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APHA

Healthy as a Horse

An annual wellness exam helps ensure your healthy horse stays that way. and perform under pressure by training your brain.

By Laura Boynton

Dedicated horse owners all want to keep their horses as healthy and happy as possible. The first step toward better overall health for your horse might be as simple as a comprehensive wellness exam, performed by a trusted veterinarian.

Typically scheduled when your horse is feeling and acting normal, a wellness exam aims to assess the horse’s overall health and help prevent illness, injuries and boost the animal’s quality of life. The exam establishes a normal baseline of health, which is used to compare against any future findings when something seems amiss.

The Outside View

Shauna Lawless, D.V.M., DACVS-LA, is an equine surgeon at Retama Equine Hospital near San Antonio, Texas. Her wellness exams begim with a basic physical exam that measures the vital parameters of the horse’s whole body and checking the following areas:
• Weight issues that might put the horse at risk for metabolic or orthopedic issues.
• Coat condition, which can indicate parasites, ulcers or conditions like Equine Cushing’s Disease
• Skin health, such as non-healing wounds, warts, sarcoids or other lesions.
• Signs of organ system regularity, including abnormalities to heart, lung and breathing abnormalities
• Leg or hoof health, which might include palpating joints, tendons and ligaments for swelling or bony growths
• Back and neck health, checking for pain, stiffness and sensitivity
• Eye health, checking the cornea, lens and retina
• Oral health, checking for abnormalities missed during routine dental floats

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This is an excerpt from the full article—get the whole story in the Fall 2020 Chrome magazine, which is sent to all current APHA members. Not a member? Join or renew at apha.com/join.

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