Hot Weather Tips For Your Horses
Here we go… the late summer heat wave has hit the San Fernando Valley and Hidden Hills. And our animals pay a price as we humans do. Our horses are in danger of dehydration, lethargy and just plain not feeling well. Severe heat stress can cause diarrhea and even colic.
TheHorse.com published 10 Hot Weather Horse Care Tips which quoted the suggestions of Janet Johnston, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM, ACVS of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine’s New Bolton Center. In a nutshell, here is what she recommends:
- Choose cooler turnout times.
- Provide shade.
- Move the air.
- Mist your horse.
- Provide fresh, cool water.
- Offer electrolytes.
- Slow down the work.
- Stick to a schedule.
- Avoid sunburn (especially white horses).
- Clip horses with longer hair coats.
To read each of these in their entirety, read the whole article here.
Ventilation For Horses In Hot Weather
According to the University of Michigan’s College of Veterinary Medicine, proper ventilation and the use of fans in the barn and stalls is vital.
“Any increase in the environmental heat stress index–the sum of the temperature and humidity–above 140 should be an indication for caution, especially for working horses.
“One way to help horses get through hot weather is to ensure that the barns they live in are adequately ventilated. If it can be done safely, barn doors and windows should be left open. If necessary, fans should also be used to increase air flow. If horses are kept in the barn, each stall may require a fan on the stall to move air over the horse.
“There are fans with mist attachments available that add water vapor to the air. They can cool an area by as much as 10 degrees F. This method is less effective when the relative humidity is high.”
Salt In A Horse’s Diet During Hot Weather
Since a horse sweats so much during the hot weather, replacing their salt in their diet is imperative. According to Dr. Judy Marteniuk, Equine Extension Veterinarian at Michigan State University, “Rations should contain salt. The sodium and chloride from salt are important ions that should be provided in the ration on a daily basis.
“Rations for an idle mature horse should contain 0.5 percent salt. Working horses should have 1.0 percent salt in the diet.
“As extra insurance, salt blocks or loose salt in a feeder can be provided, as individual horses vary in their salt requirements. As long as free choice water is available, extra salt consumption is rarely a problem. Also, if the horse is not drinking well or its feces appear smaller and drier than normal, additional salt may be force fed with the grain or as a salt slurry.”
You can read the entire article here.