Horse Owners Share Opinions on Yearly Checkups

More than 1,120 readers of TheHorse.com responded to a poll asking, "Do you schedule yearly wellness exams with your veterinarian?"

results of poll on pain and anti inflammatory treatment

Results were as follows: 
  • Yes  71.06% (798)
  • No   28.94% (325)

Readers shared why they schedule their health exams in the comments below.

Poll sponsored by Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health Equine.

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  • it's good insurance
  • Too expensive and non productive
  • There are so many little things that might be missed without a check up every year.
  • Why? Because I am my horse's guardian--his best interest first
  • This includes using an Equine Dentist for the teeth.
  • So I can spot changes and trends.
  • Yes, simply because she's out to give the vaccs that I can't legally order and give myself.
  • To expensive
  • keeps the vet up to date on my horses
  • Spring shots & checkup.
  • no vet available
  • for the nasal strangles vac. & to catch incipient internal problems before they manifest themselves
  • Every Spring. To ensure that My mares may breed and everyone can show that year.
  • Part of Preventacare insurance program (from the makers of Strongid).
  • Except for coggins or vaccines, our horses haven't even been to the vet.
  • yearly vaccines very important, also good for my vet to know my horses' normal vitals.
  • I do it so I have updated health records and my horses are kept healthy.
  • bi-annual actually
  • always trying to stay ahead of problems with shots, farrier, and teeth
  • It is done with the yearly vaccines.
  • Every spring during the vaccination process
  • Twice a year for vaccines and check ups.
  • I schedule yearly exams just as I would for myself, for preventative maintenance .
  • costs
  • he might see things i miss
  • My vet gives shots twice a year, sees him on regular basis.
  • money
  • Maintenance Prevention
  • only about teeth
  • Too expensive, unless there is an obvious need for veterinary attention.
  • So that my vet knows my horses and has a baseline for treatment.
  • it is just part of being a responsible horse owner
  • shots and Coggins are a must
  • with vaccinations
  • Because I owe that to my horses
  • preventative maintenance
  • see them regularly anyway
  • Its responsible thing to do as a horse owner.
  • The farm call is too expensive
  • the expense
  • So that the vet will know how to get to my barn and be willing to come in an emergency.
  • actually bi yearly as my horses are all over 18! They're worth it!
  • In case I miss something an it makes me feel better either getting it fixed or a clean report.
  • every 6 months happy horse check
  • Yes, but not specifically. Part of spring/fall shots check-ups.
  • Get teeth floated at same time
  • I do this when I float teeth, vaccinate ect. to be sure all is well and on track
  • I've been in the horse business long enough(30+yrs) I know when something is not right with them
  • Done when teeth are floated
  • Never thought about it. Sees the vet twice a year for vaccinations, etc. Thanks will check into it
  • can't afford it
  • prevention is cheaper than a cure.
  • not necessary
  • I am a registered nurse, I do the exams myself.
  • I want to do all I can to keep my horses healthy.
  • Yearly check-up along with yearly booster shots!
  • medical check up at time of vaccination (spring) & medical exam for insurance (fall)
  • I think that it is irresponsible of an owner to not do this. The healthof our horses' depends on it
  • An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
  • We do spring and fall visits.
  • my horses deserve it.
  • no need, they aren't sick.
  • Horses have to vetted for a local authority licence for treking yard
  • I did when my mare was insured with Strongid. But, I keep up will vaccines and worming & don't now.
  • Sometimes potentially fatal diseases can be caught and treated early.
  • so that my horse is on a routine schedule
  • why not??????
  • Twice yearly, for preventive care and wellness
  • dental checkups are critical for my 29-yr-old
  • I vaccinateand give I rabies shot annually. The vet is here and I check for anything irregular.
  • Regular, ongoing wellness care (dental, chiro, vaccinations, farrier) should include exam.
  • Yes; @ 21 yrs old it's important;plus vet comes out for teeth and vaccines so we do it all at once.
  • Charge to much.Does not prevent illness, so if your horse does get sick your going to see vet then.
  • too expensive
  • It is a part of the vaccination visit that my vet performs.
  • Plus annual shots, ultrasounds for the preg mares, Coggins for the traveling show horses.
  • local vets do not like to make farm calls-i trailer to office for coggins-i worm & vacinate my own
  • Vet does yearly vaccinations and dental but wellness is something I can monitor myself.
