It sounds like a strange question, but can horses get hemroids? The answer is yes, surprisingly enough, though fortunately it’s quite rare. Horses don’t often survive what we think of as constipation, so a horse with enough gastrointestinal problems to suffer from hemroids frequently don’t live long enough to get them. However, if a horse has diarrhea or some other condition that impairs circulation or causes straining, hemroids may show up. On the bright side, if your horse does have hemroids it’s not a serious condition and generally resolves without incident once treated by a veterinarian.
Hemroids are very painful for horses, which means that the first thing you’ll probably notice is all of the typical horse pain symptoms. These include a dull look in the eyes, hind hooves drawn up under the belly, and a distinct lack of interest in its surroundings. Your horse may also display an uncharacteristically cranky attitude, especially if made to do anything. More specific symptoms include rubbing the tail or rump against any handy surface, strange walking patterns or gaits, nipping at its own sides or blood in the feces. Horses in pain often develop secondary problems pretty quickly, so you need to address pain as soon as possible. Your vet can give proper pain medication. Please note that phenylbutazone, also known as “Bute”, is inappropriate for horses with hemroids. Bute can cause stomach issues, which is really the last thing your horse needs.
The treatment for horse hemroids must be comprehensive. Any and all causes that you can control must be addressed in order to resolve your horse’s hemroids and keep them gone. Causes that you can’t control are genetic predisposition, lack of exercise due to age or recuperation, pregnancy and foaling. On the bright side, pregnant or foaling mares that get hemroids will often heal them quickly after the foal is born. Causes that you can control include quality of food, availability of water, exercise for normal horses and stress. On a side note, horses that are too stressed or anxious will often develop diarrhea, which can lead to hemroids. Remember always that it’s up to you to manage their environment.
Treating your horse’s hemroids is usually pretty easy, though not always much fun. After you get a definite diagnosis from your vet, he or she may give you ointments or suppositories to put on the hemroids. If your horse has external hemroids, you’ll probably be dealing with ointments. Suppositories are usually used for internal hemroids. Either way, you have to apply the stuff without getting kicked. Your vet is the best person to ask how to do that before he or she leaves. No matter which one you’re using, you’ll have to keep your horse away from other horses. Horses aren’t human and don’t have human taboos, so a horse will lick ointment or suppository residue off if it smells interesting enough. This can, of course, make another horse sick, so you’ll want to avoid it. If all else fails, your horse may have to go in for surgery under full anesthesia. Of course, that’s a decision that’s between you and your vet.
No matter how your horse is treated, you’ll want to take basic steps to avoid hemroids in the future. Always keep high quality hay and water available for your horse. Make sure your horse gets enough exercise every day. Horses that live in stalls too much develop a whole variety of health and mental problems, so this is vital no matter what. With a little work and luck, your horse should never suffer from hemroids again.