Caring for a Senior Horse

Do you have an aging horse on your hands? Just like any other animal, Silver will go through some changes as he ages. Horses are defined as seniors once they reach age 15 or so. However, it isn’t uncommon for them to live well into their 20’s, 30’s, or even 40’s! A Pickerington, OH veterinarian discusses senior horse care below.

Monitoring

One of the best things you can do for Silver is have him examined regularly. You want to have a good baseline ‘snapshot’ of his overall health. This will make it easy to spot minor changes. In between visits, keep an eye on his weight and body condition.

Dental

Dental care is also very important! As Silver gets ‘long in the tooth’ he could develop painful issues, such as loose teeth, abscesses, and misalignments. Have his teeth checked regularly, and keep up with the recommended floating schedule.

Hydration

Dehydration is a big concern. Make sure Silver is getting enough water. (Tip: adding a little apple juice can help encourage him to drink more.) 

Exercise

You don’t want to overexert an older horse. However, it is important to keep Silver active. Otherwise, his muscles will atrophy, and he’ll get even more stiff. Just keep in mind that older horses don’t have the stamina as younger ones do. They also get hot more quickly.

Bedding

Silver may appreciate having some extra bedding in his stall, especially when it’s cold out. If your property tends to get icy in winter, use a horse-safe de-icing product, sand, or sawdust to provide better traction.

Turnout

Muddy paddocks can become problematic in winter. Silver does still need regular turnout, but he shouldn’t be spending too much time in damp, chilly conditions. Work with the weather! Also, be sure to keep your equine pal’s stall clean.

Hoof Care

Hoof care is just as important in Silver’s retirement as it was when he was working daily. Keep up with your equine pal’s manicures!

Immunity

Older horses have weaker immune systems than their younger counterparts. This makes them more prone to picking up viruses or diseases, particularly from horses that travel and/or show a lot. Keep Silver separated from any new arrivals, and ask your vet to recommend—and, if need be, modify—his vaccinations schedule.

Do you have questions or concerns about senior horse care? Contact us, your Pickerington, OH veterinary clinic, today!

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