Veterinary Care

Veterinary Care for Your Pasture Horse

 

Pasturing gives your horse freedom to graze, exercise, and socialize. Inspecting fences, filling in holes, and removing debris make the environment safer, but cannot remove all threats. Sometimes unseen hazards necessitate a call to your veterinarian for consultation or treatment to ensure the horse’s health and well-being. Horse medical insurance can help with unpredictable expenses including surgery.

Bone Injuries

Horses are highly social herd animals. Even when horses are well adapted to each other, pasture fractures resulting from a kick by another horse are not uncommon. Two fractures often seen by veterinarians occur on the head, primarily the jaw bone, and the metacarpal bone, which is not constructed to withstand a lateral blow. Surgical repair is often necessary.

Toxicity and Poisoning

Even if you remove poisonous plants, such as nightshades and oleander, some horses like to eat parts of trees as well. The black walnut tree bark and roots can cause elevated temperature and lower limb swelling. Red maple tree leaves, especially the wilted ones which are more likely to attract horses, can cause jaundice, an elevated heart rate, or even death with the ingestion of as little as one and a half pounds.

Equine Colic

Although grazing for up to 17 hours per day is very good for the gastrointestinal tract of a horse, equine colic can develop due to moldy feed, parasites, antibiotics, or even dental problems. Occasionally pastured horses develop the habit of eating grass down until they ingest the sand, causing the large intestine to become blocked. Colic can be serious, or even fatal. The veterinarian will evaluate your horse so that it can be treated successfully with medicine or surgery.

Developing a good relationship means that your veterinarian is only a phone call away. As an observant owner, you are your horse’s best advocate in keeping it safe and healthy.

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