We provide emergency services only to clients in good standing who utilize HEHC for preventative care.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! HEHC will work with you to formulate an effective health program to ensure the overall health of your horse and minimize emergency situations. “Dr. Google” and your local, self-proclaimed horse “expert” are not the best source of current information on vaccine recommendations, internal parasite management, nutrition, or dental care. HEHC veterinarians have received years of education on preventative care and attend regular continuing education meetings in order to stay current with new research and recommendations.
Wellness exams are optional and inexpensive equivalents of a “check-up”. The doctor can perform a brief exam of the horse and discuss any concerns or issues you have regarding his or her health.
HEHC has two complete sets of dental equipment for routine care of your horses’ teeth. Each set consists of a Powerfloat, headstand, lighted speculum and a set of hand tools. We believe dentistry is an important part of veterinary medicine. Good preventative care is imperative to a healthy horse and dentistry is an important part of our preventative care program. HEHC recommends that every horse have a complete oral exam at least every other year. We will sedate the horse, use a lighted speculum to open the horse’s mouth and examine all areas of the oral cavity. We will be looking for sharp enamel points, missing teeth, overgrowth teeth, and other dental abnormalities as well as masses or tumors.
In most cases, we find sharp enamel points that need to be removed. These sharp points can cause ulcers on the tongue and cheeks of the horse making it uncomfortable for the horse to chew, and in some cases causing performance issues. This would be considered routine wear and tear.
We come across a fair number of horses that have more serious problems. Most of these are horses in their teens or twenties and/or have not received regular, routine dental care provided by a qualified veterinarian. Some of the issues can be corrected and maintained fairly easily with appropriate dentistry, but others unfortunately are identified too late and can shorten the horse’s life expectancy considerably due to the inability to chew efficiently. These horses not only require more frequent dentistry but they also need a special diet, consisting of a complete feed and soaked hay cubes or pellets. Health problems that can occur in these horses include impaction colic, choke, and extreme weight loss.
HEHC uses the best quality, most up-to-date vaccines available and follows current AAEP (American Association of Equine Practitioners) vaccination guidelines. The doctors are more than happy to discuss pros and cons of different vaccines, including the efficacy versus cost of some of the more ‘optional’ vaccines.
When HEHC doctors vaccinate your horses you can be confident that the vaccines used have been transported and stored properly and will provide the best possible protection for your horse. It may seem like a good idea to save money by buying your own vaccines and vaccinating your horses yourself. However, most horse owners don’t realize that manufacturers only guarantee the safety and efficacy of their vaccines when they are purchased and administered by a veterinarian.
Internal Parasite Control
Internal parasite resistance to dewormers is a documented and growing concern in all livestock, including horses. With no new classes of dewormer likely to become available in the near future, it is becoming more and more important to ensure that deworming protocols are effective and do not promote parasite resistance. Most parasitologists now recommend a targeted, evidence-based approach to parasite management called strategic deworming. Strategic deworming utilizes fecal egg counts (FEC) and fecal egg count reduction testing (FECRT) to create a deworming protocol specifically designed for your horse and your farm. This program is relatively new to Central Illinois, but has been common practice in many parts of the country for more than a decade and HEHC incorporated it into the practice several years ago.
The first step is determining if your horse/farm is a good candidate for the program.
- Are your horses over the age of 3 years?
- Are you willing to have a fecal egg count performed on a yearly basis?
- Are you willing to limit your horses’ turnout exposure to other horses not on the Strategic Deworming program?
If you answered yes to these questions, Strategic Deworming may be a program that can help you provide a higher level of care for your horse, while helping to maintain the effectiveness of the available anthelmintics for all horses. If Strategic Deworming is not an option for you, we can still evaluate whether or not your current deworming program is effective utilizing fecal egg counts.
If you would like more information about Strategic Deworming you can check out the article in our archive written by Dr. Powell. If you have any further questions please give us a call at the clinic.