Archive for June, 2016

July Around The Feed Store Blog

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

July Around the Feed Store

What a hot summer! We’re giving you the scoop on products from Argyle Feed & Hardware to help make this hot Texas Summer a little more bearable. Don’t forget to keep your gardens and grass well-hydrated and free of pesky bugs.

It’s no fun to have an outdoor activity in your backyard while mosquitos and other bugs are feasting on you: we have a couple of great products to help you out with the bugs. Pick up a jug of Skeeter Screen at the store that helps with mosquitos, gnats, chiggers, biting flies, fleas, and ticks. Skeeter Screen comes in a spray, granular and liquid that can be hung. You can also use sulfur to help repel the snakes and pests away. Just a sprinkle a good layer around the area you would like for them to stay away.

Tired of seeing your chickens itching and rolling around to get the crawling insects and fleas off of their bodies? We’ve got just the product you need to help them out. Check out Soil Mender Diatomaceous Earth, create a boundary around their coop or put it in an area they tend to roll around in and let them dust with this powder. You can also put this product in your house on the carpets to get rid of the fleas and crawling critters like ants. Also don’t forget with these hot temps they need to stay well hydrated so make sure they have plenty of access to water.

The summer is upon us along with the fleas and ticks from a not so cold winter. Unfortunately now we are dealing with more creepy crawly critters on the animals and us. We have a great product called Seresto that lasts for 6 months or longer. You just put a collar on your dog and cat and you won’t have a flea or a tick on your animal! It is better than Adams and Frontline! Don’t be sticker shocked when you come in because, in the end, it is totally worth it. We have people who swear by the collar and can’t believe it wasn’t on the market sooner.

Also, remember to #savethedate for our FREE Ice Cream Sundaes and Car Wash Fundraiser on July 9th! Bring your dogs in for a treat! Kids can come in to decorate a dog bowl and make their own ice cream sundae while your car is getting washed by volunteers and staff from Victory Therapy Center! Happens all day Saturday from 10 am ’til 3 pm.

We hope you’re enjoying your summer and staying cool— Argyle Feed & Hardware is open on July 4th for anything you need for your Fourth of July celebrations.  Celebrate safe and come see us at the Feed Store!


Soil Mender Diatomaceous Earth

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

Soil Mender Diatomaceous Earth

Argyle Feed & Hardware carries Soil Mender Diatomaceous Earth in several sizes including 25 and 50 lb. bags and shaker sizes.

Which pests does Diatomaceous Earth control? Most indoor invaders, including roaches, silverfish, spiders and even fleas are impacted by DE.  Adding DE in a chickens’ dust bath mixture helps prevent problems with lice. DE also has many uses around the homestead, as it can help control fleas on dogs, and to reduce parasites in horses, pigs and other animals.

  • A natural product composed of ground fossil
  • Diatomaceous Earth (fresh water type)
  • Amorphous Silica – food grade Anti-caking agent
  • A natural, organic insect killer, DE kills insects by physical action and not chemical
  • Use on animals, plants, stored grain & around the house to control household & plant pests


Is Soil Mender Diatomaceous Earth Food Grade safe for Human Consumption?
– We cannot promote it as such due the fact that Diatomaceous Earth is not recognized by the FDA. It is non toxic, there are no chemicals added, and is OMRI certified through our supplier.

Can I use Soil Mender Diatomaceous Earth Food Grade indoors?
-Yes, you can. Soil Mender Diatomaceous Earth Food Grade is a fine powder, however, a mask is recommended to be worn, indoors or out, to avoid any breathing agitations. There are no added chemicals and is non toxic, so it is safe to use in inhabited areas.

How do I apply Soil Mender Diatomaceous Earth Food Grade?
-Soil Mender does offer the product in a “duster” or “shaker”. You can also apply wet by adding one cup of Soil Mender Diatomaceous Earth Food Grade per gallon of water, keeping it agitated while spraying. A light dusting or watering is all that is necessary – no need for mounds of white!

Buy 3 Bags of Purina Strategy Horse Feed, the 4th Is On Us!

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016
Jul ’16Jul

Purina Strategy Horse Feed

Celebrate & save in July at Argyle Feed & Hardware on Purina Strategy Horse Feed!  During the month of July, buy any 3 bags of Purina Strategy GX or Purina Strategy Healthy Edge horse feed and we’ll give you the 4th bag FREE!!!  No coupon necessary!  All 3 bags must be purchased during the same transaction.  Offer valid while supplies last through July 31st.

