Caring for a horse in Arizona can be particularly difficult in the summer due to the hot Arizona temperatures. Heat exhaustion is one heat-related issue that can develop. This potentially life-threatening condition occurs when a horse becomes weak and tired due to an increase in body temperature combined with dehydration. Some of the symptoms to watch out for with this condition include:
- Elevated body temperature, typically anywhere from 102 to 105 degrees
- Excessive sweating
- Increase in breathing rate
- Increase in heart rate
- Slowed gait
If your horse is showing any of these signs, it is important for you to get it out of the sun and into a well-ventilated area or in front of a fan. Hosing your horse down with cold water can also be beneficial. When using this method, you should use a sweat scraper to remove the excess water and then immediately repeat the process. This will help to keep the cold water consistently on the horse’s skin. If the water is left on the horse’s skin, it will warm up quickly and be less effective.
Of course, you should also allow your horse to periodically drink small amounts of water, too. You can allow your horse to drink as much as it likes once its vital signs are back down to near normal.
We all know that the heat can reach extreme levels in Arizona. Therefore, beyond providing water, shade and salt, you may need to take additional steps to keep your horse safe during more extreme temperatures. Here are some things that you might want to consider.
Bring the Horse In
During the hottest parts of the day, you may want to consider bringing your horse in to your shelter and possibly hosing them down in order to help keep them cool. If your horses are not taking advantage of the shade that is available, you may need to take this step to ensure they do not become overheated.
Set Up a Sprinkler System
Setting up a sprinkler system in your pasture area can also be helpful with keeping your horses cool. Obviously, you want to avoid oversaturation and creating problems with mud, but keeping it outside of your pasture/paddock fencing and setting it to periodically spray in the pasture can give your horses a much-needed cooldown.
Installing fans in your run-in area can also go a long way toward keeping your horses cool. Just be sure the cords are safely out of reach so your horses cannot become entangled or chew on the cords.
While providing your horse with fresh water and shelter may seem like obvious ways to keep it safe during the hot summer months in Arizona, there are a few other steps that you can take to further help prevent heat-related illnesses from developing. Here is a look at some more advanced options for helping your horse in the heat.
It is especially important for your horses to consume salt during hot weather periods. If you provide free-choice salt, you should monitor the salt to ensure they are eating at least 2 ounces per day. If they are not consuming enough salt on their own, you should add salt to their feed. Or, if you are not feeding grain on a regular basis, feed a small daily meal of soaked beet pulp or wheat bran with two tablespoons of added salt.
Monitor the Herd
If you have more than one horse under your care, you should also be sure to monitor them to ensure the older, weaker or less-dominant horses are not being chased away from the water and shade that you have provided. If so, you may need to take steps to separate certain horses in order to keep them all safe.
It may seem hard to believe, but the hot Arizona summers are right around the corner. Unfortunately, high temperatures can be dangerous to horses and other large animals. In some cases, it can even prove to be fatal. Therefore, it is never too early to start looking at ways to keep your horses and other large animals safe from the heat of the Arizona sun. To that end, here are some basics to keep in mind for your horses during the summer.
Provide Plenty of Water
Your horses and other large animals should have access to clean, cool water throughout the day and night. On especially hot days, you may need to change the water out more than once in order to ensure it is not boiling hot. Try to keep the water in a shadier area so it does not heat up too quickly.
Your horses and other large animals need to have access to plenty of shade opportunities during the hot summer months in Arizona. This shade may come in the form of trees, run-in sheds or full shelters.
While these tips may seem obvious, it important for you to take a close look at your setup to ensure there are no barriers or other issues preventing your horse or other large animal from accessing the water or the shade that you provide.
Just as shoes are designed to protect our feet, horseshoes are meant to help protect the hooves of your horses. Yet, whether or not your horse actually needs to wear these shoes is a subject of great debate.
Keeping the Hooves Protected
Horseshoes originally became popular as a way to protect the hooves of domesticated horses in inhospitable climates. They were also thought to be beneficial for certain breeds of horses, as some have a tendency to have weaker hooves. Yet, while the center of a horse’s hoof is very sensitive, the outside does not feel pain. In fact, it is much like the nails that humans have on their fingers and toes, but the material on the horse’s hoof is much thicker.
To Shoe or Not to Shoe
Under normal conditions, most horses do not need to wear shoes. In this case, the horse is referred to as “barefooting”. Some do believe, however, that shoes should be in place if the horse participates in certain activities that can put their hooves at risk. Those who are against using horseshoes, however, maintain that even serious hoof problems can be treated with the proper trimming of the hoof and without the need for shoes.
The bottom line is that the decision should be based on the needs of the individual horse, so discuss it with your vet and your farrier to determine whether or not horseshoes are needed.
