Is My Horse Dehydrated? How to Recognize Equine Dehydration

The hot summer weather has arrived, and, with it, the need to monitor your horse’s hydration more closely than during the cooler months of the year. Dehydration can affect your horse’s performance, damage their health, and also be deadly. Equine hydration requires a careful balance of water and electrolyte intake. To protect your horse from the dangers of dehydration, you should be aware of the signs of equine dehydration and keep a close eye on your horse.

4 Ways to Tell If Your Horse Is Dehydrated

1. Skin Elasticity

When a horse is adequately hydrated, you can pinch its skin and it will snap right back into place. You can test a horse’s hydration level by pinching their skin near the point of the shoulder blade and keeping track of how long it takes for the skin to move back into place. Two to four seconds indicates a moderately dehydrated horse, and any longer than four seconds indicates a severely dehydrated horse.

2. Capillary Refill Time (CRT)

Hydrated horses have pink, moist gums. When you press your finger against the gum tissue, it will leave a white spot behind where the blood has been pushed out of the horse’s capillaries. If hydrated, the white spot will return to a pink color almost instantly. If it takes more than three seconds for the capillaries to refill and the white spot to disappear, then the horse is likely dehydrated.

3. Stiffness

Hydrated horses are more flexible than dehydrated horses. If your horse seems stiffer than usual when stretching, the stiffness could be a sign that your horse is dehydrated. Follow-up with the pinch test or CRT test and an equine veterinarian.

4. Weariness

Dehydrated horses can become confused, tired, and lose the ability to focus. Additionally, a dehydrated horse might not seem thirsty because it might stop drinking or refuse to drink water. If you notice any of these symptoms in your horse, especially when working in hot weather, seek veterinary attention right away.

Equine Nutrition, Hydration, and Wellness With Advanced Equine of the Hudson Valley

At Advanced Equine of the Hudson Valley, our equine veterinarians are horse hydration experts. We can help you create an environment and hydration regimen for your horse to help promote healthy hydration during summer. Additionally, if you notice any signs of dehydration in your horse or suspect that your horse could be dehydrated for any reason, we strongly encourage you to contact us for emergency equine care right away.

How Much Exercise Do Horses Need?

Horses are active animals, and regular exercise is essential to their physical and mental health. In fact, regular movement actually helps a horse’s circulatory and lymphatic systems work properly, as the contraction and expansion of their hooves under their body weight help to pump blood and fluids up from their legs. So, how much exercise do horses need to stay healthy?

How Much Exercise Do Horses Need?

Put simply, horses require a lot of physical activity to stay healthy and fit.
For comparison, while moving between their grazing pastures and water sources, wild horses can cover as many as 20 to 50 miles every day. Throughout their days, wild horses mostly get slow, steady exercise that’s punctuated with short bursts of more vigorous activity.
Although most domesticated horses won’t cover as many miles during their days, they do need opportunities for moving about every day. Without encouragement, a domestic horse won’t automatically be as active as it needs to be to stay healthy. While most horses might exhibit an initial burst of energy when let out to pasture, they won’t remain active for long. Instead, they’ll likely stand around while they wait to be fed.
To encourage more activity, it’s best to let horses out for grazing in groups. In groups, horses will get the kind of steady exercise they need, walking around for hours. You can also spread out a horse’s hay so that they amble around while grazing, you can take them out for slow walks, or lead them around the pasture.

Every Horse Is Different: Personalized Exercise, Nutrition, and Lifestyle Guidance for Horses

Yes, generally speaking, horses need a lot of daily exercise to stay healthy and keep their circulatory and lymphatic systems operating properly. Every horse, however, is different and will have slightly different exercise needs for maintaining optimal fitness. Additionally, as you increase or decrease your horse’s activity level or change the type or intensity of activity, their nutritional needs can change also. Plus, your horse’s activity level, fitness, and capabilities can be drastically affected by the changing weather through the summer heat and into the cool of winter.
Our equine veterinary specialists at Advanced Equine of the Hudson Valley can help you determine the best turnout, exercise, and nutritional routine for your horse based on the season and your horse’s age, breed, fitness, medical history, and purpose. To learn more or to schedule an appointment for your horse, we welcome you to contact our office in Fishkill today.

