For most horse owners, fall is that time of the year where they modify training programs according to the change of seasons.
There would be a slight break from the riding and show routines. It also gives them enough time to reflect on the previous months whilst planning for the next season. This is an ideal time to have vets check the horse, which would include oral exam, physical exam, lameness exam, and/or vaccinations, among other things.
Your horse needs a physical exam, too, to assess its overall health. The fall season is an appropriate period to identify any health concerns that your horse may have developed from the previous year. A veterinarian should assess your horse’s GI tract, heart, and lungs. The weight of the horse should also be evaluated to find out if it has gained weight from the summer grass or lost them while doing heavy work. Depending on the type of medical examination your vet plans for your horse, blood workup may be necessary to evaluate the health of the horse completely. A CBC (or complete blood count) is needed to check if the horse has conditions such as infection, anemia, or inflammation and to assess platelets count as well.
Your veterinarian may also perform a blood chemistry to evaluate kidney function, liver enzymes, protein values and overall electrolyte values. Fibrinogen test is also helpful in assessing the overall inflammatory state of the animal and to determine the severity of the condition and if the condition is acute or chronic.
Check on those worms with a FEC count in Fall/Autumn
Fall is also the ideal time to check on the fecal state of the horse. It is also an appropriate time to determine if equine deworming is necessary or if the equine dewormers you are using are effective. Consult your veterinarian about fecal testing program designed for your horse’s specific needs and the conditions of your barn.
An oral exam is required to help your veterinarian determine the necessity of teeth floating. Poor performance, weight loss, unwanted behavior, and reluctance to training may result from misalignment of the teeth. Sharp points on the surface of the teeth can discourage a horse from eating grain or may even result in poor grinding of the grain. This will result in lack of energy, weight loss, and then poor performance. All horses need to undergo oral exam once every year to find out if floating is necessary or not.
Vaccinations are also important for the overall health of the horse. Each country may have a different concern on the necessary vaccine, but core vaccines (EEE/WEE, WNV, and rabies) are all the same for horses. Consult your veterinarian regarding equine vaccination program. On top of the vaccination program, deworming, oral exam, and physical exam, your horse may need a lameness exam during your veterinary visit this fall. Gait abnormalities or early stages of lameness can allow your veterinarian to come up with a treatment plan to manage the problem.