Preventive Medicine and Health Tips

Prevention is the best medicine. Keep your horses healthy by taking good care of them. Get the book How to be your own Veterinarian (sometimes) by Ruth B. James, DVM. I have read this book and never lost a patient :)  People have criticized me for recommending this book thinking horse owners would be abusing their horses by not calling a vet. But the author tells you when you can treat the horse and when you need professional help.

A few things I have learned from experience over the years:

Don't use duct tape to wrap a foot. i tried it with my first horse and the hoof felt like a hot potato after a day. The duct tape holds in heat.

With minor eye problems I put Terramycin in the eye and I clean the horse's knees. The horse wipes its eyes on its knees so the knees must be clean.

I wash out all wounds with Betadine Surgical Scrub. Then I rinse with a hose. Then I apply Betadine Solution. I never bandage a wound. My horses would just rip off bandages.

Learn about the poisonous plants in your area and get rid of them.

Heaves are a serious and permanent condition equivalent to human emphysema. Don't force exercise a horse that has respiratory infection: discharge from nostrils and cough. Wait until the horse is well before you work it or you will do permanent damage to the lungs.

Don't run a horse on pavement or any hard surface such as the compacted wet sand at the edge of the ocean. You crack the hooves and the horse is basically ruined.

I have seen several horses with the tongue cut nearly off. Knife edge snaffle? Wire through the mouth attached to tie down? Don't do it.

Clean out male horse's sheath with hose flowing slowly at a comfortable temperature. Hold the water in sheath briefly then let water flow out. Don't use soap or other cleanser unless you are sure you can rinse it out.

Minor colic will get better on its own if you just let the horse lie quietly. Watch the horse and if it gets up in a short time and expells gas and starts eating hay it is okay.

Keeping a horse in a dirty stall that stinks of ammonia is going to make that horse sick. Horses that are used to the outdoors and have grown a winter coat are better off outside.

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