4 Proactive Steps to a Healthy Horse
A veterinary-directed wellness plan is an easy way to care for your horse
PLYMOUTH, MA – March 21, 2017 – At SmartPak, our mission is to support healthy horses and happy riders. One of the best ways you can help keep your horse healthy is by partnering with your veterinarian to develop an annual wellness program. With spring just around the corner, now is a great time to start thinking about a wellness plan for your horse.
Your veterinarian is the best source of advice on what is right for your individual horse, and will take into account factors such as age, workload, and any existing health conditions. “Working with your veterinarian is important to help spot problems early and keep your horse healthy,” said Dr. Scott Spaulding of Badger Veterinary Hospital, Janesville, Wisconsin. “A well-rounded wellness program includes four key areas to help your veterinarian evaluate your horse’s health: annual physical exam, dental exam, vaccinations, and deworming.”
Annual Physical Exam
During an annual physical exam, the veterinarian starts with a thorough visual inspection of the horse, and evaluates basic measures of health such as temperature, pulse, and respiration. Next, the veterinarian will listen to the lungs, evaluate skin and coat health, and discuss any specific concerns. The physical exam is also a great time for your vet to evaluate your horse’s Body Condition Score and discuss the horse’s nutrition program, including grain and hay. “For older horses,” said Dr. Lydia Gray, SmartPak’s Staff Veterinarian/Medical Director, “more frequent exams that include specific tests may be recommended, such as bloodwork to rule out conditions like Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction, also known as Cushing’s Disease.”
Annual Dental Exam
Having your veterinarian perform an annual dental exam is equally important. Regular dental care is vital for maintaining your horse’s health, especially in senior horses or those prone to dental issues. Dental problems can lead to weight loss, decreased performance, and sometimes unwanted behavior. Having your horse’s mouth and teeth checked at least once per year is a smart way to spot issues early and take care of them before they cause problems.
Annual vaccinations are essential for the health of the horse and to help prevent disease outbreaks. While the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) core vaccine recommendations are Eastern/Western equine encephalitis, tetanus, West Nile virus, and rabies, it is important to remember to work with your veterinarian to determine a vaccination plan that is optimal for your horse based on your geography and other individual risk factors.
Having your horse on a deworming plan is also an important part of responsible horse ownership. Your veterinarian is the best resource to develop a deworming program designed specifically for your horse and property. “In order to have an effective parasite control strategy,” said Dr. Gray, “it’s important to work with your veterinarian to create a deworming plan that includes fecal testing and targeted deworming based on those results.”
Horses that receive all of these essential services each year are not only staying healthier, they are also meeting all of the Annual Wellness Requirements for ColiCare, SmartPak’s free colic surgery reimbursement program. In addition to the wellness services performed by your veterinarian, simply feed any ColiCare eligible supplement in SmartPaks™ and you could be eligible for up to $7,500 of colic surgery reimbursement. SmartPak recently made it easier than ever to enroll in SmartPak by allowing horse owners to designate an agent, such as a trainer or lessee, to apply for ColiCare on their behalf. Learn more at www.SmartPak.com/ColiCare.