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Horses die in hot weather in outback NSW

Cherie McDonald, Thursday January 30, 2014 - 14:45 EDT
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As the mercury rises horse owners are being reminded to keep their animals hydrated. - ABC

As temperatures continue to soar across the the country, it's not only people who are feeling the heat.

In Far West New South Wales, horses have fallen ill and died.

In Broken Hill, six horses were drastically affected by last month's heatwave, with four of them not surviving.

Local veterinarian Guillame Tabeteau says it's important for horse owners to keep their animals hydrated.

"Over the hot summer, we had a very acute spate of horses with colic that we believe was due to dehydration.

"Colic simply means gut pain and horses do get it, but normally we'd only get one a month or one every six weeks.

"These horses had free access to water. I think it's been bad luck that the horses hadn't adjusted quick enough to increase fluid needs.

"About a month ago, over a period of about 10 days, these horses were presented, but I think since then most horses have adjusted to drinking more.

"I'd like to get horse people to supplement their horses with electrolytes and make sure they're drinking more than normal.

"To check for hydration, you can do a pinch test to see how quickly the skin bounces back plus checking the colour of the horses urine."

Cecilia Norley is a horse owner in Broken Hill and says, although she was keeping water troughs full, her horse, Preacher, became seriously sick during the searing hot weather.

"Preacher became unwell leading up to Christmas, showing signs of colic.

"The vet identified he had a build-up of feed over a long period of time, which blocked up part of his bowel.

"Their attempts to flush that through with fluid, electrolytes and a drip was unsuccessful and on the 23rd of December he was operated upon.

"Under much guidance he's been in recovery here.

"Unfortunately our horse isn't a big drinker."


© ABC 2014

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