In general most peoples veterinarian bills are going up each year, with the cost for most horses around $200 a year – but if any health issues occur your bills can easily shoot over $1000 dollars in no time. Heeding these general horse health tips can help your horse stay healthy year round and avoid those costly vet bills.
Tip 1: Dental Care
A typical horse has 44 teeth. A simple test to check the oral hygiene is to give 4 to 5 kg of hay to the horse on an empty stomach. If the horse can eat continuously with both sides of its teeth, then the horse is having healthy teeth. If it does not eat, then it will be mostly due to pain in the teeth. In which case, it is better to show to a veterinary doctor. As the horses chew, their teeth gets worn out. This is not a problem as they keep growing teeth. But the wearing down action could result in pointed teeth, which may be filed down to prevent injury to the gum. It is advisable to learn the proper method of examining the teeth from your veterinary doctor. This will prevent last minute damage controls which can be rather painful to the horse, to you and to your pocket.
Tip 2: Exercise & Turn Out
Make sure you give your horses as much exercise as possible. Imagine, how you will feel if you are kept in one place for 18 to 20 hours. The major effect of not getting proper exercise for a horse can be colic, gut ulcers, limb issues, behavioral problems. Horses are gregarious animals who love moving and grazing around. They have to keep moving in order for breathing in fresh air, for circulation and for proper digestion. Pasture and company of other horses give a sense of safety and mental stimulation. Exercise gives proper lower limb circulation. Give exercise as much as possible. A horse should be taken outside its stable for at least 8 hours in a day. Younger horses will require at least 10 hours of turn out.
Tip 3: Healthy Stall
A healthy stall environment must have an excellent cushioning for animal comfort, a fresh water supply, ample room, it should be clean to reduce bacteria borne wet spots. The horse urine has harmful ammonia fumes leaving foals who sit close to the floor especially vulnerable; using a product such as Stall Genie can reduce harmful ammonia fumes and keep a healthy stall environment for your horses.
Tip 4: Get Educated on Breed Requirements
Learn about your horse’s special needs. Each breed has its own unique need. Breeds, susceptible to laminitis should be given less access to the spring grass. Appaloosas, which are little night blind may run in to a fence at night. Some are more resistant to cold weather. Some are less resistant to colic. Also take in to account the behavior and medical history of the horse.
Tip 5: Quality Food
It is very important to give natural food as much as possible. Pasture grass is very important. Hay can be given in winter. Digestive system related issues crop up in horses fed mainly on grain or commercial feed. Oat meal with apples and sugar is a good combination. Many horses like watermelon, pear, mango (no seed), papaya and guava. But first give a piece and see whether your horse likes or not. Berries like raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries are good. Vegetables like carrots, celery, beet greens, peas, sweet potato greens, lettuce, plantain and green beans are also good. Few horses, after a little persuasion, starts eating these food items. Man-made food like Performance pellets must be given as per the direction of the veterinary doctor. Proper vitamins and minerals are needed for energy generation, muscle protection, maintaining immune system etc. To improve appetite it is better to give Vitamin-B rich food. Bran mash is recommended for working horses who does large amount of exercise. Not all horses like vegetables and fruits.
Tip 6: Check On Horses Regularly
Check your horse each day. Know its normal daily behavior. Like, whether it is a quiet grazer or runs around more. How much does it eat daily? Any symptoms of being unwell like drastic changes in daily routine, stopped eating, should be investigated. Colic, initial lameness can be easily treated if you are watchful. Daily watch and prompt treatment can reduce cost of treatment. Remove stones and other items from hooves daily. Check the horse for injuries and abnormalities during regular grooming.
Tip 7: Safe Pasture Area
Barb wired areas should be avoided. It can cause cuts and bruises. Take care for poisonous plants around the pasture area. Pasture with lot of green juicy grasses will be always welcome. It also is a place to meet fellow horses which will improve its communication skills reducing boredom and provides a sense of safety. This will reduce behavioral issues.