Every year, before the the start of the show season, you have to call the vet out to draw blood for a Coggins test. Not only that, but they take some nice pictures (or draw them) of your horse to put onto the Coggins certificate. A few days later you get back a paper stating that your horse was negative for Equine Infectious Anemia and you can go on your way. So what exactly is Equine Infectious Anemia and why do we need to test for it every year?
Well, the weather sure hasn't gotten any warmer, but we're still thinking spring here at TPE. This week we're discussing the importance of a yearly "routine" physical examination, often referred to as a "wellness" examination. What is included in this exam varies a bit from vet to vet, and practice to practice. We consider a wellness examination to be a thorough physical examination including listening to heart, lungs, and GI tract, taking a weight and body condition score, checking lymph nodes, taking the temperature, examining the skin, teeth and eyes, palpating the limbs and flexing joints, feeling the digital pulses and examining the hooves... you get the idea. The whole kit'n'kaboodle.
You might be asking, "Why does my horse need an exam like this? He seems perfectly healthy." For the same reasons that your physician recommends a yearly examination for you, your horse (and dog, and cat, and goat, too!) should be examined at least once yearly by a vet, even if nothing seems to be the matter. In our opinion, it's even more important for your animals to receive this routine exam than it is for you! Our domestic animals don't live as long as humans, which means they age faster than we do. More things change from year to year, making an annual exam even more crucial. Not to mention, our animals can't tell us in words what might be troubling them - finding an abnormality on a physical exam might be the first sign of disease.
Happy New Year! It may seem too early, but even though we're in the middle of winter, now is the perfect time to start thinking about your horse's routine care for the year. So, in honor of the birth of 2012, we thought we'd spend some time on the hows and whys of routine preventative care.
We'll break this down into several sections, and dedicate a blog entry to each of them:
2. Physical examination, including ophthalmic examination
4. Coggins testing and other routine bloodwork
5. Fecal egg counts and deworming - already covered (click to read part 1, and part 2)
This week, we'll cover vaccinations, including core vs. elective vaccines. We'll discuss why we vaccinate with certain vaccines at certain times of year, and basically how vaccines work. Don't worry, you don't need a degree in immunology to understand it!