Symptoms of Pneumonia in Horses

Symptoms of Pneumonia in Horses
Symptoms of Pneumonia in Horses (Image:

Horses can have several health conditions that are familiar to humans. They are particularly susceptible to respiratory infections. Pneumonia is a serious condition in horses. According to the Gluck Equine Research Center, pneumonia is the primary cause of death in foals between the ages of 1 and 4 months. Pneumonia can be caused by bacteria, virus, fungus or a parasitic infection, although viral pneumonia is the most common form in horses.

General Malaise

Symptoms of pneumonia may be vague at first. The horse may display signs of general malaise and fatigue.

Loss of Appetite

Loss of appetite is a common symptom of most illnesses, including pneumonia. Fever is also a common sign of illness. Loss of appetite normally accompanies a fever.


Watery stools often accompany pneumonia and other respiratory ailments. Diarrhea can also account for loss of appetite, fatigue and general malaise.

Nasal Discharge

It is common for nasal discharge as well as a cough to accompany pneumonia.

Intolerance to Exercise

A horse with pneumonia will display an intolerance to exercise. The horse may even be reluctant to move at all.

Labored Breathing

Labored breathing is the most obvious symptom of pneumonia in horses. The nostrils may flare and the horse may show other visible signs of respiratory distress.

Weight Loss

Weight loss may also occur in a horse with pneumonia, even though it may not be noticeable initially. A horse that displays any or all of these symptoms needs to be checked by a veterinarian. Pneumonia is a serious condition that can be fatal if left untreated. Treatment usually consists of antibiotics and fluid therapy, as well as medication for pain.

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