It can be hard to distinguish between the different types of nasal discharge your horse can have. It can often vary in color, texture, and amount. While sometimes a runny nose is nothing to worry about, other times it can be quite serious. It’s important to learn the differences, so you know whether to get a veterinarian out right away.
Consider the Following
- What is the color of the discharge?
- Is it thick or thin?
- Is there an odor?
- One or both nostrils?
- Is your horse lethargic?
- Does he have a fever?
- Is he still eating normally?
You’ll want to think about whether any new horses have come in, if he has been to a show lately, and if others at the barn have come down with anything.
Types of Discharge
- Serous: Watery
- Purulent: Thick and yellow-greenish
- Mucoid: Yellow
- Sanguineous: Bloody
- Unilateral: One nostril
- Bilateral: Both nostrils
Potential Reasons for a Runny Nose
Bacterial Infection: Usually thick and yellow snot in both nostrils. Other symptoms include fever, cough, and lethargic behavior.
Viral Respiratory Infection: Thick and yellow-greenish snot found in both sides of the nose. It usually progresses deeper into the lungs if not treated.
Sinus Infection: Thick yellow drainage that might smell badly.
Allergies or Dust Irritation: Bilateral and usually watery/clear.
Progressive Ethmoid Hematomas: Bloody snot found in one nostril
Don’t wait until things get serious! At the first sign of a runny nose, examine your horse’s behavior and check his temperature. It’s essential to look at the type of discharge, so you can explain things to your vet.