Local Land Services (LLS) and NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) are urging horse-owners in flooded areas to check their animals for injuries or illnesses as soon as it is safe to do so.
LLS and DPI, working together during natural disasters as the Agricultural and Animal Services Functional Area (AASFA), are urging horse-owners to take up their offers of assistance.
These include emergency fodder for livestock, as well as animal assessment, veterinary advice and if required, euthanasia and burial.
Greater Sydney District Vet Dr Lisa Goodchild said the team were seeing and receiving reports of horses isolated in floodwaters.
“During flood times, persistent wetting of horses’ hooves can lead to softening of the hooves, which then makes them more susceptible to bruising and penetrating injuries. This can also lead to bacterial infections in the hoof itself, lower limbs and potential cellulitis,” she said.
“Any penetrating wounds must be seen by a veterinarian to assess whether antibiotics are appropriate to prevent infection.”
Dr Goodchild said horses that had been standing in water for prolonged periods were also more susceptible to skin infections.
“Wounds are a perfect entry point for any pathogens from the flood waters to gain entry. Lacerations and abrasions may not be immediately obvious. Both bacterial and fungal infections are common, and these horses could be at risk of sepsis if they do not receive treatment .”
Dr Goodchild said it was important owners monitored their horses closely and contacted their vet if they detected any signs of illness or injury.
“Some illnesses may not become apparent until several days after the horses have been removed from the flood waters. Monitoring your horses for changes in their respiration rate and mucous membrane (gum) colour, can often help to indicate when veterinary attention is needed. Horses are also at risk of colic, so monitoring their feed intake and ensuring there is an adequate amount of faeces being passed, will assist in identifying early signs of gastrointestinal dysfunction,” she said.
Landholders can register with the Agriculture and Animal Serviced hotline on 1800 814 647 if they need assistance with animal assessment or directly contact their Local Land Services District Veterinarian on 1300 795 299.