Coping with heat stroke

  • Working an unfit horse on a hot and humid day may cause excessive sweating and over-heating. This can be serious and often leads to dehydration and heat stroke.

    You may notice the following symptoms:

    • Increased heart and respiratory rate.
    • A weak pulse.
    • Rapid shallow breathing which does not fall within 15 minutes.
    • A raised temperature for more than 30 minutes.
    • Dull demeanour.
    • Dehydration: Test by pinching the horse’s skin on the neck and release. The skin should take no longer than five seconds to return to normal. If it takes longer he is dehydrated.

    If heat stroke occurs, the priority is to bring the horse’s temperature down:

    • Allow him to rest in a cool stable.
    • Pour some cool water over his back.
    • Offer small amounts of water every few minutes.
    • Electrolytes can help to restore lost salts to the horse’s body.
    • If symptoms persist, the vet may administer intravenous fluids.

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