Seasonal Care

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De-icing water buckets, hauling water by hand, and pushing heavy wheelbarrows through deep snow are just a few of the things that many Canadian horse owners have to look forward to in the winter months. But we do them willingly to ensure the good health of our horses during a season that, along with its rain, snow, and freezing temperatures, also brings equine health issues such as thrush, mud fever, colic resulting from dehydration, and respiratory illnesses.

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Horse owners are familiar with the tragic pictures shared on social media of the emaciated horse rescued by the authorities, or the one that could not be saved due to its poor condition. Malnourished horses are a reality even in our affluent Western world. Sometimes these horses are the result of well-intentioned people trying to “save” unwanted horses, only to find they are unable to do so because of cost or scarcity of feed.

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Today it is critically important to understand the basics of parasite resistance and develop a deworming program that will work for your farm. That program will need to be reevaluated and modified as environmental conditions change from year to year, and farm management and the number of horses fluctuates.

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Everyone knows the seasonal annoyance of flies. For horses they can be a real tail swatting, foot stomping, head shaking, skin twitching aggravation. But flying insects such as midges, gnats, horse flies, deer flies, black flies, face flies, house flies, mosquitos, and others are more than a nuisance – they can cause serious skin irritations and can also carry diseases.

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Grooming is an enjoyable way to bond with your horse, and most horses love to be fussed over, but cleaning a male horse’s sheath is an unpleasant chore that owners and riders tend to avoid. From potentially being kicked, to lack of knowledge or squeamishness, those with geldings and stallions often shirk the task altogether. However, veterinarians agree that cleaning and inspecting a horse’s sheath is a necessary and regular part of maintaining their health.

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A French study has confirmed that mixed grazing with cattle helps control strongyle worms in horses. Grazing horses with cattle is often suggested as a useful pasture management tool to help control strongyle parasites. However, there has been little research to assess the benefit.

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9 Tips to Keep Horses Healthy - Summertime, with its heatwaves and high temperatures, can be uncomfortable for horses, and extreme heat can be dangerous. By planning ahead and being mindful you can help keep your horse safe and comfortable during summer’s heat.

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