April 07, 2018

Your Guide to Horse Health Care

by | Apr 7, 2018 | Equine

Hey Everyone! Spring is the perfect time of year to schedule your horse’s veterinarian appointment at Continental Animal Wellness Center in Flagstaff, Arizona. Learn about the routine horse health care that our equine veterinarians at CAWC recommend.

Check out our Spring Equine Services video blog! Happy riding!

Hey everyone. It’s Remi at Continental Animal Wellness Center. Thanks for tuning in with us again. In case you didn’t know, April is Equine Month here. So, we’ve got a lot of discounts going on for you and your horse. But what this video is going to be about is what’s important to get done for your horse this spring. And if you stay tuned to the very end, you might see a cute little blurb on goats as well. So, let’s tune into Dr. Bruchman and her horse, Lakota.

Hey everybody. It’s Dr. Bruchman. Just wanted to talk to you guys a little bit about our horse friends today. As we approach the spring time of the year, it’s very important to do a couple of maintenance things for our horses to keep them healthy.

Horse Health Care Every Spring

The first thing I want to talk to you guys about is vaccines. Every spring, our horses should be vaccinated. We vaccinate our horses in the spring because most of the things that we’re trying to vaccinate and protect our horses from are actually transmitted through vectors, meaning mosquitoes, flies, other insects. We want to get our horses’ immune systems primed and ready for those diseases before those insects start coming out from the winter. So, spring is the perfect time to do that.

Four-Way Vaccine

The first vaccine that I’m going to talk about is our four-way vaccine. We’ve got Eastern and Western encephalitis, we’ve got tetanus and influenza in that vaccine. It’s very important for your horse to get that vaccine every year in the springtime.


Tetanus is a very important vaccine for us to keep our horses up to date on. Clostridium tetani is a bacteria that can cause paralysis and tightening of the muscles. We can see that very commonly in our horses and in our ruminants, especially after they have an injury and they have a break in the skin. That’s how that bacteria gets into their body system. It’s very important for us to do yearly vaccines on our horses for tetanus. If your horse happens to get cut, and it’s been more than six months since they’ve had that tetanus vaccine, it’s important for us to booster that at that point as well.

West Nile Virus

The second vaccine we use is West Nile virus. That’s transmitted through mosquitoes. Again, every spring your horse should be getting a West Nile booster.


The last vaccine is rabies. The rabies vaccine in horses is not government regulated like our dog vaccine is. So, you will not expect to get a rabies tag to put on your horse’s halter. Again, it’s very important that we do keep our horses vaccinated for rabies, however, because we do have a lot of wildlife in the area of Flagstaff that our horses are exposed to that potentially could transmit rabies to our horses.

And then the thing we worry about with humans is that if our horses come down with rabies, a lot of us are handling their mouths, handling their saliva. Rabies in horses can look just like colic, so a lot of times multiple people, vets, and staff at the barns will be handling these horses before we get that diagnosis of rabies. And so, potentially a lot of people will be exposed. So, it’s very important for us to keep our horses well vaccinated, and we can help you out with that this spring.

Keeping Your Horse Parasite-Free in the Spring

Checking Fecal Samples

The next thing I want to talk to you about in the spring with your horses, is checking fecal samples on them. It’s very important for us to keep our horses parasite-free. In order to do that, what we have done in the past is use multiple different kinds of dewormers on a rotating quarterly basis. That method has fallen out of favor. Now, the AAEP, the American Association of Equine Practitioners, recommends that we check a fecal sample twice a year, spring and fall, on your horses at your property. Most horses are going to come back fecal negative, meaning they don’t have any parasites that they’re shedding. If that’s the case, your horse does not need any dewormer.

The other thing for you to know with people that have multiple horses at their house, is that there may be only one horse on your property that’s shedding any parasites. If that’s the case, then just that one horse needs to get dewormed. We don’t need to de-worm the whole paddock of horses. So, that’s something that we can do for you guys in the spring, and also in the fall, is check stool samples on each of your horses.

Checking Your Horse’s Teeth

It’s important for us every spring, as we’re out vaccinating your horse, to check their mouth and make sure their teeth are being worn evenly, and there’s no sharp, painful areas in your horse’s mouth.

A float is us doing dental work on your horse’s teeth. Horses are constantly growing teeth, and because they are constantly growing teeth, they can wear their teeth differently depending on what their anatomy is like, what they’re eating, what kind of dental work they’ve had in their past. So, it’s very important for us to get in your horse’s mouth and check to make sure that they’re comfortable and all those teeth are wearing normally in their mouth.

Especially in our senior horses, it’s important for us to get in those mouths and make sure there’s no loose teeth that’s bothering your horse, or reasons on why your horse would be dropping food or losing weight.

Signs of pain in your horse’s mouth would be dropping feed, dropping weight, because they’re not able to chew very long, they have changes in their musculature on their face, they’re throwing their head when you put the bit in their mouth to ride. Any of those signs, we definitely need to be checking your horse’s mouth.

Horse Health Care: Schedule Your Horse’s Check-Up Appointment This Spring

All of those things are things I recommend every spring for your horse to keep them in tip top shape. At the clinic, we’ve got a horse health care package put together for you guys. Starting in April, the whole month of April, we consider Equine Month. We’ve got a float, a fecal, and all of your horse’s vaccines, and together that package will be at a 15% off discount. Please let us know if you guys have any questions, and we would be happy to answer those questions for you.

Spring Care for Your Goat

Let’s not forget about our goat friends. As we’re out talking about our horses and vaccinating our horses in the spring, our goats need yearly vaccines as well. We vaccinate our goats every year for Clostridium C and D, and we also give them a tetanus vaccine on a yearly basis. It is also a very good idea to keep your goats well-vaccinated for rabies, as well.

As we’re out vaccinating your goats, we can check their hooves. Their hooves sometimes grow out to be a little bit too long. It’s very important for us to keep our goats’ hooves trimmed down so they wear them evenly, they move around easily, and they don’t have as much arthritis in older age as they move around more normally in their younger years.
If you have an old arthritic goat, it’s very important for us to be keeping their hooves trimmed in order for them to move more comfortably. Most of the time they will not wear their feet evenly once they have arthritis, because it hurts. So, it’s important for us to keep them well trimmed.