Caring For Your Horse = The Daily Health Check

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Your horse's health is important! To keep your horse in good health, it's a good idea to get into a routine of doing a daily health check. Do not worry – a good health check takes just a few minutes! In order for it to be meanful, however, it's important that you know the signs of a healthy horse, as well as the signs of an unhealthy horse. Go down this checklist every day, and keep your horse in tip-top shape!

o How is your horse standing? Horses who are relaxing often wait with their heads down and one hind leg resting. This is a completely normal posture! However, if your horse is standing in his pasture or stop with a front leg resting, further investigation is probably needed. Trot your horse out to see if you see any signs of lameness. If you are not sure, call your vet and have him do an evaluation. As a general rule, horses do not stand with their front legs resting.

o What is his expression? You can often tell if your horse is feeling under the weather just by looking at his expression. You see your horse every day, and you know what to expect. If your normally alert, curious, ears-forward horse is hanging his head with dull eyes, then he probably does not feel well. Watch him carefully, and if his expression does not improve, call the vet.

o How is your horse lying? All horse lie down sometimes. Sometimes it is to rest, and other times it is just to bask in the sun. If your horse is sunning himself with other horses peacefully in his pasture, then leave him be. Chances are, he's just enjoying some down time. And while every horse enjoys a good roll now and then, if your horse rolls repeatedly and sees agitated or restless, it's possible he has a tummy ache. Restless, agitated rolling is a sign of colic, so if it does not stop within a few minutes and resume normal behavior, call your vet.

o Check your horse's legs. This is a good thing to do every day, even if you have not ridden your horse. Horses can injure themselves just about anywhere, including their pastures and their stalls. Run your hands down each leg, looking for wounds, heat, bumps, and swelling. It may take a while, but at some point you should know the difference between your horse's normal leg temperature and an elevated temperature. If you notice anything abnormal, trot your horse out and look for signs of lameness. If your horse looks stiff, limps, or bobs his head when he moves, call your vet.

o Check his appetite. Most horses love to eat! If your horse falls into this category, you'll know something is wrong if he leaves his food alone. A horse who is not feeling well may lose his appetite, and may also stop drinking. If you notice that your horse's eating patterns are off, observe him for a few feedings. If he does not regain his appetite, call he vet.

o Check your horse's manure. Your horse's manure is a good sign of his health. You most likely know what normal manure looks like. The balls are well formed but easy to break in half. If the balls seem extremely dry or hard, suspect that your horse is not drinking enough water. Loose manure can mean a couple things. Either your horse is eating a diet that is too rich for him, or he has some sort of bug that is giving him diarrhea. And always look for worms. Worms in your horses manure mean that he is carrying dangerous, sometimes even deadly, parasites. Time for a deworming!

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Source by Ron Petracek

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