Is Your Horse Ready for the Summer?

As every person who has ever cared for horses knows, a lot goes into ensuring they stay healthy and stress-free to continue performing optimally. During the hotter and more humid months of summer, it’s important to remember that horses require a bit of extra care and attention to fare well in the heat while maintaining their health and performance standards.
During the summer, overheating presents serious health risks to horses, and it can occur as a result of several factors including hot weather and humidity, poor ventilation, prolonged sun exposure, transportation, excessive work, obesity, and a lack of fitness.
Before summertime hits New York in full force, our veterinarians are here to provide you with a few tips to make sure you are well-prepared to care for your horse this summer.

5 Tips for Caring for Your Horse in Summer

1. Provide Plenty of Fresh, Clean Water

Horses cool themselves naturally in hot weather by sweating. As a result, they need to drink more water in warm weather than they do during the cooler times of the year. Make sure yours always has access to a safe water source.

2. Consider Adding Electrolytes

Horses need electrolytes to stay hydrated. These can be added to water. However, it’s important to also provide a source of plain water since some horses do not like the taste of water that has been treated with electrolytes, and they might drink less as a result.

3. Reduce the Intensity and Duration of Work

Foals and horses that are older, obese, or out of shape are more prone to heat stress. Reduce ride time and intensity to protect them from these risks.

4. Provide Shelter From the Sun

Ensure your horses have free access to shade at all times and consider adding fans to stables and barns to improve the airflow.

5. Avoid the Hottest Parts of the Day

Turn out your horse and travel with your horse during the coolest times of the day to avoid the most extreme heat.

Summertime Care for Horses With Advanced Equine of the Hudson Valley

At Advanced Equine of the Hudson Valley, our veterinarians are highly experienced in ensuring horses stay cool, healthy, and hydrated in the humid summers of New York. We can help you assess the airflow of your stables, your horse’s water intake, and your horse’s electrolyte levels to ensure proper hydration and cooling.
To learn more about seasonal horse care or our comprehensive veterinary services for equids, we welcome you to contact our office in Fishkill today.

How to Control and Prevent Parasites in Horses

Several types of harmful intestinal parasites can infect and live inside horses. Left unaddressed, these parasites can damage your horse’s intestines and affect the horse’s ability to absorb nutrients and properly digest food. As a result, intestinal parasites can lead to lameness and a variety of other health problems.
While it might not be possible to completely eradicate all intestinal parasites from your horse’s system, it is essential to take measures to prevent horses from being exposed to a high volume of parasites while also taking steps to control intestinal parasites in your herd.

How to Control Parasites in Horses

Throughout years and years of treating horses with very similar medications to kill parasites, parasites have adapted and many have become resistant to these anthelmintic drugs. This has forced equine veterinarians to adjust the approaches we take to preventing parasites in horses and treating horses with parasites.
In the past, most equine veterinarians would simply recommend treating all horses with a dewormer every couple of months to control the parasites in their herds. Today, however, this approach is not always effective, and it would also only continue to result in parasite populations becoming stronger and even more resistant to the drugs designed to kill them.
Rather than automatically administering anthelmintics to horses on a routine basis, we now recommend routinely running fecal exams to first assess a horse’s fecal count and determine the potential number of parasites living inside the horse’s intestines. With this approach, we can better manage parasite infestations while combating anthelmintic resistance in parasite populations by only treating horses when their parasite levels have grown too high.

Preventing Parasites in Horses

It would be nearly impossible to completely prevent a horse from ever contracting intestinal parasites. Steps, however, can be taken to control the risk. We recommend isolating new horses from your herd until they have had a proper fecal count done with a veterinary clinic. Additionally, it’s essential to maintain the living areas of your horses’ stalls and stables – especially during weather that could heighten the exposure to parasites.

Wellness and Preventative Care With Advanced Equine of the Hudson Valley

Our veterinarians at Advanced Equine of the Hudson Valley are here to help you safeguard the health and performance of your horses with comprehensive wellness and preventative care, including fecal exams, thoughtfully prescribed parasite medications, and advice for maintaining your horse’s environment. To learn more or schedule an appointment, we welcome you to contact us today.
Dental health is important for maintaining a healthy, high-performing horse. Good dental health helps horses wear their bits comfortably and perform without pain or discomfort. They can also chew their food comfortably while avoiding soft tissue injuries inside the mouth. A horse with healthy teeth can get proper nutrition and take in enough calories.
Without receiving proper dental care throughout their lives, horses are, unfortunately, especially prone to developing a variety of dental problems.

