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Do your horses get yearly check ups?

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  • Do your horses get yearly check ups?

    I was just reading an article on equisearch.com about how horses should have check-ups yearly. I have never gotten this for my two old guys because they are perfectly fine in my eyes. maintain their weight. Joint problems are a minimum and I give my shots myself, so the only reason they see the vet is if they get sick or to get coggins. Should I be getting my senior guys a check up at least once a year. If so, do I just call the vet and tell them I want to schedule a check up?

  • #2
    Seems unnecessary to me


    • #3
      I go with 2X annual vet checks for my horses.
      I don't do my own vaccines, but the charge for them is minimal - near what I'd pay anyhow.
      Spring vet visit because rabies is a problem here & I can't give that vaccine.
      Fall because teeth may need floating (I take them to his clinic for a powerfloat) & I like to have them go into Winter with a clean slate.

      But that's me - YMMV, and if your horses' health is fine why change your program?

      And yes, just call your vet and ask to schedule a health check.
      Around here you will be charged for a Farm Call and a minimal fee for the checkup itself.
      If barncat needs a rabies booster I get a 10% Multiple Pet Discount
      *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
      Steppin' Out 1988-2004
      Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
      Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015


      • #4
        I don't have anything done in the fall unless I suspect they may need their teeth done. In that case, I can truck them to the vet to save on the farm call.

        Just a checkup to have a checkup? No. If they have been healthy and in good weight and seem just as fine as they did in the spring, Nope.
        "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."


        • #5
          I would do it. It's good to have someone objectively look at the eyes, the teeth, run their hands over the body, check the legs and feet, do a skin and weight check, and listen to the sounds going on within. It will give you a clear benchmark to compare to should changes creep in later on. If you do this on a annual basis, you will have a better chance at catching things sooner if they do creep in.

          Mine get check-ups with their vaccinations twice a year. My vet likes once yearly check-ups for younger horses, and twice yearly schedules for senior horses, as changes in tooth wear and vision tend to occur more frequently as they age.
          "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." Albert Einstein



          • #6
            Yes, when the vet is out giving shots/doing teeth/Coggins. Generally he'll do the eyes/heart/lungs exam and we'll focus on any areas of concern at the spring visit. In the fall if there's something he'll check that but not do a formal "once over" unless the horse needs a vet certificate for travel.

            I do not routinely do blood work, however. I'm unconvinced that this is even remotely helpful as a "shotgun" method screening or to serve as a "baseline". One exception is selenium which I actually haven't done in several years.

            I think it's way more helpful if the owner has the horse under scrutiny, and that includes knowing what their normal vitals are and what their poop looks like and their normal habits, etc.
            Click here before you buy.


            • #7
              Twice a year when we do spring and fall shots, we check teeth, ask about any weird little lumps, etc. No bloodwork unless there is a potential issue like Cushings I want tested.

              Yo do want to make sure you are doing spring and fall shots, whether the vet does them or you do. Most vaccines wear off after 6 months or less and this time of year is the worst for a host of terrible illnesses -- EEE, WNV, PHF.


              • #8
                I have the vet out to do shots and check/float teeth at least once a year. Mainly to have a second set of knowledgeable eyes on the horses. The horses look good to me and so far the vet has agreed. But now if I have a concern he has a "baseline" to start with.

                No bloodwork, beyond Coggins, unless there is a question. As in we may take some blood tomorrow to find out why my aged mare has recently doubled her appetite.
                "Never do anything that you have to explain twice to the paramedics."
                Courtesy my cousin Tim


                • #9
                  Yes, when the vet comes for shots they all get a check up at that time. Usually at least once a year.
                  Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole


                  • #10
                    I never really thought of it as a yearly check up because my horses just seem to require the vet when I don't want them to. I tell my vet I really like her but don't want to see her this much.

                    Just yesterday my vet pulled up to the barn where I board one of my horses and of course everyone standing around when I walked up and I said, "Your not here for my horse are you?" And we were all laughing......

