As a horse owner we should know our horses ‘norms’ when it comes to cardiovascular health, normal resting heart rate, normal working heart rate and how long it takes our horse to recover and bring heart rate back to ‘normal resting rate’.
Knowing our horses norms can help us detect if there is a cardiovascular issue such as, atrial fibrillation, atrial premature contractions, ventricular premature contractions, etc. Many heart murmurs and changes in arrhythmias is common in horses and are usually not clinically significant, but knowing these things about your horse can help you to condition them better as athletes and make you aware of their specific needs.
Vaccinate your horse for EIV to help prevent contraction.
EIV can be difficult to control by management practices alone as often horses travel and are mixed with other horses in her situations. The EIV vaccine can help control EIV contraction. An EIV vaccine schedule is as follows:
2nd Vaccine (21-92 days after the first)
3rd Vaccine (150-215 days after second)
Booster Vaccine given 365+ days from last vaccination.
Create a conditioning program for your horse to gradually move them up to higher intensity work.
Quick and sudden increase in intensity and amount of work is often a trigger for rhabdomyolysis. Make sure to properly condition your horse to the level of work expected of them, feed accordingly and make sure to always properly warm up and cool down your horse. For example you would not expect a horse that has been sitting for two months to properly complete a jumping course without proper conditioning, this would out them at risk of rhabdomyolysis as well as muscle strains, stain to respiratory and cardiovascular system.
Dermatophilus is a very common skin condition in horses, as a horse owner/ barn manager we must know the clinical signs and how to nurse these conditions.
- shallow skin erosion under scabs
- painful lesions
- swelling of legs
- exudation and thick crust formations with hair protruding through
- remove all scabbing
- remove hair
- cleanse area with cholorhexidine shampoo to reveal fresh pink skin
- topical antibiotics
- systemic antibiotics
Familiarize yourself with the warning signs and symptoms of colic.
Knowing signs and symptoms of colic and familiarizing yourself/ barn workers with them will help you to be ready for a colic situation and for preventing it. Keeping a ‘Colic Chart’ in your barn can help to know the signs and also what to do if/when you see a horse demonstrating these symptoms.
Create a daily routine for your horses.
By creating a daily routine for your horses it allows for better monitoring, controlled feeding, and reduces drastic change in your horses life style from a day to day basis. Creating a routine includes feeding time (hay, supplements), turnout times and for some horses exercise (school horses, horse athletes).
Create and action plan to help manage your horses laminitis.
Often laminitis becomes chronic and it is important to have a plan of action to help manage you lamanitic horse. Below is a sample action plan for a chronically lamanitic horse.
Laminitis Action Plan
Use the SWIPER (S -scan horse and environment, W– what is wrong? I -immediate needs, P– plan, E -execute, R-reassess and repeat) approach to assess emergency situations.
Using the SWIPER approach helps to assess the situation and determine your next decisions. When using this method you will be able to prioritize and get the horse treated appropriately and receive medical attention if needed. Scanning your horse and environment lets you see trauma/illness and well as immediate and future dangers and helps you get an idea of what is wrong. Once you have determined what is wrong you can prioritize your horses immediate needs (immediate vet call, wound care, etc). You will quickly develop and plan and execute this plan. This method helps to keep a sense of organization in sometimes overwhelming situations and ensures all bases are covered when your horse has an emergency.
Prepare and equine first aid kit that is easily accessible in your facility.
In preparing and equine first aid kit that is easily accessible in your barn is a big help during emergencies. A first aid kit that is prepared is easy to take to your horse if they are unable to be moved from the location where you found the trauma. Also it helps to keep handler calm as they have everything they need in one easy spot. A prepared first aid kit is only useful if everyone knows where it is kept; tack room or feed rooms are easily accessible to all and easy to remember.
Here are examples of some essentials for your first aid kit:
Equine First Aid Kit
New arrivals and sick horses should be quarantined/isolated for a minimum of 14 days, ideally 30 days.
Isolating new arrivals and sick horses allows you to properly monitor said horse while keeping the others in your herd safe. While horse is isolated you should monitor his manure, feed/water intake, for any signs of sickness/disease and make sure to do a daily health check. By keeping new arrivals and sick horses in quarantine you are preventing the spread of sickness and disease to your main herd as well as making sure these new arrivals don’t catch anything for the residing herd as well.