July 11, 2012 10:22
The hot days of summer can be dangerous for your horse (pets & humans as well).
Warning signs that your horse is in distress include rapid breathing, lethargy and the primary symptom – depression.
The simplest advice is to provide your horse with access to shade, a supply of good quality drinking water and salt. Most horses will be fine.
Electrolytes are a great option; however some horses will not drink them at full strength. Electrolytes can be added to drinking water at a reduced rate as a proactive heat management tool.
OMG what do I do?
Get your horse cooled off, a full body blast (no misting if the horse is in distress), offer water, no more than ½ gallon every 10 minutes for an hour (often horses will overdrink on cold water and then colic), then free choice water.
Are you working/showing your horse? Horses that are working during extreme heat may tie up dehydrate. An effective proactive heat management tool is to feed a preworkout electrolyte. Electrolytes replace potassium lost during exercise - potassium cannot be replaced with drinking water.
Knowing your horse, being vigilant and proactive are the best possible preventative action a horse owner can take. Do not “wait and see” if your horse is acting out of character, take action and of course contact your veterinarian.
Dr. Domoslai DVM