Establishing a wellness program will save you time, money and headaches. Following a well thought out program will help assure that you are giving your horses and small animals the care they need when they need it. An effective equine wellness program (Preventive Health Care) will help to maintain your horse in peak condition and minimize the chance of illnesses. Your program should include a physical examination, vaccinations, deworming and be designed to fit your horse's life style. Consulting with your veterinarian is vital because many of the fatal diseases are preventable.
A good Spring - Fall Wellness Program will help your animals stay healthy year round.
While most horse owners have experienced an equine medical emergency, many of these "crises" could be prevented with twice-a-year wellness program. This bi-annual event provides your veterinarian an opportunity to bring your horses up-to-date on season-specific vaccinations and parasite control treatments at the time of year when they are most beneficial. This also provides a time for you to visit with your veterinarian about nutrition, behavior problems, emerging disease threats and other horse health issues.
While there's no way to completely eliminate emergency situations, a good preventive health care program will minimize the chance of life threatening, costly illness. Wellness exams are the best way to detect and treat health problems before they become serious.
Keeping Your Horse Healthy
Comprehensive Equine Preventive Health programs include:
* Conducting an eye exam and dental exam
* Checking hair, coat, and skin
* Listening to the heartbeat, lungs and abdomen and recording vital signs (pulse, temperature, respiratory rate)
* Assessment of the horse's overall conditioning
* Evaluation of the horse's diet, level of activity, behavior and any changes since the last veterinary visit
* Analysis of posture and gait
* Administration of appropriate vaccinations and deworming medications
With the multitude of horse health care information available, how do you decide what's right for your horse? Everyone has some advice including: books, magazines, the internet, your farrier, the feed store operator and of course other horse owners. The reality is you need a specific program that meets your horse's individual requirements. A well designed program will save you money and help to prevent over medicating. An equine veterinarian has the education and experience to help you. Ask them to help you sift through the latest information on horse health care. You will find they are among the first to learn about advancements in health care, disease outbreaks, product complaints and other information affecting how you care for your horse.
Your wellness program should include periodic vaccinations, deworming, dentistry, nutritional evaluation to make sure your horse is getting what it needs and that you are not wasting money on unnecessary items. Not too long ago it was thought that foals, even from vaccinated mares, should begin receiving their own vaccinations within the first few months of birth. On-going research has shown that antibodies from the mare's milk, for some diseases (such as influenza), last much longer than originally thought. Therefore, the foal's first vaccinations can be given much later (at eight or nine months of age for influenza if the mare was vaccinated).
While the equine community has benefited greatly with the introduction of more effective dewormers, with the life style of many of our horses it is even more critical to plan for parasite control. Issues such as resistance, whether to use a daily dewormer or a purge dewormer along with the increasing importance of encysted small strongyles should be considered when you select products to protect your horse. In today's world, simply picking a product off the shelf may not provide the protection your horse needs. Combining the utilization of properly selected dewormers, regularly scheduled fecal examinations, and the establishment of environmental control measures will help to assure the health of your horse.
The feeding of more and more processed, pelletized feeds has caused equine dentistry to be transformed to a science. Proper dental care will help maintain your horse's weight and performance. In the wild state, horses spent their day grazing and consumed large quantities of roughage throughout the day. Today many of our horses spend their lives in paddock and stalls and are fed a concentrate two or three times a day causing our horses to do less chewing and grinding of teeth. This coupled with the fact that a horse's teeth are continually growing has made regular dental care to become an important health consideration. This becomes even more important as horses live longer and longer. Your horse's health plan should include regularly scheduled oral examinations along with preventive and corrective dental procedures appropriate for your horse's age and use.
By showing your veterinarian what and how you're feeding your horse, you will have an opportunity to ask questions about nutrition and review your procedures as you tour the feed shed and pasture. You may end up reducing the number of supplements you give your horse, reducing your feed costs. A penny spent can yield a dollar saved, consult with your veterinarian.
Sample Equine Preventive Health Care Program
The following procedures will enhance your horse's overall health:
Yearly physical exam - Complete in January, February or March
* Nutritional evaluation
* Coggin's test (Equine Infectious Anemia)
* Blood tests (Complete blood count and chemistry panel) for older horses
Annual Spring Vaccinations - Complete in March, April or May Minimum recommendation
* Encephalitis (Eastern & Western)
* West Nile
* Intra-nasal Strangles
* Rabies , every other year
* Rhinopneumonitis and Influenza Recommended in the fall for most horses (6 months after spring vaccinations), and every 3 or 4 months for high exposure animals
* Complete every 8 weeks utilizing an appropriate rotation of products
* Ivermectin must be given after a killing frost in the fall to remove stomach bots & migrating bot larva
* The Pfizer Colic Assistance Program requires daily use of Strongid CÂ® or Strongid C 2XÂ®, and twice yearly Ivermectin treatment.
Annual dental examination and floating
To be completed in either spring or fall.
Routine hoof care
Farrier visits every six to nine weeks, more often if needed
Call Dr. Morrow or Dr. Barclay to establish a wellness program for all of your animals. (806) 622-0803