I was flipping through the latest Horse and Rider magazine (December 2013) and the Q&A portion caught my eye. A horse owner was asking if horses can have a psychiatric disease, specifically if they can be bipolar.
The answer from Lore I. Haug, DVM, MS, DACVB, CABC from Texas Veterinary Behavior Services, gave a vague answer but said the possibility exists. The reason is that while psychiatric diseases occur in animals (humans included), horses can’t verbalize what they are thinking or experiencing, so it’s difficult to determine exactly what they are going through.
While I started reading the article almost as a joke, I was glad I did. We’ve wondered for years now if Sugar experiences some sort of psychotic break from time to time. Some days everything is sunshine and roses, and other days she treats normal experiences (like taking off her fly mask or being hand fed apple cores) as something that is going to kill her.
I understand that I’ll never know what happened to Sugar to give her these episodes, but it alerts me to the possibility that something else is going on in that pretty Paint head of hers.
BTW, I tried to link the article here, but was unsuccessful finding it on-line, but Dr. Haug recommended the following two website for more information: