Annual Equine Primary Care Recommendations
Annual Physical Exam
• A physical exam is recommended each year to evaluate your horse’s overall health, to monitor any on-going health problems and determine if any new problems have developed that require medical attention.
• If your horse is enrolled in Colicare Insurance by Smartpak, an annual wellness exam is required (For more info on Colicare please go to Smartpak.com).
Core vaccines recommended by VLAC are listed below. The above list of core vaccines are given in 2 batches, 2 weeks apart in the spring. Please visit our Client Education page to learn more about the above equine diseases and to download our primary care chart. Each horse is unique and may require additional vaccines depending on their age, frequency of travel and training practices. Please discuss this with one of our veterinarians.
- Potomac Horse Fever (This vaccine should be administered in spring and fall to improve efficacy)
- West Nile virus
- Eastern and Western Equine Encephalitis virus
- Equine Influenza virus ( This vaccine is given in spring and fall to horses that travel year-round or who live in boarding facilities.)
- Equine Herpes virus, type 1 and type 4 (This vaccine is given in spring and fall to horses that travel year-round or who live in boarding facilities.)
Horses develop sharp enamel points that require filing (‘floating’) annually to prevent ulceration of the cheeks and tongue. Annual floating of these sharp points will allow your horse to chew effectively and remain comfortable in the bridle.We recommend scheduling your horse’s annual dental care in the spring during their vaccination appointment. Some horses with abnormal oral exams may require floating every 6 months or more to maintain control of problems such as wave mouth, hooks or ramps. During the dental exam your horse will be lightly sedated to facilitate the placement of an oral speculum, which will allow the veterinarian to conduct a thorough oral exam and perform an effective float. We use both hand-floats and power-floats in our practice.
Geldings should have their sheath cleaned every 6 to 12 months for removal of built-up dirt and dead skin cells within the sheath and at the tip of the penis (also known as ‘the bean’). We recommend scheduling this procedure during his dental appointment.
Fecal Egg Count for Parasite Control
Evaluation of a manure sample from your horse in the spring and fall is recommended to determine the efficacy of your deworming program and what type of dewormer should be used.
Vaccination of the Pregnant Mare
Vaccination against Equine Herpes Virus is recommended at months 5, 7 and 9 of pregnancy to prevent abortion caused by this virus. During the 10th month of pregnancy vaccination boosters for the core vaccines are recommended to improve the quality of the mare’s colostrum (first milk that supplies the foal with antibodies against disease). The pre-foaling vaccines recommended during the 10th month of pregnancy include Potomac Horse Fever, Rabies, West Nile virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, Tetanus, Equine Influenza and Equine Herpes Virus.These vaccines are divided into two batches, given 2 weeks apart. Banamine administration is recommended when vaccinating a pregnant mare.
Vaccination of Foals
Please refer to our foal vaccine charts on the Client Education page of this website. In order to build adequate antibody levels against each of the core vaccine diseases, foals require a series of boosters to build their immunity. Each vaccine must be given twice, with the booster dose given 4 weeks after the initial dose. Recommended vaccines include: Potomac Horse Fever, Rabies, West Nile virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, Tetanus, Equine Influenza and Equine Herpes Virus.
Please don’t hesitate to call VLAC to speak with one of our veterinarians about a primary care program for your horse.