                    Routine teeth, shots and sheath cleanings she checks them out anyway. So I guess my answer is yes.
                    Live in the sunshine.
                    Swim in the sea.
                    Drink the wild air.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Ready To Riot View Post
                      I was just reading an article on equisearch.com about how horses should have check-ups yearly. I have never gotten this for my two old guys because they are perfectly fine in my eyes.
                      I do annual exams especially on my old guys. Which consists of the vet coming out so I can ask her about any concerns I may have and running routine bloodwork.

                      I do all of my own routine veterinary work, but I don't have a hemavet to run blood. I feel "old horse" CBCs/chem panels are critical to finding problems early, before clinical signs develop. I also have the vet do simple eye exams and such, to check for tumors.


                      • #12
                        I think for most people posting on this forum, those vet check-ups aren't a necessity, most of us on here are well enough clued up to see the signs of things going pearshaped with our horses, otherwise most likely we wouldn't have found our way onto this forum & be posting regularly with all sorts of questions.

                        However I have known owners for whom those yearly check-ups are quite welcome.
                        Example someone I know had a horse with totally out of balance hindfeet (I mean seriously off, underrun, long toe - owner was trimming horse himself), but owner would not have realized that, owner didn't see the horse had furthermore a clear cut case of DSLD and serious eye trouble. Owner was not a bad person, just not knowledgeable enough to realize those things amongst other needed looking into to.

                        The only thing I'm undecided about is yearly bloodwork. I've never done it, only when I suspect trouble. But yes it's a valid thought, should a seemingly healthy horse get a yearly CBC?


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Lieslot View Post
                          The only thing I'm undecided about is yearly bloodwork. I've never done it, only when I suspect trouble. But yes it's a valid thought, should a seemingly healthy horse get a yearly CBC?
                          I feel you can't truly know what abnormal is unless you know the horse's normal. Sure, there are "normal" ranges for horses in general, but we all know not every horse is normal. My oldest has the palest gums in the world; sure made me feel better when we thought he was colicking and the vet was like "WOW he's really pale" and I could tell her "no, that's his normal". That same horse always has high creatinine levels. The first time we were like "WTF??", as he had no history of any sort of muscle disease or damage, and decided to watch him and see. Now we know that he always has high creatinine levels for whatever reason.


                          • #14
                            Mine is IR. He gets an annual blood test, float and booster checkup.
                            Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans


                            • #15
                              Formal checkup, no.

                              But my vet is out (at least) twice a year for shots and checking teeth, and she eyeballs everyone. It's a good time if I want to have some blood drawn if I've had a feeling something might be a bit odd but never really anything to call her out just for it.

                              When my first horse reached about 15, I did a baseline CBC on him. I'll probably do that when my current ones reach about that age, just because as they get older things can start to change, and if a baseline is a bit different from normal, it won't send us looking down the wrong path. For example, my TB gelding had, for his normal, a slightly high BUN and creatinine. It was just him. Nothing wrong, just was.

                              I don't think those guys need a yearly CBC, but maybe every 2-3 years if you just want to keep on top of things, if even that much. Assuming I have them that long, I'll probably do one at 15, 20, and every 3-5 years. But younger? No, no need unless there's something to warrant a peek at vitals.
                              The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                              • #16
                                My horses see a vet at least three times a year. My regular vet is out in the fall for shots and sheath cleaning. Then, in the spring, I will try to catch a clinic for the majority of the shots, and then I have my regular vet out a couple of weeks later for strangles and rabies, plus another sheath cleaning. I have been VERY disappointed with other vets' ideas of sheath cleaning!

                                I used to have them on a schedule for their floats at the same time as the fall shots, but my mare doesn't seem to need hers done as often, and then my gelding had to have a molar extracted this spring, along with a follow-up float, which threw the whole schedule off.


                                • #17
                                  Yes. Physical exam every spring with shots whether they need it or not, lol.