الإثنين 22 يوليو 2024

Winter Water Woes and Equine Colic Prevention

موقع أيام نيوز

Nothing can drain the colour from a horse owner’s face quicker than hearing the word COLIC! Winter is an important season to focus on colic prevention and ward off water woes that can lead to impaction in the equine gut.

What you need to know about horses and H2O

Never assume your horses are drinking. Just because water is available does not mean your horse is drinking enough. Horses should drink about 37 to 45 litres of water per day in order to stay healthy, and they will often drink less water when it is icy cold, particularly if they have dental issues. It is also a misnomer to believe all horses will break through a thin layer of ice to access their water source. A heater is the best option, not only for the fussy drinker but also to ensure troughs do not freeze over during overnight hours or on frigid days. A study out of Penn State University has shown that increasing water temperature from just above freezing to between 4-18 degrees C will increase the amount of water consumed by up to 40 percent. Make sure the heater is properly installed and check that it is in good repair and operating safely. If you see horses standing by a trough but not drinking, be sure to make sure there is no electric current due to a malfunctioning heating element.  

Dehydration: This is a serious issue which increases the risk of impaction colic. Monitor the horse for any signs of dehydration. Discuss how you can do this with your veterinarian. A “skin pinch” on the shoulder of the horse is a useful tool to assess hydration by seeing if there is any delay in the skin flattening back down (this is called skin tenting). Slowed skin response may indicate a degree of dehydration.  

Salt: If your horse is not drinking an adequate amount, in addition to monitoring him for dehydration, consider providing free choice loose salt for the horse to take in what he needs.