Frequently Asked Questions

How often do I deworm? Can you set up a rotation schedule for me?

Your horse’s age, level of exposure to feces, and type of wormer are all factors that will affect your worming schedule.

You should begin deworming your foal at 6 weeks of age. Foals’ immune systems are still developing which leaves them open to infection with parasites, especially Round Worms (Ascarids). Continue to deworm your foal once monthly until he/she is 2 years of age. Start with Strongid then rotate with Panacur and Ivermectin. These are very safe dewormers; estimate on the high end for body weight.

In adult horses, the number one parasite we are concerned with is Small Strongyles. Their eggs are shed in the horse’s feces and reinfect the horse while they are grazing near their or other horses’ feces. So, it stands to reason the cleaner your horse’s stall, paddock or field, the lower their exposure to parasite infection. You can monitor their parasite level by providing your veterinarian with periodic fecal samples. You can then design a deworming schedule to fit your horse’s needs. In general, if you rotate the Ivermectin product with Quest every 3 months, your horse parasite burden should be very low.

What are your billing and payment methods?

We appreciate payment at the time of service. Cash, check and credit cards (Visa, Master, Discover and American Express) are all acceptable forms of payment. In the event that you cannot be present during the examination, arrangements can be made through the office. We also accept Care Credit.

Can I bring my horse to the office?

We specialize in bringing the office to you on the farm, and as such, we do not have a haul in hospital facility. However, we have good relationships with many horse facilities, ranging from Issaquah to Mt. Vernon, where we can arrange to meet you and evaluate your horse.

Which doctors are working today?

All our doctors regularly schedule appointments Monday – Friday. We are also available for you in emergency situations after hours and on weekends. By calling our office, you will be directed to leave a message for the emergency veterinarian on call. That doctor will be notified immediately.

What should I expect after my horse is sedated?

If your horse has been sedated for a procedure or for pain control, it is important to place them in a safe area such as a stall or small paddock with no food available until the sedation wears off. Because their reactions are dulled and their ability to maneuver has been compromised, it is best if they have good footing, safe fencing or stalls free of “obstacles” and if they are by themselves so their herd-mates don’t inadvertently injure them. Food is withheld for two reasons, 1) they can choke on food that hasn’t been properly chewed due to the sedative effects, and 2) most of our sedatives mildly decrease gut motility and could lead to colic if food is introduced too quickly. Depending on the sedative used, your horse could recover in as quickly as 30 minutes, or it could take as long as 2-3 hours. Your veterinarian should provide you with a more specific time frame.

Is my horse’s weight ok?

This is a relative question based on many factors including breed, age, sex, discipline and current health status. A “typical” horse weighs 1000-1200 pounds, but 1000 pounds would be overweight for a pony and 1200 pounds would be too thin for a draft breed. There are two methods used in conjunction when discussing proper weight for a particular horse; actual weight in pounds (or kilograms) and body condition.

The most convenient way to estimate your horse’s weight is with a weight tape. The tape uses the measurement of the horse’s girth circumference to estimate the weight and is fairly accurate in most cases. This is also the best way to track weight gain and loss.

The body condition scoring system is a better reflection of whether the horse is in proper condition, regardless of his actual weight. This system is a score of 1-9, with 1 being emaciated and 9 being extremely obese. Generally we want our horses to be a 5 or 6. The horse is graded based on visual evaluation and palpation of six key conformational areas: the crest of the neck, the withers, the crease of the back, the tail-head, the ribs and behind the shoulder. For example, a score of 5 would mean the ribs are not visible but easily felt, the back is flat (not creased or prominently bony), the tail-head is soft, the withers are rounded, and the shoulder and neck blend smoothly with the contour of the body.

How often do horses need dental exam?

This depends on the age of your horse. Since horses teeth are erupting at or near birth, your first dental exam will take place during the post foaling examination. Generally, the next examination will take place about the time your horse’s training begins, around 2 years of age. From 2 to 4 years of age, your horse will be teething and losing a lot of baby teeth or “caps.” These are sometimes removed to make the horse more comfortable during training. During these years we may perform brief cap removal procedures as often as every 3 to 6 months. As your horse’s 5th year rolls around, all adult teeth will have arrived. We perform dental examinations and procedures annually from here on out.

What should I expect after my horse’s dental exam?

A happy horse! Ninety-nine percent of the time your horse should show no symptoms of discomfort or difficulty eating after a routine dental procedure. He or she will be ready to ride the following day. In the case of more advanced procedures (tooth extractions, periodontal treatments) when your horse might experience some discomfort, we will clearly lay out the aftercare including a pain management plan.

What should I do when my horse is colicky?

First, make certain you are in a location that is safe for both you and the horse. Take the horse’s heart rate and temperature in addition to checking gum color, if you can do it safely. Look around for signs that may show how long the horse has been sick (feed not eaten, decreased manure, etc). Then you should call the veterinarian to discuss the next steps. We prefer that no medications (Banamine, bute, etc) be given prior to talking to the vet. Most vets now feel that you should avoid vigorously walking a colicking horse and that rolling is more likely to be helpful than harmful. Allow your horse to lie down and roll gently if there is enough room. The key here is to call for a consult early – small details may indicate to the vet that your horse has a serious problem or possibly a mild colic that you can manage with a little guidance.

What kind of hay should I feed?

We are fortunate to live in a region where some of the best hay in the world is produced. Traditionally, horse owners have chosen between different varieties of eastern Washington hay such as orchard grass, timothy, or alfalfa. Now farmers in western Washington are producing some very good “local” grass hay. Most horses will gladly eat and tolerate most hays, but some are bit more selective or sensitive about their hay. Other factors such as dental or medical conditions and the type of work your horse is doing, will influence hay choice. In most cases you should choose hay first then select a compatible grain product. No matter what hay you purchase, it should be well produced and free of dirt and mold. Your veterinarian can provide a consultation if you need some help making a decision about hay.

Do you recommend joint supplements?

Yes! While there are only a few studies showing that some supplements may work, we have all had the experience of a horse’s gait improving while on joint products. So, if you have a regularly exercised horse or a stiff moving retired horse, you might do him a favor by including a joint supplement. Not all products are equal, and some companies have much higher standards for ingredients and production. No joint product is going to cure or fix a real lameness issue. Ask your vet for suggestions about the right product for your horse.