7 RULES FOR SAFER TRAV­ELS

EQUUS - - Eq Case Report -

Since Parker and I won our bat­tle against ship­ping fever, I’ve spo­ken with many vet­eri­nar­i­ans and read up on the causes of res­pi­ra­tory in­fec­tion re­lated to travel. Now, when­ever I’m trav­el­ing more than four hours with my horse, I fol­low these rules:

• Do not tie the horse’s head un­less it’s nec­es­sary to min­i­mize bick­er­ing among travel com­pan­ions. Even then, al­low each horse as much slack as pos­si­ble to raise and lower his head.

• If you need bed­ding at all, use only big flake shav­ings to min­i­mize the amount of dust swirling in­side the trailer.

• Ev­ery four hours, stop and let the horses rest in­side the trailer; un­hook their heads so they can lower them. Rest for at least 20 min­utes and ven­ti­late the trailer as much as pos­si­ble dur­ing that time. Seal ma­nure and soiled bed­ding in a plas­tic-lined con­tainer to re­duce the amount of air­borne bac­te­ria in­side the trailer.

• Af­ter eight hours of travel, find a place to stop where you can safely un­load the horses and al­low them to graze with their heads down for at least 20 min­utes. If there’s no graz­ing, place a hay­bag on the ground so they must lower their heads fully to eat.

• When you are plan­ning a longer trip, try to break up the drive—leave late in the day and stay some­where overnight, for ex­am­ple, so you’ll have a shorter trip on the fol­low­ing day.

• Never tie horses to a high­line af­ter they have trav­eled a long time in the trailer.

• In­vest in an im­mune­sup­port sup­ple­ment and start feeding it a few weeks prior to your big trip.— De­bra Martin Ar­ne­sen thought Parker’s body would be able to clear the re­main­ing fluid with just the help of an­tibi­otics, which we would con­tinue for an­other week. Parker would still need many months of rest be­fore I could ride him again, and whether he’d ever be able to reach the level of ac­tiv­ity we’d once en­joyed wasn’t clear. But he would live.

As I left the clinic that day, Ar­ne­sen told me that he nor­mally sees three or four cases of pleu­ri­tis each year, yet he’d al­ready seen five so far that year, and it was only July. Of those five, only two had sur­vived---Parker had been one

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