  • COST
  • exam coupled with immunizations in the spring
  • If things are caught early then the horse may remain sound in their later years.
  • A good opportunity to ask any questions you need an acurate answer too.
  • they are seen frequently for endurance competition ,coggins and health certificates
  • Responsible for a horse? Take care of it like your child !!!
  • If they seem find and no signs of anything, we don't. We can't afford it either.
  • No - because of cost. I manage every two years, usually.
  • I feel quite healthy
  • Not necessary. Every 3 years is fine. WE do all the vaccinations so only dentals are needed.
  • Stay on top/prevent any situations early.
  • I care about the health and longevity of my horse and have a great vet!
  • Because I love my horse
  • Good practice and do in conjuction with shots, sheath cleaning, and teeth exam.
  • do not think the exam is worth doing on a healthy horse
  • money
  • 40+ years as a breeder/trainer gives me confidence to monitor my own herd of 10 horses.
  • an oz of prevention is worth a pound of cure! Besides they are my family members.
  • Good friend is a vet - see horse all the time
  • I know my horse better than my vet does and would catch any issues with my horse before the vet woul
  • I want my horses to feel good. I love them.
  • Wellness comes along with dentals
  • I am a registered veterinary technician, and feel that I can detect health problems that arise.
  • don't need to
  • I'm a vet tech in equine hospital, tuned in to my horses
  • spring & fall for vaccinations & an overall view as well as teeth checks
  • cost; hoof trimmer helps read health
  • Monitor their health for preventive maintenance and find out if there are beginnings of problems
  • Spring and fall
  • I'd rather be proactive than reactive in the care of my horses.
  • I do shot clinics & with periodic injuries they get checked by a vet at least a couple times per yr.
  • Just routine shots in spring & fall.
  • twice yearly
  • attend to overall wellness myself
  • My Vet sees the horses yearly during vaccinations. If any thing is wrong we talk then
  • Not specifically .. but they check during spring and fall shots
  • Wellness exam is an excellent preventive step.
  • TO HELP MAINTAIN A HEALTHY HORSE AND HERD
  • It's possible that I might not notice conditions that come on gradually. My vet will catch them.
  • twice a year prevention is a much better alternative to treatment
  • I'd rather catch subtle potential problems early so treatment can be more effective.
  • To get him updated on vaccinations and Coggins Test and to ask the vet any general questions
  • Vet only gives Rabies because NYS won't let me do it myself.
  • just as important as annual HUMAN exams :)
  • too expensive too many horses
  • My horses health is a major concern. A yearly exam can catch illness' in the beginning stage.
  • just a quickie when vaccs are done annually, too expensive for 17 school horses.
  • I want to keep my horse for a long, long time.
  • No only for those aged or with prior issues. Otherwise vaccinate my own & call vet for emergencies
  • it is very important in case you might have not noticed
  • Peace of mind! Just like with humans, it is good to have an overall health check annually.
  • yearly farm call for vacinations, any problems that need a vets opinion
  • I schedule shots and teeth floatings, but they don't usually do a general exam too.
  • Prevention just worth it
  • not thorough
  • I'ts too costly, so if I can handle it myself I will. If not I'll call the vet.
  • routine exam with annual vaccines and coggins pull
  • 2x/yr to have exam, vax, check teeth; because the horses can't talk, so they get exams instead!
  • cost
  • at summer shot time I like everyones overall health reviewed. its easy to remember to do it then
  • He keeps all the information on his computer to keep vacinations for passports, worming, up to date
  • Better safe than sorry!
  • prevention vs risk of disease
  • because I wants to make sure my horse is still in good health.
  • Waste of money
  • too much expense
  • My daughter is a vet!
  • 2x a year Spring and Fall shots
  • My horses are vaccinated and dewormed, wellness exams are a waste of money.
  • He knows more than I do!
  • When we do spring and fall shots - preventative medicine.
  • To keep him healthy
  • peace of mind and being proactive
  • linked with dental check and annual innoculations
  • money
  • Want annual overview of health
  • I know my horse better than the once a year vet
  • Because it's good preventive medicine.
  • float teeth!
  • She does it as part of anoverall vaccination/Coggins test etc. visit, not a special trip.
  • 2x year; spring & fall shots
  • I'm a vet tech and can monitor my horses effectively myself
  • Our vet comes by once/month, at our request. We also have the Platnium Plan in place.
  • coggins, inoculations
  • to make sure he's OK since he will be 27 it can't help to safe rather than sorry
  • Preventative care to make sure my horses are as healthy as they need to be.
