Combating Winter Worries

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With the onset of dark nights and daylight hours at their shortest many horses will be less active and spend longer periods inside. As the cold weather bites, riding time can also be limited and turn out can be hit and miss as our paddocks transform into flooded mud baths.

Combating common winter ailments can be a challenge due to the adverse and changeable conditions representative of a UK winter. Ensuring your first aid kit is fully stocked with the most appropriate products can help ease winter worries.

In winter, horses often spend more time indoors and become less mobile, which allows fluid to accumulate around joints and causes an increase in bursal injuries and strains.

When horses are subjected to spending more time indoors, they are also likely to be more exuberant when they do go out in the field, leading to strains, tendon injuries, and knocks. This can also be the case when hacking out on uneven, ground that can quickly become deep with slippery mud.

Cold therapy is ideal for the treatment of inflammation and such soft tissue injuries, and should be used immediately after an injury occurs and then subsequently for the next 48 hours, at regular intervals.

Traditional cold hosing with water in the winter months may lead to cracked heels or other skin problems. Koolpak® from Robinson Animal Healthcare provides instant, dry cold therapy, without the need for refrigeration, and is a key product in any first aid kit throughout the year.

Foot abscesses are more common in wet weather because horses’ feet are softer; making it is easier for foreign objects or dirt to penetrate the foot. The wet, muddy conditions of winter provide ample opportunity for abscess with dirt and gravel able to work their way easily under the shoe or into the foot of an unshod horse.

Animalintex® Hoof Treatment from Robinson Animal Healthcare is pre-cut to shape for economy and convenience. Suitable for the rapid treatment of foot conditions, such as abscesses, it is the only licensed veterinary poultice on the market for equine treatment.

The most important and underrated item in any first aid kit is Animalintex®, the only poultice that can legally be used to treat a variety of ailments from infected wounds, abscesses and embedded thorns to bruises, strains and sprain. Animalintex® can be applied as a hot, wet poultice, a cold, wet poultice or even as a dry wound dressing.

Winter skin conditions can bring misery to many horses, with damp muddy paddocks an ideal breeding ground for the bacterium that causes mud fever.

If it is known that an individual horse is prone to certain winter skin conditions then preventative measures should be taken. For example, horses prone to mud fever may benefit from a barrier cream or regular treatments with an anti-bacterial cleansing wash.

Robinson Animal Healthcare has a wide range of products for all your first aid requirements.

For more information visit robinsonanimalhealthcare.com

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