Now is the time to stock up on Purina Horse Feed and feed your horse the best! This special promotion is only good at Argyle Feed through July 31, 2016. Hurry in today for best selection and we’ll get you stocked up.

Argyle Feed & Hardware is your Denton County destination for Purina Strategy Horse Feed and all of your equine needs!

Vacation Lawn Care

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

Vacation Lawn Care

You might be on vacation but your lawn care isn’t— Here are tips from Scotts for vacation lawn care:

When summer arrives, you may feel it’s time to pack up and get out of Dodge for a week or two but your lawn can’t shut down while you’re gone. Here are some useful tips to help your lawn get through your summer vacation.

If You’ll Be Gone for 1 Week or Less?

When you’re going away for a week in the summer, your lawn won’t even miss you. Lawns grow more slowly in the heat of summer, so simple preparations will do just fine. Just mow your lawn at the regular height the day before you go. If you water your lawn, be sure to water it deeply the day before you leave if watering is not restricted.

If You’ll Be Away for 2 Weeks or MoreVacation Lawn Care

Before you go, set your mower down a notch and mow it the day before you leave. When you get back, raise your mower 2 notches before you cut your lawn. Try not to take off more than one-third of the grass height at a time. Also, water your lawn deeply the day before you leave if watering is not restricted. Your lawn may go dormant in hot, dry weather while you’re away. Not to worry. Going dormant is a healthy coping mechanism for grass. You can water it deeply when you get back. If you’ll be gone for more than 2 weeks, you may want to hire the neighborhood kid or a mowing service to cut your grass while you’re away.

Source: Scotts Lawn Care Products

Technology Behind Purina AntlerMax Diets

Monday, June 20th, 2016

Purina AntlerMaxPurina AntlerMax Premium Deer Feeds are formulated to maximize every buck’s genetic potential for antlers, optimal reproductive performance and milk production in does, and promote strong and healthy fawns.

Purina AntlerMax By-Pass Protein technology

Developed in 1995 as an innovative first from Purina Animal Nutrition, AntlerMax® By-Pass Protein technology promotes antler growth by optimizing protein quality. Protein in traditional deer feed is typically broken down by bacteria in the deer’s rumen and the deer digests the bacteria in its stomach. But the quality of the protein can be degraded by these bacteria, leaving lower quality amino acids available for antler growth.

AntlerMax® By-Pass Proteins are protected from being broken down by these bacteria. They “by-pass” the bacteria in the rumen, so the high-quality amino acids are digested in the small intestine, which can support greater antler growth. This is a more beneficial digestion process because it delivers a higher concentration of proteins to the growing antlers. The result helps deliver nutrients to the growing antler for the growth of unbelievable size, speed and mass at earlier ages.

AntlerMax® Mineral technology

This proprietary technology provides an optimal nutritional mineral package for antler development. Proprietary levels and ratios of essential minerals, including chelated minerals, help maximize every buck’s genetic potential for antler growth while supporting reproductive performance in does and helping to produce strong, healthy fawns.

AntlerMax® Nutritional enhancements

At Purina Animal Nutrition, we are constantly researching formulations and innovating to ensure our products achieve superior performance. Our AntlerMax® diets contain twice the amount of proprietary AntlerMax® By-Pass Protein than the original formulations. We’ve enhanced the trace mineral levels and ratios to support antler production at an early age. The fat levels have been increased to promote optimal body condition, and we’ve also increased levels of Vitamin D for calcium and phosphorus utilization. These nutritional enhancements better meet the deer’s nutrient requirements, thus optimizing performance.

Regional formulations

Purina® AntlerMax® diets are regionally formulated based on our extensive deer liver research that highlights regional mineral deficiencies. Purina® AntlerMax® diets help meet these regionally focused deficiencies.

The unique combination of AntlerMax® By-Pass Protein technology, mineral technology, nutritional enhancements and regional formulations culminates in a premium feed, designed specifically for deer.

Source: Larry Varner, Purina Animal Nutrition

Architecture of the Equine Digestive System

Thursday, June 16th, 2016
Equine Digestive System

Horse with Colic

Learn about the equine digestive system to make the best choices in what and how to feed your horse.

Imagine looking down the length of a 100-foot garden hose. Now imagine gathering up that hose and fitting it inside your horse’s belly. One end of the tube is at his mouth, and the other is at his tail, with the majority balled up in his abdominal cavity.

