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Equine Practice
Investigation of chronic weight loss in adult horses
  1. Frank Taylor

    Frank Taylor qualified from Liverpool University in 1972 and spent six years in mixed and equine practice before joining Bristol University to study for a doctorate in mucosal immunology. He is now clinical dean and senior lecturer in equine medicine at the Bristol school.


A HORSE that is losing weight for no obvious reason usually falls into one of two categories. It is either healthy, but suffering from some imposed stress or deprivation, or it is unhealthy, but not displaying any obvious signs of disease. A further possibility is that it is healthy, but geriatric. The aim of this article is to offer a strategy for investigating chronic weight loss which is seen to occur in the absence of an obvious predisposing cause. For many of the conditions described it may prove impossible to reach a precise diagnosis and it is only the animal's response to treatment which confirms the presumptive diagnosis. This is particularly true of weight loss in the healthy horse.

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