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Looking after a horse is a complicated and, at times, trying experience. Part of a well horse health program includes routine vaccination, deworming, hoof care and dental care. A discussion with your veterinarian will help you to setup a proper health program for your horse.
There are core vaccines that should be given to every horse on an annual basis to prevent illness. This vaccine is what some people refer to as a 5-way vaccine. The vaccine will protect your horse against: Eastern encephalomyelitis, Western encephalomyelitis, Tetanus, Rhinopneumonitis (rhino), and equine influenza.
There are a whole host of other vaccines that are given based on the horses risk level, they include: Streptococcus equi. (strangles), Ehrlichia Risticii (Potomac horse fever), and Rabies. If you have any questions about which vaccines your horse may need please ask your veterinarian.
Deworming is another vital aspect of your well horse health program. Without regular treatment all horses may become hosts to worms that can cause lasting internal damage. There are many different types of worms that can infect your horse. Some worms are more prevalent in certain regions, and weather or seasonal conditions. Ideally in order to choose our dewormers properly we would do a fecal analysis on each individual horse prior to administer a dewormer. This procedure may be recommended, or one may choose to give broad spectrum dewormers at strategic times of the year. It has been proposed that if the type of dewormer is rotated that this may lead to less resistance to the medications in the future. There are many different brands of dewormers out there, some effective some not. If you are unsure about developing your own program ask your vet to recommend a deworming protocol.
Taking care of your horses feet is a very important aspect of maintaining your horses overall wellness. The old saying “no foot no horse” certainly holds true. Many factors contribute to determine the frequency in which hoof care is needed for your horse. Four main factors are: their home environment, their breed, and their work load, the season (hooves grow slower in the winter). On average most horses will do fine with hoof care once every 6 weeks. If you notice any signs of lameness or have any questions about your horses hoof care do not hesitate to give us a call.
Routine dental care is quickly being recognized as an essential part of maintaining a healthy horse. Typically a horse should have its first dental exam done prior to it turning three years old or before the bit goes in its mouth for the first time, whichever comes first. After that horses at work typically need done annually, and horses not in work can often times be managed by having their teeth floated every 2 years.
There are many signs that a horse needs to have their teeth done. A few include: fighting the bit, head tossing, weight loss, and eating abnormally or dropping food. It is typically unwise to wait for signs that the teeth need “fixed” as preventative maintenance will help avoid problems and increase your horse’s longevity. Dental problems and their associated clinical signs are the most common reasons for euthanizing the elderly horse. Talk to your veterinarian about setting up an appropriate preventative maintenance program for you horse.