At the Morrie Waud Large Animal Hospital, we understand that horses, ponies, and donkeys require sensitive and specialized care. Whether your animal is here for a medical or surgical concern, our large animal specialty veterinarians have many years of experience with these unique animals and the ability to keep them relaxed and comfortable during their stay. We use a team approach with equine veterinarians who specialize in equine medicine, surgery, sports medicine and rehabilitation, equine critical care and veterinary acupuncture to provide the best care possible.
We recognize that you want to know what your options for equine care are—and we’re here to help whether you have a “pasture ornament” or a finely tuned performance horse.
Routine Care for Horses
Adult horses are commonly exposed to a variety of viral and bacterial agents. While horses that travel frequently and are exposed to new animals are at particular risk, horses that do not travel can still acquire certain viral infections from mosquitoes.
The good news? Through regular vaccination programs, we can help prevent serious infection and disease.
Here are some relatively common conditions to keep on your radar:
- Equine Herpes Virusand Influenza:common causes of outbreaks following shows and events
- Eastern Equine Encephalitis(EEE), Western Equine Encephalitis(WEE) and West Nile Virus(WNV): spread via insects during the summer and early fall months in the Upper Midwest
- Rabies: both a potentially fatal horse disease and a zoonotic infection that can be spread from horses to people
- Tetanus: horses are especially susceptible
We recommend talking to your veterinarian about tailoring a preventative medicine program to your horse’s specific needs.
Another vital part of preventative medicine for horse owners is parasite control.
For many people, the emphasis has switched from the traditional rotational deworming approach to control parasites toward a more strategic approach designed to limit anthelminthic use and reduce drug resistance.
As a result, we recommend a combination of periodic fecal egg counts alongside other management strategies rather than calendar-driven, blanket treatments of a whole group of horses.
Non-treatment related strategies that can be helpful with parasite control include:
- Pasture rotation
- Cross-grazing with other species
- Manure removal
Oral Examinations and Dental Care
Regular dental care and routine evaluations of your horse are essential to the animal’s overall health.
That’s because horses are grazers and their teeth have evolved for this purpose. However, we have modified horses’ diets and eating patterns through domestication and confinement, which may induce abnormal wearing of the teeth.
Our dental care veterinarians recommend having an oral exam performed every six monthsfor horses that are beyond five years of age. Elderly horses may require more frequent care.
In a natural setting horses travel up to 14 miles per day, which causes natural wear on their hooves. Domesticated horses rarely travel such distances, so farriers are extremely important for keeping their feet trimmed and in good condition.
Keep in mind the wall of a well-fed horse’s hoof grows approximately 1 cm every six weeks—and the outside wall grows faster than the inside wall. If untrimmed, hooves could become unbalanced and develop:
- Hoof cracks
- White line disease
- Abscesses and lameness
Our Farrier Service advises having your horse’s feet trimmed every six to eight weeks depending on its level of athletic activity. Learn more about our farrier service.
The equine team at UW Veterinary Care is always working to ensure that the care we provide to your horses is at the forefront of medicine and technology.
New Standing CT Scanner
Our new CT scanner allows us to acquire images of standing, sedated horses—without the need for general anesthesia and the risks associated with it. Another benefit is that the limbs are in a “functional” standing position and the acquired images may be superior to images acquired in anesthetized horses. Also, because horses are able to remain standing, the risk of stress-related injuries during recovery is also lessened.
An average scan of the head or limbs only takes about 30 seconds, and both front or hind limbs can be scanned simultaneously. If need be, this allows our equine experts to compare the normal limb to the abnormal limb.
Have questions or concerns?
Our equine veterinarians are ready to help you ensure the best health care possible for your horses.
SCHEDULE AN EQUINE APPOINTMENT:
Regular clinic hours are Monday through Friday, and our scheduling staff will assist you in finding an appointment with the right veterinary specialist based on your animal's needs at a time that works for you. Our emergency services for all species are also available 24/7 if your animal has a serious problem that requires immediate medical attention.