Cardiac disease is considered the third-most common cause of “poor performance” in athletic horses (after musculoskeletal disease and respiratory disorders). While horses are technically at-risk of suffering from either congenital or acquired cardiac conditions, heart disease is rare in horses. Horses with cardiac dysfunction typically present with a history of poor performance/exercise intolerance, distended veins, swelling of the limbs, weakness or collapse.
The most common and relevant cardiac abnormalities diagnosed in horses are valvular insufficiencies and atrial fibrillation. Diagnostic tests include auscultation, an electrocardiogram, and cardiac ultrasound.
This free report provides the horse owner and caretaker with an overview of the anatomy of the equine heart.