Nutritional Articles

Is snow a sufficient source of water for horses kept outdoors in winter? A case report

Published: 2005-10-05

Brief content of the article
The authors reported that due to extreme weather conditions, a flock of out wintered Icelandic horses had to manage for several days on snow as the source of free water. They were fed grass silage ad lib, and any change in feed consumption was not observed. After nine days, blood samples were taken and analyzed for plasma osmolality, they were subjected to a simple clinical examination and offered drinking water. Osmolality levels were within normal limits and mean value did not differ significantly from samples which previously were taken from the same individuals. The general condition of the horses was normal, with no signs of clinical dehydration or disease. The authors wrote that this suggests that in cold winter weather, horses being fed grass silage adjusted to eat snow, can manage for several days with snow substituting liquid water without their physiology and welfare being challenged. A full abstract can be found on http://www.pubmed.com
Keywords: water source, thirst, welfare, drinking behavior

Reference
Mejdell, C.M., Simensen, E. and Bøe, K.E. 2005. Is snow a sufficient source of water for horses kept outdoors in winter? A case report.

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