Equine Health

Deworming – Keeping Our Pastures Clean

Did you know that picking manure out of your pastures on a regular basis is one of the most effective ways to stop the spread of parasites on a farm?  Eggs passed in manure spread out after a rainfall and contaminate the pasture – acting as a source of transmission to other horses.  Keeping pastures clean can reduce the parasite burden and in combination with regular fecal checks, done at KVC, can reduce the number of times a horse needs to be dewormed in a year.  This will help to avoid the development of parasite resistance to our deworming products in the future.

July & August is the perfect time to do fecal egg counts. This will ensure that we can properly classify your deworming program for the next few years. Give us a call to find out more information!


Vaccination Alert

There is an increased number of mosquitos in Southwestern Ontario this year. Recently, a horse tested positive for West Nile Virus in Barrie. This horse did not survive. Other horses have also tested positive recently in our area, none of which were vaccinated. For more information please visit www.omafra.gov.on.ca.
For those horse owners who were waiting on vaccinating their horses for West Nile Virus, or for Eastern and Western Encephalitis virus, please consider vaccinating for these diseases at this time, as our horses' risk of contracting these serious illnesses will continue on through the early fall. If you have any questions about your horse's level of risk, do not hesitate to contact our equine veterinarians to discuss which vaccination programs are appropriate for your situation.


Every horse in our practice will have differing needs when it comes to vaccination, depending on their age and lifestyle.  There are many different vaccines available these days that offer a wide range of protection against the different diseases posing a risk to our horses.  Vaccine programs will be tailored to your individual horse, but here are just some ideas of the type of vaccines that are out there and what they do for us!

Core Vaccines (Essential!)
Rabies – all horses are at risk for this disease, usually acquired by a bite from a rabid animal.  Symptoms are highly variable and fatal, transmissible to humans and therefore a human health risk.  Annual vaccination recommended.
Tetanus – all horses are at risk for this disease, obtained from a spore living in the soil.  Annual vaccination recommended and may be boostered if a wound occurs more than six months after inoculation.
West Nile – all horses are at risk for this disease, acquired from mosquito bites.  Manifests as neurologic disease and can be fatal or cause permanent effects.   Annual vaccination recommended.

Non-core Vaccines (Important)
Rhinopneumonitis/Influenza – respiratory disease of horses, young horses are especially susceptible.  Recommend vaccination of all horses travelling off-property where they may encounter other horses of unknown vaccine status.  Yearly vaccination if Calvenza, 3-4 times per year if other vaccine.
Eastern and Western Encephalomyelitis – neurologic diseases carried by mosquitoes – increasing number of cases reported in Ontario over the past few years.  Recommend annual vaccination of horses traveling to the US, or if risk-averse.  Horses in US may be vaccinated every 6 months for adequate coverage.
Strangles – bacterial disease that usually affects young horses though older horses can be susceptible.  Recommend vaccination of horses living on property where disease is endemic, or horses traveling off-property where they may encounter other horses of unknown vaccine status.


Dentistry – did you know…..?

-That a horse’s teeth continue to erupt over the duration of their lifetime?  Unlike our teeth, equine teeth grow as they age and what keeps them a constant length is grinding against one another.
-The upper and lower jaws of a horse are different widths.  The upper jaw is wider and the lower jaw is narrower.  This configuration allows the horse to chew in a figure-of-8 motion and helps them grind coarse feed materials like hay.
-Sharp points develop over time on the outsides of the upper teeth, and the insides of the lower teeth, due to the motion of the horse’s jaw.  If left untreated, these sharp points can cause your horse discomfort while eating or working, and in severe cases even cause wounds to the cheeks and tongue.
-Floating teeth is a procedure done by your veterinarian where these sharp edges and other abnormalities are corrected by filing – by hand or power tool.
-Horses should have their teeth examined and corrected at least once a year – this prevents abnormalities from becoming severe and keeps them able to perform at their best.
-Older horses may require additional care, as some will begin to lose their teeth between 20-25 years of age.  This leads to uneven wear of the teeth and can result in difficulty eating.
-Next time your horse has a dental exam take a peek inside; you might be amazed what you see!

Fall Dentistry Awareness

Get your horse's teeth floated before winter!
October and November are a great time.
Give us a call at (519) 229-8911 to find out more information!

Health Records

Some of you may already be familiar with our health records – a few pages or a binder to keep in your barn listing the vaccine / deworming / dentistry history of each horse – but if this is news to you, please let us know! We would love to prepare a binder for you to make keeping track of all your horse’s needs just a bit easier!


Expecting a New Foal?
-Plan to vaccinate your mare 6-8 weeks before her expected due date to ensure your foal gets some maternal antibodies to these important diseases.
-If your foal is born without complications, remember to call us sometime in the first 24 hours to come out for routine health exam, foal shots and to check IgG levels.
-Determining IgG levels is crucial to find out how well protected your foal is against disease and also allows us to be proactive if needed (ie. plasma transfusion).
Give your foal the best start possible!!!