10: Develop an Equine Wellness Program

Action Point: Develop equine wellness programs for each horse based on their individual needs.

Rationale: Developing equine wellness programs in consultation with a veterinarian will ensure routine care and monitoring of each horse’s health and serve as a proactive tool in disease prevention and early diagnosis and treatment.

The following elements should be included:

  • routine immunization
  • parasite control
  • nutritional consultations
  • annual Coggins testing
  • dental care
  • annual physical examination
Is Your Horse Enrolled in a Wellness Program?

Designing an Equine Wellness Plan for Your Practice

Zimmel, D. (2009). Ch. 5: “Equine Wellness Program.” In AAEVT Equine Manual for Veterinary Technicians. p.131-146. Wiley-Blackwell

09: Colic Prevention

Action Point: Identify any colic risk factors of current management practices.

Rationale: While colic isn’t entirely preventable, minimizing a horse’s risk of experiencing colic will have benefits for overall health and welfare. A great tool to assess current risks is the Equine Guelph Colic Risk Rater Healthcare Tool.

In just a few minutes, the quiz will assess a number of key factors in colic prevention, including turnout, activity level, feed, water, dental care, and parasite management, and provide helpful tips to improve areas of concern.


08: Dental Care

Action Point: Establish a regular dental care routine with the veterinarian and be aware of common signs of dental problems.

Rationale: Untreated dental issues such as abscesses, gum problems, sharp enamel points, and hooks on the teeth from uneven wear increase a horse’s risk of colic, the development of mouth or gastric ulcers, choke, nutritional deficiencies, and behavioural problems related to discomfort and pain. Common signs of dental problems in horses include:

  • difficulty chewing or dropping food while eating (quidding)
  • excess salivation
  • weight loss
  • evasion of the bit or bridle
  • uncharacteristic head tilting or tossing
  • bad breath or traces of blood in the saliva
  • swelling of the face
Equine Dentistry: It's Not Just Floating Anymore  

The Importance of Maintaining the Health of Your Horse's Mouth