Thursday, July 1st, 2021 | Filed under Medical

This information may be repetitive to some, but very valuable to others.  Perhaps there is something in here that you’ve forgotten about or need to do for your horses.  This past week has been very scary here on the West Coast…

Here are 10 tips-from keeping horses hydrated to limiting exercise-on preventing heat-related problems.

Posted by University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine

Meteorologists believe we will continue to produce record hot temperatures throughout northern California. Many horse events are scheduled during this time. Here are 10 important tips from clinicians at the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine on preventing heat-related problems in horses.

High environmental temperatures and related heat issues of dehydration, exhaustion, and heat stroke can occur in horses and can produce illness and death. This is serious business and you must take steps to ensure your horse is protected when traveling in a trailer, being ridden on trail rides, or in competition events.

Maintain hydration in your horse by allowing free access to water at all times during hot weather. It is a myth that a hot horse drinking water will experience colic or other medical problems. Never let your horse pass up a chance to drink water. Only horses that have been deprived of water for a significant time (many hours or days) need to have water provided in smaller amounts over time. Let your horse drink on the trail or after a class at a show. Offer some hay and your horse will often drink after eating the hay. Soup-consistency bran or pellet mashes are another means of getting extra water into your horse

Provide shade as much as possible.

Limit what you do with your horse during peak heat:
Ride or compete with your horse in the early mornings when it is cooler.
Ask the ride or event management to consider a change in the program schedule to limit afternoon activities during peak heat.
Shorten your rides.
Go slower and provide frequent breaks for your horse, in shade.
Encourage your horse to drink whenever they want water.

Provide open vents and windows in trailers which can open for cross ventilation (however, don’t let your horse stick its head out while on the road).

Know signs of fatigue and overheating in your horse and stop before more severe signs of heat exhaustion begin.

Common signs of overheating include:

Persistent high respiratory rate that does not come down with rest over 10-30 minutes (normal is 20-40 breaths per minute).
Change in mentation, decreased energy level, and reluctance to keep going.

Dry mucous membranes in the mouth (they should feel “slimy”).
Prolonged capillary refill time. Push on your horse’s gum. They should be pink to start, then it will blanch to white after pressure, and return to pink in approximately one second. Check this at the start of your day and frequently throughout the day. If it is prolonged, your horse is trying to tell you to stop, rest, and provide water. If other signs of colic or muscle pain occur, seek immediate veterinary attention.

Decreased gut sounds. Listen at the start of your day (if you don’t have a stethoscope put your ear on your horse’s flank, behind the ribs). You should hear gurgling sounds on both sides of the belly–that is normal and good. Quiet gut sounds are a warning that your horse may be heading for dehydration or exhaustion.

7. FANS:
If in a barn with limited ventilation, try to arrange more air circulation by careful placement of a barn-safe fan in front of the stall or in the aisle way. Keep electric cords out of reach of horses.

Hose or spray off your horse or pour water from a bucket over your horse: Cool water is fine, and normal temperature (not hot) water is good, too. Evaporation produces cooling and continuous hosing is one of the most effective means of lowering body temperature.

Keep a supply of water available for your horse to drink. Obtain some clean five gallon cans and fill them up with water before you travel.

These might be useful if the horse has been sweating excessively. Only use if they can be followed by access to water to drink. Have a plan outlined by your veterinarian if you have not used electrolytes before, and only use electrolytes specifically made for horses.

-Tips provided by John Madigan, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM, ACAW; Gary Magdesian, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM, ACVECC; and W. David Wilson, BVMS, MS, MRCVS.

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Consistency. Slow and Steady wins the race.

Princess Buttercup Pebbles is a very timid, young, previously wild donkey.

I received her a few months ago, shortly after she was rescued from a kill pen in Texas.

Now that she has shed a bit, I have discovered that she is a BLM donkey.  Hmmmm.  She appears to be about 2-3 years old.  So I expect she was adopted from a BLM holding facility, kept for a year, not handled, and sent to the kill pen after they received their $1000 from the BLM.

She is very sweet… and loves treats… but she is not very trusting.

This girl has not had any handling.  In fact, she was rescued from the killpen with a too small for her halter on her head with a dangling 2′ lead rope attached.  Clearly, they put that on once and used the catch rope to grab her if they needed her.

Yup.  She didn’t learn much… and what she did learn was not good.

She used to hide behind Ethel Merdonk a lot. (Ethel is in front here)

But now she will come right up to me and ask for a treat.

So, we started over when she came here.

I’d sit in the pen with her and Ethel Merdonk.  Princess Buttercup Pebbles learned to take cookies and she loved to have her face rubbed.

At this point, I can put a halter on her (sometimes) and I can rub her face and neck.  That’s it.

BUT, what I did learn is that when I went on vacation (10 days) – Princess Buttercup Pebbles has regressed – a lot.  This is frustrating for me, but I just have to go with it because there is no rushing the process.

Now that we were gone for 10 days, she has reverted a bit. Here you can see that she is tentative to come as close as previously. She’s rather stretch her neck to take her treat, instead of coming straight up to me.

I’m eager to get her gentled because I want to do her feet and I also would like to be able to read her brand.  Presently, her hair is too thick.  I need to shave her neck or get a really good photo, which is impossible because she is scared of the phone unless it is in front of her.  And, I cannot stand next to her – yet.  She wants me in front of her.

The first mark is clearly the “U” for USA.  The next mark, which should be the two number of the year of her birth.  It is either a ‘9 (which makes no sense because it should be ’09 or “19) or it is a ’38 – which also makes no sense.  I have no idea…

In any event, PBP is a very smart, young girl, and I need to be consistent and steady.  That will win this race.

As her hair is shedding, I see that she has a BLM brand! I cannot read it, yet. Too much hair still. From what I think I see, it is a very confusing brand because it looks like she was born in ‘9 – which doesn’t exist (it should be ’09 or ’19). So, I need to get clippers in there – or at least feel it, which I cannot do just yet.

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HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!