A horse's pain experience is unique to each animal. With varying reactions to pain, it is important that close attention is paid to changes in behaviour in order to recognise pain levels.
Symptoms to watch for include:
- Lying down more than usual
- Depression with lowered head
- Rigid stance
- Anxious appearance, dilated pupils and glassy eyes
- Flared nostrils
- Muscle tremors Increased respiratory/pulse rate
- Reluctance to move
- Limbs held in unusual positions
- Alterations in weight bearing, including weight-shifting from one limb to another
- Abnormal gait
- Reduced appetite
- Weight loss
Equine locomotion issues are directly related to pain. Different kinds of injury or stimuli will result in a range of pain levels in your horse. Pain is a sensation produced by the stimulation of specialised nerve-endings which are plentiful in the skin, membranes,body linings, body cavities and joints. It may be mediated through physical contact or via chemicals released from damaged tissue such as in joint infection.