Spring Fever Hits Horse Enthusiasts – Vet Tips on Correctly Preparing Your Horse

Warm weather means many of us are saddling up fuzzy horses, and anxiously awaiting the horse-event season to start. There are several things horse owners should do to protect their horses and prevent the spread of illness through the horse community.

Dr. Liz Scott Taking care of a foalHorses should be vaccinated for West Nile, Tetanus, Eastern and Western Encephalitis and of course Rhino and Influenza, according to Liz Scott, DVM, at Idaho Equine Hospital in Nampa, Idaho.

When people start traveling with their horses there is the risk of spreading disease to other horses such as the outbreak of the highly contagious Equine Herpes Virus-1 that occurred last year shutting down many horse events to keep the virus from spreading.

“There are some precautions you should take that will reduce your horse’s chance of catching something,” said Dr. Scott.

People should travel with their own buckets and feeders, carry their own hoses and don’t let other people share them to reduce the chance of exposure. Keeping hoses from dipping into the water in buckets then moving it from bucket to bucket can help prevent the spread of disease. Communal water troughs and feeders should also be avoided.

As an extra precaution, horse owners shouldn’t share brushes or blankets, as ringworm is also a concern. The most important thing to do in protecting your horse is regularly scheduled vaccinations.

“Owners should also take the time to really look at and watch their horses,” said Scott. “Look to see if they’re eating and drinking, if their ears are alert. Watch how they move.”

If you own several horses you should walk through the herd on a daily basis according to Scott.  Look at both sides of the horse, and look at both eyes. One of the most frequent things veterinarians at Idaho Equine Hospital see in their practice is eye injuries that sometimes get overlooked.

Next week’s column will address Colic. Many horse owners don’t understand that Colic is a broad term that can mean many different things. 

Kevin HensenQueen Megan and her horse

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