July 2012 -- With large chunk of North America currently sweltering through record high temperatures, your horses are challenged to avoid becoming overheated.
Warning signs of heat stress in your horse:
1. Elevated breathing. More than 40-50 breaths per minute in an inactive horse, or after several minutes rest (2-5 minutes) your horse’s breathing doesn’t return to normal. Normal range is 4-16 breaths per minute.
2. Elevated heart rate. More than 80 beats per minute in an inactive horse, or after several minutes rest (2-5 minutes) your horse’s heart rate doesn’t return to normal, or it climbs after rest. Normal range is 40-50 beats per minute at rest.
3. Profuse sweating or no sweat at all.
4. Elevated temperature. More than 103-105 degrees. Normal range is 99-101.
5. Lethargy and/or depressed attitude. Doesn’t want to move, doesn’t want to eat, or becomes disinterested.
6. Dehydration. Flanks are caved in, pinch test of the skin on the neck doesn’t snap back quickly, and/or the mucous membranes are discolored (specifically a dark red, purple or “muddy” color). Normal is pink colored.
What to do when you recognize any or all of these signs:
1. Stop what you are doing and call your veterinarian, especially if the signs do not improve within 10 minutes.
2. Remove all tack.
3. Douse your horse with cold water.
4. Find shade.
5. Seek a breeze, either natural or with a fan.
6. Offer water to drink.
7. Wait for your veterinarian to arrive.
Kim Baker, KB Natural Horsemanship. Author, Holistic Healing, Animal Communication, Horse Clinics, Lessons, Natural Horse Training and more...Building quality partnerships and lasting relationships from the ground up. Cell: 303-981-2127 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org PO Box 1077 Elizabeth, CO 80107, www.kbnaturalhorsemanship.com
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Photo Credit: Bernadette Spillane