Signs of Horse Heatstroke:
Call your veterinarian if symptoms persist or condition worsens.
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Spring and Summer heat can be miserable for riders and horses alike. Most importantly, be smart - and remember, if you're hot - your horse is hotter!
Here are some quick tips and reminders to keep your horse cool.
Water, Water, and More Water
Average horse consumes 4-9 gallons of water a day, but this can double during the summer heat. If traveling a lot, make sure to get them used to a favorite flavoring additive at home to encourage drinking on the road.
Dehydration can cause impaction colic and lead to other more serious issues. Make sure water is always available and offer a water buffet with flavored waters (add juice or electrolytes), add water to food to make a mash, or soak hay to encourage extra drinking during hot weather.
Made in the Shade
Stay cool! Try to avoid riding in the sun or during the hottest part of the day. Make sure there's shade available for your horse. And while in the barn, make sure there's proper ventilation with safe, outdoor rated stable fans.
This happens when your horse's internal temperature rises too fast, usually due to exertion. Once the horse's body temp reaches 104°F, metabolic systems become impaired. At 105°F, the organs and circulatory system begin to shut down. Be on the lookout for profuse sweating, which may lead to not sweating at all. Panting, excessive dullness, or frantic and panicked behaviors are also indicators. Stop working immediately, cold hose the horse and scrape off water to improve cooling and evaporation. You can apply ice packs to the face and throat to speed cooling. Keep the horse in the shade, and offer water, water, and more water.
Fair skinned horses with pink skinned areas are very susceptible to sunburn. Don't forget to apply zinc oxide ointment regularly or use sun blocking fly masks and sheets.
Hoof Cracks & Bruises
With hot weather comes dry footing and extra flies. Riding on hard surfaces and stomping dry ground when flies are about can cause hoof cracks and bruising. If you're noticing tender feet, shorter strides, a reluctance to walk on familiar, firm surfaces this may be the cause. To prevent, keep work on hard surfaces minimal and use fly control products (repellents, sheets, wraps), or invest in hoof pads or boots for seasonal use.
From all of us at Total Equine Veterinary Associates, we hope you find this information useful. Feel free to share with your friends, family, and fellow equestrians. Our goal is to help keep horses of all ages and disciplines Healthy for Life.
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