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A horse health management plan is vital to maximize the health, productivity and performance
of horses. The investment in disease and parasite prevention is less than the cost
of disease treatment. Many horse health problems can be controlled with good management,
proper nutrition, pasture management, dental care, parasite control, training/exercise
routines, sanitation and vaccination against infectious diseases.
A good horse health management program will vary, depending upon the type of operation
and geographical location in Arkansas. It is important to contact your veterinarian
to determine if additional vaccinations, parasite control measures or management practices
are required for your area. The herd health program should be tailored to fit the
individual herd. Your veterinarian can also support your farm by performing diagnostic
procedures, including handling samples for diagnostic laboratories and post mortem
Early identification of serious diseases can help minimize the risk of disease spread
on your farm. If signs of disease are identified, seek veterinary services at its
earliest detection. Waiting to treat the sick animal will only allow the spread of
the infection to more animals on the operation. Signs of illness may include coughing,
diarrhea, weight loss, runny eyes or nose, abortions, enlarged lymph nodes and lameness.
If an animal happens to die, always remember to properly dispose of the carcass.
Minimizing or preventing disease entry and spread on farms should be included in every herd health plan. To accomplish this,
several general management practices could be implemented with minimal cost. Simple
considerations include knowing what is in the area of your farm perimeter (e.g. farms, visitors,
neighboring livestock and wildlife), individual animal identification, animal health
protocols, recognizing and dealing with sick animals, isolation/quarantine, supply
handling and neonatal management.
By implementing a strong herd health program for your horse operation, disease risk
can be minimized. For more information on disease risk management for your operation,
visit your county Extension office.
University of Arkansas: Animal Science
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Contact your County Agent