  • I order and administer my shots myself......SO MUCH CHEAPER
  • better to act than react!
  • Preventative maintenance is a lot cheaper than a sick horse later..Delaware, Ohio
  • (Actually 2 checkups per year - Spring and Fall!)
  • I want my horse 100% healthy. A vet might find something I have overlooked.
  • The vet comes out to give annual shots so I have him do this at the same time.
  • I spend thousands of dollars when they are sick- why waste money when they are well
  • We do semi annual to reduce amounts of vaccs at one time + teeth checks.
  • I have coggins and all vaccines given yearly.
  • For prevention purposes.
  • Horse is 26; he has good teeth but it pays to check regularly. Plus just a good idea for his health.
  • 2 times a year for vaccinations and teeth if needed.
  • My wife and I have annual physicals for ourselves and we do not consider our horses mere livestock.
  • I do it with spring and fall shots
  • Because having someone that does not see my horse everyday may see something I am missing.
  • My vet gets to see my horse when he's healthy, not just when he's sick
  • an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
  • It is so easy to do at EIA test time, and is good to have a fresh set of eyes evaluate.
  • I do my own shots, horses are check by vet at time of coggins, and other times during the year.
  • $85 ranch call + $85 exam fee + whatever else is needed
  • My vet sees my horses twice annually min.
  • annual herd heath for vacinations and teeth check
  • the health of my horses is very important to me
  • Not wellness exams per se, but vaccinate 2x a year, dental work 1x a year & briefly examine then
  • Just for yearly shots
  • Why not??
  • you are crazy not to.
  • No, just vaccines and floating. I have them look at things if I know of any problems.
  • need dental, shots anyway...
  • IDK; maybe the same reason I don't for myself! We just wait until something's wrong.
  • he gives shots 2 times a year and really my horses are well and i know when they are not my vet is t
  • cannot afford them
  • My gelding needs shots in the spring and fall so this is a good time to look him over.
  • My Bri has Cushing's so we see the vet more often than every year
  • Yearly vacs are important and vet gets to know horses as well as horses get to know vet!
  • vaccinations too. Good to be a client with a vet already when there is an emergency.
  • wellness exams prevent sickness exams, sometimes costing less in the long run.
  • he is here all the time anyway
  • I believe in active wellness for my animals and myself.
  • When your horse is at a boarding barn it is a MUST!!!!
  • Maybe every 18 months for teeth unless the horse needs veterinarian care.
  • My mare is seen 2X a year for shots.,etc., + injuries.Gets lots of attn. Deworm her myself to save $$
  • I have routine things checked on teeth and emergency visits
  • My horse, Thom, is almost 30 years old. My vet does all shots,a complete exam to keep him going.
  • When I have the money to afford it.
  • To be sure they are vaccinated and in good health.
  • To make sure I am on track with my herd's health and for the Vet to know their healthy baseline
  • annual coggins test
  • I like to have blood work done at least one a year.
  • I want to keep my horse as healthy as possible!
  • yes they get all their shots and ready for spring riding
  • too expensive, not worth it if your horse is healthy
  • Because I take my horse's health seriously & preventing illness is important.
  • Absolutely, to do their Coggins Test, checkteeth, clean sheaths, and update vaccines.
  • Its not cost effective, and I can tell if there are any problems.
  • My horses are getting older and especially need dental checkups
  • Use to get rabies vaccine and check teeth.
  • I go to my doctor for an yearly wellness exams shouldn't my friend (horse) do the same?
  • No, but I do get yearly vaccines
  • Complete exam when they are vaccinated
  • Vacs. and teeth floating or whatever else is needed.
  • like the say," an ounce of prevention" !
  • cost
  • every spring they get vaccinated, teeth floated and check up, July it is just vaccinations
  • Twice a year for shots - my vet examines my horses extensively.
  • Only when needed.
  • wellness program for year with discounted prices
  • each usually gets seen for other vaccines, foaling or coggins/health certs anyway
  • want a professional to eyeball them in case I miss something
  • Cheaper than teating an illness!
  • Vet comes to the training farm weekly. Horses are closely monitored daily. Yearly exams unneccesary.
  • Even if it's cheaper for me to vax them, I build a relationship with my vet if she does it.
  • We see our vet several times during the year
  • He's never off, but I am going to start
  • Just like us, we all need a physical. I like to get another's "eye" on my horses too.
