Understanding your horse and his or her normal behaviors are of utmost importance in creating an effective health program for any horse, helping you detect anomalies more rapidly.
At wellness visits, veterinarians perform hands-on exams, immunizations and preventive procedures such as dental care. Furthermore, they check for reportable diseases specific to each state.
1. Proper Housing
Horses require shelter that protects them from extremes of temperature and weather, snowfall, rain or wind. Furthermore, they require access to an exercise paddock or pasture for exercise and walking purposes.
Energy can be found through grazing and high quality hay alone; grain may also be added for supplementation purposes. They require a set feeding schedule.
Furst notes that horses confined for an extended period are more prone to stress ulcers and injury, making stall windows large enough for them to avoid getting their heads or hooves caught and injuring themselves, she emphasizes.
2. Proper Feeding
Horses require high quality hay or pasture rations as the core of their diet, while adding concentrates can assist with energy needs for horses that are young, pregnant or competing.
The horse’s stomach and digestive tract is designed to digest forage. An excessively large quantity of grain can create issues by fermenting into gas-forming fermentation processes that result in excessive gas production and cause stomach upsets in horses.
Introduce new feed types gradually, as sudden shifts may result in colic or founder. Avoid feed that contains wheat, corn and other high glycemic index grains as these may create issues with insulin regulation.
3. Proper Exercise
Horses require regular exercise to remain fit and healthy, such as turnout time in the pasture, riding lessons or training exercises.
Stretching and suppling exercises help protect horses against injuries by strengthening pathways between nerve endings in muscles, tendons and ligaments for enhanced awareness of movement and leg position. They also increase circulation while relieving pain and inflammation.
Before beginning an exercise program for your horse, always consult a veterinarian. They can recommend an exercise regime tailored specifically to their current fitness level and progressing upwards gradually to increase fitness over time.
Vaccinations help horses build disease resistance by stimulating the immune system to fight infections from specific diseases. Your veterinarian will devise a vaccination program tailored specifically to your geographic location and activities for your horses.
Reemerging Threats: Federal and state animal health officials carefully monitor equine diseases. Laboratory reports on reportable illnesses are released directly to owners by SAHO offices or attending veterinarians, quarantine procedures are detailed on EDCC website for sick horses are detailed there, while FDA-CVM regulates development and use of drugs used on horses.
Anyone who owns horses should regularly deworm their animals as internal parasites can lead to weight loss, poor hair coat and performance issues, colic and diarrhea in horses.
Young foals are more vulnerable than their adult counterparts to internal parasites. A deworming program for them should include larvicidal dewormers that kill adult ascarids and encysted larvae.
General adult horse deworming programs should consist of one or two treatments each year to control large strongyles and tapeworms (non-cyathostomins). A fecal egg count reduction test will identify low, medium, and high egg shedders so additional targeted treatment can be applied accordingly.
6. Dental Care
Between 2.5 and 5, horses experience dramatic dental development, losing deciduous (baby) teeth and sprouting adult ones. Therefore, regular dental care during this stage is crucial in order to address issues like sharp points or misalignments of their molars.
Veterinary dentistry should be included as part of every horse health program. A full oral exam involves sedate, a metal speculum and good lighting to view all premolars and molars clearly.
Foals should be examined shortly after birth and periodically throughout their first year. Yearlings may need their sharp points floated off or any retained caps removed prior to starting training.
7. Preventive Medicine
An energetic horse exhibits curiosities and responsiveness to its environment. Ears may prick up when it senses danger; when at rest, its head rests softly forward or to either side.
When diseases outbreak, EDCC serves as a hub for communication, correlating and disseminating information to all segments of the horse industry in an attempt to minimize misinformation and cancelations of events. This helps minimize mistrust of information that has been shared.
Preventive measures should include regular worming treatments for your horse. Your equine practitioner can help determine which regime would be appropriate.
8. Monitoring for Illness
Carbohydrates are one of the body’s primary sources of energy and also an important source of fiber in our diets. Hemicellulose and cellulose are complex carbs used by plants as structural supports; their fiber makes up most of their stems’ bulk.
Horses exhibiting symptoms of illness should be promptly isolated using special equipment and personnel dedicated to taking care of sick horses, in order to limit contagious disease transmission among residents. This step is particularly crucial.
9. Monitoring for Parasites
Worm control is critical for horse health. An excessive worm burden can lead to unthriftiness, poor growth in young foals and colic as well as other issues.
Deworming should take into account both location and season when managing parasite populations on farms, though excessive antihelmintic treatments could encourage parasite resistance and harm ecosystems in which horses live, according to Ringmark. A negative fecal egg count doesn’t guarantee parasite-freeness – at least once annually stool samples should be tested for tapeworm eggs for confirmation.
Grooming horses on a regular basis is an integral part of their maintenance, helping remove dirt while providing you with the chance to inspect skin blemishes or infections. Horses naturally display curiosity so it is ideal to see their ears perked up with ears flicking backwards or forward when at rest and their eyes bright and clear.
Groomers often try to manipulate their victims by providing them with attention and making them feel at ease with someone they can rely on for comfort, such as frequent calling or crying sessions or asking for lots of hugs. This could include excessive calling, crying sessions or just asking them for extra hugs all of which may contribute to manipulation and control over time.