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Advice on how to manage horse health in wet conditions


ABOVE: Horses need particular attention after severe weather and flooding.

THE Seymour Equine Clinic in Victoria has put out some sound advice for people whose horses have been caught up in the very wet weather that has played havoc in the region over the last week.


Horses and floods management advice:


1. Ensure horses have plenty of fresh water - flood water is likely to be heavily contaminated with harmful bacteria and other water-bourne pathogens from run-off of septic systems, chook pens, cattle yards etc. Drinking flood water may result in diarrhoea and aspiration of water can cause serious pneumonia. A separate source of electrolytes is also recommended.


2. If particularly ponies and pregnant mares have been starved of feed for as little as 12 hours during the flood event, they are at risk of developing hyperlipaemia. Early signs are depression and inappetence - please call us urgently as this condition can be fatal if not treated promptly.


3. Standing water will increase the local biting insect population. Bites can lead to hives, Ross River Fever, Japanese Encephalitis, Kunjin Virus and summer sores. Remember that the mosquitos also pose a risk to humans so cover up whilst caring for your horses! Rugs and mozzie repellents are your best defence.


4. Hoof and skin diseases are common after standing in water for prolonged periods. The application of paraffin oil can provide some protection against the water. Washing (every other day) with Iodine – 10 per cent solution is really beneficial. Ensure tetanus vaccination is up to date and aggressively treat even small wounds. Antibiotics are often required. Check hooves daily as soft hooves are more prone to trauma, laminitis and infection. Paint iodine on the hooves too.


5. Before returning horses to flood-ravaged paddocks, remove any wet feed (hard feed and hay). Ideally wait 7-10 days and check paddock thoroughly for debris. Sand deposited on the pasture can increase the risk of sand colics.


6. There's a high risk of laminitis in susceptible ponies due to rapid grass growth once the water has subsided. Also some quick-growing grasses may be high in oxalate - leading to conditions such as Big Head. Calcium supplementation is recommended.

Any questions or concerns can be directed to the clinic on (03) 57 991 441.



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