stalls a day. For a lower risk of respiratory
problems you will need to have the barn properly
ventilated. To keep urine odors to a minimum you may
want to use a stall freshener. For a horses recovery you
may want a free choice salt, two full and clean water
buckets along with plenty of hay so they can have
comfortable living arrangements when they return.
It is a little more complicated when it comes to
proper feeding. To aid digestion after surgery it may be
a good idea to order some alfalfa to have on hand. One
flake twice a day is a good idea in addition to all the
grass hay your horse wants. Since many horse owners do
not keep alfalfa on hand it would be a good idea to call
in an order ahead of time so it will be there when your
horse comes home. A good, reliable substitute to alfalfa
hay if you canít find any is the bagged alfalfa forage.
Horses that are confined to a stall often arenít allowed
grain so a good replacement can be grass hay with finely
chopped carrots mixed in.
A horse can have more energy than they are able to burn
off in their stall if they are given large amounts of
concentrated feed. You horse may be allowed gradually
increasing amounts of grain depending on the surgery and
the instructions your veterinarian provides. A
veterinarian may also require you to give a horse
Metamucil after a surgery and you may need to order
quite a bit of this from your local pharmacist depending
on what your veterinarian instructs.
Another good part to add to your daily routine is a
good, vigorous grooming each day. This not only helps
the horse stay clean and comfortable but it helps keep
and promote circulation for the horse.
The next thing you may need to get read for is three
weeks or so of hand-walking and hand-grazing. You may
spend a great majority of your time each day for these
activities with a horse after surgery and you will need
to do it no matter what the weather is like outside. The
recovery process depends greatly on these two activities
since the digestive system is stimulated by both walking
For added insurance against an unexpected breakaway you
should use a long line rather than a shorter lead shank
no matter how quiet and polite your horse is after a
surgery. Depending on the surgery your horse has had
done the veterinarian may require that you give them a
sedative before they become safe to walk outside the
Usually around the three week mark depending on the type
of surgery you should then be able to turn them out into
a small paddock. The veterinarian will often give you
the specific size allowed to prevent the horse from
stretching and tearing the tissues that are healing.
During the time that your horse is in the paddock you
will often have to continue to hand-graze them. Usually
about a month after surgery your veterinarian will allow
you to let the horse back out to full pasture turnout.
While it may be time consuming to care for a horse after
surgery it is definitely worth it for the horse.
However, you should always be prepared for the fact that
you will likely have to spend six to seven hours a day
caring for a horse that has undergone surgery of any
There are several questions that you should ask yourself
when considering if you will be able to properly care
for a horse after surgery. The obvious first question is
do you have what it takes to care for a horse that is
recuperating from surgery?
Next you should ask yourself if you can provide them
with a clean and comfortable stall since prolonged stall
confinement is often required after a horse receives a
serious injury or illness.
Although it may seem weird you should evaluate your own
temperament before taking on the task of caring for a
horse after surgery. The reason for this is that a horse
will require frequent medications and the changing of
unpleasant bandages after a surgery.
You should also make sure you have a willingness to
learn since you may need to be taught by your
veterinarian in how to give intramuscular injections and
be shown how to properly treat proud flesh.
Perhaps the most important question you need to ask
yourself is if you have the time to care for a horse
after surgery. Hours of attention is required by a horse
that is confined to a stall. You should clean the stall
often while also grooming them daily to prevent skin
problems from developing. It is very important that
medications be given as specific and proper intervals.
You need to be around constantly in case the horse
requires additional attention or help. There is also a
considerable amount of time that needs to be spent
hand-walking and hand-grazing the post surgery horse.