Keeping Equine Preventive Care Organized
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
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