Spring has sprung! As we leave the cold weather in the past, it is crucial to help our senior equines transition into the new season. Although horses tend to do this naturally, there are responsibilities that we, as horse owners, have to keep our horses healthy and happy. Continue reading to see how you can prepare your senior horse for the upcoming spring season!
Schedule routine checkups
It is time to call your vet and schedule your horse’s routine health check-up! As your horse ages, being proactive with their health is essential. In addition to a regular checkup, your vet will look for signs of the common conditions senior equines may develop. Senior equines are more susceptible to joint and muscular issues, Chushing’s disease, digestive difficulties, and more. By monitoring your horse and scheduling regular checkups, you and your veterinarian can work together to identify any potential issues your senior equine may have.
Check your horse’s coat condition and skin
As the sun comes out and the weather gets warmer, your horse should start to shed their winter coat. During this time, grooming your equine regularly and using the right shampoo is important. Here at Equine Medical and Surgical Associates, we have the perfect product for you - our Map Skin Shampoo! You should wash your horse 2-3 times a week to keep your horse free from bugs and bacteria. As your horse’s coat transitions, there are some important things to look for.
Equine Cushing’s Disease, a complex hormonal condition affecting about 20% of horses over fifteen. One of the most prominent indicators of Cushing’s Disease is if your horse cannot shed their coat or is shedding their coat in a patchy pattern. If this sounds like your equine, contacting your vet is a good idea. This disease can be treated with medication, but in the meantime, you may want to trim your horse, so they don’t overheat!
Check the condition of your horse's skin! Many horse owners overlook this step because it is hidden underneath the coat. Similar to humans, numerous things can irritate your horse’s skin – insect bites, sunburn, bruises or lacerations, and summer eczema. Summer Eczema, sometimes called Sweet Itch, causes hairless, reddened, encrusted, itchy areas on the base of the tail, midline of the belly, mane, and neck. If your horse develops Summer Eczema, our Summer Eczema Oral Supplement may relieve them this upcoming season!
Create an exercise routine
Every senior equine is different in their ability to move and exercise. Finding a routine that works for both you and your horse is significant going into the spring. As horses age, they tend to lose muscle mass and develop joint pain. Most older equines struggle with some degree of osteoarthritis. Finding the right balance of exercise and relaxation is vital for horses with joint pain. The spring weather is a perfect time to find this balance! Exercise stimulates circulation, strengthens muscles, and releases happiness hormones for your horse. However, too much exercise can aggravate sore joints and lead to injury or inactivity. If you think your horse may be experiencing joint pain, check out our Comfort Quik supplement! Every horse is different, so be sure to monitor your horse closely and contact your vet with any concerns you may have.
Hoof check and shoeing
Before your horse goes out to exercise, you should check your horse’s hooves and shoeing. When it comes to your horse’s hooves, there are many things you can do to maintain hoof health. First of all, make sure your horse’s hooves are free from any debris. Debris can build up in your horse’s hooves, causing pain or infections. Additionally, your senior horse should have their feet trimmed by a farrier every 6-8 weeks.
Something else to consider when talking to your farrier is shoeing for your horse. Shoes can add traction, relieve pain from certain medical conditions, and improve balance. On the other hand, some horse owners prefer the benefits of their horse going barefoot. Regardless of your preference, regular visits with your horse’s farrier are vital for hoof health.
Check their teeth and mout
Be sure to check those chompers! The inability to chew food can cause digestion problems for your senior equine. Most horses naturally brush their teeth by consuming grass, hay, and water. However, it is still important to regularly examine your horse’s mouth. In addition, schedule dental exams for your equine every six months to check for any wear, buildup, cracked teeth, or gum irritation – all issues that can take a toll on your horse’s ability to eat.
Allow your senior equine to enjoy a happy and healthy spring by following these tips. If you notice any health issues with your horse, visit our website and check out our available supplements. We also offer complimentary consultations to help identify which supplements best fit your equine’s needs. Happy spring to you and your senior equine!