SAFE IN THE SHADE
Do you have foals? Is it getting hot where you are? Did you know one of the #1 signs a foal shows when its over heated is hyperventilation? For more on warning signs, read on.
Our veterinarian Dr. Sabine Ware has this important advice to share about babies, mares and hot weather dangers and coping strategies:
“All horses and ponies are susceptible to the heat. However, there are some specific life stages and diseases that make managing the heat a little harder for our equine friends.
We all know that young animals are much more sensitive to temperature changes than adults. But how much more sensitive?
Foals are particularly at risk of developing heat stress and other heat related disorders. This is for a variety of reasons. A young foal is not yet well developed enough to regulate its own body temperature – its neurological and respiratory systems don’t react like a normal adult horse.
One of the first signs they show is hyperventilation (increased respiratory rate). They do this because they are trying to blow off steam/excess body heat. This requires a great deal of energy and so if not picked up early enough the foals will soon become dehydrated and lethargic.
This means they rely more on external sources for core body temperature regulation, ie: shade and ventilation. The mare needs to be adequately hydrated to ensure she is able to produce enough milk to keep her foal hydrated also.
Lethargy, collapse, hyperventilation and sunken eyes is often how foals present to us with heat stress. Intravenous fluid therapy is needed a lot of times to correct this, however if left like this for too long their cardiovascular system and organs become compromised and their prognosis (or percentage chance of recovery) is decreased.
We recommend young foals be stabled or stalled with mares – ensuring the stable or stalls temperature and humidity is well controlled. If this is not able to be provided ensure both mare and foal are in a paddock with lots of shade and check your foal regularly.
Foals nervous system (autonomic) is what controls their temperature regulation, so it is determined by the rate of neurological system development. It is believed this to occurs around 3-6 weeks of age. Once this matures enough they are able to sweat effectively enough to help control core temperature. ”
(Dr. Sabine Ware)
https://www.facebook.com/thevetpractice — with Sabine Ware.