You’ve just pictured a rough image of your horse’s digestive system. One hundred feet of tube through which everything you feed him travels, with digestion and absorption processes all along the path. That’s a lot of tube. And, when things go right, the system is very efficient. However, so many things happen in those 100 feet, it’s not too surprising that there are quite a few potential problems.

There are also many rules in feeding horses: feed small meals often; feed only high-quality hay; make any feeding changes gradually; never feed cattle feed to horses, etc. Why does feeding your horse seem so complicated, and why so many rules?  The answer lies in the architecture of the horse’s gut i.e. how his unique digestive system is designed.

I’ve always thought understanding how your horse’s digestive system works is more important than trying to memorize all those rules. If you understand the architecture of the gut and how digestion and absorption of nutrients works in horses, you don’t need to memorize anything, it all just makes logical sense. Then, when you’re faced with a new situation, you don’t have to try to remember the appropriate rule, you can just think of what makes sense. That will help you make the best choices in what and how to feed your horse.

The horse’s gut is fairly unique compared to other livestock species. The horse is classified as a nonruminant herbivore: an animal that eats plants and is not a ruminant. Several livestock species are ruminant herbivores, including cattle, sheep and goats. Ruminants have stomachs that are divided into compartments, whereas horses have simple stomachs with only one compartment. Animals with simple stomachs are classified as monogastrics, including horses, pigs, dogs, cats and humans.

With those basic differences defined, let’s look at the horse’s gut. We’re going to start at the beginning, follow it through to the back end and examine what goes on in each section.

The Upper Gut
The gut starts at the mouth, which the horse uses to take in feedstuffs and chew. In horses, a unique aspect of the mouth is that the physical act of chewing stimulates the production of saliva, which is not necessarily the case in other species. To understand the importance of this, think of saliva as lubrication. If your horse doesn’t chew adequately, there will be larger chunks of feed and less lubrication (saliva) to help the feed flow smoothly through the digestive tract.

Providing regular dental care is the first step horse owners can take to help ?ensure adequate chewing. This decreases the risk of digestive tract problems, such as choke, and helps ensure optimal digestion and absorption of nutrients.

The next part of the gut is the esophagus, or throat. The horse’s esophagus is unique in how it attaches to the stomach. The attachment is at such an angle and the muscles are so firm that once the digesta passes that point, it’s not coming back— it’s a one-way trip. The horse normally cannot belch or regurgitate. In fact, if something makes it into the horse’s stomach that should not be there, such as a toxic substance, his stomach would rupture before he could ever regurgitate.

This is different than in cattle. Cows can belch and “chew their cud” (or ruminate) when partially degraded food moves back up the esophagus from the stomach and is then chewed and swallowed again. This allows them to break down less digestible foods so nutrients are more available farther down the tract, which is one of the reasons cattle are better able than horses to utilize poor quality hay.

Now we enter the horse’s stomach. As I mentioned before, the horse has a monogastric stomach, meaning a single compartment or a simple stomach. This single compartment contains primarily digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid, so feed is degraded by enzymatic digestion.

This is also quite different from cattle, as a cow’s stomach comprises four compartments, with the largest compartment being the rumen. The rumen is a very large bag, large enough to fill a typical wheelbarrow. It contains billions of microorganisms: bacteria and protozoa. When feed enters the cow’s rumen, it is digested (fermented) by the microbes. This accounts for one of the reasons you should feed your horse only products designed specifically for horses and not cattle, because ?microbes are able to digest and utilize some feed components (and some potentially toxic substances) that digestive enzymes cannot.

Another function of microbial fermentation is the digestion of fiber carbohydrates in the diet. Fibers are made of sugars linked together by a bond that requires a microbial enzyme to break. In ruminants, microbes in the rumen break down fibers into volatile fatty acids (VFAs). The VFAs are then absorbed from the small intestine and are an important energy source for the animal. In the horse, these fibers pass through the stomach and small intestine with very little breakdown. This is another reason to feed high-quality hay to your horse. The more fibrous the hay, the less digested it will be in the upper gut (stomach and small intestine) and the fewer nutrients your horse will get out of the hay. Cattle are quite efficient at ?retrieving nutrients even from fairly poor-quality roughages due to the microbial fermentation in the rumen.

One more interesting difference between the equine and bovine stomach is the rate of passage. In cattle, it can easily take 24 to 36 hours for feedstuffs to pass through the entire stomach. In horses, digesta usually passes through the stomach within two hours, though it can be as short as 15-20 minutes. The faster digesta moves, the less efficient digestion processes may be.