Why Are Horses So Susceptible to Dental Health Issues?

The primary reason horses are highly prone to developing dental health issues without ongoing dental care is their domestication.
Wild horses spend around 18 hours each day feeding on forage. So, wild horses spend the vast majority of their days chewing with a broad horizontal grinding pattern. Additionally, while chewing on forage, wild horses predominantly hold their heads at an angle that keeps them low to the ground.
Domestic horses, on the other hand, do not have the opportunity to forage or to feed on forage as often or for as long as wild horses. They also often eat feed from elevated containers which changes the angle of their jawbones and the way their bites come together when they chew.
Despite their domestication, the teeth of domestic horses still grow to accommodate and are designed for a wild lifestyle of foraging. As a result, they can suffer from a variety of dental problems that arise from the odd, unnatural wear patterns that develop on their teeth while spending their days eating a domestic diet comprised of few foraging opportunities, elevated hay feeding, and grain-based feeds.

Common Dental Problems in Horses

Comprehensive Equine Dentistry With Advanced Equine of the Hudson Valley

At Advanced Equine of the Hudson Valley, we place a strong emphasis on lifelong dental examination and care for horses because we know the detrimental effect that even minor dental problems can have on a horse’s health, wellbeing, and performance.
Equine dental care should begin when horses are foals to ensure proper development, and comprehensive dental care should continue throughout adulthood to ensure thorough maintenance and the early detection and treatment of any developing dental problems.
To learn more about equine dentistry or to schedule an examination for your horse with an experienced equine veterinarian, we welcome you to contact Advanced Equine of the Hudson Valley today.
If you’re here, browsing our website, then we already know you’re interested in horses. Not only do our equine veterinarians and staff love horses, but we also find these creatures to be truly fascinating. Horses are beautiful, graceful animals, and each has its own personality.
Beyond their obvious allure, the companionship they can provide, and the countless reasons we choose to raise and care for horses, they are quite unique. Keep reading to learn 5 surprising facts about the animals we adore most, horses.

5 Interesting Facts About Horses

1. The Earliest Ancestors of Horses Were Quite Small

The Hyracotherium is the earliest known ancestor of modern horses. This little creature was a very small ungulate, about the same size as a golden retriever.

2. Horses Physically Can't Burp

The horse’s unique digestive system only runs in one direction, which means horses can’t burp or vomit.

3. Horses Can Sleep Standing Up

Horses usually sleep standing up. While they sometimes sleep in a resting position, they only do so for short stretches of time.

4. Horses Can't Breathe Through Their Mouths

Horses are only able to breathe through their noses, which means you should never call one a “mouth breather.”

5. Horses Can See Almost 360-Degrees at Once

With their eyes located on either side of their heads, horses have a field of vision that wraps almost 360-degrees around. They can see an awful lot at once, but they do have two blind spots: one is located directly behind them, and the other is directly in front of them just beneath their noses. As a result, horses can’t see the grain or the grass on which they feed and they need to use their highly sensitive whiskers to feel the apple slices you’re offering in your outstretched hand.

Horse Husbandry and Comprehensive Care With Our Equine Veterinarians

Advanced Equine of the Hudson Valley is an equine veterinary practice that’s as uniquely special as each of its patients. We are fully staffed with a team of board-certified veterinary specialists. From pre-purchase lameness examinations to wellness and preventative care plans, nutritional counseling, sick horse appointments, equine breeding, and everything in between, we are highly experienced in providing comprehensive veterinary care to horses of all ages, breeds, and uses.
To learn more about our full-service equine veterinary practice or to schedule an appointment for your horse, we welcome you to contact Advance Equine of the Hudson Valley today. We look forward to meeting you and providing high-caliber, personalized care designed to optimize performance and keep your horse healthy for life.
As the temperature drops, winter presents several challenges with respect to caring for horses and keeping them healthy. Entering the winter with a cold-weather care plan for each of your horses will help ensure they stay healthy and fit throughout the season.

