On the Road Again

It’s that time of year, everyone is traveling or getting ready to travel. Our veterinarians want your horses to arrive at their destination fit and ready. Whether that is to a lesson in an indoor down the road, or across the country for a major horse show – here are some tips to make traveling with your horses easier.

Don’t leave home without it
Happy Travelers

1. Health Certificates. Legally, a current health certificate must accompany a horse when it crosses state lines. Your veterinarian will come to examine your horse to ensure that he is in good health. The information required for the Health Certificate is: an up-to-date Coggins report (for most states a Coggins test is up to date for one year), the address of the destination, and the details of who is shipping the horse. Schedule an appointment to have a veterinarian inspect your horse within 30 days of departure in New Jersey (this time frame varies in each state). Be sure to have the Coggins report and all of the required information available for your veterinarian at the time of your scheduled exam. The certificate and a Coggins report will need to accompany the shipment. In addition, it is recommended you check your horse’s temperature just prior to departure to ensure that he still in good health. If his temperature is over 101.5 F prior to travel or you have any other medical concerns, he should be examined by your veterinarian prior to shipment.
2. Food and Water. While shipping, make sure to have a clean water supply large enough to last your entire trip. Horses should be offered water every 2-3 hours during extended trips and should have access to their normal amount of hay intake. Some horses will not drink well while traveling. Monitor manure production and water intake and if you notice a decrease, your horse may require additional fluid support by the veterinarian upon arrival at his final destination. If your horse has a history of poor drinking while traveling, it is most helpful to provide additional fluid therapy through a nasogastric tube or intravenous fluids prior to travel. Discuss this with your veterinarian to figure out a plan that suits your horse.

3. A First Aid Kit. Always have a first aid kit available for emergencies that may occur on the road your truck or trailer. Finding veterinary assistance in an unknown area may take longer than when you are close to home. Check out our First Aid Kit at: www.bwfurlongnj.com/orderkit.html

Fresh Air
While on the trailer horses are unable to lower their heads in their natural grazing position. This limits the ability to clear dirt and debris from the lungs while on the trailer. In addition, they are breathing poorly ventilated air, that includes dust from hay and bedding within the trailer and “road dirt” while traveling. Respiratory infection after shipping is not uncommon. Wetting the hay and bedding prior to travel may cut down on the dust level present within the trailer. Monitor your horse for coughing, nasal discharge, or fever after arrival and for several days at your final destination.


Stress Relief


Travel can be stressful for horses and their owners! For horses with a history of stomach ulcers or very “stressed” horses, the use of an ulcer protectant, such as Ulcergard, is recommended.  It is suggested to start treatment several days prior to travel, continuing during travel and continuing a couple of days following arrival at your destination. Your veterinarian can assist you in determining if your horse is at risk for ulcers and developing a treatment plan.

Immune system function during travel is very important to keeping your horse healthy on his trip. Several medications and therapies can alter the horse’s immune system. Vaccines or steroids (joint injections or oral) should be avoided in the two weeks prior to travel and within the first week of arriving from a trip over 20 hours. Be sure to discuss your travel plan with your veterinarian when treating horses for any illness or injury around your scheduled trip.  
For more information or questions contact us at the clinic any time 908-439-2821. 

Safe travels to you and your horse!

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