Transporting Your Horse to a Warmer Climate

There are many issues to consider when you’re planning to transport your horse, especially if he’s moving to a hot and humid climate. Here’s what to to consider, from new feed options to a risk of hyperthermia.
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Transporting Your Horse to a Warmer Climate
Horses can live in hot and humid climates as long as owners take a few precautions to help keep them healthy. | Photo: iStock
By Siraya Chunekamrai, DVM, PhD, WEVA Board Member

There are many issues to consider when you’re planning to transport your horse, especially if he’s moving to a hot and humid climate. Veterinarians often talk about ‘acclimatization’ and how a horse must have enough time to acclimatize to a new weather pattern after moving to a different region. But acclimatization is not just about time or simply letting the horse “get used to it” rather, it’s more about how we can help prepare our horse for this change.

As the world gets smaller (or warmer!) and we transport our horses to various countries for competition, breeding, or training, a good working knowledge of how we can make this transition more comfortable and safe is essential.

Water and Electrolytes

Horses need these two items both to maintain body function and to produce sweat—the main avenue whereby horses can lower body temperature through evaporation. Evaporation comprises 60% of the body’s ability to lower body temperature; the remaining 25% is by expiration (through the lungs) and 15% by convection. If a horse is dehydrated and does not consume enough electrolytes, we often see them lose their ability to sweat

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