Summer is a beautiful season of warmth, green pastures, and long trail rides. However, as temperatures rise and days lengthen, these changes present unique health concerns for our equine companions. Knowing about potential horse health issues and how to prevent and treat them effectively is important!
Here are a few health concerns to watch for this summer so your horse can stay safe and comfortable.
The need for hydration increases significantly during the hot summer months. Horses are no exception. They can consume between 10 to 20 gallons of water daily in summer, even more, when they’re active. Signs of dehydration include dark urine, dry gums, and lethargy. Ensuring your horse has constant access to clean, fresh water and adding electrolytes to their feed can help maintain proper hydration.
Heat Related Illness
Just like humans, horses are also susceptible to heat stress and heat stroke. There are several key sign to watch out for, like excessive sweating or no sweating at all, rapid breathing, and elevated heart rate. Ensure your horse has ample shade, avoid hard workouts during the hottest part of the day, and consider hosing your horse down with a steady stream of cool water, focusing on the head, back, neck, and legs to prevent heat-related illnesses.
Skin and Coat Issues
Summer brings an increased risk of skin issues, primarily due to the intense sunlight and biting insects. Sunburn is common, particularly on lighter-colored horses, while insect bites can lead to itchy and irritated skin. Using a UV-protective fly sheet, applying sunblock to susceptible areas, and using a quality insect repellent can help protect your horse’s skin and coat.
Digestive and Nutrition Issues
A horse’s dietary needs can change with the weather. High temperatures can decrease a horse’s appetite, while their energy requirement might increase due to increased activity. Adjusting feed amounts and providing a balanced diet can support their nutritional needs. Offering access to quality forage can help maintain digestive health, and the provision of salt blocks can help replace essential minerals lost through sweating.
While summer brings great opportunities for enjoyment with our equine friends, it’s crucial to remain vigilant about their health. In addition to good horse care practices, the environment where your horse spends its time plays a significant role in maintaining their health and well-being. A properly ventilated and designed horse barn or shed can provide the necessary shade, protection, and comfort for your horse during the hot summer months.
At Deer Creek Structures, we construct custom horse barns to keep your animals safe, secure, and protected from the harsh elements.