When talking about horse veterinary care, there are basic health items that are easily listed and checked. These health items include:
- Rabies vaccine – this is required in most states, and often, events require owners to have their horses vaccinated before joining.
- Vaccine for TWF (Tetanus, Eastern and Western Encephalitis and Influenza) – ideally given every year for all horses. Other kinds of vaccines are given as needed based on the location of your farm as well as the lifestyle of your horse.
- Coggins Test – is a blood sample to test for exposure to virus that causes Equine Infections Anemia. This test is required each year in some states while others require it twice a year and this is given to horses that usually leave their property.
- Good nutrition – a combination of grains and forage, and other supplements. Of course, access to clean and fresh water is a must.
- Deworming – Using equine dewormers is based on the results of fecal egg count tests. An ideal horse worming program targets specific parasites that your horse might harbor.
- Shoeing and Trimming – The frequency of giving this health need may vary from one horse to another.
While all these health items are basically important, there is one more health item that you need to include in your yearly health list – a yearly physical exam. Your horse will be worked over from the tip of his nose to the tip of his tail and everything else that’s found in between. This is another way to evaluate your horse and the things that you might have missed in your yearly health checklist. There could have been changes that you have overlooked, which your vet may quickly observe.
Your vet will check your horse’s eyes and may observe early signs of eye problems such as conjunctivitis.
His nose will be examined for discharges or troubled breathing; the mouth and the teeth will be checked for problems.
Much like a human physical exam, the horse’s pulse, heart rate, and heart and lung sounds will be checked to quickly determine if there are any problems. Doing this sooner would be better.
Apart from listening to respiratory sounds, bowel sounds will also be checked for problems of the digestive system. The condition of his skin, particularly his hair coat will also be examined. The veterinarian may also check the overall body for any unusual lumps or bumps that have grown.
Detecting problems and treating them early on is a lot less expensive compared to treating problems that have already progressed. Realistically, an occasional physical exam is important for a healthy horse. The results of the exam will provide a data on what is normal for your horse, making it easy for you to determine any abnormal health status.