Video: Heatstroke In Horses
Many horse owners do not suspect that a horse, like a person, is subject to heatstroke and it can cause its death if you do not pay attention and take measures in time.
Any horse in inappropriate conditions (such as an unventilated stable or wagon) can become a victim of heatstroke.
Heat and high humidity weaken the horse, neutralize its defense system and self-cooling ability. If, in addition, the horse does not have enough water to drink, then there is a real threat that it will become the next victim of insidious heatstroke.
To prevent heatstroke, ensure that the horse has access to cool water and salt bricks at all times. along with sweat, the horse also loses the most important salts for the body.
Every horse, like every human, reacts differently to heat. There are those who can tolerate it without any harm to their health and there are those who find it extremely difficult. On particularly hot and humid days, pay attention to whether the horse is showing the first symptoms of heatstroke.
The most obvious signs that a horse has received heatstroke: does not want to continue working, feels weak, muscles tremble, it is difficult for it to concentrate and there is a significant decrease in the amount of urine. A horse in a stall suffering from heatstroke will also feel uncomfortable and refuse to eat.
Every horse that behaves in this way must be watered, doused with a hose, put in a cool, ventilated stall, and be sure to call the veterinarian. Also, changes in heart rate may be due to overheating. Each veterinarian can show how and where to measure the pulse and what is considered normal (30-40 beats per minute during rest) and this is the best way to monitor the health of the horse. In working horses, the symptoms of heatstroke may not be noticeable before they are walked and put in the stall, so on very hot days it is worth arriving an hour later to check if the horse is in order or ask the groom on duty.
As mentioned above, a horse can die from heatstroke. In serious condition, the horse stops sweating, the temperature rises to 42-43 degrees, the horse is restless, sometimes even in shock, loses direction … At this stage, it may suffer from seizures, faint or even die from heart failure.
The horse should be cooled in this state, because she is no longer able to cool herself. Immediately, it should be transferred to the shade, poured with cool water and a fan should be directed at it (better - several from different sides). Every couple of minutes you should give her a few sips of drink (not necessarily water), you can wrap your head, neck and hooves with ice packs. And of course, if you suspect heatstroke or if there are obvious signs of it, you should contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.
The most important thing to remember is that it is much easier to prevent heatstroke than to care for the horse that has received it. Therefore, on the hottest summer days, do not overstrain the horse.
Source: Horse.RU website, Western Horseman (1985)