November is Adopt A Senior Pet Month! While most of the PR surrounding this event is focused on dogs and cats, there are also many older horses that are in need of loving forever homes. If you have the time, space, money, and inclination to give one of them a great retirement, this is a perfect time to do it. A Wichita, KS vet discusses senior horse care below.
Silver will have slightly different nutritional needs than his younger cohorts will. Hay should make up the bulk of Silver’s menu, supplemented with a senior-formula horse feed and whatever supplements your vet recommends. One thing to keep in mind is that it may be harder for him to chew his food these days, as his teeth will have worn down. That means he’ll take longer eating. It can also increase his chances of getting colic. Bullying can also be an issue. If your horse pastures with his buddies, you may want to feed him separately, to make sure he’s getting his share.
Dehydration can be an issue with older horses. Make sure that Silver is drinking plenty of water. Regularly do the skin pinch test to see if he is getting dehydrated. Adding a little apple juice to his water may encourage him to drink more. In winter, you may want to use bucket warmers or other methods to keep the water from getting too cold.
Just like people, senior horses often get quite stiff and sore. Silver may appreciate having a little extra bedding for comfort. He may also appreciate a blanket on cold days.
If you’ve spent any amount of time with horses, you know how crucial good hoof care is to them. Clean Silver’s hooves daily, and have the ferrier check them regularly. You’ll also want to make sure to address any slippery areas in your barn or pasture that could cause a fall.
Your vet may also recommend increasing Silver’s deworming schedule. Many vets recommend deworming every two months, but this ultimately depends on fecal egg count results. Ask your vet for specific advice.
In addition to regular visits from his ferrier and vet, Silver may also need his teeth floated. Ask your vet for recommendations.
Do you have questions about your older horse’s health or care? Contact us, your Wichita, KS animal clinic, today!