A Strong Immune System: The Basis for Healthy Horses
Everyone who owns a horse wants it to be healthy. A well-functioning immune system is necessary for this.
The immune system of our horses is like the engine of our cars. As long as everything works perfectly and there are no problems, we don't think about it. But woe if things no longer run smoothly. This is why it is so important that we take care of our horses' immune systems. After all, it's the only protection they have from potential dangers such as viruses, bacteria, or toxins.
Stress: The underestimated danger
It is common knowledge that stress is not good for horses. What is often overlooked, however, is that stress is one of the greatest dangers for the immune system of four-legged friends. It can be triggered by different things. These include:
- Hard training
- To travel
If you now think that this doesn't currently affect your horse and that it is not under stress, think again. Even real leisure horses, which are otherwise only in the paddock, can have extreme stress. The reasons for this are diverse:
- Ejection from the group
- Harassment by more dominant horses
- Too long in the stable
- Too little outlet
- No contact with other horses
- No regular feeding
- Insufficient protection against extreme weather conditions
The problem is, stress doesn't show up directly. Many horses respond to excessive stress by becoming calmer. Still, there are a few signs that can indicate stress: Decreased appetite, lethargy, or fever of unknown origin.
What we can do
It is optimal if we keep our eyes open and pay attention to the possibilities to reduce the daily stress of our horses. This requires close observation. How do our horses tolerate the weather? Do you have enough options to protect yourself from wind, rain and the like? Colic is more likely to occur in extremely hot temperatures than in cold, which horses can tolerate better. On the other hand, the combination of cold and wet weather is really bad. What about the group dynamics? Is my horse being bullied by more dominant horses or even driven out of the shelter?
No extremely complex measures are necessary to reduce the stress on our horses. Even with small steps you can reach your goal - you just have to be attentive and take action if necessary.
All horses should be vaccinated regularly so that they are completely protected and the immune system is strengthened against common diseases. Of course, a horse doesn't always need to be vaccinated against every possible disease. Veterinarians know which diseases are common in each region and which vaccinations are important. It is good to seek professional advice as vaccinations are required at different intervals depending on the age of the horse. It makes a difference whether a horse is re-immunised against a disease or the immunization just needs to be refreshed.
Feed and complementary foods
An engine cannot function properly without the right fuel. The same goes for our horses' immune systems. It is now known that more than 70% of horses' immunity is related to the digestive system.
In order to keep the immune system resilient, proper feeding is essential. It is best to feed the horse accordingly, depending on its age and use, i.e. to give it all the nutrients it needs.
High-quality feed is the basis, then various supplements can also help to meet the specific requirements of the horse and its immune system. Supplements are particularly useful when the horse
- Recovering from illness
- Working hard
- Trained a lot
- Or when living conditions change.
- Again, it is best to seek veterinary advice.
A strong immune system is the basis for a healthy horse. We can take action to support it; The only important thing is that we don't forget about it so that it isn't suddenly too late.
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