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, SmartPak is reminding owners.

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 Scott Spaulding, DVM, 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, 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 equine Cushing’s disease.

Annual Dental Exam Having your veterinarian perfor