As herd animals, horses naturally prefer to be around other animals. Not only does it help them to feel safer, but it also prevents them from getting bored and developing destructive habits such as chewing on wood or engaging in abnormal repetitive behaviors. Of course, owning and caring for an additional horse can be costly, so here are some ideas that you might want to consider in order to provide your horse with some companionship.
If you have the space available, you can generate a little extra income while also providing your horse with some companionship by offering boarding. It is important to remember, however, that not all horses get along. Therefore, you will want to give it a test run with a new horse before making any long-term commitments. In addition, you will need to create and sign contracts to ensure everyone knows exactly what the expectations will be.
Find Other Friends
If caring for another horse is too costly or if you don’t have the space, maybe consider other friends for your horse that are not quite so large or costly to care for. A miniature horse, for example, can make for a great companion with fewer upkeep demands. Goats, donkeys, alpacas, pot-bellied pigs and llamas are other alternatives that often pair nicely with horses. Of course, whether or not a friendship will develop is largely dependent upon the personality of your horse.
Consider a Companion Horse
Knowing your horse’s normal body temperature, respiration rate and pulse is important in helping to determine whether or not your horse is experiencing health issues. While there is a normal range of values for these bodily functions, you should check your horse over several days and at different times of the day in order to determine what is normal for your particular horse.
Generally speaking, the normal ranges for each are as follows:
- Pulse: 28 to 45 beats per minute, with the double “lub dub” counted as one full beat.
- Respiration: 8 to 20 breaths per minute
- Temperature: 98.5 to 101 degrees Fahrenheit (36.9 to 38.3 degrees Celsius)
Keep in mind that outside factors can affect these readings. For example, you may see a slight increase in your horse’s internal temperature if it is a very hot day. Similarly, if your horse is anticipating a treat or if it is near mealtime, you may see a slight increase in respiration and pulse. Your horse’s level of stress at the time can also affect these readings. This is why getting several readings over a period of time is the best way to get a true idea of what is “normal” for your horse.
Many people fail to realize that eye infections and eye cancer can be a serious issue when raising cattle. While cattle are considered to be relatively easy to care for, eye infections and eye cancer can both be very serious conditions that require proper care and treatment.
Pinkeye is a very serious condition that can affect cattle. If left untreated or if treated too late, it can lead to blindness. Signs of pinkeye including discolored or cloudy eyes, swelling and unusual discharge. You should check your cattle daily for eye infections and you should contact your veterinarian immediately if you see any signs of infection, as early treatment is essential. It should also be noted that pinkeye vaccines are available and should be used if pinkeye is a common issue in the area where you are raising your cattle.
Cattle are very prone to eye cancers, especially lighter-skinned breeds such as Hereford. If detected early, however, eye cancers in cattle are usually fairly easy to treat. If left untreated, on the other hand, the cancer can spread rapidly and can become quite costly to treat. The cancer may also be fatal if not properly treated, so be sure to contact your veterinarian if you suspect eye cancer may be an issue for your cattle.
While cows are relatively easy to care for in terms of keeping them healthy, there are a few conditions that you need to watch out for to ensure your cows stay healthy. Two such conditions include mastitis and foot rot.
What is Mastitis?
Mastitis is an inflammation of the mammary glands that is caused by bacteria. It generally affects cows that have been lactating, but even those that are not lactating can contract mastitis.
Symptoms of acute mastitis include elevated temperature and the udder becoming hot, hard and swollen. Treatment with antibiotics is crucial in recovering from mastitis.
Foot rot is also a bacterial infection, but rather than affecting the mammary glands, it affects the hoof. One or more hooves may be affected by foot rot at the same time, with the first symptom typically being general lameness. Other symptoms may include odor, swelling and pus or discharge
You can greatly minimize the risk of foot root by providing proper hoof care and by maintaining all of the cow’s living areas. This includes keeping your cattle off of muddy pastures as well as rough walking surfaces, as these surfaces can injure the hoof. You should contact your veterinarian immediately if hoof rot is suspected.
Caring for cows is relatively easy, but there are a few health problems from which cows can suffer. One of the most common of these conditions is bloat.
What is Bloat?
Bloat is a serious condition that is usually caused by overeating grain or grazing from a particularly lush pasture. The first obvious sign of bloat is a distension of the area beside the hip bone on the left side of the cow, an area known as the rumen. The cow may also experience labored breathing and may exhibit signs of discomfort, including grinding teeth, kicking, bawling, groaning and salivating profusely.
How Can I Avoid Bloat?
To avoid bloat, you should acclimate your cows to a new pasture slowly. First, you should bring some of the pasture to them for a few days. Then, turn them out to the new pasture for only a few hours per day during the first week. In most cases, you should be able to set your cows out to pasture fully the following week. You should keep this same advice in mind any time you are starting a new diet with your cows.
If you see any evidence of bloat in your cows, you should consider it to be an emergency situation and you should contact your vet immediately.