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Hot weather can be difficult on your horse. It’s important to recognize the first signs of heat stress, so you can react quickly. While you may think they’re just tired or sluggish, your horse could be in serious jeopardy depending on their symptoms. Keep your eyes on them this summer!
Symptoms of Heat Stress
- Heavy breathing or panting
- Sluggish and lethargic
- Dull expression
- Rapid pulse
- High body temperature
- Lots of sweating
- Dehydration (dark urine)
- Dark/discolored gums
- Excessive salivation
- Depressed, head hung low
- Little intestinal sounds
- Erratic behavior
- Muscle spasms
Hot, humid days tend to makes matters worse. Horses that are at a greater risk for heat stress include those overweight, intensely exercised, and experiencing respiratory issues.
What can you do?
You’ll want to react quickly to help your horse cool down. If riding, get off and remove the saddle. Keep them walking to encourage circulation and allow them access to drinking water.
You can cool the skin by hosing or sponging your horse in cold water. Focus on the shoulders, neck, and chest. Avoid direct sunlight! If you can, put them in the shade with a fan after the bath.
Your veterinarian can administrate an intravenous electrolyte in severe cases.
Heat stress isn’t something to take lightly. These high temperatures can really effect the well-being of your horse. Make sure to stay diligent and keep them cool.
Prepare ahead of time with these tips: 5 Ways To Get Your Horse Ready For Summer!