Friday, November 26, 2010

Horse Health Care - Cold Weather Colic Threat

A friend of mine called me early this morning when I was sewing up a horse blanket which brought the conversation around to when did I think it was necessary to blanket a horse.

Pretty much what I told him was that tonight wouldbe the first time this fall that I would blanket as I was expecting an abnormal drop in temperatures tonight, from nightly lows in the mid 40's to the low 20's due to a cold front moving in. In my experience, a sudden drop like this, especially when the horses haven't yet grown out their winter coats, slightly increases the chance of cold weather colic where the horses decrease their water consumption and the blood usually available for the gut is now also needed to flow to their extremities to keep them warm. This can which slow up their digestion problem and with a lack of water consumed can therefore presents more of a colic risk.

So there really isn't just a temperature cutoff when I blanket a horse or not. Circumstances like a big sudden change (drop) in temperatures, and the age of a particular horse and any existing health issues all factor in. I have worked a horse all day in cold weather, then more oftenn than not, blanket him for a long trailer ride home in cold weather, especially if he is still damp with sweat.

I wrote a related piece on Blanketing Horses, see it here.

Anyway, I would much rather "waste" time putting on and taking off blankets than giving a shot fo banamine, tubing and walking a colicing horse. Just pays to pay attention to weather changes

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