The Horse

NOV 2018

The Horse:Your Guide To Equine Health Care provides monthly equine health care information to horse owners, breeders, veterinarians, barn/farm managers, trainer/riding instructors, and others involved in the hands-on care of the horse.

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TheHorse.com | The Horse November 2018 33 "Often the horse just wants a little shade for his head," he says. "Run-in sheds are great, but horses don't like to go clear into them for shade because a shed is too sealed up for much air flow and it's hot inside." They prefer a breeze, even if that means standing out in full sun to get it. Take care when exercising horses in hot conditions. "During exercise, heat production in the horse's body will increase up to 50%," says Williams. "In response to heat, the horse will sweat more, move a large portion of the blood flow to capillaries under the skin, and increase respiration rate to help the cool- ing process. Always cool horses properly after exercise, allowing plenty of time and ventilation, and avoid riding in extreme heat and humidity." A high resting heart rate can be a sign of heat stress. "At rest, normal range of heartbeats per minute is between 24 and 40. In a heat-stressed horse it can be over 50," says Williams. "Internal rectal temperature will also be elevated to 104 degrees F or higher." One way to help prevent heat stress in hot weather is to make sure horses drink enough and to provide electrolytes if horses are training hard and sweating profusely. You might also want to make dietary adjustments, such as feeding more fat and less protein. Connally says horse owners shouldn't feed a lot of fiber in hot climates because of the heat it generates. "You walk a fine line," though, he says, "because if you get the fiber too low you create other problems, including colic, because the digestive tract needs a certain amount of fiber to function normally." Rich alfalfa hay or any high-protein diet can also be counterproductive for hard- working horses in hot conditions because the protein-metabolizing process likewise produces heat, along with increasing wa- ter requirements. Adjust the diet to fit the conditions your horse is working in. If a horse does suffer from heat stress or exhaustion, he probably needs a veteri- narian to administer intravenous fluids, says Connally. "This is the quickest way to replace what he's lost and prevent severe dehydration," he says. "If you are out on the trail and this is not an option, simply stop, take off all tack, and cool him with water over his body as best you can. If you have access to (rubbing) alcohol, pouring it over the body (or adding some to the water you put on the horse) will aid evaporation and speed the cooling effect." Handling Temperature Swings Again, left to their own devices, horses can usually handle temperature changes. It's when we alter their natural condition and confine them that they tend to have trouble. "If you are bringing a horse from Florida to Mid-Atlantic or northeastern states in winter, he will need help to stay warm," says Williams. "When taking a You might have to keep horses adapting to sudden heat out of the sun and under fans or misters. ELLEN PONS Dandy Products, Inc. Padding & Flooring Specialists "Padding At Its Best" Breeding Sheds, Stocks, Stalls, Trailers, Exercise & Training Areas, Induction & Recovery Rooms Table & Surgical Pads, Neo-Natal Foal Beds Non-Slip Safety Floors for All Areas Pavesafe Bricks & Tiles, Trac-Roll & Vet-Trac Floors, Wash Stall,Grooming, Aisleway and Trailer Mats Toll-Free 888.883.8386 • 513.625.3000 FAX 513.625.2600 3314 State Route 131, Goshen, Ohio 45122 • www.dandyproducts.net

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