Thursday, December 19, 2013

Horse Health Myth Busters

 Over the years, many ideas have appeared regarding horse health. Recent technology has studied these ideas, disproving some, while verifying others. As horse people, we are responsible for seperating the truth from the myths.

 One idea states that horses cannot vomit. This, in fact, is true. When a horse swallows food, it passes from the esophagus into the stomach. The lower part of the esophagus, called a sphincter, is much stronger than that in humans. The ring-like muscle prevents food or liquid from coming out of the stomach. As a result, a horse is incapable of vomiting.

It is commonly thought that white hooves
are weaker than their dark counterparts.
 However, their inability to regurgitate can cause colic. Because a horse cannot vomit, if food, liquid, or gas gets jammed in their gastrointestinal tract, they experience pain in their digestive system and in serious cases require surgery.

 You have probably heard that white hooves are weaker than dark hooves, which we now know is simply a misconception. Radiographs(X-rays) have proven that other than color, there is nothing physically or structurally different from a white hoof than a black one.

 People also say that horses cannot breathe through their mouths, another fact. This is because the soft palate on the roof of the horse's mouth, which seperates the nasal cavity from the oral cavity, extends all the way to the back of the throat. Therefore, no air can reach their lungs from their mouths.

 When a horse breaks or fractures a leg, many people treat it as a death sentence, saying they should euthanize the horse. In some cases, there is an alternative, but it takes a lot of work. A horse with a broken or fractured leg must be kept from laying down for extended periods, which can cause nerve and lung damage from his own heavy weight. This is often done using a large sling. Also, his leg must be splinted.
A broken leg must be care for like this.
 You must take into account where the fracture is, too. One below the knee proves relatively easy to perform surgery on and put in a splint, while the chances of repairing one higher up on the leg proves dim. Even if a horse does successfully heal, other complictations may occur. Putting too much weight on his good legs can cause joint problems. Also take into account the age of the horse. The future of foals with broken legs is actually brighter than that of adults due to their light weight.

 A final myth is that horses can only sleep standing. While they do sleep standing most of the time, this is only for lighter sleep. To get a deep sleep, they lie down, though this is only done for up to an hour at a time. In order for you to understand why, you must remember that horses are prey animals. Standing allows them to start running more quickly should a predator come.

 Knowing the truth when it comes to your horse's health leads to his well being. Do not trust that old stories that have been around for over a hundred years are valid.

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