Set your horse up for good health this spring with a checkup and these helpful products.

After a long winter of hunkering down, warmer weather often means an increase in riding activity. While you care for your horse year-round, spring is also a good time to make sure you’re doing everything you can to ensure your horse’s health and comfort. The products featured here will help you do just that. Additionally, scheduling a regular checkup with your horse’s veterinarian this spring will help maintain your horse’s health and prepare him for summer rodeos or trail rides. Dr. Jake Cox at South Valley Equine in Saratoga Springs, Utah, shares his tips for preparing for this important well check.

Schedule it early. Cox recommends an appointment for routine vaccines at the end of February or early March. Core vaccines typically administered at this time depend on your horse and your region, but Cox says most horses in Utah will get shots for Eastern and Western encephalitis, West Nile, tetanus and flu/rhino.

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“That’s the best time to do those spring vaccinations, before the mosquitoes start coming out for West Nile—you want their immunity build up for that,” Cox said. “And it’s usually just before folks really start using their horses the most.”

Prepare for routine maintenance. During your horse’s appointment, your veterinarian can do a fecal egg count to check for parasites and discuss deworming. He also may check your horse’s teeth to see if they need to be floated, which many of Cox’s clients have done in the spring.

Opt for additional tests. Cox says some older horses can benefit from testing for Cushing’s disease during this checkup. If you’ve got a show or rodeo horse, a lameness exam can be helpful.

“We might do a lameness exam to see if the horse needs any maintenance injections or other treatment,” Cox said.

Have your questions ready. Your horse’s spring checkup is a good time to discuss with your veterinarian any concerns you have about your horse, Cox says.

“We can run a basic CBC—complete blood count [test]—if your horse is having problems such as keeping weight on,” Cox said. “Or if your horse isn’t shedding its hair like it should, maybe carrying too much weight, we could recommend a Cushing’s disease test. The biggest thing, just come prepared with your questions so we can answer on a case-by-case example.”

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