Given that horses are rather large animals, taking care of a sick horse can be quite a task, especially when the animal tends to be a little temperamental. Given the fact that the horse is unable to actually tell you that he or she is not feeling too well, the owners best bet is to look for symptoms and changes in attitude in order to get the animal to feeling back to its best. The fact is hat the horse will give its owner a number of clues that it is not in the best of health and it is up to the owner to be observant enough to detect these messages. Some of the more common signs of ill health in horses include – the horse not eating food or drinking fluids to the extent it normally would, some animals may even refuse their favorite treats. The coat will tend to become very dull and dry while the animal will stand in a rather odd way, continuously shifting its weight from one side to another. Your horse may start to sweat profusely in spite of the fact that it has not been performing any strenuous physical activity and have only been rooted to a certain spot for a considerable period of time. The animal’s eyelids and gums will turn either pale or very red instead of their usually pink while the body temperature will go up above 101, compared to the normal body temperature of a horse which is between 99 and 101. You may also need to keep an eye out for fast and heavy breathing. This can be measured by counting the breaths per minute; healthy horses will take about 8 to 16 respirations per minute and any higher rates are usually an indication that something is wrong.
As with people, the most effective treatments always lie in the correct diagnosis of the root cause. Irrespective of the exact condition, however, it is important to remember that the animal will need to receive a significant amount of care in addition to the medication and right diet to aid recuperation. Most veterinarians will suggest the horse be ordered into a stable during the recovery – something that could be a little out of the ordinary for a horse that has lived mainly in a paddock. Depending on the severity of the condition, the entire healing process could take anywhere from a couple of days to even a few months.