Moving on, the next part of the horse’s gut is the small intestine. This is a tube that is about 3 inches in diameter and 60-70 feet long.

As digesta moves through the small intestine, more digestive enzymes are produced, and nutrients are degraded into components that can be absorbed into the bloodstream. In fact, the small intestine is the major site of nutrient absorption: Most if not all of the fat in the diet is digested and absorbed here, soluble carbohydrates (sugars and starch) are primarily digested and absorbed in the small intestine, and it is the only appreciable area of absorption of amino acids from dietary protein. The majority of vitamins and several minerals are also absorbed in the small intestine.
Here again, the rate of passage of digesta through the small intestine is fast, as short as 45 minutes with a maximum rate of about eight hours. In 10 hours, feed has passed all the way through the stomach and small intestine in the horse.

Anything that we can do as horse owners to slow down the rate of passage in the stomach and small intestine can help increase the efficiency of digestion and nutrient absorption. About the only way to do that is to slow down your horse’s rate of intake. Feeding management practices such as placing large, round stones in the feed tub can accomplish that goal; your horse has to pick around the stones, slowing down intake.

Source: Dr. Katie Young, PhD, Land O’ Lakes/Purina Animal Nutrition Equine Nutrition Consultant

Kaylan’s June Horse Sense Blog: Summer Heat, Electrolytes and Your Horse’s Gut

Thursday, June 16th, 2016

Horse Sense Blog

Welcome to our first monthly post starting in June for Kaylan’s Horse Sense Blog! Every month, I will bring you tips on managing your horses as well as product information for keeping your horses healthy, happy and in top condition.

Whew! The heat has finally caught up to us this summer. Don’t forget about your animals and the already oppressive hot temps. If you can provide shade in the pasture with trees or sheds along with good air circulation, your horses will greatly appreciate it! For horses in stalls,  a fan or two will circulate the air around the stall. When you are preparing to ride your horse this summer, please always remember to account for the daily high temperatures, humidity and heat index. As a common rule, do not ride above a combined temperature and humidity of 180°, for that matter, when temps and humidity are 150° and above, you should ride with caution and not overdo your activity. This article from the University of Minnesota Extension is a great reference for managing your horses during hot weather.  U of M Equine experts offer valuable tips for assessing your horse’s heat tolerance and hydration levels to avoid heat stress.  Purina has a great multi vitamin mineral package containing electrolytes you can offer your horse:  feed daily as a block in the pasture, stall or pen or add as a loose supplement to their grain or in a separate pan. The horse will typically consume 2 ounces a day. Here is the product information sheet on Purina Free Balance 12:12 Vitamin & Mineral Supplement; please feel free to download and print for your reference.

Horse Sense Blog

If we manage our horses well in the heat, we can then help minimize their chance to twist, tie up or go off their feed and water. Dr. Katie Young, Consultant for Purina Horse Feeds, has a great article which discusses the architecture of the equine digestive system.  She explains in detail how easy it is for a horse’s gut to become twisted and impacted which can cause a horse to fall quickly ill.  When we can understand our horses’ gut better then we can hopefully better manage our horses better day in and day out. Everything which goes into our horses must pass through their bodies. Horses are physically unable to throw up and can barely cough something out if it does go down wrong or they inhale something. I hope these tips and articles will help you keep your horses healthy during our blazing hot Texas summer heat!

Stay cool and stay tuned in July for our next blog about forage for horses! If you have questions or need help with your horse’s nutritional management needs, please contact me via email at [email protected].

Kaylan Herbst, Purina Lifestyle Product Specialist at Argyle Feed & Hardware

Purina Free Balance 12 12 Vitamin & Mineral Supplement

Thursday, June 16th, 2016

Click images below to download and print:


Culling Chickens

Thursday, June 16th, 2016

culling chickensIf you don’t want to wait through a molt, you can cull non-laying birds and replace them. Culling chickens involves removing non-laying  slow-developing birds in your flock. If the bird is not sick, it is perfectly suitable for home cooking. You should always cull lame or sick chickens, because they are not productive and may spread disease.

Hens give many clues they are no longer laying. Non-laying hens have small, dull combs rather than the bright red combs of layers. Their vents will be small and dry, not stretched by egg production. The width between their pubic bones will be just one finger, not two or more, and the depth between pubic and keel bones will be only a few finger widths rather than four or more. The feathers will be ragged, with no apparent new feathers.

