Senior Horse Challenge Sharpens SkillsNovember 2015

Story by: Jackie Bellamy-Zions

What differentiates Equine Metabolic Syndrome from PPID (pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction or “Cushings”)?

A) Laminitis
B) Obesity or regional adiposity (“fat pads”)
C) Delayed shedding

Senior Horse Challenge buttonThis is just one of the 20 questions in Equine Guelph’s free interactive, Senior Horse Challenge quiz, designed to help horse owners recognize changes that may impact the health of their elderly equines. This online healthcare tool goes beyond testing general management knowledge of hoof care, nutrition and dental care. Understanding health challenges including diseases, disorders and conditions that are common to the aging equid are all part of becoming an educated horse owner. There is also a special section geared toward becoming adept at pain recognition.

Whether your senior still has plenty of spunk under saddle or is grazing the grass paddock – a daily hands-on approach is important in order to spot conditions that need special treatment sooner rather than later. Noticing subtle changes in behavior, sensitivity to touch, new lumps, bumps, cuts, heat or swelling should be part of the daily routine. All too often, horses who are not ridden frequently end up being skipped for grooming, hoof picking, consistent farrier care and regularly scheduled dental care and vaccinations. The attention to routine care, body condition scoring and seeking input from your veterinarian and farrier is crucial to maintaining the health of a senior horse.

“Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd is very pleased to be able to partner with Equine Guelph on the Senior Horse Challenge project,” says Alison Brodie, Brand Manager for Cattle and Equine at Boehringer-Ingelheim. “We believe that this educational tool will be highly valuable for those who own or care for senior horses. By increasing the awareness of health issues and management of aging horses, we hope this will result in improved health and animal welfare for these seniors.”

Learn about general senior horse management, physical changes, pain recognition, metabolic conditions and more; by spending ten minutes on Equine Guelph’s website taking the Senior Horse Challenge.

Equine Guelph is the horse owners’ and care givers’ Centre at the University of Guelph. It is a unique partnership dedicated to the health and well-being of horses, supported and overseen by equine industry groups. Equine Guelph is the epicentre for academia, industry and government – for the good of the equine industry as a whole.

For further information, visit EquineGuelph.ca.