  • For the health and well being of my horse
  • I want my horses up to date on shots and coggins and for the vet to do a general exam.
  • If you can't afford regular, thorough vet care for your horses, you have too many.
  • I call the vet when my horse needs one - I do my own shots
  • spring and fall vaccines
  • No Showing or breedding that year I do their shots breedding time line up and say Ahh gang!
  • Vet is always out for different issues and I would know if anything was amiss
  • Gives me the oppertunity to have a professional evaluate overall condition
  • Vet gets coggins. Don't vaccinate to keep her immune system at its peak like it was designed to be.
  • $
  • This way the vet may find an underlining issue before it can cause a more serious issue
  • We give our own shots and monitor them daily throughout the year
  • Know your horses and their habits.
  • I want my vet to know my horses. If he doesn't have a wellness base for them, how can he treat them
  • I am a Lic Tech and am pretty well trained to be able to recognise subtle problems with my animals
  • It's just the right thing to do
  • Don't schedule for wellness but horses are seen twice a year for dental checks
  • Vaccinations and teeth check aren't optional
  • why? If owners did that the vets wiuldn't have time to take care of the sick and injured horses!
  • My horses get their wellness exams when they receive their yearly shots in the Spring.
  • We actually go more often as my orse has osteo-arthritis issues
  • shots,teeth, check up
  • normally have a dental check
  • It's a chance to cover any questions I have.
  • Have 6 horses, 3 dogs & 2 cats-can
  • Prevention costs less than cure and eases my mind as well
  • Usually do Shots and Float teeth at same time.
  • As the saying goes: "An ounce of prevention, is worth a pound of cure"...
  • Dogs, cats, horses & humans: We all get annual physicals.
  • My horses are seen throughout the year by their vet.
  • Not necessary since horses are seen regularly throughout year
  • I'm confident that I'm experienced and knowledgable enough to tell if my horse needs a vet
  • worming,vaccines,teeth,eyes, heart,general condition
  • Absolutely! Along with annual vaccines, coggins, horses are provided wellness checks!
  • to expensive
  • It is too expensive, but have been with my vet for many years and contact him any time with question
  • I have the vet do the exam when he comes out to do the coggins.
  • to let me know where their base line is and to see if my current preventative program is working.
  • I do not schedule wellness exams because i do many of the rountine preventive health care myself.
  • I give all shots and check are threw me
  • Our horses receive their shots, get a checkup, fecals as necessary and any other tests requested.
  • I do to keep my friends healthy
  • once in the fall for shots and teeth and once in the spring for shots
  • Teeth need to be checked regularly and shots given. Why not do it than
  • I do daily wellness exams and desire their expertise on an annual basis for things I might miss.
  • Get shots, float teeth, have base line for health.
  • I don't vaccinate yearly nor use chemical wormers so FEC's and blood panels tell me where we stand.
  • When vaccinations are given.
  • $
  • They are eyeballed at vaccination time, seen when required.
  • To make sure he is all right and that he gets all of his shots
  • to note acurate changes/pick up any problems in the making
  • Our horses are handled/worked daily and that we can tell if we need a vet.
  • Actually do 2X/year
  • My vet is here twice a year to give vaccinations and check my horses.
  • I schedule Coggins Test, Teeth float, vaccines, but not a general exam.
  • too expensive
  • I want a professional to see my horse in case I am missing anything.
  • Early detection of health problems, chance to discuss horse health questions with my vet
  • When my horses get their vaccinations, the vet gives them a checkover.If they need the vet later
  • Twice yearly!
  • To keep our horses healthy.
  • Many problems can be caught in early stages
  • The vet knows more than you and you can discuss any issues you have with the vet
  • I have my vet do a quick exam when I have my horses teeth flooted
  • I want the best for my horses They didn't pick me I picked them so it's my job to take care of them
  • Waste of money!
  • We go every year, last week of March.
  • Veterinary care is a very important step in preventing and finding future problems!!
  • Because I have a very healthy horse and I want her to stay that way.
  • too expensive
  • VERY experienced. Call vet when need.
  • I also get to keep up with vaccs and discuss any issues and local health concerns with my vet at tha
  • they are mandatory with my vet
  • Good management practices, feed and routine health & hoof care--no need for wellness exams
  • Also a time for vaccinations and teeth-floating.
  • I give my own shots, medicine I discuss with my vet before giving.
  • Well, I schedule semi-annual shots and get a once over from the vet then.