On the other hand, culling chickens may not be an option for less productive or non-productive hens that have endeared themselves as pets, or if your goals are primarily to simply watch and enjoy your birds rather than obtain maximal egg or meat production from them. With good care, many types of poultry can live 20 years or more!

Managing Horses During Hot Weather

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

Managing Your Horse During Hot Weather

Managing horses during hot weather can be a challenge for horse owners. Horse owners need to provide extra care during hot weather in order to decrease stress and maintain health and well-being of the horse. Normally, horses cool themselves by sweating. Evaporation of sweat from the skin surface has a cooling effect (Figure 1). A horse that is working hard in a hot environment can lose 2 to 4 gallons of sweat per hour. Less evaporation occurs during times of high humidity. Table 1 outlines how a horse’s ability to cool itself is affected by air temperature and relative humidity.

The thermal neutral zone for horses is estimated to be from about 40°F (5°C) to 77°F (25°F), with the lower temperature representing the lower critical temperature and the higher temperature representing the upper critical temperature. It is commonly understood that horses require more calories to stay warm during the winter months. While not much is known about the impact of temperatures above the upper critical temperature on caloric needs, metabolic changes in nutrient utilization do occur. In addition, heat stress has a negative impact on feed intake, and most horses will not voluntary consume as much feedstuffs on hot days, similar to humans and other livestock. The change in metabolism, coupled with the likely reduced feed intake, can result in body weight loss, most specifically muscle protein. It is critical to track feed intake and body condition and weight during hot weather, especially for thin, older, and younger horses. If body condition or weight loss is observed, contact an equine nutritionist or veterinarian for assistance.

Table 1. How air temperature and relative humidity affect horse cooling

Air temperature (°F) + Relative humidity (%) Horse cooling efficiency
Less than 130 Most effective
130-150 Decreased
Greater than 150 Greatly reduced
Greater than 180 Condition could be fatal if horse is stressed

Fortunately, research has shown that horses can acclimate to hot and humid environments. A 15 to 21 day acclimation period is recommended for horses originating from cooler or drier climates that are traveling to compete or reside in hot, humid conditions. The acclimation period resulted in an increased tolerance to both heat and exercise. However, acclimation does not reduce the need for close monitoring of horses during training and competition in hot and humid environments.

To help reduce the effects of heat and keep horses comfortable:

  • Provide turnout during cooler times of the day (early in the morning, late at night, or overnight).
  • Provide relief from the sun through access to shade from trees or buildings. Shade will change throughout the day and constructed buildings may block natural air flow.
  • Watch for signs of sunburn, especially on white or light-colored areas; use masks and ensure access to shade.
  • Fans help to improve airflow; be sure to keep cords and plugs out of the horses reach to prevent electrocution.
  • Ensure access to clean, cool (recommended temperature range of 45 to 64°F) water at all times. Depending on feed, an adult horse in a cool climate will normally drink 6 to 10 gallons of water each day while at rest, and much more while working or in hot conditions.
  • Water buckets and tanks may need to be cleaned more regularly in hot weather as algae and bacteria grow rapidly in warm water. Blue algae toxicity (which affects horses, pets, and other livestock) is more common in ponds or slow running streams during hot, dry weather.
  • Free choice access to salt will encourage drinking. Loose salt is preferred over a salt block.
  • Consider providing electrolytes to horses that have been sweating heavily or are expected to do so. If electrolytes are added to drinking water, also offer plain water since some horses dislike the taste of electrolytes and will drink less. Only use electrolytes that are formulated for horses.
  • Reduce riding intensity and length; heat stress can affect any horse but is especially common in older, obese and out of condition horses. Young foals also tend to be more prone to heat stress and dehydration.
  • Clip horses with long hair coats (i.e. horses with Cushing’s disease) to enhance cooling.
  • Transport horses during the coolest part of the day. Ensure that trailers are well ventilated and offer water frequently. Do not park in direct sunlight with horses inside.
  • Horses with anhidrosis have little or no ability to produce sweat; these horses are prime candidates for heat stress.

It is recommended to avoid riding a horse when the combined temperature and relative humidity surpass 150 (Table 1). If a horse must be ridden during hot and humid weather, or you live in an area where hot and humid weather is prevalent, it is essential to:

  • Adjust your schedule (ride early in the morning or late at night).
  • Keep the work light and include frequent breaks that allow the horse to cool down and regain a normal respiratory rate. Do not work the horse beyond its fitness level.
  • Watch for normal sweating.
  • Create airflow (use fans) and work the horse in shade when possible.
  • Provide access to cool, clean water at all times and offer water frequently during work. There is no reason to withhold water from a hot horse.
  • Call a veterinarian immediately if your horse stops producing sweat, breathes heavily, or becomes lethargic, distressed or uncoordinated.

