8 posts tagged with "health"
Sweating is an important function of the horse’s body during hot weather and/or exertion to keep him from becoming too hot. A small amount of body heat is removed through air exchange via the respiratory system, but more than 70% of excess body heat is dissipated by sweat evaporating from the skin. Some horses in hot climates lose their ability to sweat (anhidrosis) and are at risk for heat stress and heat stroke.
Horses occasionally develop inflammation and ulceration of the gut lining, most commonly in the stomach (gastric ulcers). Colitis, or inflammation of the colon, is rarer, but can be very serious. For some reason, this problem tends to occur more in the right dorsal colon.
As we continue to explore basic vital signs that help you and your veterinarian assess a horse’s health, let’s examine another critical parameter: intestinal activity. This is evaluated by listening to gut sounds using a stethoscope placed in the flank area on both sides of a horse, in each of four quadrants.
Most young stallions that begin a breeding career have already proven themselves in a racing career. If the young horse has done well on the racetrack during his 2- and 3-year-old years, for instance, he may begin breeding mares as a 4-year-old. Before entering the breeding shed, he needs some re-training, a fertility evaluation, and some time to refocus on his new job and prepare for his first breeding season.
Occasionally a mare foals too early, and the foal is premature. Foals born at less than 320 days’ gestation are considered premature, and chances for survival decrease considerably if a foal comes earlier than 300 days. These foals are not ready for life outside the uterus, and usually need intensive care to survive.
It seems fitting to walk you through some basic evaluations you can do on your horse when you think he may be out of sorts. This provides you and your veterinarian with specific information that may need to be acted on immediately. In this first installment, let’s focus on mucous membranes.
There are times when a horse suddenly develops hives for no specific reason. Such a hypersensitivity response to a non-infectious cause is referred to as an allergy, which can range from a serious, life‑threatening systemic reaction (anaphylaxis), to a mild, but disagreeable, skin reaction, such as hives or itching.
Domestic horses exhibit a number of behavioral problems that are never seen in wild, free-roaming horses. This is generally because we keep our horses in an artificial environment and don’t allow them to live ‘normal’ lives.