Your horse, just like yourself, will go through a variety of health issues during their lifetime. A top priority of any horse owner is establishing a good relationship with a Veterinarian. Your Vet will get to know your horse and understand when a symptom is something that needs to be taken seriously. Always ask your Vet before making any significant changes to your horse’s diet or routine.
A Farrier is another important part of your horse’s health care team. The money spent on keeping your horse’s hooves healthy will be repaid by not having to pay for expensive medications and surgery that will happen if you do not. A good farrier will also be able to identify other health issues your horse maybe experiencing that you may not notice.
Your horse’s dental care is vital to the longevity and health of your horse. Vets can identify if a young horse’s teeth are coming in wrong and work to fix the problem. Domesticated horses teeth often become uneven and require “floating” every 12 months. Floating is where the teeth are smoothed down. This is done by a Vet or a specially trained dental veterinarian assistant. Older horse’s experience molar loss – a bad tooth is more than just painful for a horse, it can become a serious health issue.
You, the horse owner, are the most important member of your horse’s health care team. Understanding the basics of grooming, feeding and exercise are vital to you and your horse’s partnership. For youths, many communities have 4H clubs and other equestrian community groups they can join to learn more about horsemanship. Adults wishing to learn more can turn to riding stables and other community groups. A fantastic way to learn about horse care is to volunteer at your local horse rescue. There are many great books and videos on the subject, but hands on experience is the best way to learn how to care for a horse.
Colic: Abdominal pain caused by a variety of digestive problems – many which can be very serious to your horse’s health. Intestinal blockages, parasites, intestinal twisting, and excessive gas can all cause colic and are very dangerous. Symptoms to look for: lack of appetite, stretching, frequent pawing on the ground / rolling, salivating, frequent curling of the upper lip (flehmen response), and nipping at their sides. You must contact your Vet immediately if you suspect colic – quick diagnosis and care can save your horse’s life.
Heaves Often compared to asthma in humans, “heaves” is the common name for the medical condition known as Recurrent Airway Obstruction. Anytime you observe your horse struggling for breath, wheezing or coughing (with or without copious amounts of phlegm) this is an emergency and you should call your Vet right away. Often caused by allergies, medications can relieve the symptoms as well as removal of allergens such as mold in hay.