Horse Massage Blog

Surviving the heat with your horse 2

Searing heat and sweltering humidity can be dangerous for horses. Every year, numerous cases of colic, dehydration, and respiratory distress are attributed to warmer summer weather. Worse, potentially fatal heatstroke or exhaustion causes a few deaths each summer. Thankfully, however, responsible horse care and vigilance when the temperatures rise is all most horses need to cruise through summer in comfort. To help your horse beat the heat, keep the following tips in mind:

Searing heat and sweltering humidity can be dangerous for horses. Every year, numerous cases of colic, dehydration, and respiratory distress are attributed to warmer summer weather. Worse, potentially fatal heatstroke or exhaustion causes a few deaths each summer. Thankfully, however, responsible horse care and vigilance when the temperatures rise is all most horses need to cruise through summer in comfort. To help your horse beat the heat, keep the following tips in mind:  

  • Water - use a suitable water bucket to frequently offer fresh, cool, clean water. Average size work horses can consume over 95 litres of water per day when the temperature is above 21 degrees. Also, keep water troughs and stock tanks clean and free from insects to promote consumption.
  • Shade - offer an escape from the sun while in the pasture with a run-in shed. In addition, turnout your horse as early as possible in the morning to help avoid the heat. To combat early morning mosquitoes and flies, use suitable repellents, fly masks, and sheets.
Signs of heatstroke

A common misconception is that hot summer weather only affects work or show horses. This is untrue. While active horses are more susceptible to a rise in temperature, extreme heat can quickly take its toll on any horse. In fact, heatstroke can occur whether your horse is plowing a field, standing in a stuffy stall, or traveling in a trailer.

Heatstroke occurs when your horse is unable to rid his body of excess heat. Your horse's body has a natural cooling process. However, extreme heat and humidity can overpower your horse's ability to cool himself. To compensate, the body redistributes blood flow closer to the skin, which aids cooling. However, this mechanism causes internal organs and the brain to receive less oxygen. Add excessive sweating into the mix, which causes a loss of fluids and electrolytes, and the results can be disastrous. Signs of heatstroke - also known as heat stress or heat exhaustion - include:

  • Elevated Respiratory Rate - between 40 to 50 breaths per minute, shallow breathing, and breathing that remains elevated after two minutes of rest
  • Elevated Heart Rate - a pulse of more than 80 beats per minute that doesn't slow down after two minutes of rest

Heatstroke is a serious condition. Severe cases of heatstroke lead to collapse, seizures, or loss of your horse. If you suspect your horse is suffering from heatstroke, immediately take measures to help cool him. Contact your veterinarian if symptoms persist or his condition worsens. To help cool your horse:

  • Stop Activity - cease workouts, rides, or farm work immediately
  • Bathe Immediately - douse him with cold water or a water/alcohol mix

posted by Wade Cockfield | 122 Comments

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Anonymous
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Anonymous
Hi Test entry one
Anonymous
Heatstroke is a serious condition. Severe cases of heatstroke lead to collapse, seizures, or loss of your horse. If you suspect your horse is suffering from heatstroke, immediately take measures to help cool him. Contact your veterinarian if symptoms persist
or his condition worsens. To help cool your horse:
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