Horses can encounter health issues just as any other type of animal can. Fortunately, the great majority of these issues can be prevented through regular wellness care and proper management. Horse owners will be pleased to know that our clinic can provide resources to help investigate and treat both routine as well as more intensively manages cases.
Vaccinations, Dental Care and More for Your Equine Animals
We work with you to help tailor a thoughtful and responsible preventative health program for both the individual and "the herd".
Horses receive and examination at the time of vaccines which includes evaluation of body condition score, condition of feet, listening to heart and lungs and for evidence of sand in the abdomen. A discussion of well being/eating efficiency/behavior will also take place which will lead to addressing specific concerns such as lameness, visual deficits, dental and skin disease or other issues.
Vaccinations of Horses Provides Essential Protection. Every animal comes into contact with potentially dangerous viruses and bacterial infections in the course of daily life, and horses are no different. This makes vaccinations a critical component of a comprehensive horse wellness plan. Horse vaccines provide protection against several dangerous and even potentially deadly diseases by stimulating a horse’s immune system.
Horse Vaccinations: Core Vaccines and Risk-Based Vaccines
Vaccines are essential for good health because they prepare a horse’s immune system to recognize and destroy potentially harmful pathogens before he or she comes into contact with the pathogen in daily life. Vaccines stimulate the horse’s immune system to create antibodies customized to neutralize particular pathogens. This enables the horse to have a high level of immunity against specific diseases when he or she encounters it in the wild, thus preventing the horse from suffering a painful or potentially deadly infection.
There are many vaccinations for horses, some of which are considered essential for all horses (core), while others are recommended depending on the individual horse and his or her lifestyle (non-core). The American Association of Equine Practitioners recommends that all horses receive vaccinations against rabies, tetanus, West Nile Virus, eastern/western equine encephalitis, influenza, and rhinopneumonitis.
Non-core horse vaccinations can be administered by your veterinarian based on how “at-risk” your horse is for those diseases. You and your veterinarian will need to discuss what diseases are prevalent in your area, your horse’s health condition, and your horse’s lifestyle. If your horse travels frequently for shows or works in areas where certain pathogens are endemic, your horse will be best served by getting extra vaccinations to protect against those diseases.
When does a horse need to be vaccinated? Generally speaking, foals born to vaccinated mares (who pass on some immunity at birth for a short period of time) should start an initial core vaccination schedule at six months. They will need boosters when they are seven and eight (or nine) months old. For the course of the horse’s life, they will also need booster shots, some each year, some more or some less frequently, depending up on the particular inoculation.
Talk with your horse’s veterinarian today to make sure your horse’s vaccination schedule is current and providing him or her with the protection needed to stay healthy.
Horses have unique feeding and nutrition needs in the mammal world, and a good understanding of how they digest and use food is necessary to keeping your horse healthy. First of all, the horse’s large size belies its relatively small stomach. Its digestive system was designed to digest small amounts of forage all day long—not for eating two or three large meals at fixed times during the day. Also, the horse’s digestive tract is very sensitive to impurities. Because they cannot vomit, there is no way for horses to quickly eliminate contaminated food from their bodies. This can lead to colic, which is extremely painful and can be deadly. So it is important to provide your horse a clean, slow and steady supply of nutritious food and plenty of clean, fresh water. The horse’s long, complex and sensitive digestive tract also requires that you never abruptly change his or her diet.
Horse Nutrition Needs at Various Life Stages
Your horse needs the following basic nutritional elements to stay healthy: water, carbohydrates (for energy), protein (for tissue support), minerals and vitamins.
It is important to ensure that a clean, bacteria- and algae-free source of fresh water is constantly available to your horse all day, all year round to prevent dehydration. Keeping your horse well watered in the summer is important, but also be sure that your horse’s water source does not freeze in the winter.
Typically, horses get their energy from eating grasses and hay in small amounts throughout the day. Not all horses have the same energy intake requirements. Lactating mares, growing horses and horses with a heavy work or exercise load need the most energy, whereas older horses and horses that do not have a heavy workload need less. It is important to find the right balance for your horse by working with your veterinarian. Any sudden changes in diet, particularly a rise in the level of sugars and starches, can lead to dangerous colic, colitis or laminitis.
Our vets are happy to discuss your horses nutritional needs and to help adjust the diet in order to address weight loss, weight gain, endocrine disease or dental inefficiency. We are also able to demystify the decision making involved in sorting through the many choices regarding feed supplements and additives. We can also help with feed/hay analysis to determine whether your hay is appropriate for your horses use, age, and dentition.