Equine Guelph Names September Senior Horse Education Month
Equine Guelph has announced that the month of September will be Senior Horse Education Month. As our landscape starts to turn golden with the approach of fall, and a nip of nostalgia in the air, we pause to think about our equid friends in their golden years. The next four weeks will be dedicated to increasing awareness of ways for caregivers to be the best advocates for the health and welfare of their senior horses.
Three of the top ways to approach this are covered in Equine Guelph’s free interactive healthcare tool – Senior Horse Challenge (http://www.thehorseportal.ca/SeniorHorseTool). Priorities include early intervention for health challenges, making management changes as needed, and pain recognition. The tool also includes information on signs of aging, the most common health concerns for senior horses and end of life decisions.
Take the 20-question quiz to test your current knowledge. Then, sign up for a deeper dive into delivering the best possible care for aging equines by registering for the inaugural offering of The Senior Horse course. This new two-week virtual short course will run from Sept 19 – 30, 2022 on TheHorsePortal.ca.
Everyone hopes for an equine that will age gracefully and painlessly until the end, but the odds are at some point you will need to address changes in health status. Horse owners need to be vigilant monitoring for musculoskeletal abnormalities, gastrointestinal issues, dental problems, eyesight issues, heart trouble, respiratory concerns, osteoarthritis , PPID/Cushings and metabolic disorders, among others – all of which all can become more prevalent with age.
Keeping on top of veterinary care with more frequent dental exams and blood work is a wise preventative management practice when caring for senior horses. What is going on in the mouth can alert horse owners as to when it is time to change up the diet in order to maintain good body condition. Getting thin should not be accepted as a normal part of aging. It’s a red flag to change management strategies! Whether it is a change to softer feed or an elder horse not being able to access its fair share of feed in the herd, changes in management need to be considered with every new challenge. Of course, there is the other end of the scale where obese seniors can be at risk for laminitis, endocrine diseases, and gastrointestinal issues. Again, management is an important component to keeping these golden oldies comfortable.
Just like in people, another change that can cause re-evaluation of workload and require pain management is the onset of arthritis.
As a prey animal, horses are masters at hiding pain. Sometimes it takes a very observant horse person to pick up on subtle cues. The Senior Horse Challenge is full of helpful resources including new research on equine facial grimace scores and pain checklists.
The Senior Horse Challenge (http://www.TheHorsePortal.ca/SeniorHorseTool) is available on Equine Guelph’s education platform, TheHorsePortal.ca. This invaluable tool takes five minutes to complete, and provides downloadable print outs of helpful tips and fact sheets. There are also great video resources such as tips from Certified journeyman farrier, Sean Elliott providing his advice on senior hoof care.
Equine Guelph thanks Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health Canada for sponsoring both of its senior horse online resources – the free tool and new course.
“As horses are living longer, maintaining their health and well-being is imperative for their quality of life,” says Randy Trumpler, Equine Business Unit Director at Boehringer Ingelheim. “This online tool and The Senior Horse course offered by Equine Guelph are practical ways to prepare for your horse’s golden years.”
Take the totally free Senior Horse Challenge (http://www.TheHorsePortal.ca/SeniorHorseTool) to prime yourself for The Senior Horse course – one of the best investments you can make to help your horse maintain health and welfare in their elder years. Register for the two-week online course before the Sept 19 start date!
Equine Guelph is excited to announce Dr. Bettina Bobsien will be the course instructor for this inaugural offering. This Vancouver Island-based veterinarian brings a wealth of experience with a lifelong passion for both animal care and animal welfare, working with both the BCSPCA and Humane Canada on a variety of animal welfare issues. She is currently the chair of the CVMA Animal Welfare Committee, chair of The Equestrian Canada Health and Welfare Committee, and the veterinary ethics editor for the Canadian Veterinary Journal.
Check out the video above for a sneak peak of Dr. Bobsien’s top tips for senior horse owners.
For more information on the First offering of The Senior horse course, check out this recent press release (Equine Guelph’s Latest Online Course is Golden).