Horses work just as hard as we do, if not harder. Unlike us, though, horses don’t ask for breaks when the conditions get to be too much for them to bear. That’s why it’s extremely important for horse owners to know when their horses are showing signs of heat stress, also known as hyperthermia. This condition, which is very similar to heat stroke in humans, occurs whenever a horse overexerts itself in excessively hot or humid conditions. Because a horse won’t lose body heat quickly enough under these conditions, its temperature will rise to unhealthy levels. This can lead to serious and potentially fatal health concerns, unless the horse is given prompt medical attention. Owners can help prevent these concerns by going easy on their horses when weather is too hot and by looking out for the symptoms of heat stress.

Signs Of Heat Stress

A horse that is suffering from heat stress may exhibit poor posture and sluggish movement. Its skin may be hot and dry, with sunken eyes and rapid breathing. It may have a loss of appetite and show signs of muscle cramping as well as flared nostrils.

If an owner suspects that his or her horse may be suffering from heat stress, be sure to stop whatever the horse is doing immediately and move it to a cooler, shaded spot. Owners can offer the horse water to drink as well as hose or sponge it down with cool water. Calling the veterinarian also is essential because the horse may need to be administered intravenous fluids or given advanced treatment.

Horses work extremely hard, even under conditions where they perhaps should’t. Horse owners have the responsibility to make sure their horses are protected from the heat, and the following guide can help them. It outlines many of the most common causes of heat stress in horses as well as what owners can do to treat and prevent them.


Author bio: Raised on a working cattle ranch in Hawaii, Ryan White has over 30-plus years of experience in the rodeo industry. White is dedicated to rodeo, as well as being an avid surfing enthusiast. White represented the first Hawaii high school rodeo in 1988, and was a state champion team roper and six-time California Circuit finalist. His innovation and creativity have undoubtedly been the driving force behind the immense success The Best Ever Pads has accomplished since its creation in 2002. 


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