Cold Weather Considerations for Horse Care

Baseline Body Weight

Establishing a baseline body weight for your horse, as you enter the winter season, is important for keeping track of your horse’s health and caloric needs. As the season progresses, you should routinely check in with your horse’s weight, making careful note of any changes, as weight loss or gain can indicate the need for dietary adjustments or even indicate a health concern.


Each horse’s caloric needs differ and change throughout the winter depending on the horse’s condition, the length of the horse’s coat, moisture (if the horse’s coat is wet), and temperature (including windchill). Every horse has a different lower critical temperature after which their caloric intake must be increased in order to maintain both body temperature and weight.


Your horse’s ability to regulate body temperature, in addition to its intake of food and digestion are highly dependent on hydration. It’s essential that your horse always has access to fresh, unfrozen water at all times. While horses will sometimes naturally drink less as the temperature drops, keeping the water in their troughs at or above 60°F can greatly increase consumption.


Horses naturally grow longer hair during the winter, and it’s designed to keep them warm by holding warmer air closer to their bodies. Depending on your horse’s age, condition, and hair length, however, blanketing might be beneficial to warming a horse in winter.
Be sure to use waterproof blankets that won’t trap moisture between your horse’s body and the blanket, actually making them colder. Additionally, do not pile more blankets on than needed. Blanketing a horse that doesn’t need to be blanketed can actually cause overheating and dehydration.

Winter Weight and Dietary Recommendations From Our Equine Veterinarians

As we enter the coldest months of the year, we welcome you to schedule an appointment with one of our equine veterinarians in Fishkill, NY. We can help you take a winter weight assessment of your horse and recommend an age and coat-appropriate winter feeding, watering, and care routine in addition to evaluating your horse’s overall health.
To learn more about caring for your horse during the winter or to schedule an appointment, we welcome you to contact Advanced Equine of the Hudson Valley today.

Is My Horse Too Skinny? How to Tell If Your Horse Is Underweight

Weight loss and emaciation can take a serious toll on a horse’s health and performance. In fact, some horses can be so skinny that it isn’t safe or advisable to ride them. Riding an overly skinny horse can injure and even emotionally damage a horse, leading to a slower recovery.

When Is a Horse Too Skinny to Ride?

A horse is considered to be too skinny to ride when it does not have enough muscle mass to carry a rider’s weight while adequately supporting its back.

How to Tell If a Horse Is Too Skinny to Ride

Every horse is unique and will have a slightly different physique. This can make it difficult to determine whether a horse is too skinny with just a glance.
The Henneke Equine Body Condition Scoring System (BCS, for short) assigns numerical ratings to six specific fat-bearing locations on a horse’s body to determine an overall weight score. The ratings range from 1 to 9 with 1 being emaciated and 9 being obese. The scoring is done with visual assessment and palpation of a horse’s neck, ribs, tailhead, withers, loins, and shoulders
On average, a healthy racehorse will have a BCS of 4 while showhorses or riding horses have a BCS of 5 or 6. A horse with a BCS of 4 or higher can generally be safely ridden.
However, it is important to monitor your horse’s weight and make a careful note of any weight changes. For example, a horse that drops to a BCS of 4 from a 5 or 6 might not be healthy enough to ride and should have a physical examination and dietary evaluation.

Why Do Horses Lose Weight?

Horses can lose weight for a variety of reasons including:
With a thorough health evaluation, our equine veterinarians can determine the underlying cause of your horse’s weight loss and help establish your horse on a diet for weight gain.

Professional Body Condition Scoring and Equine Weight Management

At Advanced Equine of the Hudson Valley, our equine veterinarians can help you assess, monitor, and manage the weight of your horse to ensure your horse maintains an optimal weight for health, work, riding, racing, and/or showing.
To learn more about evaluating your horse’s weight, health, and diet or to schedule an appointment with an equine veterinarian in Fishkill, we welcome you to contact Advanced Equine of the Hudson Valley today.

Allergies in Horses: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

Like people and other animals, horses can suffer from allergies too. If your horse develops allergies, you’ll want to address them right away to keep your horse healthy and comfortable.

