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Horse Health 101 : Horse Health Library : Winter Care

Winterizing Your Horse

Winterizing your horse for the cold winter months will help insure they stay healthy throughout a stressful winter season. The doctors at Mid-Rivers Equine Centre encourage the following.

Ensure the deworming program is current: The extra strain on a horse's metabolic system during the winter can exacerbate problems associated with infestation.

Have teeth checked and if necessary floated: A horse's metabolic rate increases during the cold winter months. Horses that cannot properly grind up their food will not extract all the nutritional value their food offers. This may result in a malnourished horse and the loss of needed body fat.

Make sure all vaccines are up-to-date: A common "winter" vaccine is Rhino/Flu. This vaccine provides protection against some (but not all) common respiratory tract infections. With regard to this vaccine, sometimes questions come up about the neurologic form of EHV-1. There is currently no vaccine which is effectively providing protection against that.

Provide plenty of water: Water is the number one defender against colic. During the winter horses have a tendency to reduce their water intake; this is why we can see an uptick in colics as the temperatures drop. If a horse is not drinking, try adding warm water to the bucket.

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