Superb Senior Horse Care: The Aging Horse’s Problems

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As your horse ages, problem points may arise, signaling your horse’s need for a change in management. It’s important to have a senior care strategy. A good strategy will ease your horse into a comfortable place in old age. Senior care accounts for the natural results of aging and takes advantage of advanced options for relief.

Horse eating grass

Turnout time will help with hoof conditioning

Nutrition

As the horse ages, problems with nutrition may result in the need for equine gastric ulcers treatment, such as omeprazole. Nutritional complications are due to some physical changes.

A horse’s teeth start to wear down with age. Poor dentition will make it harder for the horse to break down food and get the nutrients she needs. If the horse can’t chew effectively, the horse can’t digest properly, and the horse’s sensitive gastrointestinal tract will develop ulcers.

Ulcers are among the causes of horse colic  to look out for. If you want your horse to live a long life, taking care of her teeth is a good place to start.

Take your senior to a qualified equine dentist and ask about floating. Floating a horse’s teeth involves filing down points that have developed on the teeth due to wear. Floating your horse’s teeth one to two times a year will help her digest food properly.

Loose teeth in the horse’s gums impede chewing as well, and cause pain. Pull loose teeth and prepare yourself for the inevitable change in diet a horse with little or no teeth will need.

Poor dentition and lack of teeth are not the only things that impede proper digestion. The senior horse’s stomach may have difficulty digesting because of parasites. Over the years, the horse will lose the battle with parasites if you don’t pay attention to deworming requirements, which include effective medication.

Lameness – Senior Horse Care

Some factors can contribute to lameness. According to Dr. Peter Gibbs of Texas A&M University, the horse’s large intestine degenerates with age. Not only does this make it harder for the horse to break down forage, but if the horse has a diet high in sweet feeds and grains (which can also lead to colic), the horse can develop weight problems, which affect the knee joints, contributing to lameness.

Further, poor hoof condition causes lameness. Giving your horse proper turnout time will help with hoof conditioning and will help keep the weight off. Consistent care from a farrier will help the horse maintain proper hoof condition as well. Good feed—including high-quality proteins, vitamin B supplements, and feeds especially formulated for senior horses—is essential for maintaining an optimum body condition score, and will deter lameness. Bute – Phenylbutazone is ideal to treat inflammation in senior horses.

Abler Watermark - Est. 2008

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Horse blogger....I am a horsewoman who has a general interest in horses, love talking about horses' and writing about day-to-day horse care issues.

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