Pet Care – Equine (Horse Care)


Life cycle:  – Total life cycle takes 6-8 weeks for small strongyles

  • adult lays eggs and are passed through feces    
  • is passed from an infected horse to uninfected horse in feces (can live in the environment for many years and are
    not killed during winters).
  • hatches and becomes larvae and is eaten by a grazing horse
  • migrates through horse’s body and then back into digestive tract to become an adult
  • can encyst and “hide” in the wall of the intestines and cause damage to tissues when emerging.
  • Young horses (under 2-3 years of age)-deworm starting at 4 weeks of age (using a safe product such as fenbendazole) and then every 6-8 weeks rotationally thereafter.
  • For horses older than 2-3 years of age, we recommend fecal exams 1-2 times annually.
  • Parasite resistance to deworming products is becoming a problem. 15+ years of rotational deworming has contributed to resistance developing in equine parasites. We can better determine frequency and product recommendations based on strategic fecal examinations. We are also recognizing individuals that require a much less frequent deworming rotation because they have an inherent ability to better control parasites than others. This means we need to re-institute routine fecal examinations to better assist your horse(s) as individual(s).

-We now will recommend a deworming protocol designed specifically for each individual or population depending on fecal test results and amount of parasite “load” in each situation, as well as assessing environmental/management procedures that could contribute to the problem.

Dental Floatation    

         Horses have a total of 44 teeth that are constantly growing.  As the teeth age, they will grow unevenly
with wear areas occurring in a variety of locations.  Neglected teeth can develop ““hooks, wave mouth, …etc”.”  These are all problems that
can effect how well a horse can eat or take the bit.  When we talk about “floating a horse’s teeth” we are performing corrective procedures to eliminate these potentially troublesome problems. Our trained veterinarians, using sedation, anti-inflammatories, skilled dental evaluation, skull radiography when needed, and power equipment, are able to do a much more thorough evaluation of the horse’s dental health and provide specific correction for each individual based on their needs.

We also now have the ability to do fillings and tooth extractions here at our clinic. These abilities allow us to restore integrity to teeth that we may have been forced to remove in the past.

We recommend:
-Check teeth semiannually
-Recommend dental adjustment at least once a year
-Access to electric outlet preferred
-If possible, we encourage you to haul into the clinic for dentistry.


6-1 (EEE, WEE, Tetanus, Influenza, Rhinopneumonitis, West Nile)

Eastern and Western Encephalomyelitis (EEE,WEE)
Symptoms: severe neurological disease. No treatment. usually fatal within 3-5 days after symptoms begin
How Transmitted: virus transmitted by mosquitoes. Wild birds are a reservoir. Can be transmitted from birds to humans (via mosquito)
Vaccination Protocol: initial vaccine then booster 2-4 weeks later. Annual after initial series or twice annually in endemic areas.

Symptoms: stiff, reluctant to move, prolasped third eyelid and sensitive to sound. Usually fatal.
How Transmitted: Clostridium bacteria (anaerobic) found in soil everywhere (and also in horse’s digestive tract). Long incubation. Horses are more susceptible than other animals.
Vaccination Protocol: initial vaccine then booster 2-4 weeks later. Annual after initial series or as a booster after horse has sustained a puncture or laceration.

Symptoms: fever, coughing, nasal discharge, off feed. Most common in young animals.
How Transmitted: through airways via nasal discharge. Viral disease
Treatment: antibiotics and support, usually not fatal
Vaccination Protocol: initial vaccine then booster 2-4 weeks later. Repeat booster 6-8 weeks, especially in high risk horses (showing/racing, etc)

Rhinopneumonitis (Equine Herpes Virus)
Symptoms: there are many different strains of Rhinopneumonitis. Nasal discharge, fever, lack of appetite, abortion, weak foals and possibly paralysis. Young horses will show snotty noses, cough, poor appetite and increased temperature. Older horses may show snotty nose and cough or may not show any signs at all. Pregnant mares may abort at 7-11 months. Newborn foals may be weak.
How Transmitted: spread through the air by coughing horses or contact with contaminated feed buckets, waterers, etc. Usually contracted at shows, race meets, or breeding and boarding stables.
Treatment: Supportive care: antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medication as needed.
Vaccination Protocol: Initial vaccine then booster 2-4 weeks later. Repeat every 6-8 weeks for high risk horses. Pregnant mares receive Pneumabort K at 3,5,7, and 9 months of gestation.

West Nile Virus
Symptoms: similar to EEE and WEE, also facial tremors
How Transmitted: mosquitoes and birds
Treatment: Supportive care, Interferon and DMSO IV
Vaccination Protocol: initial vaccine then booster 2-4 weeks later. Administer spring & summer.

Potomac Horse Fever

Symptoms: diarrhea, fever, off feed, abortion. Can cause founder and death.
How Transmitted: mode of transportation is now known to be oral ingestion of insects. Specifically, caddis flies, mayflies, and to a lesser extent dragonflies. These species hatch then die and infect feed in the pasture as well in stored feed. Surrounding light sources that attract the insects at night may cause dead insects to accumulate on or near feed or feed buckets. Not contagious from horse to horse. A rickettsial (similar to bacteria) disease caused by Ehlrichia Ristichi.
Treatment: Antibiotics (tetracycline) and supportive care; hospitalization in more severe cases.
Vaccination Protocol: initial vaccine then booster 2-4 weeks later. Repeat 3 times a year (spring, summer & fall), as the vaccination is not long acting. Vaccinated horses can get the disease, but usually a milder form and often respond faster to treatment.

Streptococcus Equi (Strangles)

Symptoms: lymph nodes in throat area & nasal discharge. Can cause large abscesses.
How Transmitted: bacterial disease found in the environment on farms or by carrier horses.
Treatment: controversial. When administered, Penicillin or SMZ/TMP are used.
Vaccination Protocol: initial vaccine then booster 2-4 weeks later. Annual thereafter. There is an injectable and an intranasal form of vaccine for this disease. We most commonly use the injectable form but with requests can administer the intranasal.


Symptoms: anything from excited, vicious behavior to depressed “dumb” acting, sometimes excessive salivation.
How Transmitted: saliva, bites or contact in open wounds. Usually bites of wild animals (skunks, fox, bats). Incubation period of 2 weeks to 6 months, will die within 10 days of being able to transmit disease and showing signs. Can be spread to humans. Have been outbreaks in Canada and US
Treatment: No treatment, fatal
Vaccination Protocol: Annually
Diagnosis requires testing of brain tissue.

Coggins Test (Equine Infectious Anemia)

Symptoms: intermittent fever, weight loss, may be asymptomatic
How Transmitted: blood born, transmitted by biting flies.
Treatment: None
Testing Regulations (Michigan): Every 12 months. Must be tested if transporting out of state or to any public event or “commingled” off premises.
If a horse is positive, owner must quarantine or euthanize. Quarantine requirements however, are almost impossible to comply with.
The object of testing is to protect healthy horses.
We now offer digital coggins testing. This allows clients who have an active email address to access and print off their own hard copy of the coggins test. This will be helpful with lost coggins paperwork and health certificates.
IMPORTANT: For digital coggins testing we have to take a series of photographs of each individual horse, free of blankets and dirt/mud. Please be patient with our photography and plan for it to take a big longer than usual the first year. After initial pictures are taken, we will not need new ones unless original pictures are of foals and the horse is now an adult horse. Updated pictures may be taken upon request- please just ask the doctor pulling the coggins to take and update the pictures.