Equine Wellness Exams

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Checking Vitals

Wellness exams are essential to keeping your horse healthy and can catch small problems before they become major health concerns. Horse experts recommend that you have your horse examined annually by a trusted veterinarian and more often than once a year for older horses.

During these wellness exams, it is always important to review the animal’s health history, making sure that you point out anything and everything that has changed since the last exam. A good physical assessment should also take place and should include body temperature, respiration rate, heart rate, body condition score, a good look inside their mouth, listening to their GI tract, heart and lungs. A fecal sample should be collected at this time to be evaluated for internal parasites. Fecal egg counts indicate the parasite load inside the animal and help your veterinarian determine the best wormer rotation for your animal. On the flip side, if the parasite load is low, the fecal sample indicates that you are already controlling parasites on your property. Either way, this is information that owners need to know.


Blood work and vaccinations may also be conducted during wellness exams. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, horses should receive annual core vaccinations. These core vaccinations are Eastern/Western Equine Encephalitis, Tetanus, Rabies and West Nile Virus. Depending on your location, there may be other vaccinations that your vet will recommend to you. Certain blood tests will give the doctor an inside look at what is going on internally and could detect irregularities so that they may be addressed quickly and efficiently.

Drawing Blood

Winter is right around the corner so Fall is the perfect time to have your vet check your horse’s gait for changes or signs of lameness that can progress quickly during harsh winter weather. Lameness exams should definitely be conducted on horses with arthritis to evaluate whether or not they will require additional treatment or care throughout the winter.

Wellness exams are a time for owners to discuss nutrition, diet changes and exercise routines along with anything else that you might have questions about. Before the exam, make a list of all the questions that you have for your veterinarian so that you can be sure you won’t forget to ask them while they are there. Don’t wait! Go ahead and schedule your Equine Wellness Exam as soon as possible because healthy horses are happy horses and happy horses make happy owners.