Handling Hyperthermia and Hypothermia in Horses

One veterinarian reviews equine hyperthermia and hypothermia and how to best manage affected horses.
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They might be on opposite ends of the spectrum, but hyperthermia and hypothermia in horses are more alike than one might think. At the 2013 Western Veterinary Conference, held Feb. 17-21 in Las Vegas, Nev., Amelia S. Munsterman, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS, ACVECC, reviewed these two equine environmental emergencies and how to best manage affected horses.

Munsterman, a clinical lecturer in equine emergency and critical care at the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine, explained that both conditions result from circumstances that overwhelm horses’ normal thermoregulatory mechanisms.

“Both conditions result in an aberrant core temperature, accompanied by an exaggerated acute phase inflammatory response and multi-organ failure,” she said.

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Erica Larson, former news editor for The Horse, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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