Dr. LuJean Waters of Heartland Large Animal Service was the guest speaker at our March meeting. She had a lot of great information for us, including about vaccinations and which horses need them. Some of her points:
- Only horses who travel generally need the Strangles vaccines are only good for 6 months; the disease can have a long latent period, and if it is diagnosed at a barn the quarantine period for all animals at that barn is 30 to 60 days AFTER resolution of clinical symptoms. The injectable vaccine is only 60% effective; the intranasal is better, but is a live virus that can make the horse feel bad for a few days.
- NEVER give banamine as an injection; it has a high rate of reaction and infection. Squirt the liquid directly into the horse’s mouth, or use the paste.
It can be far more cost-effective to have a fecal egg count done rather than just worming every few months.
- If you suspect your horse is colicking, don’t call the vet until you have taken the horse’s heart rate, respiration, and temperature. Note when the horse was last fed. Have banamine on hand; you can administer it, and if the horse is not better in one hour it’s time for the vet to evaluate the situation.
- Make a plan for emergencies. Know how to take your horse’s vital signs, and have a list of emergency numbers. Backup people who can help you with your horse, or even trailer for you, are important to have.
- Most horse owners aren’t very accurate in equine anatomy. For example, your horse’s spinal cord does NOT run along the top of his neck!
- Be considerate of your vet! He or she works erratic and extended hours. Call during normal work hours for non-emergency needs or questions; have your horses caught, cleaned and ready at the appointment time even through you know the vet might (probably will) be late; respect the fact that equine medicines, equipment and supplies are expensive. Your vet, coming to your house, is still cheaper than if you visit your own doctor.