Trivia Challenge: Horse Diseases and Conditions

Answer the questions, then check at the bottom for the key. For more fun and educational information about horses and horsemanship, read H&R’s ‘The Ride’ newsletter. (Not getting it? Sign up below.)

1. This condition is a bony overgrowth that develops on or around the pastern bones, generally fueled by an initial injury or inflammation.

a. Laminitis 

b. Ringbone

c. Cushing’s

2. This disease originates within the brain. In the normal horse brain, the hypothalamus portion releases a neurotransmitter called dopamine that helps to regulate the release of a variety of hormones from the pituitary gland that sits at the base of the brain.

a. Cushing’s

b. Laminitis

c. Navicular 

3. This condition describes any inflammation in your horse’s joints, ranging from acute, recoverable trauma to the more chronic variety.

a. Old age

b. Arthritis 

c. Laminitis 

How’d You Do? 

1. Answer: b; Ringbone. 

Ringbone is the bony overgrowth that develops on or around the pastern bones, generally fueled by an initial injury or inflammation. The overgrowth can be articular—affecting the joint—or develop on the side of a pastern bone, often where the ligaments attach. Low ringbone develops around the joint between the coffin bone and the short pastern bone, just within the top of the hoof wall, and tends to be painful. High ringbone develops around the joint between the short pastern bone and the long pastern bone. Bony growths on the outside of the pastern can be a dead giveaway for ringbone, but by the time they’re visible, it can be harder to treat.

[Read more about ringbone: What is Ringbone?]

2. Answer: a; Cushing’s. 

Equine Cushing’s disease (more correctly called pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction, or PPID) is due to hyperplasia (enlargement due to an increased number of cells) of the “intermedia” portion of the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland in a horse with PPID can be enlarged up to five times normal size. Historically it was believed that when the pituitary gland is enlarged, it puts pressure on the hypothalamus and causes a reduction in the amount of dopamine released.

[Learn more about Cushing’s: Living With Equine Cushing’s Disease]

3. Answer: b; Arthritis.

For your horse to move well, his joints need to move freely and without pain. A healthy joint has a joint capsule made up of smooth bones, protective cartilage, and joint-lubricating synovial fluid. Arthritis happens when one of these components is damaged. These cause the cartilage or bone to become damaged.

[Read more about Arthritis: Adding Arthritis to Injury]