Thumps in Horses Causes and Treatment

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Nothing beats the feeling of that gentle thump your horse gives you when they recognize its rider – it’s a sign of trust, comfort, and companionship. But if those thumps become too frequent or intense, it could mean something is wrong. 

If your horse seems to be randomly thumping around or pounding its hooves on the ground with increased vigor, you may have an issue with your hands. Knowing why horses might start doing this and how to treat them can help prevent further harm and keep your equine friend healthy and happy! 

In this blog post we’ll explore some causes behind behavior like excessive foot-stomping in horses as well as some potential treatments so you are prepared should any difficulties arise.

What is horse thumps disease?

Horse Thumps, or Equine Epistaxis, is a medical condition that affects horses, usually when they’ve been over-exerted. 

The medical term for the condition refers to nosebleeds originating from one or both of the horse’s nostrils – a symptom easily recognized by horse owners and riders due to aerosolized blood that may be expelled when the horse exhales. 

Treatment requires cutting off physical activity until the bleeding has ceased, at which point the veterinarian can evaluate and determine if further action is needed. Horse thumps can often be attributed to abnormalities of blood vessels in the nasal sinuses, heart disease, and airway disorders. 

In most cases, it is harmless but can lead to anemia if repeated episodes occur. Thankfully though, serious and life-threatening cases are rare as long as proper preventative measures are taken!

What causes thumps in a horse?

Many things can cause thumps in a horse. Many of these causes have to do with the environment, as a horse may be upset by sudden loud noises or unexpected movements from its rider or others around it. 

Thumps can also be caused by an issue with the horse’s digestive system, often manifesting itself as a buildup of gas and bridling behind the girth area on the ribcage. The problem can also stem from metabolic issues or dietary concerns, such as eating too much grain all at once rather than distributing it throughout the day. 

Finally, emotional stress can affect horses to produce thumps – they engage in this behavior when feeling anxious and afraid. No matter what is causing thumps in a horse, it is important to pay attention to their condition so that corrective action can be taken before any health issues develop.

How do you treat thumps in horses?

Taking proper care of a horse’s thumps is important and something any horse owner should be well-versed in. After all, thumps are common and can become very painful for your beloved pet if not looked after properly. 

The first step to treating thumps is understanding what the condition is; essentially, it is an inflammation of the digital cushion, which connects the joint of the fetlock to the hoof wall. To treat thumps you can start with cold or warm compressing or use topical medication to reduce inflammation and provide additional relief. 

Alternatively, toe extensions or wedges can be applied at farrier visits to realign your horse’s feet’ walking stride. Seeking professional advice from your veterinarian or qualified farrier is always a great place to begin when it comes to looking after your horse’s health.

Why does my horse keep getting thumps?

My horse has been getting thumps on and off for the past few weeks, and I have no idea why. Fortunately, thumps are a very common condition in horses and are not usually serious, but it’s still concerning when my horse is displaying signs of it. 

When horses get thumps, their chest muscles will contract rapidly over short periods, causing them to make loud gasping sounds. This can be uncomfortable for the horse and annoying for any bystanders! 

After consulting an equine specialist, I’ve discovered that these episodes are probably due to stress or environmental irritants like dust – so I’m taking steps to reduce their stress levels by keeping them more comfortable when ridden and making sure their stalls are well-ventilated at all times. 


Hopefully, those measures will help keep my horse from getting thumps in the future!

How do you prevent horse thumps?

One of the best ways to prevent horse thumps is to make sure your horse is getting enough exercise. A horse that gets a regular workout can help keep its respiratory system in top shape and will be less likely to develop any type of respiratory disorder. 

Additionally, proper feeding and nutrition are essential for keeping horses healthy and strong. Horses need a balanced diet high in fiber, low in sugar and fat, and rich in vitamins and minerals for optimal health. 

Make sure your horse has plenty of access to fresh drinking water throughout the day to help maintain airway moisture as well. Finally, keeping your riding gear clean and properly maintained is also key to preventing any kind of respiratory-related complications or issues down the road. 

Staying on top of these basics should keep your horse running happy, fit, and free of any potential thumps!

Can alfalfa cause thumps in horses?

Alfalfa, also known as lucerne, is a fiber-rich forage crop popular with horses and other livestock. Because of its high nutrient content, it is an ideal supplement to ensure that horses get essential nutrients and vitamins in their diets. 

However, overconsumption of alfalfa can lead to serious health issues for horses, such as thumps. Thumps (the common term for synchronous diaphragmatic flutter) are caused when excessive amounts of oxygen enter the horse’s abdomen and cause the diaphragm muscle to spasm rapidly. 

While there is some debate on exactly how much alfalfa is too much, most veterinarians agree that consumption should be limited to no more than one pound per day—which equates to around 20%-25% of a horse’s total daily intake—to avoid any negative side effects.

What do thumps mean in horse racing?

Horse racing has the potential to be incredibly thrilling, and a certain term that is used regularly when discussing the sport can make it all the more exciting. Thumps are an occurrence in horse racing where a horse’s feet appear to hit the ground in quick succession during their race – almost as if they have been ‘thumping’ down onto the track. 

This miraculous occurrence can sometimes give a horse added energy and momentum, consequently allowing them to overcome challenges on the track and maintain its speed throughout the race. Occasionally, thumps can even mean that a horse will come from behind to snatch first place away from others. 

Unfortunately for jockeys everywhere and upping the frenetic nature of the sport, often it’s impossible to tell when thumps will happen until you witness it first-hand!

What are the signs of electrolyte imbalance in horses?

Horses, like humans, require electrolytes to live healthy lives! Unfortunately for our four-legged friends, there are lots of signs that an electrolyte imbalance could be taking place. 

Oftentimes, a horse will become lethargic and overly sensitive to stimuli. They might exhibit a decrease in energy levels and have an overall lack of enthusiasm for participating in activities as normal. 

Muscles can also appear weak or twitching and frequent dehydration is a common indicator of the problem. In terms of urination, horses may not produce enough urine or display prolonged activity when urinating – signs are all there if you know where to look! 

If you suspect something is out of balance with your horse’s electrolytes, it is important to consult a veterinarian right away – better safe than sorry!

In General

In conclusion, thumps are a common and treatable condition in horses that is caused by the accumulation of gas in the digestive tract. To prevent or reduce the occurrence of thumps, it is important to always provide ample mineral sources for your horse, which can help maintain healthy digestion. 

Once you notice signs and symptoms of thumps in your horse, it is highly recommended to promptly consult your veterinarian as they can diagnose and treat any underlying conditions such as colic and pneumonia that may be causing the occurrence of thumps. 

Additionally, good management practices like avoiding large doses of grain, haylage, or grass laminitis should be implemented when raising horses. Taking these steps will ensure that your horse stays healthy and free from the discomfort caused by thumps. 

Equine welfare should always be one of your top priorities when caring for horses; make sure you invest time and energy into learning more about how to prevent and treat any digestive issues with your horses to keep them living long and happy lives.


Matthew Flor

Matthew Flor

Hi, y’all! My name is Matthew Flor, and I’m from Ocala, Florida.
I’m a horse enthusiast, and one of my favorite breeds is the Shire horse.
In this blog, I’ll be sharing information about these amazing animals – everything from their history to their unique characteristics.

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