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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr. 15, 2004
    Location
    Sunny Sonoma, CA
    Posts
    1,292

    Default "Wellness Check"?

    My very adored (of course) OTTB will be SIXTEEN years old this spring! How did that happen?

    Anyway, what's the usual drill when your horse starts to get into their upper teens? He's always (knocking on my oak desk) been as healthy as, well, a horse.

    Is there some age when it's a good idea to have the vet out for a general check to see if all is well? He's always current on farrier, deworming, teeth and vaccinations.

    He's sound, healthy and happy. I don't want to look for trouble, but at the same time I want him to stay this way for as long as possible.
    Founding Member of "I Kept 'Off Topic Day!' Open"



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan. 12, 2008
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    1,000

    Default

    I don't think it's EVER a bad idea for horses to have regular checkups. If you do it when the vet comes for spring/fall shots you'll save a farm visit.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb. 16, 2003
    Location
    MI USA
    Posts
    7,574

    Default

    I would call your horse just hitting mid-life, not even close to OLD. Unless he has been used very hard, kept in extreme condtions, like year around range horse herd, previously injured, he should not be having old-age problems yet.

    I would agree that the Vet look-over with Spring shots should be enough at this point and for a while yet.

    Mine didn't start slowing down until about 23-25 years. And our family are the only ones who would say horses had "slowed down a bit", no one else would notice it. This would be maybe not doing the 20 mile trail ride sections daily, just doing 10 or so miles a day. Maybe only enter 10 Pleasure type and speed classes at 4-H show instead of 15.

    We find that an "aging" horse who is kept fairly fit, used regularly during the week, stays younger, sounder, recovers from use quicker, than the same age horse only used lightly. And some regular gallop work every few days, makes a HUGE improvement in their body systems, a real plus in their fitness program.

    So I would consider a 16yr old to be in the prime of life, ready and able to do any request in the riding catagory I felt like doing. Not ready to be retired to light use yet!



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan. 16, 2002
    Location
    West Coast of Michigan
    Posts
    36,321

    Default

    Is there some age when it's a good idea to have the vet out for a general check to see if all is well?
    Sure. From birth on up. I think it's a good practice to have your vet be familiar with your horses, your place, your style of management, etc. I have mine out spring and fall to do general checkups, shots, teeth, whatever . . . the "health maintenance" part adds almost nothing to the bill or the time spent, but it fosters the good relationship I have with my vet and allows me to count myself among his list of loyal clients. So when I need him at 2 in the morning . . .

    My Gwennie was sixteen when I *bought* her. She very quickly took my Novice butt up to Preliminary/CCI* level and kept it there for several years! Sixteen can be a great age for a horse, if they've been looked after properly, are kept fit, and good vet care is a part of that.
    Click here before you buy.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun. 12, 2007
    Location
    CT
    Posts
    6,156

    Default

    Mine get check-ups every spring along with shots. It usually includes some bloodwork (CBC and chem panel), a jog/maybe flexions, listening to heart/lungs, checking vision, palpating everything- maybe some basic manual neuro tests if horse has a history.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan. 21, 2010
    Posts
    2,202

    Default

    I call it the "old man exam", and both of my older horses (17y & 24y) get annual bloodwork and a check up in the spring. It's more for baseline, so that when something does happen, the vets know the horse(s) and have "normal" bloodwork on file (we found some parameters for each horse normally run high/low, which is good to know for the future). I don't do flexions/lameness exams, but they do palpations, optical exams, nutritional analysis/recommendations, and then I get to ask the non-important questions that I've been building all year.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr. 15, 2004
    Location
    Sunny Sonoma, CA
    Posts
    1,292

    Default

    Thanks everyone!

    He does get a quick check with shots/floating and my vet has been his vet since he was on the track. He's known my horse longer than I have. Plus, he's the vet for most of the horses at my barn so he's often out there for something or another (27 horses).

    This spring we'll do a bit more than the usual quick check.

    Thanks again!
    Founding Member of "I Kept 'Off Topic Day!' Open"



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