Keeping Your Horse’s Wellness Top Of Mind
Written by CRM
Friday, 19 April 2019 16:49

Veterinarians partner with the ColiCare Program to help protect horses and their owners

Just like you should visit your doctor every year for a physical, it’s important for your horse to receive a yearly check-up from his doctor, the veterinarian, as well.  In addition to a physical exam, the vet may also perform a dental exam, administer vaccinations, and give advice on the most appropriate parasite control method. In fact, these wellness services are so important to the long-term health of horses that they have become annual requirements of ColiCare, SmartPak’s free colic surgery reimbursement program.

“I’ve found that our clients that participate in ColiCare are more proactive in their horse’s wellness,” said Deme Erickson, DVM, from TNT Equine. “It’s a win-win situation for all involved: peace of mind for the client, healthy horses, and happy veterinarians.”

The annual physical exam is the perfect time for your veterinarian to take a complete look at your horse, from head to hoof. For many vets, the exam begins the moment they first see the horse -- whether in the stall or out in pasture -- making sure it’s BAR or Bright, Alert, and Responsive. If a complete soundness exam has not been requested, then simply watching the horse walk is a quick way to evaluate the musculoskeletal system, including the hooves, as well as neurologic function. The temperature, pulse, and respiration (TPR) will be assessed and the heart, lungs, and GI tract listened to. A more thorough exam could include an inspection of your horse’s  eyes, gums, ears, skin and hair, and even lymph nodes. Your veterinarian may also evaluate your horse’s body condition score and weight then review the horse’s nutrition program from hay and grain to supplements.

The health of your horse’s teeth is also equally important, which is why your veterinarian should perform an annual dental exam. Dental issues can be a cause of weight loss, decreased performance, and even unusual and unwanted behavior. Some horses (like seniors and young horses) should receive dental care twice annually, so it’s important to speak with your vet to determine the proper dental schedule for your horse.

Annual vaccinations are essential for the health of the horse and to help prevent disease outbreaks. The AAEP recommends that all adult horses receive vaccinations for Eastern/Western Equine Encephalitis, tetanus, West Nile virus, and rabies. Depending on your geographical region and your horse’s travel schedule, there may be additional vaccines that are required, which is why your veterinarian is the best resource for developing a vaccination plan.

Finally, work with your veterinarian on a deworming program specifically for your horse and property. A proper program will include fecal testing and targeted deworming based on those results. Approaching parasite control in this way not only reduces the worm load on pastures (which in turn reduces parasite infection in horses), but also helps maintain the effectiveness of the dewormers we have today.  

Horses that receive all of these essential services each year are not only staying healthier, they are also meeting all of the Annual Wellness Requirements for ColiCare. In addition to having these wellness services performed by your veterinarian, simply feed any ColiCare eligible supplement in SmartPaks™ and you could be eligible for up to $7,500 of colic surgery reimbursement.

“Your veterinarian is your best resource when it comes to your horse’s health and wellness,” said Dr. Lydia Gray, SmartPak’s Staff Veterinarian and Medical Director. “In addition to performing an annual physical exam and dental exam, rely on them to administer the most appropriate vaccines and to develop the most appropriate parasite control program.”

To learn more about the ColiCare program, visit Press release provided by AHP.

About SmartPak: From the feed room to the tack room, SmartPak offers innovative solutions to help riders take great care of their horses. SmartPak was founded in 1999 with the introduction of the patented SmartPak supplement feeding system. The revolutionary, daily dose SmartPaks are custom-made for your horse, individually labeled and sealed for freshness. With the success of this simple and convenient feeding system, SmartPak has continued to expand its offering of quality products, including its own line of more than 55 supplement formulas called SmartSupplements, and a wide variety of tack, equipment, and supplies. The company has grown rapidly each year and is now the largest retailer of equestrian products in the United States. SmartPak’s success has been powered by a passion for delivering an unbeatable customer experience, and the company has been recognized with a Bizrate Circle of Excellence award eight years in a row, as well as receiving an “Elite” rating from STELLAService. A nine-time Inc. 500/5000 honoree, SmartPak is the only equine company ever named to the Inc. 500 list.