Sun care for horses

The heatwave may be over for now, but the hot weather we experienced last month led to a lot of problems in many animals, according to vets. We didn’t escape here at Remus either, with two ponies going down with colic and one with a chest infection. Thankfully, they are all now doing well.

Issues such as laminitis, heat stroke and fly irritation are all things horse owners worry about during the warmer weather. Perhaps one we don’t think about as much as we should is sunburn. You only have to check the weather forecast to see UV level warnings and a reminder to put on the suncream, but sunburn is a real risk to our horses too. Just like us, they have varying tolerances to UV rays, meaning some will burn quicker than others.

If you have a grey horse with light coloured skin they will have less melanin pigment, which is what helps to absorb the UV light, and therefore be more susceptible to burning. Muzzle areas are most commonly affected, but don’t forget other hairless areas such as the pastern joints, and potentially parts of the crest or dock where hair has been rubbed away.

Sunburn is not the only concern. Photosensitisation is an abnormal reaction of the skin to sunlight and can cause further internal problems, so sun protection is really important for our horses.

You can find out more about sunburn and photosensitisation in this article from Your Horse:

There are a number of ways you can help us care for our horses here at Remus:

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