TO YOUR HORSE’S HEALTH
Dr. Christina Frick, D.V.M.
Spring time brings new life. Lots of baby calves, lambs, pigs, and foals have been born and are feeling frisky this time of year. Monitor them all closely for any sickness and prepare for vaccination time. Preventative care is the best medicine.
It is spring vaccination time for horses. There are many diseases horses need to be vaccinated against to keep them healthy. The yearly check up also allows the vet to look at other signs of problems. A horse’s teeth, hooves, coat, weight, and other outward physical signs of health will be examined. An older horse may even need bloodwork to find inner problems.
The one disease most people know about is West Nile Virus. West Nile was first detected in Kansas in August 2002. If your horse has not had its booster, now is the time to do so. If your horse has never been vaccinated before, then it requires two doses, 3 weeks apart.
People can become infected by West Nile Virus from mosquitoes (and definitively not from a horse.) Remember to help eliminate breeding grounds around your house. Keep water moving or empty any stagnant water containers. Remove all old tires and things that might collect water. Protect yourself from West Nile by preventing mosquito bites. Use insect repellents containing DEET. Limit your outdoor activity during the early morning hours and after nightfall.
There are other diseases we vaccinate horses for that many people do not realize can be a threat. Eastern and Western Encephalitis, Tetanus, Flu (Influenza) and Rhino can potentially kill a horse if they were infected. An annual vaccination of this 5- way booster should be done in the spring. There is a Rhinopnemonitis vaccination, which prevents abortion, for any horse you may plan on breeding this year. Rabies can also infect horses and people. There are many skunks in the area that could be rabid. A simple vaccination could protect your horse from rabies. There are some other optional vaccinations for horses that may be needed if in an infected area or high potential for exposure. These include Strangles (Strep Equi) and EPM (Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis or Sarcocystis Neurona). Talk with your veterinarian about the right vaccinations for your horses.
A Strategic Deworming Program is important in any horse operation. Deworming should be done based on consideration of where the horse is kept and how often it travels or is around other horses. Rotation of types of dewormer is good preventative medicine for your horse.
Have a great spring and enjoy this mild weather.