The horse suffers from the heat and like all other animals is subject to heat stroke. How to protect it during the hottest season of the year.
Each season has its pros and cons. In winter there are no annoying insects that attack horses or worm problems. However, when the temperatures drop too low, the first ailments arise for the horses and the risks of colds in season or hypothermia. Summer for horses is a rather critical season: between insects, fly larvae and worms, and the risk of dehydration or heat stroke. Horses suffer from the heat and require special attention to protect them from heat stroke or hyperthermia or when the body temperature rises excessively. What to do to help our horse and how to protect it from high temperatures?
Protect the horse from the heat
In summer, the horse must be protected from excessive exposure to the sun and damp-heat in both the box and the paddock.
There is some special attention to take:
- the horse must not work in the hottest hours: before 10h in the morning or after 16h30 / 17h.
- the box must be ventilated
- cover or canopy with a material that does not overheat and which guarantees a shaded area for the horse in the paddock. The horse in the paddock should not be left free between 11 am and 5 pm. However, the problem does not arise if there are shaded areas with trees in the ground, ventilated.
- water always available, possibly fresh.
- pay attention to the anti-fly blanket: it must be light in color, summer, in cotton, linen, or other breathable material. Absolutely avoid the synthetic fabric.
How to prevent heat stroke and horse malaise
In summer, in addition to the concern for the environment in which the horse remains, attention must also be paid to its feeding. It must be as fresh as possible, supplement the grass, vegetables, and raw fruit. Pimps with food and a little bran should be moist. Soak the bran that cleans the intestines and that must be administered in small quantities. In addition, the horse needs sugars and minerals.
There are commercially available rolls of mineral salts that can be hung in the box or paddock and that the horse can lick.
If possible, shower the horse with cold water. In summer it can also dry in the shade especially in periods of heat and intense heat.
Horse Heat Stroke
There are some symptoms that can be recognized in the horse that is suffering too much from the heat.
- sweats even if having not worked: with sweating, the horse tries to balance his body temperature. However, it causes a drop in liquids and minerals. For this reason it needs to always have water available.
- he sighs and has altered, breathless and fast breathing.
- you have a general malaise, tending to apathetic.
- he seems fatigued and cannot walk well.
- body temperature is over 38 °
- the mucous membranes are dry.
- head down
- dilated pupils
- cardiac arrhythmias
- if the horse is dehydrated: the skin is dry. To see if it is dry just pull, turning it slightly with two fingers, a little skin on the horse’s neck or shoulder. If the skin takes several seconds to go back and is not very elastic, it is a symptom of dehydration.
Also Read: 4 Tips for Buying a Dressage Horse
What to do when the horse is too hot
If the horse has a high body temperature, immediate action should be taken.
- transfer it to a ventilated shaded area.
- wet it with fresh water: with the hose, start by wetting the horse’s limbs first to cool it, then go to the neck, shoulders, thighs, back, and then wet the kidneys last.
- make the horse drink: if he does not want to drink, he can incite him by giving him a bucket of water with a teaspoon of sugar.
In some cases, if the condition of the horse suffering from heat stroke is too advanced and shows evident signs of dehydration, it is necessary to request the intervention of the veterinarian who could also carry out an IV with fluids and prescribe supplements based on electrolytes.
Heat stroke and dehydration are dangerous for the horse and can have serious consequences even lethal: they cause renal colic and collateral damage with convulsions and physical damage to the heart, kidneys, and neurological.
In addition to heat stroke, the horse may be subjected to heat stress or heat exhaustion, resulting from overheating caused by prolonged physical activity leading to a collapse of fluids and electrolytes.