Thehorse.com - Full Article
by: Christa Lesté-Lasserre
April 24 2008
If you lead a horse to water, you might not be able to make him drink, but it's still a great way to gauge whether he needs that water or not, according to recent British research examining working horses and dehydration levels.
The researchers found that the commonly used "skin tent test" (pinching up a section of skin to note the time it takes to return to its normal position) varies greatly according to the horse's age, the humidity of the coat, and the site of the skin tested. Furthermore, it has no significant connection with the actual state of hydration in the horse, according to the study.
Because of this, the skin tent test is not a valid method for evaluating dehydration in horses, said Joy Pritchard, PhD, DVM, co-author of the study and a researcher at Bristol University. Pritchard is also head of animal welfare at Brooke Hospital for Animals, a U.K.-based charity that focuses on equids in developing countries.