As the summer heat ramps up, it’s more important than ever to keep your livestock cool. Horses are particularly susceptible to heat stroke, especially if exercising in hot temperatures. Here’s what you need to know about recognizing, treating and preventing heat stroke in horses.
What’s heat stroke?
Heat stroke occurs when a horse’s body overheats due to prolonged exposure to high temperatures and humidity. Many factors can lead to heat stroke in horses, including inadequate hydration, poor ventilation, intense physical exertion and lack of shade. It can result in severe health complications and even death if not promptly addressed.
Heat stroke can affect any horse but is especially common in older, obese and out-of-shape horses. Young foals also tend to be more prone to heat stroke and dehydration.
On very hot and humid days, even the best-conditioned horse can suffer from heat stroke in a short amount of time. The most common symptoms of heat stroke in horses include:
Increased body temperature
Refusal to eat or work
If you notice any of these symptoms, immediately contact your veterinarian. Then, move your horse to a shaded area and wet its body with cool water. If possible, have a fan blowing on your horse and provide it with access to fresh water until the veterinarian arrives. Applying rubbing alcohol along your horse’s back and neck can also help cool it down.
The veterinarian will likely give your horse some intravenous fluids and electrolytes to improve its condition. Horses that have experienced heat stroke must get plenty of rest and avoid exercise for a minimum of three to five days.
Tips for keeping your livestock cool in summer
You can help prevent heat stroke in your horse by:
Providing constant access to clean, fresh water
Offering shaded areas or shelter from direct sunlight
Ensuring proper ventilation in stables and during transportation
Avoiding exercising during the hottest times of the day
Trimming or clipping horses with long hair
Providing electrolyte supplements as recommended
Recognizing and preventing heat stroke in horses is crucial to safeguard their well-being. It helps avoid serious health risks, organ failure and even death.
Equine farming equipment in southern Ontario
If you need wholesale horse fencing or corral panels, Ontario Wholesale Farm Direct is the place to go. We also carry various other products, including corral shelters and welded mesh panels. We would be happy to answer any questions you might have about our selection of farm equipment. Contact us today in southern Ontario.