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Learning About & Preparing For Dangerous Snakebites in Horses

Learning About & Preparing For Dangerous Snakebites in Horses

About Snakebites in Horses

Seeing a venomous snake can be a rather rattling experience. When the sun comes out, snakes are more likely to come above ground and sun themselves. While we all enjoy a good tanning session, no one wants to come across a slithering surprise. Snakebites in horses are a somewhat low threat in the United States, but having a plan of action could save your horse’s life if the situation arises.

Smaller and younger horses and ponies are at higher risk for danger when a venomous snake bites them because their smaller bodies can be affected by the venom faster than bigger horses. If they are younger, they may not be as strong to fight off infection, and they might run more out of fear, making the venom be absorbed faster.

What Are Dry Snakebites?

Whether the snake is venomous or not, snakebites are scary and painful. “Dry Bites”, or snakebites where no venom is involved, cause minimal wounds. They are usually shallow, and the biggest risk is infection. A tetanus booster injection can help prevent infection from deeper bites. Your horse health professional will advise you depending on the wound.

Venomous Snakebites in Horses

When a venomous snake bites your horse, you need to act fast. Call your veterinarian or trusted horse health professional immediately. Snakes may bite from being stepped on (leg bites), or your horse may have gotten a little too curious and the snake bit its nose out of fear. 

After a rattlesnake or other venomous snake attacks, you may immediately notice some indicators: the rattling of the snake’s tail before it strikes, two pin-sized red holes at the site of the bite, swelling around the infected area, and/or soreness around the bite area.

The sooner your horse can receive professional medical help, the higher chance it has to survive and recover. Once you know (or think) your horse has been bitten and you call a professional, you should try to keep your horse as calm and still as possible.

What to Do Until the Veterinarian Arrives

After you confirm that medical help is on the way, halter your horse and keep them calm. Stay with the horse until help arrives. The less your horse moves, the less toxin the toxin will be absorbed into their blood. Avoid touching the bite area, and try to encourage their head to stay in a comfortable position looking down (this discourages the spread of the toxin).

You can also gently apply a cool, damp cloth to your horse if they feel overly warm. Just be careful not to hurt your horse by touching the infected area. Do not try sucking the venom out or other questionable rumors you have heard. Next, if you can comfortably and safely do so, try to identify the snake. Any information (snake type, bite location, tetanus booster history, etc) can help the veterinarian once they arrive. 

We hope that you and your loved ones never have to go through the pain and stress of any snakebite, but we hope that these tips will help you feel prepared so that you can act fast if needed. Contact us at BRD Vet Rx today for questions or horse health product information.

What Are Horseshoes & Why Are They Important For Your Horse’s Safety?

What Are Horseshoes & Why Are They Important For Your Horse’s Safety?

Everyone likes to rock their own style of shoes, boots, heels, sneakers, sandals, crocs, or even some fish flops if you’re brave. They have many purposes – speed, sturdiness, ease of cleaning, weather-ability, etc.. The main reason people wear shoes is safety and comfort. The same goes for horseshoes.

What is the Purpose of Horseshoes?

Your horse’s safety is always a priority, and horseshoes provide just that. Horse hooves naturally wear down with use and can lead to problems with balance, speed, and comfort. The keratin of the hoof resembles human fingernails – they are a tough protein that protects soft, vulnerable skin underneath (in the horse’s case, the inner soft skin is called the “frog”).

Horseshoes keep the horse’s hoof from wearing down unevenly and provide protection from moisture, overuse, and cracking. As I mentioned before, poor hoof condition leads to a variety of health and walking issues, so horseshoes are very important to performance and safety. They also provide traction and can even correct walking habits. 

Do Racehorses Wear Different Types of Horseshoes?

Just like different types of running shoes for humans, horseshoes can vary based on the needs of the horse, the trainer, and the surface that they’re running on. Since racehorses work hard, the safety of their hooves and legs are a must. Lightweight horseshoes are key to helping the horse run at top efficiency. 

Aluminum horseshoes are a popular choice for racehorses since they have great traction and are lightweight. Toe grabs can also be attached for additional traction at higher speeds. If a racehorse does get injured, corrective shoes are worn for healing and good form.

What Are the Different Types of Horseshoes?

Your horse may benefit from a specific type of horseshoe depending on their activity and condition. Let’s go through a few of the common ones:

  • Regular Horseshoe
    • The most common design – also called a keg shoe if made by a machine. It supports and protects a normal horse hoof.
  • Bar Shoe
    • As the name implies, this shoe has a bar on the back for extra support in the back of the hoof, heel, and leg. 
  • Heart Bar
    • Heart bars have a v-shaped piece of metal that supports the frog. They are usually fitted for horses who have laminitis, a crippling disease if not treated. There can be padding between the metal and the frog for added comfort.

How Is the Horseshoe Put on the Horse?

Farriers are people who are trained to put on horseshoes. They use nails to secure the shoe to the hoof. Although it may sound scary, the attachment process is painless if done the right way. It’s similar to cutting human nails – we don’t feel it.

Once attached, the farrier will file down any hooks or sharp edges for the best fit. The hoof will continuously grow, so once it goes beyond the horseshoe, it’s time to re-fit.

How to Choose A Farrier

Before choosing your farrier, you may want to ask them some questions:

  • Are they certified?
  • What is their experience?
  • Do they have experience putting on all types of horseshoes?
  • Where did they learn how?
  • Do they re-fit on a regular schedule?
  • Can they identify any hoof-related issues if they arise?
  • What is their price?

Finding a good value is important, but going with the cheapest option before doing more background research isn’t always the best choice. Your horse’s safety should come first, and the team at BRD Vet Rx is ready to help when you need it. View our products or contact us today for all your horse health care needs.