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Things To Check For When Grooming Your Horse

Grooming your horse is not only essential to keeping their coat healthy and fostering a strong bond, it’s also a great opportunity to check for common health issues. Here are some of the most important things to check for when grooming your horse.

Start With Healthy Hooves
Before you dive into your grooming routine, take a look at each of your horse’s hooves and pick out any impacted mud or stones. It’s normal to see superficial cracks, usually a result of changes in humidity in your horse’s environment. Deep cracks and abscesses can cause lameness, but they may not always be obvious until you take a closer look at your horse’s hooves. Also take notice of any bleeding, pus, radiating heat, swelling, or tenderness, all of which indicate that your horse needs immediate treatment.

Look For Lumps And Bumps On Horses
As you brush your horse, run your hands over their body to help you feel for new, unidentified lumps and bumps.
Bumps from some type of trauma, whether a kick from another horse or a clumsy run-in with a fence post, may take the form of lump, a blood-filled hematoma or a fluid-filled seroma. For most bumps, you can use an ice bath or ice pack at the affected site to reduce swelling and promote healing. Fluid or blood-filled lumps are usually reabsorbed by the horse’s body but sometimes need to be drained by a veterinarian, and typically heal on their own after draining.
Tumors and growths may be cancerous or benign. As different types of growths can look similar in appearance, you’ll want to have your veterinarian take a look and possibly remove or biopsy any suspicious lumps.

Watch Out For Soft Tissue Injuries
Horses evolved as prey animals, and in the wild, they must hide signs of pain or vulnerability to ensure their survival. So, you might not notice a sprain or strain until you get up close and personal with them. Swollen areas, particularly on the limbs, and radiating heat are signs that your horse may have a ligament or tendon injury. They may also recoil as you touch an injured limb. Soft tissue injuries should always be taken seriously, even if the horse does not seem to be in severe pain, as continued physical activity can lead to permanent damage. Work with your veterinarian to create a plan to help your horse heal, which typically involves strict stable rest, anti-inflammatories, and careful monitoring.

Check For Common Skin Issues
When grooming your horse, you may notice skin conditions like dryness, dandruff, or hair loss. These conditions can sometimes be attributed to changes in humidity, but they can also indicate overbathing, poor nutrition, a fungal infection, or parasites. An over-the-counter medicated shampoo can help manage itching and other symptoms while you await help from your veterinarian.