Plan your horse's preventative healthcare

A bit of forward planning always makes life easier – and this goes for your equestrian life too. In this article we suggest a month-by-month plan for your horse’s healthcare needs from January to June. By being organised and planning ahead, you can also make best use of the preventative healthcare benefits of the Horse Health Programme (HHP).

Remember that you can contact your local Horse Health Programme Practice for expert, up-to-date healthcare advice.

January

  • Wet conditions predispose to mud fever
  • To decrease the risk:
    • Ensure that horses’ legs aren’t continually exposed to wet, muddy conditions
    • If legs are washed, dry them well
      • A hairdryer is effective, if tolerated (use the cool setting)
  • If mud fever does occur, remember that your HHP membership gives 10% off all healthcare products.

February

  • Low temperatures can lead to frozen water sources, cold water and reduced water intake – a known risk for impaction colic; you can encourage drinking by:
    • Feeding salt daily
    • Flavouring the water
    • Taking the chill off the water
  • Consider using one of your four faecal worm egg counts:
    • This checks for redworm and roundworm eggs, but not tapeworms
    • If you last tested for tapeworms in the autumn, you could test again now
    • Remember that we provide wormers at competitive rates.

March

  • Watch our social media pages for news about Keeping Britain’s Horses Healthy Horse Health Week, which promotes preventative healthcare
  • Make sure all vaccinations are up-to-date before the competition season starts:
    • Tetanus vaccination is vital to protect your horse
    • Flu vaccination protects both your horse and others, and is required by a growing number of unaffiliated events
    • Your HHP membership covers annual flu and tetanus vaccination.

April

  • Spring grass is here – along with increased laminitis risk
    • Laminitis is often preventable – contact your practice to discuss potential predisposing conditions
    • HHP membership gives 20% off lifetime care medicines, including pergolide (Prascend®), the other lifetime care medicines included in the scheme are as follows:
      • Equipalazone
      • Danilon
      • Ventipulmin.

May

  • Sweet itch becomes a concern now
    • Plan your horse’s daily regime to avoid midges
    • Buy the preventative products you need, including rugs and insect repellents
    • Talk to your practice about ways to reduce sweet itch severity
    • An effective sweet itch vaccine may be available in 2020
  • Use one of your four faecal worm egg counts this month
    • Worm if necessary
    • Remember that we provide competitively-priced worming treatments.

June

  • Look for signs of dental disease:
    • Dropping feed
    • Reluctance to eat
    • Tilting head while eating
    • Increased salivation
    • Losing weight
    • Resistance when ridden
    • Facial swellings/lumps
    • Smelly nasal discharge
    • Bad breath
  • Prevent secondary problems by scheduling the dental check and routine floating covered by your HHP membership (includes sedation if required).

We all know that prevention is better than cure – with a bit of forward planning, you can use the preventative healthcare benefits of the HHP to keep your horse well throughout the year.