Your Guide to Equine Health Care

6 Money-Saving Preventive Care Tips for Managing Your Horse

Vet bills are an unavoidable, and often costly, part of horse ownership. But forgoing routine health care to reduce veterinary costs can backfire. Here’s how keeping up on your horse’s preventive care can help you save money in the long run.

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money-saving horse health care tips
It pays off to have an annual wellness exam for your horse. Veterinarians can detect conditions during those exams that, if not detected early or at all, can result in larger veterinary bills down the road. | Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt/The Horse

Spoiler alter: Horse ownership comes with vet bills. They’re an unavoidable, and often costly, part of caring for equids. So, when it comes to routine horse care, some owners might try to reduce veterinary costs by forgoing annual exams and treatments. But, veterinarians warn, cutting corners on preventive care often winds up being more costly in the long run.

1. Get Annual Wellness Exams

“Very simply, it pays off to get an annual physical exam for your horse because there are conditions that can show up in those exams that, if not detected, can cost owners money for larger veterinary bills (in the future),” said Fernando J. Marqués, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM, clinical associate professor and chief of services at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine’s Morrie Waud Large Animal Hospital. “Also, horses receive annual vaccinations during those physicals, and that’s not where people should cut corners to save money either.”

During typical annual equine physicals, veterinarians will check the horse’s temperature and heart and respiratory rate, and they’ll auscultate (listen to using a stethoscope) the heart, lungs and gut. Most physicals also include body condition scoring and an eye exam, and some include sheath cleaning and hoof evaluations, as

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Written by:

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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