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Tips when changing horse homes Ask The Vet


A monthly column by Daniel H. Grove, DVM


Got a question for Dr. Grove? Send your inquiries to vet@horsetrader.com, and it could be answered by Dr. Grove in a future column. Dr. Grove is based at West Coast Equine Medicine, headquartered in Fallbrook, Calif., where he lives with his wife Kristen.


by daniel h. grove, dvm M


oving to a new barn is not only stressful to your horse, but also for you. Bonds will be broken and new


bonds made. Feed may change. Water may be different. Different diseases may be pres- ent. All of these things should be on your mind, and I will try to give you some point- ers to help minimize the stress!


Moving to a new herd Horses are herd animals. They are encod-


ed to pack together for their own safety. They tend to make bonds with the horses around them and consider them part of the group, even if they are not all in a pasture


together. When you disturb this bond, some horses get very upset. If you are moving and you have multiple horses, this may not be as big of an issue since they may be happy with just one or two others. If not, expect a few days of excessive vocalization and worry. You can discuss with your veterinarian the use of a product called Zylkene® that is made from colostrum. It is natural and makes the horse feel at home.


Changes in feed Your new barn likely will get its hay from


somewhere else or maybe does not even feed the same type as you were feeding. Any disturbance in what you are feeding can predispose your horse to colic. Try to make the feed change slow and over a few weeks. Either get some hay from the new barn to start adding to the diet or take some from the old barn. An additional thing to consider is probiotics. These beneficial microorgan- isms help to mitigate the effects of new feeds in the diet that can cause colic.


Changes in water When you move, the water likely comes


from a different source. I know when I traveled as a kid before botled water was so popular, you had to drink water from the tap! I remember water having different tastes in different places. The horses pick up on this too. A horse might not want to drink the new water due to the mineral content of it. A litle trick some people do is to add Gatorade® powder to the water a few weeks


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prior to the move. I like to do this with a sec- ondary water source, just in case they do not like it at first, so they do not stop drinking. Then when you move, continue to add the Gatorade® powder to the new water. It helps to mask the flavor of the new water and they tend to continue to drink. Over a few days or so, you can slowly add less powder until your horse is fine with the new water.


Diseases When you house animals together, the


rate of incidence of disease increases. This is a big problem in boarding facilities with diseases such as equine herpes, influenza, and strangles. With horses going in and out frequently and going to shows, the risk of exposure is increased also. What can you do? GET YOUR HORSES VACCINATED. Please, follow the recommendations of the AAEP and your veterinarian to vaccinate for the common diseases in your area. An addition- al thing to consider with your boarding facil- ity is to determine whether or not incoming animals are quarantined. If practiced prop- erly, this process can prevent the spread of disease from animals arriving.


Moving your horse is a task, but taking some measures of prevention can ease the stress of that task. Get together with your veterinarian and set a plan to keep things as simple as possible.


–Dan Rich Ranch


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900325-1702A


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