السبت 22 يونيو 2024

Caring for the Equine Elder

موقع أيام نيوز

With todays medical advances research and improved management horses are living longer and longer lives. In the past most horses were considered old when they reached their late teens. These days its not uncommon for horses to live into their late 20s or even into their 30s allowing us to spend plenty of quality time with our elder equine friends. Proper management is key to ensuring that the older horse is happy and comfortable throughout his golden years.
Routine Care
Whether the aging horse has a decreased workload or is fully retired a regular care schedule should be in place. In addition to giving him a daily check for any new or worsening problems such as cuts or lameness make sure he stays well groomed and clean his hooves regularly. Maintain an allergen and dustfree environment especially for horses with recurrent airway obstruction heaves. If the horse is housed indoors at night rubber mats are a wonderful addition to any horses stall. Hell appreciate a softer surface to rest on so stall bedding should be deep enough to be comfortable but not so deep that he has trouble rising. He should be regularly seen by both the veterinarian and farrier whether or not he is still working.

Gut motility issues are more common in older horses and can lead to an increased risk of colic. Tumours and increased parasite load are among other issues in the seniors gastrointestinal tract that can elevate the risk of colic. Difficulty in chewing feed can result in undigested food entering the gut leading to gas or impaction colic. Older horses also tend to have a reduced urge to drink making inadequate intake of water an additional risk factor.
Many older horses also suffer from pain due to arthritis. If possible keep seniors moving around by extending their turnout time. Any discomfort or pain should be addressed by a veterinarian who can suggest treatment options.
It is important that seniors are kept current on vaccinations and annual or biannual checkups should be scheduled with your veterinarian. Prevention is always the best medicine.
Hoof Care
Senior hooves require extra attention and input from both veterinarian and farrier. Hooves need regular care which helps minimize stress on the joints and hoof structures. The older or retired horse needs this care just as much as his working stablemate. The threat of laminitis also increases in older horses especially if they develop a metabolic disorder. 
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