Horse Health

Department of Defense

February 12, 2009

Defend your horses against disease year-round with these seasonal tips.

You may need to wet hay in the winter to reduce dust.

From our friends at thehorse.com

Annual Disease Control Checklist

December/January/February

  • Optimize barn ventilation to minimize exposure to respiratory irritants.
  • Water down hay to reduce dust and mold spores.
  • Provide shelter or blankets in very cold and inclement weather to avoid chills.
  • Implement year-round management practices to reduce rodents around the barn.
  • Keep tack, equipment, and blankets clean; avoid sharing them to prevent spread of disease.

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March/April

  • Schedule spring immunizations, an annual Coggins test (for equine infectious anemia), and dental care with your vet.
  • Implement a regular deworming program, assess its effectiveness with fecal egg counts and consult with your veterinarian as to the best treatment strategy.
  • Clean regularly or remove any containers or vessels that can hold water where mosquitoes might propagate.
  • Improve drainage of low-lying areas to deter water accumulation/mud that could be an insect habitat.
  • Set up composting areas to use before spreading manure; this will eliminate pastures as insect breeding grounds.
  • Twice a week, remove manure from paddocks to minimize parasite exposure.
  • Clean the stable areas regularly, and clean and disinfect after contagious disease infection and before using the barn again.
  • Clean and disinfect tack, equipment and trailers between uses with different horses.

May/June

  • Stock ponds with mosquito-eating fish (e.g., Gambusia species).
  • Clean water tanks weekly to remove rotting organic debris and deter insect breeding; continue until a killing frost.
  • Use misting insecticide sprays in the barn areas. Be sure to read and follow label directions for safe use of these products.
  • Cover your horse with a fly sheet and fly mask when necessary.
  • Trim ear hair to minimize insect irritation.
  • Bathe horses with a medicated shampoo to repel ticks, lice and combat fungal infections. Repeat once or twice monthly during the summer months, if needed.

Read America’s Horse for industry news and information. AQHA’s member magazine also includes touching stories of the ways our American Quarter Horses enrich our lives.

July/August

  • Continue with deworming programs that are based on fecal egg counts and veterinary counsel.
  • Continue with manure management and insect eradication strategies.
  • When purchasing newly cut hay, evaluate for quality and provide storage areas free of moisture and dust.
  • Check property (and hay) for decomposing organic matter or dead animals that could introduce botulism.

September/October/November

  • Schedule fall immunizations with your vet.
  • Deworm against tapeworms, and again in the spring where necessary.
  • Ensure hay is protected from the elements, avoiding sun damage, mold and dust.

AQHA Cloning Forum to Be Webcast

The issue of cloning is so important to AQHA members, that AQHA has scheduled an open forum on equine cloning from 2-4:30 p.m. CST Friday, March 6, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel.

AQHA members who can’t attend the cloning forum will still be able to benefit from the information it generates. Watch AQHA’s Equine Cloning Forum on www.aqha.com beginning at 2 p.m. CST on March 6.