Heart and blood
The heart and vascular system carry important products through the body, such as oxygen, carbon dioxide, nutrients, waste products, hormones and heat. The vascular system carries the blood to every part of the body. It supplies the body with oxygen and nutrients and disposes the waste products from the body.
The heart lies in the chest cavity between the lungs. It weighs about 4 kg and is composed of four chambers, many large arteries and many veins. The four chambers are called atrium and ventricles. A wall of muscle divides the heart into two cavities: the left cavity pumps blood throughout the body, while the right cavity pumps blood only through the lungs. Two chambers of the heart lie in the left cavity and two chambers lie in the right cavity. The two upper chambers are called atrium, the bottom chambers are called ventricles. The right side of the heart receives deoxygenated blood from all parts of the body except for the lungs. The left side of the heart receives oxygenated blood from the lungs and pumps it to the rest of the body.
The body of a horse contains a total of 40 liters of blood. In rest, the heart of a healthy horse pumps 25 to 50 times per minute. It is important to now the normal rest-frequency of your horse. An increase in frequency of the heartbeat in rest can indicate pain, fear, illness or anxiety. Each heartbeat pumps the blood through the entire body. In rest, this is about 45 liter per minute. During a strenuous exercise this can increase to a maximum of 240 liter per minute. The maximum heart frequency of a horse lies between 210 and 280 beats per minute. Every horse has his own maximum heart frequency, which is hereditarily determined.
Blood tests / anemia
When you have a suspicion that your horse may be anemic (less performance, tired quickly), we advise to consult your veterinarian for a blood test. It is necessary that a specialist examine the results of this blood test, because one number in the outcome will not give you the whole picture. All values are connected. Anemia is not a shortage of blood, but a deficiency of red blood cells, or an increased breakdown of red blood cells.
Anemia is not common in horses, but it is tremendously significant for the performance of the horse.
It is advisable to consult your veterinarian.
What can I do?
When anemia has been diagnosed, it is important to verify that the horse doesn’t have any other physical obstacles that would prevent him from becoming fit and healthy again (i.e. stress or extreme cold temperatures). Only a veterinarian can treat anemia. When your horse has recovered completely,
it is important to prevent another incident of anemia. Nutrition will play an important role in this attempt.
A special diet, custom-designed for the performance and needs of your horse will be of great help.