Menu

Caring for Senior Horses

Image of an old horse.

With proactive veterinary care, horses can live well into their late 20s and early 30s. In fact, the average life expectancy for most horses is now between 28 and 33 years. Basic senior wellness care includes dental care, balanced nutrition, and hoof care. This care ensures horses remain healthy and active.

Exercise

Older horses can still be active; in fact, regular exercise is essential for horses to maintain their health. However, it is important to keep in mind that older horses may not be as agile as they once were, so all day trail rides, jumping or sliding stops should be avoided. Rather than a long hard ride once per week, senior horses will benefit from several short rides throughout the week. However, if a horse becomes arthritic or otherwise unsound due to lameness, the owner may need to significantly cut back on load-bearing exercise.

Diet

As a horse ages, his diet will also need to be adjusted. Older horses do not absorb nutrients as readily as younger horses, so horse feed needs to be of a higher quality that can easily be digested. Hay cubes and other course forms of hay may be especially difficult for older horses to chew. As workload or exercise levels decrease, senior horses are also at risk for weight gain. Feeding should be carefully regulated to maintain your horse’s balanced nutrition intake and a healthy weight.

Dental Care

Older horses’ teeth also require additional care. Some teeth may wear into painful points or fall out, which can make it difficult and uncomfortable for your horse to chew. If a lot of grain or hay falls from a horse’s mouth while chewing, this is symptomatic that the horse may need their teeth checked. In general, a horse should have their teeth checked at least once every year; senior horses may require additional dental care.

Other Common Issues

Horse owners should keep a close eye on their horses’ overall health. For example, lumps under the skin could be indicative of tumors. Melanomas are increasingly common on light colored horses. Horses that do not shed out in the spring may have Cushings Disease, a pituitary gland dysfunction. Older horses are also more susceptible to colic. The earlier health problems are diagnosed, the more treatment options are available, which will lessen the impact on your horse’s health. A regular wellness evaluation by your equine veterinarian will help ensure your senior horse remains healthy and active.

Source:

Johnson,Edward L.; Duberstein, Kylee Jo; and Shuffitt, Mark. “Caring for the Older Horse: Common Problems and Solutions.” University of Florida.

Location

Find us on the map

Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule

Hillsdale Office

Monday - Friday:

7:45 am - 5:30 pm

Saturday:

8:45 am - 12:00 pm

Sunday:

Closed

Professional Pet Grooming

Monday - Thursday:

by appointment

Friday - Sunday:

Closed

Testimonials

Feedback from our clients

  • "Very good with my dogs ..snd very prompt with appointment"
    ★★★★★ | Larae H.
  • "We love Dr. Wood. He has saved our puppy from very bad things several times. He loves and cares for our pet as if he were his own. I highly recommend Northside!! I love that they do diagnostics - blood work and x-rays, same as us humans have to get real answers."
    ★★★★★ | Corinna M
  • "Thank you to Dr Wood and staff for fixing our Micks leg today after we had taken him to another vet for a laceration repair. The sutures that we’re placed by the other vet ripped open five days later. Mick is home resting comfortably with his cozy pillow around his neck. We appreciate your help in getting this fixed correctly! Thank you for your time and compassion!"
    Michelle Lyn Vanderpool
  • "I have taken my pets to Northside Veterinary Hospital for many years. I have always been very grateful for the wonderful care my animals have received there and the kindness of the staff. I would like to say thank you to their newest Vet. Dr.Roth. She took excellent care of my little Lou Lou yesterday with her many seizures. If you are looking for excellent care this is the place to go."
    Laura Nevins Patterson
  • "Can't say thank you enough to Dr. Wood and his staff for the excellent care they give my fur babies! ....I make an hour drive to go here because this place rocks!"
    Rhonda Alexander
  • "Dr. Wood and his staff are so nice to our furbabys and have up to date technology to really help our sick babies thank-you for all you do they are very caring people!!!"
    Cathy Sayer Smith