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Discussion on Hypothermia in our Horse

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Linda M. Breiner
New Member
Username: Tush

Post Number: 1
Registered: 11-2005
Posted on Monday, Nov 28, 2005 - 5:08 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Our horse, Tucker, a 15 yr old Arab, just went through a weekend of hypothermia. Sat morn his temp. did not register on thermometer so it was below 94 degrees. Vet came out, put him in garage and now Monday morn it's up to 98.1 degrees. He'll be monitered very carefully and will now be put in a barn at night. We live in interior AK and it's gotten extremely cold for this time of year (-30). Any suggestions on what we do here on out would be helpful especially from anyone living in AK or Canada that deal w/below zero temps all winter. He's being boarded right now and we're in the process of buying our own horse property, so any helpful suggestions would be appreciated, thanks,
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Sara Wolff
Member
Username: Mrose

Post Number: 973
Registered: 1-2000
Posted on Monday, Nov 28, 2005 - 6:12 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

We used to live in Truckee, CA area where night time temps were often -40. Lots of good feed (we fed alfalfa and oats)is important. We blanketed and double blanketed when it was really cold. I used to use those heavy New Zealand rugs (the real deal, not copies) but these days there are a lot of good warm blankets that aren't nearly so heavy to carry around as the New Zealand ones. You can get a good thick quilted blanket liner for $40 or so from Scheinders (www.sstack.com) and then a heavy blanket with a belly band on top. A warm hood is good, too, although our horses got such hairy heads we seldom used them.

I was always concerned about horses not drinking enough water when it was so cold, so every morning I made "alfalfa tea" for them (hot water and a little alfalfa meal) which they really looked forward to.

I think if the horses have a lot of quality feed and shelter, and at your winter temps a good warm blanket and liner, they should do fine.

It could be worse; you could live in Mayo, AK !!
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Linda M. Breiner
New Member
Username: Tush

Post Number: 3
Registered: 11-2005
Posted on Monday, Nov 28, 2005 - 8:39 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks Sara for the info. I grew up in CA and didn't know Truckee got that cold. Wow! Yes, it can always be worse, haha! (where is Mayo? You have relatives there?)
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Sara Wolff
Member
Username: Mrose

Post Number: 974
Registered: 1-2000
Posted on Monday, Nov 28, 2005 - 9:19 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

No. We were in Mayo once while touring around AK several years ago. It's in the interior and is a tiny village with maybe 100 people. I just remember that the AVERAGE winter temp was something like -80! I think it's the coldest spot in N. America. Truckee, CA can get pretty cold! Often it's the coldest spot in the US. Usually it doesn't seem so bad because it's sunny in the daytime. But we often had a few weeks every winter when it was just bitter 24/7.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 14208
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Tuesday, Nov 29, 2005 - 6:24 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Linda we have an article about maintaining horses in the cold and since you posted in its forum I presume you have read it. However it may not really address a aged horse with other health problems at -30 degrees. Really to help with your problem first we need to know more about him. What is his overall condition and what preexisting health problems does he have?
DrO
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Linda M. Breiner
New Member
Username: Tush

Post Number: 4
Registered: 11-2005
Posted on Tuesday, Nov 29, 2005 - 11:36 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

He has had a rough autumn with lots of bites from his paddock mate and he never grew his winter coat which normally is very good. Looking back we're thinking he wasn't getting enough of hay and his system is now completely run down. This summer he was in awesome health. He went from one boarding facility(paddocked by himself) to another facility where he shared w/a horse he liked. Then the weather got cold and a shelter was built and he started to get bit, pretty bad. So they moved him to another pen; wasn't getting as bit up but now he's completely submitted and we think he just wasn't eating much as he lost weight. So, now he'll go into a barn at night and blanketed during the day where he'll be by himself. The vet said he has less than a summer coat as where all the bites were; all the hair around it has fallen out, so he needs to be blanketed all winter.

I am wondering if there will be any lasting effects and how long it will take for him to get back some energy. Any suggestions on getting him to gain weight and grow hair besides lots of hay and 2 cups of oil in his complete feed grain (one scoopful)a day.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 14222
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Wednesday, Nov 30, 2005 - 9:56 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Not being able to see the horse Linda I am uncertain how long it will take to recover but recovery from lost condition is slow in the cold weather. If this is the only problem he will recover and lack of progress over the next month suggest complicating factors that a thorough exam should be able to identify.

While vegetable oil is a great way to boost caloric intake you should also review fiber, protein, mineral, and vitamin intake. We have an article that explains about feeding and carrying for thin horses at Equine Diseases » Colic and GI Diseases » Weight Loss in Horses » Overview of Chronic Weight Loss.
DrO
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Linda M. Breiner
New Member
Username: Tush

Post Number: 5
Registered: 11-2005
Posted on Wednesday, Nov 30, 2005 - 10:37 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks for the info. I printed the articles and will refer to them often especially re: the feed. He's doing really well but he has a long way to go.

Thanks much, Linda : }}
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