Country and Stable are leading suppliers of equestrian wear and country clothing, as well as horse equipment, boots and tack. Here they share their best tips when it comes to reducing your horse’s vet bills.
Your horse is a prized possession of which you’ve invested a lot of affection, time and money into. Whether you keep your horse to compete, or it is a much-loved family pet, it is natural that you want to keep your horse as healthy and as happy as possible, thus reducing any expensive veterinary bills.
Prevention is key….
In some circumstances, your horse requiring emergency treatment is completely unforeseeable, and in these cases you just have to do whatever it takes to make your horse well again. However, a hefty vet bill is always worse when you look back in hindsight and realise you could have prevented it in some way.
Start by taking preventative measures now. Begin by ensuring that, where necessary, you use protective gear specially designed for your horse’s safety such as boots and wraps.
Ground conditions – If in doubt, do not turn your horse out!
An equine accident often occurs when poor ground conditions are not properly treated. Be diligent with the grounds your horse is likely to encounter. If the turnout area is bogged with mud, covered in snow or sheet ice, keep your horse well away from the area. Be sure to treat ice with non-toxic melting solutions to ensure your horse is not poisoned if it comes into contact with their mouth.
Fatal fractures can also occur in many other instances including in the presence dangerous objects such a farming machinery. Make sure all equipment is stowed and used well away from where your horse is likely to be.
Regular maintenance of stalls and paddocks
Ensure that any area in which your horse spends time is effectively designated with barriers that are regularly maintained. Adverse weather conditions and general wear and tear can cause damage including rust and splinters to your safety barriers which could in turn cause an injury to your horse.
Make sure you regularly check your stalls and paddocks for any disrepair. Not only will this ensure your horse is kept in a better environment, but it also prevents any nasty cuts or slices. We also recommend regularly checking any gate fastenings and unintentional fence openings to ensure your horse is unable to get out of their designated area.
Stay informed about plants and foliage that is toxic and poisonous to horses
The threat of your horse being poisoned by toxic foliage and plants is a big problem, no matter how many years you have under your belt caring for a horse.
It may be that you don’t know if the foliage around your paddock is actually harmful or not. Common culprits include…
Ragwort: A weed growing on generally unmaintained land featuring a yellow rosette that contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids. When this chemical is ingested by horses it can result in liver failure and even death.
Sycamore poisoning: Atypical myopathy is a very serious muscle disease and can be caused by sycamore seeds. It is often found in grazing horses where pasture is poor. Be aware of helicopter seeds in the autumn and new-season spring saplings from sycamore trees which contain the harmful chemical Hypoglycin-A.
Box privet: An extremely common style of hedge seen in most gardens and roadsides. If you are out on your horse and it comes into contact with this particular foliage, be aware that even the smallest quantities can kill a horse.
Other basic tips to consider
Colic is one of the major causes of equine death. We always recommend seeking early veterinary intervention if you suspect colic in your horse. However, to help prevent the onset of colic, ensure that your horse has full access to fresh, clean drinking water.
We also recommend keeping a well-stocked supply of the grain your horse is accustomed to. You don’t want to encourage any unpleasant digestive problems with your horse due a to a sudden change in feed.
When introducing your horse to other horses, fighting injuries from kicks and headbutting can cause serious bruising and damage to any horse, no matter how strong they are. If you keep multiple horses, always ensure that you have plenty of feed available and separate any horses that are showing signs of discomfort in each other’s presence.
Maintain regular health checks for your horse
Your horse’s teeth will need attention every year. Leaving it too long can cause many different problems from gum disease to abscesses, as well as any jaw grinding issues caused by the innermost teeth.
It is also recommended to regularly check your saddle fits correctly – if it doesn’t, this will cause your horse pain through muscle spasms. The same goes for horse rugs which can rub and cause nasty sores.
Remember, always listen and watch your horse intently to see if they are displaying any signs of discomfort or unusual behaviour that may lead to a further health issue.
Do you have any helpful tips for other horse owners on helping them keep veterinary assistance to a minimum?