You are here: Horses > Horse health > Horse water heaters

Cold Weather Horse Colic, Impaction
and Equine Dehydration Solved with Horse Water Heaters

Everyone loves the beauty of fresh falling leaves, or even snow. However, the cold weather of the fall and winter season may have an adverse impact on your horse.
Quite often the animal will not take in sufficient amounts of water – at times because the water freezes and is not readily available – and impaction is the result. If your horse is at pasture during the cold months, you will need to ensure that it has access to a water source that does not freeze. Keep in mind that even conscientious changing of water will not alleviate this problem if it is done when freezing temperatures will turn your bucket of water into a solid mass of ice.
Impaction is a precursor to colic that will cause your horse to become severely dehydrated. During this process, the amount of liquid in the digestive tract will dry up and constipation will set in. Since the feed will not have the liquid it needs to move properly through the digestive system, the horse is no longer able to receive all the nutrients it needs. As a result, the gut of the animal will still be full, feel bloated to the touch, and the animal will stop eating. At the same time, you will notice that the animal will display sings of mild colic.

Since these warning signs are very mild, and since they come on gradually, you may not realize for several days that you have a problem on your hands. You will eventually begin to see that the animal is becoming sluggish, and that its coat is no longer glossy. Your horse may show signs of pain and lie down for long periods of time to paw or stretch. The manure that you will find will most likely be small, reminiscent of plugs or pebbles, and covered with a mucus-like substance. Palpitation of the gut and a rectal examination will show that the intestine is filled with dry fecal matter that has accumulated to such an extent as to cause colic and pain. This condition needs to be treated immediately, to prevent further damage, and also to avoid the impaction of the valve between the small intestine and the cecum. Failure to do so may result in the rupture of the horse’s gut and subsequent death of the animal.

Fortunately the condition is treatable, and in most cases the introduction of warm water to the stomach by tube or intravenous re-hydration is known to work. For the milder cases, a small amount of mineral oil is indicated, which lubricates the intestines sufficiently to move the fecal matter out. Depending on the severity of the dehydration, this process might have to be repeated.

Naturally, an ounce of prevention is much more desirable than a pound of cure, and if you give your horse high quality feed and ensure that it has access to plenty of water, you are certainly doing your part to prevent this condition. Additionally, check on the animal and make sure it is actually drinking, especially when the temperatures turn cold. To prevent freezing of the water in extreme temperatures, the use of a tank heater in the water trough will help. Should you rely on a natural water source, such as a lake, where you regularly break open the ice, make sure the animal is actually drinking from this source, as horses do not like to drink freezing cold water or may hesitate to step onto the ice itself to reach the hole.

Read the next horse health tips article on Dimethyl Sulfoxide (DMSO) Treatments.
Register below to get
free horse tips from:

Horse eZine Cover

Horse Tack & Riding Equipment Maintenance

Tack needs to be maintained religiously. Synthetic tack can be hosed down or washed in the washing machine. It's lighter in weight, easy to care for, and less expensive than leather. Leather, needs much more care. Inspect it every time you clean it. Wash it every time you use it, and then oil the leather parts a few times a year.

Browse some different types and styles of synthetic and leather horse tack available online.

 Horse Education
Horse Training Teleseminar
 Horse Information Topics
Horse health
Horse nutrition / feed
Horse pasture / forage
Horse care
Horse tack / equipment
Horse diseases
Horse shoes / Hoof care
Horse rescue / adoption
Horse transportation
Horse training
Horse trainers
Horse breeds
Horse breeding
Horse names (5,000)
Horse farms / ranches
Horse barns / fencing
Horse riding
Equestrian Sports & Activities
Horse shows
Horse words dictionary
Share a Horse Story
 Horse Business Owners
  Advertise with Us
Have your horse products or services exposed to over 27,000 of our monthly visitors.
  Home | | Privacy | Security | Legal notices | Advertise with Us
 Copyright (c) 2011. American Horse Rider & Horses and Horse Information. All rights reserved.