SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. - The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration® takes great pride in putting the health and safety of the horses at the forefront. The extremely hot and dry conditions being experienced in the Middle Tennessee area this summer can put many animals at risk for heat stress and related conditions.

Shelbyville veterinarian and walking horse enthusiast Dr. Jim Baum says he’s been happy to see very few cases of heat-related problems, even though the mercury has been above the 100-degree mark for most of the last two weeks.

Baum says there are two very important ways to prevent heat stress.

1. Keep horses well-ventilated in their stalls
2. Provide plenty of fresh, clean drinking water as well as electrolytes, and salt.

Even the best cared-for horses can suffer the effects of the incredible heat the area has endured this summer. Dr. Baum provided a list of symptoms and treatments for horses with heat stress.

1. Increased body temperature
2. Increased respiration
3. Increased heart rate
4. Glassy eyes
5. Flaring nostrils
6. Lack of sweating
7. Lethargic
8. Spastic movement
9. Abnormal breathing patterns

1. Call your veterinarian immediately
2. Hose down the animal with cool water
3. Intravenous fluids in high volumes
4. Electrolyte replacement (drinking water)
5. Blood analysis to determine the severity of the heat stress
6. Alcohol/water baths for the animal
7. Increase the air circulation in the area
8. Cold packs to the forehead of the horse

Baum said most of the trainers in the area are doing most of their work as early in the day as possible, but with The Celebration® just around the corner, everyone is reminded to pay close attention to the health and safety of the stars of our show, the wonderful Tennessee Walking Horses.