All this rain!!
Published 04-26-2011 10:04 AM | Fernanda Camargo
OK, so this has been the rainiest April on record for Kentucky!!! We all know that with a lot of rain comes a lot of mud, and unfortunately, some places have been flooded.
Problems with mud and humidity:
1. Wet pastures get ruined by horses' hooves. So unless you have a sacrifice lot, it is very possible that you will have more weeds than grass when all this rain stops. It all depends on the size of your pasture and how many horses you have in it. The result will be that you may need to feed your horses hay during the summer. You may also have some poisonous plants in your pasture, and since horses will not have a lot of grass to eat, they may venture themselves and start eating the weeds. Ask for your county agent to take a look at your pasture so he/she can verify the presence of poisonous plants. In times of rain like this, you can make a sacrifice lot to turn your horses out and keep your pastures intact.
2. Horses that like to "horse around" keep running and slipping and risk falling down and getting injured, or bowing a tendon, or popping a splint. Slippery slopes and horses are never a good combination!
3. You may have a higher incidence of skin diseases such as rain rot and fungal diseases. To prevent these kinds of diseases, make sure to groom your horses often to allow air to penetrate the coat and dry the skin. Have shelters or bring the horses in for part of the day so they can get dry. Some horses don't like to sleep in wet ground, and these horses will appreciate being in a dry stall to rest.
Problems with floods:
1. A lot of rain and standing water will increase the incidence of mosquito-borne diseases. These include the neurological diseases Eastern and Western Equine Encephalomyelitis and West Nile Virus. Other diseases transmitted by insects are Equine Infectious Anemia and Potomac Horse Fever. Vaccinate your horses at least for the neurological diseases as soon as possible. Consult with your veterinarian to draft a vaccination schedule.
2. Floods will drive rodents out of their habitat and bring them to a dryer place: your barn. A barn, however, is not a suitable place for rodents to live, as they bring diseases, such as leptospirosis, which can cause abortion in pregnant mares and blindness. Humans can also get leptospirosis. Make sure to exterminate rats and mice from your barn and dispose of the carcasses appropriately. Don't just throw the carcasses in the pasture, as that will attract opossums, which in turn can transmit EPM to your horses.
3. Floods will also bring out trash, wash out agrotoxics to creeks and water beds, all of which can be potentially dangerous to horses. Make sure to clear your pasture of debris if it has been under water.
4. Floods can also rot vegetation that has been under water, or a round bale of hay, for example. If horses eat the rotten and moldy hay, they are at risk of acquiring botulism, which can be fatal.
Rain is important for agriculture. But when it rains this much, horse owners need to be aware of the possible complications they may be facing in the near future.