Keeping Equine Preventive Care Organized

Here’s how farm managers responsible for large numbers of horses can ensure they stay up to date on vaccines, deworming, and more.

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Keeping Equine Preventive Care Organized
Track each horse's preventive care in one place for easy reference prior to and during vet visits. | Photo Credit: iStock
It can be challenging to stay on top of preventive care needs for horses at large training or boarding barns. All horses need preventive care at least once a year, and most twice a year. This includes a Coggins test, vaccinations, routine dental care, and fecal egg count monitoring/deworming.

State and federal law requires horses traveling interstate to be accompanied by proof of a negative Coggins test—for equine infectious anemia—so owners have their veterinarians draw blood for this annually. The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) recommends annual core vaccines for all horses and twice-a-year administration for some vaccines depending on the horse’s risk. Many competing horses are required to receive twice-a-year vaccination against equine influenza virus and equine herpesvirus-1 and -4 (EHV, often referred to as “rhino”). All horses should have an oral examination and, if needed, dental float once a year; some might require more frequent exams or procedures depending on their needs.

The AAEP has published Equine Parasite Control Guidelines with strategic deworming recommendations. These vary based on pasture stocking density, management practices, and the ages of horses on the farm.

That’s a lot to keep track of when a facility houses many horses with different owners and needs. I’ve proposed one way to handle this organizational challenge. I ­recommend having one person be the liaison between the boarding or training facility and the veterinary practice. This doesn’t necessarily mean the liaison makes decisions about veterinary care for all horses, just that he or she is the main contact in charge of scheduling preventive care visits and alerting horse owners that the vet will be coming to the farm. This person is most commonly the facility’s trainer or manager. He or she should also be aware of the horses’ travel or competition commitments. For example, we don’t want to vaccinate a horse the day before it goes to a show, as he might not be feeling his best so soon after vaccination. Another variable to consider is sedation prior to showing. The United States Equestrian Federation, for instance, requires a washout period between elective sedation (as required for dental exams) and competing to avoid a positive drug test

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Written by:

Chrissie Schneider, DVM, MS, Dipl. ABVP (Equine Practice), cVMA, is an equine veterinarian living in Columbus, Ohio. She’s had a special interest in preventive care since graduating from The Ohio State University’s veterinary school in 2009. In her spare time she enjoys triathlons and getting back into horseback riding.

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