Whether or not the groundhog has predicted an early spring or six more weeks of winter, now’s the time to begin thinking about preventative healthcare for your horse. From hoof care to a deworming schedule, here are six things you need to remember when getting your horse ready for the months ahead.
Check Your Horse’s Coat Condition
As spring approaches, your horse will begin to shed their winter coat. When weather permits, fully wash your horse and check for any abrasions or other issues that might have been underneath the thicker coat. Using shedding tools such as the EquiGroomer or Show Me Grooming Brush will help remove all of that dead hair.
Common Conditions to Check For: Rain rot, ringworm, scratches, dandruff, tail Rubbing, muck itch
If your horse suffers from one of these conditions, a topical such as M.T.G. can be used to begin the healing process.
Look at Their Hooves
Inspect your horse’s hooves daily and trim them every six to eight weeks. Keeping their hooves neatly trimmed benefits posture and balance while correcting any abnormalities. If necessary, schedule an appointment with your farrier to ensure proper fitting shoes.
Common Conditions to Check For: Thrush, white line disease, loose shoes or nails
To treat white line disease, consider trying White Lightning Liquid.
Schedule a Dental Appointment
Ideally, horses should have two dental visits a year. If a horse’s teeth become too sharp, it can cause detrimental effects on their health and nutrition. Floating (the process of grinding down sharpened points on a horse’s teeth) is an essential part of equine dental care. Keeping a horse’s teeth properly floated will help prevent medical issues such as ulcers and back pain.
Please be advised that dental work should only be performed by a licensed veterinarian or doctors who specialize in equine dental health.
Review Your Deworming Schedule
A deworming schedule for horses should be tailored to their specific needs and concerns. During your horse’s wellness exam, fecal matter can be collected and examined to help determine any of your deworming needs. On average, deworming should occur every two months. The size of turnout and number of pasture mates can increase or decrease the frequency.
Gastrointestinal Parasites can cause conditions such as (but not limited to) Diarrhea, Impaction, Colic, and in extreme cases, death.
For a suggested schedule, check out Jeffers 3-Way Rotation Deworming Chart.
Beyond medicinal measures, take steps to decrease parasite livelihood in pastures. Keeping pastures trimmed to a certain height (no more than eight inches tall) or cross-grazing fields can help limit your horse’s chance of exposure.
Consider Your Vaccination Schedule
Vaccinating is one of the best things you can do for your horse in the spring. Overall, the diseases you vaccinate against should take into consideration your horse’s age, use, and level of exposure.
OTC or commercial vaccines are available for:
- Encephalomyelitis (Eastern, Western, and Venezuelan)
- Rhino Pneumonitis
- West Nile Virus
It’s personal preference and your horse’s physiological response that determines whether or not a 7-in-1 or 6-in-1 vaccine is better used than vaccinations administered at two different intervals. For example, while Equi-Jec 6 or 7 are one-and-done vaccines, the same benefits and protection (minus Venezuelan Encephalomyelitis) can be provided by using Equi-Jec 5 and Equi-Jec WNV.
Schedule a Wellness Exam
Last but not least, schedule a visit with the veterinarian to ensure your horse’s health and soundness. Routine (and proactive) veterinary care can help protect your best friend.
For more on grooming in the springtime, check out Jeffers’ Top 10 Deshedding Products.
While the information within this blog serves as an educational tool, it should not supersede or supplant the advice and opinion of a licensed veterinary professional.