A healthy horse is a happy horse, and the reverse is usually true. You can therefore tell a great deal about the overall status of your horse’s health by its appearance and behavior. Still, there are things you need to check for frequently. Visually checking the eyes, the nostrils, and the condition of the coat takes little time, and is something you can easily do.
It is quite often possible to gauge a person’s health by looking at their eyes. It’s the same with horses. The eyes of a healthy horse are big and bright and the membranes around the eyes are normally an even pink. The membranes in the nostrils are the same, and there should be no unusual discharges. The coat should lie flat and have a certain amount of sheen to it. A dull coat combined with excessive shedding is often the sign of a nutritional problem.
Be on the lookout for puffiness around the joints and especially around the pasterns, which could indicate a hoof problem or a foot disorder. You can also check a horse’s excrement on occasion, if you take the time to learn what to look for. Examining manure is a good way to check for possible digestive disorders or the presence of worms.
Keeping a log is never a bad idea, and it can be especially helpful to you and to the vet when your horse is showing signs of ill health. Among other things, you might need to keep a daily log of the horse’s temperature and pulse rate besides writing down any apparent abnormalities you happen to observe. A log can be especially useful in that some diseases or disorders, especially nutritional disorders, tend to get worse with time and often at a slow pace.
Most of these observations can be done during the course of a grooming session, during which you have the chance to observe virtually every square inch of the animal’s exterior.
Written by William Savage of Babbling Ink "Outsourcing Professionals United"
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