Spring is right around the corner and it's that time of year to start planning your horse's spring wellness exam and vaccinations. This time of year everyone is anticipating the warmer weather and thinking about spring cleaning everything from the house to the car so why shouldn't your horse get some special attention!
It is important this time of year to schedule a visit with your veterinarian for a complete examination with a little extra time for questions about any events that could impact your horse's well-being and a nutrition consultation. During this visit, maximize the time available to you to expand your equine wellness knowledge. Here are some things to consider talking to your veterinarian about:
1. Learning how to body condition score and weight tape your horse properly
2. Determining if the type or amount of hay, grain, and supplements you feed is appropriate or if it needs to be adjusted
3. Take a core sample of your hay and give it to your veterinarian for analysis
4. Inspect your horse's skin, coat, and hooves for poor quality or disease conditions
5. Discuss parasite control and submit a fecal sample and have them dewormed
6. Learn what new diseases may be occurring in your area and request specific vaccinations. There are five core equine diseases: Eastern and Western Equine Encephalomyelitis (EEE) and (WEE), rabies, tetanus and West Nile virus. Your horse may also benefit from additional risk-based vaccines if you are traveling, they are exposed to other horses or wildlife or are at an advanced age.
7. With your veterinarian, examine your horse's mouth and develop a dental plan and have your horse's teeth floated if necessary
8. Explain your riding and showing plans for the season and ask your veterinarian's opinion on proper conditioning
9. Evaluate your horse's risk for conditions like colic, laminitis, and ulcers by sharing turnout strategies as well as how much time your horse will be in a stall vs. turned out to pasture
10. Find out if your horse will benefit from electrolytes, antioxidants, joint supplements or other products if you plan to travel or show
Other professionals to consider scheduling visits with include your farrier, equine dentist, and nutritionist.
Whether you compete or just ride for fun, taking these steps into consideration can ensure that your horse is mentally and physically fit for the tasks you are requiring of them and that they feel and look their best!