What Are Allergies?

An allergy or an allergic reaction is an abnormal reaction of the immune system to a normally harmless substance called an allergen. This reaction causes the release of substances such as histamine and prostaglandins that cause inflammation.
Allergies can develop at any time in a horse’s life and usually occur after repeated or prolonged exposure to a particular allergen.

Symptoms of Allergies in Horses

Allergies in horses can express themselves in two different ways with dermatological symptoms and/or respiratory symptoms.
The most common allergic reaction in horses is to develop an itchy rash or hives on the skin that cause the horse to scratch or rub against objects. Horses can also experience respiratory symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, wheezing, and nasal discharge.

Common Allergens and Causes of Allergies in Horses

Almost any substance your horse is exposed to has the potential to become an allergen. As a result, it can sometimes be difficult to identify what type of substance is irritating your horse without performing allergy tests.
Some common allergens and irritants for horses include:

Equine Allergy Prevention

The best treatment for allergies is always preventing them from occurring by helping your horse to avoid allergens and allergy triggers.
If your horse suffers from rashes as a result of a topical product, then discontinue using it. If your horse develops rashes as a result of insect bites, do your best to keep your horse protected from insects and your stables insect-free by using insect repellents and flypaper.
If your horse has respiratory allergies, do your best to keep its stable and bedding clean and free from dust and mold. It is also worth considering using a feed that is less dusty than hay and storing hay in a location away from where your horse sleeps. If your horse suffers from respiratory allergies, it is better to let them spend as much time outdoors as possible, rather than inside a dusty stable where there is not very good airflow.

Equine Allergy Treatment at Advanced Equine of the Hudson Valley

When preventative measures do not provide adequate relief, there are a variety of treatments available to address allergies in horses. If your horse suffers from allergies, we recommend scheduling an appointment with one of our equine veterinarians.

Tips to Prevent Tendon and Ligament Injuries in Horses

Essential components of the musculoskeletal system, tendons and ligaments enable a horse to move, and injuring either can result in severe pain and subsequent lameness.

What Are Tendons and Ligaments?


Tendons are sturdy bands of connective tissue that consist of collagen and protein. They do not stretch or have much give, as they are responsible for attaching the body’s muscles to its bones.


Ligaments wrap around the joints and bones and are more like cords of connective tissue. They provide a little more stretch and flexibility than tendons and are responsible for stabilizing and supporting the body’s joints.

What Causes Injuries to the Tendons and Ligaments?

Horses can injure both tendons and ligaments as a result of ongoing stress, repetitive use, overwork, and trauma. As a result, injuries sometimes occur gradually over time, and other times they happen suddenly, such as if a horse suffers a fall.
Since these injuries affect the horse’s joints, they can make it very difficult and painful for a horse to move around and put weight on its joints.

How to Prevent Tendon and Ligament Injuries in Horses

1. Choose a Horse With Good Conformation

The shape and structure of a horse have a lot to do with the amount of strain that’s placed on its joints. Choosing a horse with the best possible conformation (musculature, structure, and shape) is the best way to avoid injuries in the future. A full prepurchase examination by an equine veterinarian can help identify conformation issues that may cause lameness.

2. Avoid Strain With Proper Shoeing

Choose an experienced farrier to keep your horse on a regular shoeing or trimming schedule. Improper shoeing throws off your horse’s posture, putting abnormal strain on the joints.

3. Maintain Fitness

To avoid all musculoskeletal injuries, it’s essential to keep your horse in good shape. If your horse doesn’t get regular exercise, do not overwork it by doing too much too quickly.

4. Mix It Up

Another way to avoid injury is to cross train. Take your horse out on different terrain, do trots, sprints, and endurance walks.

Schedule a Lameness Evaluation With Our Equine Veterinary Specialists

Before purchasing a horse, we strongly encourage you to schedule a prepurchase exam with one of our equine veterinary specialists at Advanced Equine of the Hudson Valley. We will thoroughly examine the horse you are considering purchasing to ensure you are well aware of any conformation issues, musculoskeletal problems, or other health concerns before making such an important decision.
To learn more or schedule an exam for your horse, we welcome you to contact us today.