Posts Tagged ‘dehydration’

Horse Health: Hydrating Your Horse after Running or Racing

It is important to properly cool down your horse after a hard workout such as jumping or racing. Like all athletes, horses need to cool down to avoid getting sick. A horse could start to colic without enough cool down time between a workout and going back in their stall. To ensure your horse is completely cooled down, here are a few tips to remember:

After working your horse, feel their chest to see how hot they are and look to see how heavy they are breathing. If your horse is hot or breathing heavy, they need to walk around until they cool down. You can either get off your horse and remove their tack and walk them or you can stay on them and leisurely walk around until they feel cool and their heavy breathing subsides.

When you get off your horse and they are still sweaty, consider putting a cooler over them. Depending on how sweaty they are, you may want to hose them off first. Once they dry, give them a good brushing. Your horse’s coat should look like it did before you started riding them and their breathing should be back to normal.

Once your horse is cooled out, allow them to go in their stall and have a drink from their waterer. They can drink as much as they want after they are cool, it is when they are still hot and take a long drink that problems may occur. Hydration is essential to the well-being of any athlete, including horses. Always take the time to cool out and hydrate your horse.

Can You Recognize the Signs of Dehydration in Your Animals?

"You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink"

“There is no more terrible sight than ignorance in action.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

If you think your animal is suffering from dehydration experts say the signs to look for are:

Lethargy (Lack of energy), irritability, listlessness, loss of appetite, decrease in the production of urine, the urine becomes darker and stronger smelling.  The animals eyes may appear sunken in and lusterless (dull or lack of pigmentation).

To test for dehydration:

Try the “Pinch test”, grab with your thumb and forefinger and pull the animals skin away from their body, a well hydrated animal’s skin will return to a normal position within 1 second and an animal suffering from dehydration will have skin that will lack elasticity and stay in that peak position longer.

Check the animal’s gums by applying pressure to the gums, the color will fade and return quickly in a well hydrated animal and in an animal suffering from dehydration the color may take more than 2-3 seconds to return to normal and the gums may appear dry and lack mucous.

Things you can do to prevent dehydration:

Provide proper shelter out of the sun and heat, provide water at a temperature that is relative to the environment some animals prefer warmer water in the winter and cooler water in the summer, provide fresh water regularly and electrolytes as needed.   One of the most important things you can do is monitor your animal’s water intake daily (WCI – Water Consumption Indicator).

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” In layman’s terms; ”Something that you say which means, it’s better to stop something bad from  happening than it is to deal with it after it has happened”.