The UK’s largest horse charity, The British Horse Society (BHS) is warning of a rise in numbers of horses suffering from sunburn caused by strong UV rays.
The charity has issued urgent advice to owners asking them to make sure their horses have shade, water and suntan lotion on, during what is expected to be the hottest days of the year so far.
With temperatures expected to soar to 35˚C, the charity is warning of the dangers of a rise of horses suffering from strong UV rays.
Horses are affected by the sun in exactly the same way as humans – much like pale-skinned and fair-haired humans, horses with pale, flesh-coloured skin and grey or white fur are the most susceptible to burning.
Lee Hackett, BHS Director of Policy, said: “Anybody who has been burnt on holiday knows how much it hurts. Our message is simple – horses need suntan cream and shade too. Owners need to be extra vigilant during this heat wave.
“If your horse has pink – rather than brown – skin, they are particularly at risk. Their muzzles are very sensitive to the sun, so ensure sun cream is applied liberally around that area.
“If you see a horse in pain or suffering from the sun, please do call our welfare team or an animal rescue charity like the RSPCA.”
Horse owner Ann Baylis was baffled when her horse Jack’s nose looked sore and red last summer. After research, Ann discovered that her horse might have been sunburned. Anne said: “I didn’t know that horses could get sun burn, but poor Jack’s muzzle looked really sore. After the incident, I always make sure I put sun protection on Jack’s nose on sunny days.”
Many horse sun cream brands are available on the market, but the BHS advise that any sun protection will be beneficial. As with humans, higher factor SPF and waterproof sun creams are recommended – for instance, kid’s sun block – and should be applied regularly throughout the day.
Horses that do get burnt can be treated with aloe vera or aftersun lotion, but a vet should see extreme cases.
The British Horse Society also advises that:
Horses continually have access to water throughout the day;
Any field with horses in should have plenty of shaded areas, otherwise horses can be left in the stable in the day and turned out overnight;
When travelling on long journeys, horses should be given breaks from the heat of the horsebox. Air conditioning can also be bought for horseboxes.