General Health and Preventative Care
Vaccinating your horse is one of the easiest ways in which you can protect him or her from deadly infectious diseases. Not every horse requires an identical vaccination protocol, and it may vary based on your horse’s age and risk assessment. At Renewed Animal Wellness, our veterinarians will work with you in order to tailor a vaccination program for your horse’s individual needs.
Core Equine Vaccines:
Core vaccines are defined by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) as those “that protect from diseases that are endemic to a region, those with potential public health significance, required by law, virulent/highly infections, and/or those posing a risk of severe disease. Core vaccines have clearly demonstrated efficacy and safety, and thus exhibit a high enough level of patient benefit and low enough level or risk to justify their use in the majority of patients.” The following are the core vaccines for your equid:
- Eastern and Western Equine Encephalomyelitis (EEE and WEE): Transmitted by mosquitos from wild birds and rodents to horses. Humans may also be susceptible when the virus is transmitted from an infected mosquito. It is highly unlikely for the virus to be transmitted from horse to horse or from horse to human by mosquitos. Young horses are particularly susceptible to the disease caused by the EEE virus.
- Rabies: This is an infrequently encountered disease in equids causing neurological signs. The incidence of rabies in horses is low, but it is fatal and has considerable public health significance. Exposure occurs through the bite of an infected animal, typically wildlife such as raccoon, fox, skunk, or bat. The virus migrates from the bite via the nerves to the brain where it initiates rapidly progressive, invariably fatal encephalitis.
- Tetanus: All horses are at risk for the development of tetanus, an often fatal disease caused by the spore-forming bacterium Clostridium tetani. These organisms are present in the intestinal tract and feces of horses and other animals, and are abundant in the soil. Spores survive in the environment for many years. Tetanus is not contagious, but rather results from the introduction of Clostridium tetani into puncture wounds, open lacerations, surgical incisions, and exposed tissues.
- West Nile Virus (WNV): West Nile Virus is the leading cause of arbovirus encephalitis in horses and humans in the United States. The virus has been identified in all of the continental United States and most of Canada and Mexico. Mosquitos transmit the virus from bird hosts to horses, humans, and other mammals. Approximately 33% of horses exhibiting signs of WNV infection will die from the disease.
Non-Core Equine Vaccines:
The following vaccines are not considered to be core, and therefore are optional based upon your horse’s lifestyle and risk assessment. We will work with you to determine if you should add any of these to your vaccination protocol:
- Influenza (EIV): Equine influenza is one of the most common infectious diseases of the respiratory tract of horses. Influenza is endemic in the equine population of the United States and throughout much of the world. The virus is highly contagious and spreads rapidly through droplets dispersed by coughing. All currently marketed equine influenza vaccines are likely to provide protection for at least six months, and may require a booster if your horse travels and shows year-round.
- Age: Horses 1 to 5 years old are more susceptible, but there is also an incidence of EIV in older horses 6-10 years old.
- Frequent contact with large numbers of horses
- Rhinopneumonitis (Equine Herpes Virus, aka EHV): Equine herpesvirus type 1 (EHV-1) and equine herpesvirus type 4 (EHV-4) infect the respiratory tract which can result in subclinical to severe respiratory disease. Clinical infection is characterized by fever, lethargy, anorexia, nasal discharge, cough, and enlarged mandibular lymph nodes. EHV-1 and EHV-4 spread primarily by the respiratory route and contact with nasal secretions. EHV-1 can cause major outbreaks of abortion in naive mares, birth of weak foals, or a sporadic neurologic disease. Because both viruses are endemic in many equine populations, most mature horses have developed some immunity through repeated natural infection. Thus, most mature horses do not develop the severe form of the disease but may be a source of infection for other susceptible horses. Vaccination indications include the prevention of EHV-1 induced abortions, and reduction of severity and duration of respiratory tract disease (rhinopneumonitis) in young and performance horses. Repeated vaccination appears to reduce the frequency and severity of the disease and limits the occurrence of abortion storms.
- Potomac Horse Fever (PHF): This disease is caused by Neorickettsia risticii. The disease was originally described in 1979 as a sporadic disease affecting horses residing near the Potomac River, but the disease has since been identified in various other geographic locations. The disease is seasonal, occurring between late spring and early fall with most cases in July, August, and September. Clinical signs are variable, but include: fever, mild to severe diarrhea, laminitis, mild colic, and decreased abdominal sounds.
