keeps her two horses at the same boarding stable where youve just moved
Jones, your new gelding. Marys gelding Blaze has heaves, requires
specialized shoeing that costs twice the normal fee, gets special feed for his
dry skin, and each day has a 50/50 chance of being sound to ride. Her mare
Dolly is gorgeous but shes constantly on a diet, is a chronic wood chewer
and tail rubber and frequently colics. The problems that Mary has with her
horses have you in a panic every time Jones lies down or stumbles.
The bad news is that Blaze and Dolly might always have these problems and Mary
will always have higher than normal feed, veterinary, and farrier bills.
The good news is that all of these problems are preventable with good health management.
If you are a keen observer and follow good horse management, Jones will stay in
tiptop shape and your budget wont bust!
Our horses depend on us to take good care of them. We need to pay specific
attention to feeding, sanitation, grooming, hoof care, veterinary care, and facilities
Although your veterinarian
will perform many routine and emergency tasks for you, you must be responsible
for knowing what to schedule and when.
Immunization Annual vaccinations can protect your horse from certain
diseases. Most horses should be vaccinated against Tetanus, Eastern and
Western Encephalomyelitis, Influenza, and Rhinopneumonitis. In some parts
of the country, Potomac Horse Fever, Rabies, and Strangles vaccines are also recommended.
Tetanus (lockjaw) is an infection
of the nervous system caused by bacteria that enter through a wound or a foal's
umbilical cord. The muscles stiffen so severely that within a few days the
animal dies or must be euthanized.
(sleeping sickness) is caused by a virus carried by a mosquito. The mosquito
transports the virus from a wild bird or animal to your horse. The horse
gets a high fever, is paralyzed and dies within 2-4 days.
Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus. Its a common respiratory
disease spread by coughing that is rarely fatal.
Rhinopneumonitis (snots) usually affects 4-6 month old foals. Pregnant
broodmares that come in contact with this virus might abort.
Distemper (strangles) is a highly contagious bacterial infection that causes
the glands near the throat to swell. The horse will not eat or drink and
gets a very high fever but rarely dies.
Rabies rarely affects horses but can result in death. The virus is
transmitted from an infected animal to the horse by a bite, usually from a dog,
a skunk, a fox, or a bat.
Anemia (swamp fever) is a virus that infects the horse's blood and is spread
from one horse to another through a biting insect. There is no vaccine to
protect your horse against swamp fever but the Coggins test identifies carriers.
Diseases are spread either directly
from one horse to another, from a contaminated stall or feeder to a horse, between
horses eating or drinking from communal areas, or through the air.
If a horse is contaminated, use a combination of treatment, disinfecting, and
quarantine to keep the disease from spreading and to eliminate the organism that
Prevention Horses investigate unknown things with their lips
so all dangerous substances must be kept out of their reach. Use safe paint.
Don't let horses get near junk or vehicles where they might ingest toxic paints,
plastic, rubber, antifreeze, or battery fluid. Don't apply insecticides
or herbicides near their feed or water areas and be aware of which way the wind
is blowing when you are spraying. Read all labels very carefully or you
might accidentally give your horse an overdose of an antibiotic, dewormer or nutritional
Care Once a year your vet should float (rasp) your horses
molars to prevent dangerous sharp points from cutting the horses cheeks
and tongue. At the same time, your vet can pop any caps (baby teeth) that
might hang on when the adult teeth have erupted. If your horse has wolf
teeth (small tooth directly in front of the premolars) it can be removed to prevent
problems with the snaffle bit.
Parasite Control All horses have internal
parasites. The worm eggs in manure hatch into larvae that are eaten by the
horse. Once inside the horse they subsist on the horses blood while
they mature, lay eggs and continue the cycle. Bots live inside the horse
until the pupae drops to the ground with manure and hatches into a bot fly.
Although bot flies look like bees, they dont sting but lay eggs on the horses
hair. Nose bots try to fly up the horse's nose, which causes most horses
to strike viciously with their front legs and run frantically. This is a
very dangerous situation.
To prevent your
horse from becoming dull coated, pot bellied, and lethargic, deworm your horse
every 8 weeks. Remove manure from his living quarters daily. Remove
bot eggs from his hair every day beginning in August.
Taking good care of a horse is one of the most satisfying experiences that I know.
There is no sight quite like a bright, alert horse that is sound, shiny and ready
information contained on this site is provided for general informational and educational
purposes only. The suggestions and guidelines should not be used as the sole
answer for a visitor's specific needs.