The Horse

OCT 2017

The Horse:Your Guide To Equine Health Care provides monthly equine health care information to horse owners, breeders, veterinarians, barn/farm managers, trainer/riding instructors, and others involved in the hands-on care of the horse.

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24 THE HORSE October 2017 laminitis, white line disease, and more, she says, and address any discomfort the horse is experiencing. Some horses, especially rescued animals needing rehab, have overgrown hooves, some so severe they curl upward. "You can't just wallop off the feet, because most of the time you'll end up with a very sore horse," says Wilson, who recom- mends incremental biomechanical chang- es to the foot. "What we've tried to do is do it gradually and take off the curling up part of the toe, and then you take the toes back gradually over a series of visits." If a horse has no health issues, the far- rier might schedule visits every six to eight weeks. If there are problems to address, he or she will come back more often. Vaccinations Be sure resident horses on your prop- erty (or where you board) are vaccinated for influenza, rhinopneumonitis, and strangles before bringing a horse with an unknown health history home, says Eller. And give these vaccinations the time (at least two weeks, but ideally 30 days) they need to build horses' immunity. In this scenario your veterinarian will most likely manage your new horse as if he has never been vaccinated, says Wil- son. "Your veterinarian will have an opin- ion on whether or not the horse is healthy enough to do all (vaccines) at once or whether they need to be spread out," she says, being mindful of his naive immune system. "My inclination with a horse that has an unknown vaccine history would not be to put nine vaccines in them at once. That would be a bit overwhelming." And remember, says Eller, the veteri- narian will need to come back out to give booster vaccinations about four weeks after giving the initial vaccines. While all horses should receive the core vaccines against rabies, tetanus, West Nile virus (WNV), and Eastern and West- ern equine encephalomyelitis (EEE and WEE), the risk-based vaccinations your veterinarian recommends will depend on where you live and whether your new horse will be traveling off the farm to show or trail ride. "Different parts of the country are going to have different disease problems and different vaccination needs," says Williams, and those traveling off the farm are at a higher risk of disease exposure. If a horse is in poor condition, Eller says she administers an initial four-way vaccination—against tetanus, EEE and WEE, and WNV—and then wait a few weeks before administering the all-impor- tant rabies vaccine and others. Or, "if the horse is extremely thin and the temperatures are too cold for blood- sucking insects, I may start with just a tetanus vaccine and add those against insect-borne diseases and others as the horse improves," she says. Deworming A high worm burden can lead to para- site impactions, says Eller, so it's impor- tant to deworm. But don't do so blindly. She recommends performing a fecal egg count (FEC) prior to deworming to help guide your dewormer choice and administration timing. "A very debilitated horse with a high parasite burden will require a different protocol than a horse who is a body condition score of 4 out of 9 with a lower FEC," says Eller. "Or that very debilitated horse may have a low FEC, allowing you to choose to hold off on deworming until the horse is stronger." When warranted, she says she likes to start with a mild anthelmintic, such as fenbendazole, a broad-spectrum de- wormer used to control small and large strongyles, pinworms, and ascarids. After that, she might deworm again in two weeks with ivermectin, which is designed to control large strongyles, stomach worms, pinworms, ascarids, thread- worms, hairworms, lungworms, and bots. However, some veterinarians might want to clear out all parasites at once with a heavy- hitting dewormer such as praziqu- antel with moxidectin or ivermectin. So see what he or she recommends. Wilson says young horses might not have ever been dewormed. Your veteri- narian might recommend deworming these horses in stages. Your veterinarian should also consider your farm's existing deworming plan when making recom- mendations for your new horse. Nutrition With regard to feeding your new horse, "there is no 'one plan fits all,' " says Eller. "Diet should be based on age, condition, and circumstances." Wilson says it's important for any new owner to know how to use a weight tape and monitor a horse's weight. Eller recommends good-quality hay— alfalfa, grass, or a mix—as the basis of any Some horses, especially rescue cases, have severely overgrown hooves that will require a series of farrier visits and gradual hoof changes to correct. ISTOCK.COM You can't just pick up the skinny horse and throw the food in front of it. You'll in all likeli- hood get a metabolic crisis going." DR. JULIA WILSON What Does a 'Free' Horse Cost? PART 2

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