Horses, like humans, are living longer, healthier lives and continuing to compete well into their late teens and even early twenties. In order to achieve these extended healthy and active lifetimes, preventative health care and good nutrition are vitally important.
To ensure the optimal health and longevity of your horse, Dr. Hoyns stresses a thorough Annual Wellness Exam so that any abnormalities can be addressed in a timely fashion, before they develop into more severe problems.
The Equine Wellness Exam starts with an assessment of your horse’s overall condition, weight and body score. It is continued by examination of the horse’s eyes, mouth, teeth, heart, lungs, abdomen, skin and genitals. A brief exam of the legs and feet for bony or soft tissue abnormalities or joint effusion is included.
We’ll discuss your horse’s nutrition, parasite prevention program, and environment. We’ll also discuss any abnormalities that are found, and recommendations/options for treatment or additional testing.
A locomotion exam can be scheduled at the same time as the Wellness Exam. This exam includes observation of your horse at the walk and trot in straight lines and on the lunge line to watch for any abnormalities in gait. If abnormalities are seen, a more in-depth lameness exam can be scheduled for another time.
The Annual Wellness Exam is most conveniently performed with your horse’s spring vaccination appointment. Senior horses should also have a Senior Horse Exam in the late fall to assess their readiness for the rigors of winter.
While not all emergencies or illnesses can be avoided, most can be prevented through a Wellness Exam, season-specific vaccinations, and an appropriate parasite control program.