Keeping the Aging Horse Comfortable

Here’s how to manage senior horses’ aging teeth, joints, lungs, and more.
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Keeping the Aging Horse Comfortable
As senior horse populations grow, so does our knowledge about keeping them healthy. | Photo: iStock

Here’s how to manage senior horses’ aging teeth, joints, lungs, and more.

As a kid, I never thought about horses getting “old,” probably because the ones I saw and rode and read about were always so young and active. I didn’t think about the effects of advancing age. So imagine my surprise, decades later, when every horse I owned was living at least into his or her late 20s and even 30s.

My more than 40 years of horse ownership have given me a chance to know them as individuals, to see them grow, to admire their beauty and power, and to learn alongside them. After their careers have come to an end, I have the opportunity to care for my horses as they age, looking after them as best I know how.

But good intent might not be enough for my aging equids or yours, according to 2012 study results based on a survey by Catherine McGowan, BVSc, Dipl. ECEIM, PhD, of the University of Liverpool, in the U.K. In it she notes that owners of horses aged 15 and older who are concerned about their animals’ health, welfare, and quality of life might not be caring for them as well as they think

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