This Week in Horse Health News Presented by Absorbine

Hand cleanliness for the indecisive. Photo by Colleen Peachey. Hand cleanliness for the indecisive. Photo by Colleen Peachey.

Something that I’ll say about myself is that I’m very conscientious of the idea of cleanliness …  especially around the barn. I’m slightly obsessed with waterless sanitizer (which I affectionately call “anti-bac”). Especially those cute mini containers from Bath & Body Works, because they come in every scent imaginable. I’m not even joking — have you ever seen this display in one of their stores? So. Many. Scents. Which is a problem when you’re as indecisive as I am.

Anyway, in my head, using anti-bac qualifies as much as washing my hands for certain activities. Say I just groomed one of my horses or even mucked a stall. I wasn’t really touching anything directly, right? So using some anti-bac is good enough for me to use before I open up a bag of snacks. Any of the dirt spots on my hands would now register as “clean dirt,” riiight?

I can think of a lot of cases where it just pays to stop and sanitize your hands — whether it be by using hand sanitizer, or by going old-school and washing up with some good ‘ole soap and water. Is there a new horse in the barn that is being quarantined? Or have you been traveling with your horse or equipment – it only takes seconds to use some anti-bac (and your hands will smell great too)!

Head over to The Horse to check out an interesting article on hand sanitation and skin health for veterinarians and the impact that it can have on horse health — you can check it out here.

And then learn something new from the other headlines from this week in Horse Health News, presented by Absorbine:

What Shedding Can Tell You: One of the sure signs of the approaching spring season for equestrians is surely the tell-tale signs of our horses starting to shed, which leads to hair everywhere (and I mean everywhere). But did you know that shedding is not a response triggered by warmer temperatures, but rather by an increase in the amount of light each day? And your horse’s shedding behavior can tell you a lot more about their health then you might think. [Equus Magazine]

Post-Winter Weight Gain: Did you find yourself falling into the trap of holiday junk food? I’ll admit, I fall into the trap of snacking on anything from cookies to cold weather comfort food. As spring approaches, I’ve reinstated my daily 5 a.m. runs to counteract the effects, but horses can have the opposite problem during winter. Hard keepers or senior horses can have difficulty maintaining their weight over winter. Check out this article to help you assess the situation and make a plan to help put weight on your horse. [The Horse]

Stable Air Bad for Workers? While static air in the barn can cause any number of problems for your horse, did you ever stop to think about the effect that it has on barn workers? Researchers have recently found that stable air can be “considerably contaminated” with microorganisms that are invisible to the human eye — and these microorganisms can post hazards to workers’ health. [Horsetalk]

Scratches Season: We’ve reached that time of the year — what I like to (not so) affectionately call “mud season.” Which means that the horses will most likely be slopping around in the mud at some point, since they can’t stay cooped up in their stalls forever. And that means that it is also time to be diligently on the lookout for signs of scratches. [Equus Magazine]

Alpha Horse? Have you ever watched your horse turned out in the pasture with their buddies to see the interactions within the herd? Social interactions can be absolutely fascinating to watch because there can be a lot going on, even when it looks like a group of horses is just standing around and chilling out. How easy is it to identify the horse (or horses) that are the dominant members of the group, and what does that mean in terms of trainability? Check out this interesting commentary article. [The Horse]