spoken on equine matters and contributed widely to horse magazines.

Here he reproduces in the form of questions and answers about 100 topics, all of them common problems which afflict horses.

To access Topics click on Vet Advice Menu.

He's got a runny nose
Q: My mum and I known a 16.2h gelding who has a slight nasal discharge from both nostrils, which is thick, white and odourless.

My vet says his lungs are clean and has advised me to monitor the situation. The discharge doesn't seem to affect his work and he does not have a cough. My horse is currently on shavings and when a new bale is added, his discharge increases slightly. Mum what to change from shavings to rubber flooring but as he still has this problem when turned out in the summer I can't see that shavings are to blame.

A: the discharge although not serious at the moment is obviously a sign of less than perfect health. It may be related to a low- grade allergy to a variety of factors or it may be the result of an ongoing low-grade infection in the nose or sinuses.

Since the condition worsens slightly when you put shavings in the stable they obviously do affect the condition and it would be wise to avoid their use until you have overcome the problem.

Rubber matting can be a good solution for those horses that have respiratory problems. As for clearing up the condition, I would suggest that complementary medicine is your best option. Herbs can successfully clear up long-term respiratory problems and even persistent low- grade infections or allergies.

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