When you’re transporting horses long distances, you want his or her trip to be as comfortable as yours. Despite their large size, horses need special attention when traveling to avoid health issues. Here are a few of the warning signs to watch for in your horses if you’re on a road trip.
Caring for Traveling Horses
Dehydration. If your horse is sweating a lot, and/or not drinking or urinating, she may be dehydrated. Make sure you’re giving her water breaks at least once every two hours, and remember that horses don’t like ‘strange’ water that they don’t recognize. Flavoring water with apple juice or Gatorade may help her drink if she seems reluctant.
Colic. Colic often appears with dehydration, since if your horse isn’t getting enough water, the food in his stomach can dry out and cause colic. Some symptoms of colic are abdominal pains, loss of appetite, and dry or low stool output.
Fever. In these hot summer months, it’s easy for your horse to become overheated, especially standing still on a long drive. A temperature above 101.5 is feverish, and a temperature above 104 is dangerously hot. If your horse has a fever during transport, call your veterinarian for advice on how to proceed.
Respiratory Issues. If your horse is coughing, has labored breathing, or discharge from nostrils, it could be a sign of pleuropneumonia, also known as ‘shipping fever’, due to how often it appears to animals in transit.
More than anything, you know your horse. If something doesn’t seem right with her on your trip, take a moment and give her some extra attention and ensure her needs are met. If you’re unsure on anything about her health, call her veterinarian. It’s always better to err on the side of caution, especially where your horse is concerned.