“A horse gallops with his lungs and wins with his character, but perseveres with his heart”
The Center for Equine Health, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine
Principal Body System: Cardiovascular
Definition: Blood, heart and blood vessels.
Function: Distributes oxygen and nutrients to cells; carries carbon dioxide and wastes from cells; maintains the acid-base balance ofthe body; protects against disease; prevents haemorrhage by forming blood clots; helps regulate body temperature.
The horse’s heart is an extremely effective organ, and fortunately rarely experiences problems. Which is just as well because the horse’s heart has to pump a healthy blood supply to one of the largest mammals on the planet.
It is quite simply the lifeline to a horse's optimum health.
The equine cardiovascular system comprises of a pump (heart), a distribution system (arteries), exchange areas (capillary beds), and a return and collect system (veins). They have one job to perform, and that is to transport oxygenated blood (around 40-litres of blood in a 500kg horse), as well as nutrients, lymph and hormones to vital organs and tissues, and remove waste products to where they can be eliminated.
A disruption can cause anything from a mild to a more serious problem - anaemia, laminitis, bruising and colic being just some of the more recognised disorders that can affect the circulatory system.
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