Veterinary Care: What the Code Says,…

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What does the Code of Practice say about veterinary care?

  • “Horses should be inspected frequently to ensure that they are healthy. The table below gives vital signs for an adult horse at rest. These will vary according to age, physical fitness and environmental conditions. Younger horses tend to be at the higher end of the range.

    Table showing Vital Signs For A 545 Kg (1200 Lb) Horse At Rest At 15°C
    Click here to open full-sized accessible version.
  • Horses on pasture or range should be inspected regularly, paying particular attention during high-risk periods (e.g., seasonal change, foaling period, introduction of new animals).
  • In consultation with a veterinarian, people working with horses should develop a sound health care program, appropriate to the facilities and management system being followed. Increased horse population density requires greater attention to disease prevention.
  • A parasite control program should be established in consultation with a veterinarian.
  • Hooves should be trimmed as often as is necessary to maintain the health of the foot.
  • Horses’ teeth should be examined at least annually. (See “Signs of dental problems” below.)
  • When horses require medication, it must be administered as directed by the veterinarian or manufacturer. Only medications approved for use in horses should be administered.
  • A health record, including any treatment or medication, should be kept for each horse.
  • Sick or injured horses must receive veterinary treatment immediately.
  • Under no circumstances should severely sick, injured, blind or disabled horses be transported to a livestock auction. They may be moved directly to a medical facility, after consultation with a veterinarian, or, with veterinary approval, moved directly to a slaughterhouse.
  • A veterinarian should be consulted prior to any attempt to move a downed horse.”

Signs of dental problems:

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Quidding (dropping feed while chewing)
  • Reluctant or slow to eat
  • Unusual tilting of the head while chewing
  • Unusually high amounts of long fibres in the manure
  • Resistance to the bit or bridle due to pain
  • Swelling in the cheeks or the upper or lower jaw
  • Excessive salivation (drooling or slobbering)
  • Unpleasant odour from the mouth or nostrils.
Source: Code of Practice (NFACC)

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Activity 3.3 – Veterinary Care

Answer the following questions in your Module 3 Booklet.

  1. What aspects of care should be performed by a veterinarian?
  2. Why do you think a veterinarian should provide each of these aspects of care?

For the first question you can do one or more of the following:

  • Ask your veterinarian what he or she thinks are two important aspects of care that a veterinarian should provide.
  • OR do an Internet search to find a website of an Alberta-based veterinary clinic. Identify and describe two important services they provide.

You can use the weblinks provided below to help you complete this activity.

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Weblinks for Activities 3.2 – 3.4

Use the links below to help you complete the activities.

National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC)’s  Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Equines.

Watch the video, First Aid Kits for Horses, to find out what first aid supplies horse owners should have on hand.

Find detailed information in the Health & Disease section of Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development Horses’ webpage.

Fact sheets on different animal diseases are available by clicking on the Reportable and Notifiable Diseases links on this Canadian Food Inspection Agency webpage.

More information on laminitis and founder is provided by the Alberta SPCA.

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