Clinical, biochemical, and hygiene assessment of stabled
horses provided continuous or intermittent access to drinking water
Douglas A. Freeman, DVM, PhD; Nadia F. Cymbaluk, DVM, MSc; Harold C. Schott
II, DVM, PhD; Kenneth Hinchcliff, BVSc, PhD; Sue M. McDonnell, PhD; Beth Kyle, BScA, MSc
Objective-To compare health, hydration
status, and management of stabled pregnant
mares provided drinking water continuously or
via 1 of 3 intermittent delivery systems.
Animals-22 Quarter Horse (QH) or QH-crossbred mares and 18 Belgian or Belgian-crossbred mares
(study 1); 24 QH or QH-crossbred mares and 18 Belgian or Belgian-crossbred mares (study 2).
horses were provided water continuously or
via 1 of 3 intermittent water delivery systems in
2 study periods during a 2-year period. Body temperature,
attitude, appetite, water intake, and urine output
were recorded daily. Hygiene of each horse and the
stable were assessed weekly. Clinical and bio-chemical measures
of hydration were determined 3 times during
each study. Clinical measures of hydration included
skin turgor, gum moisture, capillary refill time, and fecal consistency.
Biochemical measures of hydration included
PCV, plasma total protein concentration, serum osmolality, plasma vasopressin concentration,
specific gravity, and urine osmolality.
horses remained healthy. Stable hygiene was
worse when horses had continuous access to water.
Clinical and biochemical measures of hydration did
not differ among water delivery systems.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance-Various
continuous and intermittent water delivery
systems provided adequate amounts of water to
stabled horses to maintain health and
hydration status. Providing intermittent access
to water may be preferable on the basis of stable hygiene.
(Am J Vet Res 1999;60:1445-1450)