While grooming your horse, take the opportunity to check for signs of any developing physical or mental problems.
A horse owner must be very observant to maintain good health in a horse. Knowing what is normal and what is not for each individual horse can alert you to a problem before it becomes a big issue. Anytime a horse deviates from its normal physical appearance or behavior it is cause for a closer look.
As you routinely run your hands and eyes over the horse's body during grooming, note any changes that might affect the health or activity level of the horse.
What to check for during your daily inspection of your horse:
- Skin Condition: Scabs, hair loss, swelling, hot spots, lumps, bumps, or bruises
- Discharge: Discharge from eyes, nose, or any body orifices
- Odor: Changes in odors emanating from the mouth, nostrils, or manure
- Physical Condition: Limping, hesitating to put weight on a limb, walking stiffly or reluctantly
- Responsiveness: Signs of depression, lack of appetite, sleepiness
- Deviations from the amount of feed eaten or the amount of water consumed
Is it time to call the veterinarian?
Any of these conditions warrant further examination because they can be precursors to developing health problems. In many cases, you will already know what to do, but if the problem lingers or grows worse, it will be time to call the veterinarian.