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Dr. Harvey Domoslai, DVM

Corman Park Veterinary Services
5 miles West of Saskatoon, sk
on Highway 14 at Saskatoon Livestock Sales

Full facilities for the management of equine health issues.

Dr. Harvey Domoslai, DVM
Phone: (306) 384-7676
Emergencies: (306) 227-8331

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Horse Owner Today

"Heat and Horses"

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   July 20, 2011 08:33

Q:  What is heat stress?

A:  Heat stress is a condition when the horse reaches a temperature above what it can normally thermo regulate i.e. by sweating breathing and otherwise cooling down.

Q:  What causes/contributes to heat stress?

A:  Heat and work and hydration status all contribute to heat stress.

Q:  Is heat stress serious? 

A:  Heat stress can be serious if the condition is not recognized and corrected.

Q:  How can I prevent heat stress? 

A:  First ensure that your horse is adequately hydrated before during and after working him.  Make sure he is on a good balanced ration with adequate salts and minerals in his diet to compensate for that loss by sweating.  Free choice salt is essential for the horse to manage his salt levels.  If conditions are severe or you want to be absolutely sure your horse is hydrated fully an electrolyte solution can be given to him prior to and after working.  Just like the Gatorade adds state proper hydration with water and electrolytes before throughout and after workout.

Q:  How is heat stress treated?

 A:  If your horse is heat stressed it is imperative to stop working him.  Cool him down as soon as possible with wet blankets or hosing him down.  Supply small frequent drinks of water but do not let him gorge on water.  I like a gallon every half hour for two hours then if he is stable allow free access to water.  Walk him slowly to prevent cramping of the muscles and get him into a cool breezy location.  If the horse is going into heat stress shock or is looking like he is not responding,  get veterinary attention as quickly as possible.

In severe heat stress an intravenous electrolyte solution may be used but usually electrolytes added to the water are sufficient. 

by Dr. Domoslai, DVM