Running Hot and Cold: Caring for Horses During Weather Changes

Horses are very adaptable and typically can handle significant temperature swings. It’s when we alter their natural condition and confine them or haul them from one climate to another that they tend to struggle.

 

When the mercury rises or drops dramatically, will your horse be prepared?

In October 2013 South Dakota livestock and farmers were experiencing balmy 70- and 80-degree temperatures when a storm moved in from the Rockies and a cold front from Canada. The collision of the air masses created heavy rain, winds up to 70 mph, and a dangerous blizzard. Many cattle drifted with the storm, piling up against fences, getting covered with snow, and freezing to death because they were soaked with rain before the snow and cold temperatures set in. Though there were some equine losses, outdoor horses generally fared better than cattle because they’re more adept at finding windbreak and shelter. But horses with no reprieve from the elements likely suffered cold stress and frostbite.

Similarly, albeit not so drastically, horses might have a tough time adjusting to the elements when moving from a cold climate to a hot one (or vice versa) or when body-clipped during a serious cold snap.

 

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What Medications Are Safe for Mares?

Giving medications to pregnant mares is never without risk and should always be discussed with your veterinarian.

Which drugs are safe for use in pregnant mares? 

My pregnant mare is colicking … can I give her Banamine? She needs a laceration sutured … is it safe for her to get a sedative? What about her fall vaccines?

Which common drugs and medications are safe for use in pregnant mares is a huge topic with more questions than answers, says Margo Macpherson, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACT, professor of large animal reproduction at the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine, in Gainesville. This is primarily because very few drugs have been thoroughly evaluated and validated for use in this population.

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