- Strangles: This disease is caused by the bacterium Streptococcus equi equi and is highly contagious. Strangles commonly affects young horses (weanlings and yearlings), but any age can be infected. The organism is transmitted by direct contact with infected horses or subclinical shedders or indirectly by water troughs, hoses, feed bunks, pastures, stalls, trailers, tack, grooming equipment, human hands and clothing, or insects contaminated by coming into contact with nasal discharge or pus of infected horses. Clinical signs may include a high fever, dysphagia or anorexia, stridor, enlarged lymph nodes with or without abscessing, and copious mucopurulent nasal discharge.
We offer multiple combination vaccines. Please consult with your veterinarian in regards to the appropriate vaccinations that are the best options for your equid. It is our goal to design a program that will keep your horse healthy and happy for many years to come.
For additional information, please visit the American Association of Equine Practitioners website (link to www.aaep.org/info/vaccination-guidelines-265)
Adult vaccination chart (link to http://www.aaep.org/custdocs/AdultVaccinationChart.pdf)
Foal vaccination chart (link to http://www.aaep.org/custdocs/FoalVaccinationChart.pdf)
Fecal Testing and Deworming
Internal parasites are a continuous threat to your horse’s health and can affect your horse throughout their life cycles. These parasites live and thrive in the same areas where your horse lives, grazes, and exercises. Parasites can cause extensive internal damage and decrease the absorption of essential nutrients. They may even cause colic and death in severe infestations. Deworming programs are designed while considering your geographic location, pasture management, number and age of horses, and management practices. Please contact us in order to establish the best program for your horse or barn.
For additional information about deworming, please see our educational handout “The Scoop On Poop”
Regular dental maintenance is essential to your horse’s overall health. It is recommended that your horse receives a thorough dental examination at least once a year. These exams are performed to ensure good oral health and, if needed, to remove sharp enamel points or other dental abnormalities that may cause pain or discomfort and decrease performance. The sedation and mouth speculums that our veterinarians use have made these dental procedures safe, low stress, and gentle on the horse. We utilize motorized equipment and are able to address each tooth individually. We can perform dental services at the office or on the farm with proper facilities.
For additional information on equine dentistry, please see our educational handout “Straight From The Horse’s Mouth”
Electronic Coggins and Health Certificates
Renewed Animal Wellness has partnered with GlobalVetLINK, a Federal and State-approved certification system, in order to provide rapid and accurate professional health documents. You will now have the ability to access your horse’s records through the GlobalVetLINK’s secure online software system.
The benefits of this program include, but are not limited to:
- Electronic Equine Infectious Anemia Certificates (Coggins forms), HealthLINK Electronic Certificates of Veterinary Inspection (Health certificates), and GoPass Digital Equine 6-month Passports on one convenient system
- Professional documents with digital photos for accurate identification
- Secure and confidential storage of certificates and owner data
- Meets FDA and USDA requirements and is accepted by all 50 states
Castration is one of the most common routine surgeries performed in equine practice. It is an elective procedure in which the testicles of a male horse are surgically removed and the resulting horse is termed a “gelding”. Castration is typically performed on colts to make them more manageable and easier to train. Intact stallions are constantly exposed to testosterone and as a result can be aggressive and potentially dangerous to other horses and people.
A routine castration procedure is performed under sedation and while using local anesthesia. It can be performed with the horse lying on its side or in a standing position, depending on the size of the horse and the surgical area. For surgery, the horse needs to be in good health and have both testicles descended. A thorough physical exam will be performed prior to the procedure.
In some horses, one or both testicles may not fully descend into the scrotum. When this occurs, the horse is termed a “cryptorchid”. Non-descended testicles have reduced fertility or may even be completely sterile. However, the retained testicles continue to produce testosterone, so stallion-like behavior will continue. Cryptorchid testicles typically need to be removed while the horse is under general anesthesia. Renewed Animal Wellness does not have the equipment required to remove cryptorchid testicles and we will refer you to a surgical facility.
Feel free to reach out for your next appointment.