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Horse owners must prepare for storm possibilities

News Release Distributed 06/04/14

BATON ROUGE, La. – Horse owners should prepare for tropical weather instead of waiting until the last minute just before a storm, advised LSU AgCenter equine specialist Neely Walker.

“Planning is the key to keeping your horses safe,” she said.

Planning can be done with neighbors and surrounding farm owners to identify resources in the area. “This includes evacuation routes, stables, feed availability and emergency kits,” she said.

Waiting until an evacuation is not the time to get a horse accustomed to entering a horse trailer, Walker said, and she recommended practicing that procedure. Also, vaccines should be current.

“If you are planning on evacuating with your horse, leave early enough to prevent traffic delays,” she said. “Keep in mind that during evacuation, management practices may change, so monitor your horses closely for dehydration and signs of intestinal distress.”

If the decision is made not to evacuate, Walker recommends:

– A minimum of two weeks supply of hay and feed stored in waterproof containers kept in the highest and driest area possible.

– At least 10 gallons of water per horse per day. Plastic barrels with secure lids can be filled and kept near animals.

– Preparing an emergency barn kit and keeping it in a secure location with a light and batteries, rope, chain saw with fuel and oil, handsaw, nails, screws, spray paint and fencing materials.

– Notifying neighbors and family where you will be during the storm.

– Compiling records for each animal, including a photo of each horse with a family member, medical documents, tattoos, microchip information, brands, scars and any other permanent identification, owner information and your veterinarian’s contact information. The records should be kept in a secure location that can be accessed after a storm. Consideration should be given to sending the material to a friend in a location not expected to be affected by a weather event.

– Attaching identification to all horses, including fetlock identification tags and halter tags. Telephone numbers can be spray-painted on a horse, and a waterproof bag containing owner information can be tied to a horse’s mane.

– Providing hay and water during a storm.

– Removing possible hazards from an area where horses will be kept. If outside, allow horses access to higher ground.

“If you are not prepared, being displaced is difficult to manage,” Walker said. “You may be able to get back to your property, but it may not be safe for weeks.”

Bruce Schultz

Last Updated: 6/4/2014 1:02:34 PM

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