To cool an overheated horse (rectal temperature exceeding 103°F), spray or sponge the horse’s head, back, neck, rump, and legs with cool water and immediately scrape the water off, repeating continuously until the horse is cool (Figure 2). This is an effective cooling method because heat is transferred from the horse’s muscles and skin to the water, which is then removed to cool the horse. It is critical to scrape the warmed water off immediately, or the water may serve as insulation and might actually increase the horse’s body temperature.

Adding ice to the water will increase the speed of cooling for very hot horses with rectal temperature exceeding 105°F. Although some believe adding ice will “shock” a hot horse, research has shown that using ice to cool a horse is safe. Ice baths have been found to reduce core body temperature and lower heart rates after intense exercise, and horses were also observed trotting more freely after an ice bath. If a horse is prone to tying up, do not directly apply ice water to the large gluteal muscles in the hind end, but focus on areas where blood vessels are more superficial (i.e. head, neck, back and rib area). Finally, do not place a sheet or blanket on the horse while trying to cool it. Blanketing will block the evaporation of water from the skin and is not recommended during hot and humid conditions.

Managing Horses During Hot WeatherFigure 2. To cool a hot horse, spray it with cool water and immediately scrape the water off.

Prolonged exposure to high temperatures can result in heat stress, heat stroke, and complications such as dehydration, muscle spasms, and colic. Overheating can result from hot weather, high humidity, poor barn ventilation, prolonged exposure to direct sunlight, excessive work, transportation, or obesity. Signs of heat stress include a rectal temperature greater than 103°F, increased heart and respiration rates, profuse sweating, droopy ears, signs of fatigue, and dehydration with a prolonged skin tent of several seconds when the skin of the neck or shoulders is pinched (Figure 3). Horses worked hard in extreme heat and/or humidity may go on to develop signs of heat stroke, a very serious overheating condition in which rectal temperature rises above 106°F. Signs of heat stroke include rapid heart and respiratory rates that do not drop within 20 minutes of stopping exercise (Table 2), whinnying and distress, marked dehydration with dry mucous membranes and a prolonged skin tent of 4 to 10 seconds, marked muscle weakness, incoordination, and collapse.

Table 2. Vital signs of normal and horses suffering from heat stroke

Vital sign Normal adult horse Adult horse suffering from head stroke
Rectal temperature (°F)* 99.5 to 101.5 at rest; up to 103 during exercise Over 105
Pulse rate (beats per minute) 30 to 44 More than 60
Respiration rate (breaths per minute) 8 to 12 More than 40
*Rectal temperature usually underestimates true core body temperature

Horses suffering from heat stress and heat stroke require immediate cooling. Heat stroke is an emergency that requires immediate veterinary attention. Treatment includes stopping all exercise, getting the horse out of the sun, using fans, spraying and scraping ice water to cool the horse, providing cool, clean water, and making electrolytes available. Horses with heat stroke often require treatment with intravenous fluids and electrolytes to restore hydration and normalize blood chemistry.

Managing Horses During Hot WeatherFigure 3. A skin tent test can help assess dehydration status in horses.

Some believe that horses should not be allowed to drink unrestricted amounts of water when hot due to hyper-distension of the stomach leading to colic. A horse’s stomach can hold between 2 and 4 gallons of fluid without becoming excessively distended. Allowing a hot horse a few swallows of cool, clean fresh water every few minutes is necessary to combat the effects of heat stress. Also, some believe that a draft will make a wet horse susceptible to a “chill” during hot weather. Fans (or natural air flow) work to increase evaporation and speed the cooling process. More effective are misting fans; misting is commonly used in the livestock industry to speed cooling in geographic areas affected by high temperatures. Though summer is an obvious time for heat-related issues, unexpected warm weather can contribute to overheating, especially if horses are out of shape and have long, thick coats.

Source: University of Minnesota Ag Extension

Krishona Martinson, PhD
Marcia Hathaway, PhD
Christie Ward, DVM, PhD; University of Minnesota
Roy Johnson, MS, Cargill Animal Nutrition

Reviewers: Kim Otterson and Missie Schwartz

Photo credits: Krishona Martinson, PhD, University of Minnesota