  • It's part of my responsibility to my animals
  • Mainly to update immunizations
  • Vet is more likely to come out for emergencies if she sees them regularly
  • For one thing, I hate giving vaccinations myself!!! Also, want to make sure horses are healthy
  • I am on a yearly health plan with my Vet. This is a much more cost effective care plan for me.
  • Healthly horses live longer!
  • If they are well, they don't need a doctor. I'll save my $$ for when they are really sick.
  • Spring and Fall
  • It's just good sense and it creates a deeper relationship between me, my vet and my horse
  • All my horses are on the Preventicare program with Pfizer and on the StrongisdC2X.
  • If everything is going well I schedule for teeth check only - not yearly.
  • Lack of large animal vets and I don't get a yearly check up myself.
  • The vet is always out more than once every year for one emergency or another!
  • If I see a problem. Horse are floated, wormed, shots all on a regular basis. No problems, no need.
  • Public land with trails behind our property. Concerened about rabies (MO)
  • That is the commitment that we take on when we have them!
  • along with spring shots
  • to keep him healthy and catch any problems early
  • Cost
  • But Vet sees horse for teeth and other purposes and evaluates him.
  • I do all the vaccines & checks myself
  • It is our responsibility to make sure they are healthy.
  • My horse is a senior and I like to be proactive when it comes to his health.
  • Preventative efforts always pay off in the long run!
  • Need Coggins and health papers to travel
  • Look over and Coggins test, I do vaccines
  • I do it for myself; ergo, I do it for my equids.
  • Because I show and breed them. I don't want them to get sick or to make anyone else's horses sick.
  • don't try to fix what ain't broke
  • Spring and Fall for shoots, teeth float/sheath cleaning
  • Everybody gets their shots and gets the once over by the doc
  • only when I need one, or need a health certificate for travel.
  • For vaccinations
  • My horse's health and well being are one of my top priorities!
  • he looks them over when they receive their spring shots
  • if you call having teeth floated, blood pulled and whatever else done a wellness check
  • Ask to have them done when we get annual shots
  • shots and i have a 31 year old tb
  • A yearly vet check can catch things that otherwise would be missed. Plus they need vaccinations.
  • seen on an as needed basis
  • To be sure all is well & protect with vax
  • we use a vet on a regular basis
  • saves $$ in the long run
  • Our horses are in their teens and I want to know proactively about issues
  • Only when needed
  • for shots
  • Vet is out once or twice year anyway.
  • I like my vet to be familiar with my horses in case of emergency.
  • they are really expensive, so i only go when my horse has a problem
  • It's the responsible thing to do.
  • Better safe then sorry
  • When I can afford to. This year I did my own vaccines, the vet only did the coggins.
  • We have it along with the coggins tests. We do our own shots.
  • He sees my horses when giving vaccinations.
  • included with vaccinations and coggins and teeth floating
  • Comes along with spring shots.
  • I love my horses. they work hardand deserve to be cared for!
  • spring shots
  • Always, I don't scimp on my horse's wellbeing.
  • Annual shots and coggins... usually not anything else.
  • preventative maintenance
  • Yes, and I save up all kinds of q's to get my $'s worth!
  • Not specifically, not unless you consider rabies, teeth, injuries, yearly exams
  • I'm a certified vet tech (not in horse biz) so I monitor my horses TPR myself.
  • Mine are on a 6x yr schedule for regular health maintenance / exams
  • The vet comes fairly regularly and keeps tabs on how they're doing
  • Because I love my horses
  • Twice a year, in conjuction with vaccinations
  • I address problems as they come.
  • We actually schedule exams with our Vet every 6 months.
  • For a yearly baseline.
  • I have a closed herd
  • at the time of shots
  • Just vaccines and teeth checks
  • Just keep shots up to date
  • have the vet out two times per year also.
  • only teeth and emergency uses. I do all worming and shots
  • My vet comes out twice for wellness exams. Young & old see him twice, everyone else is split up.
  • I want my vet to know what my horses look like well, so he will recognize better when they are not.
  • My horse is enrolled in our vet's wellness program to ensure he is on track at all times.
  • I do all my exams myself.
  • Not as such, but I get bloodwork done yearly and mention any concerns I have at vaccination time
  • when he gets shots
  • I do most of it my self
  • Too many horses, and the cost is too high
  • no reason to do it, my vet drives by almost every day, he knows I'll call if I have a concern.
  • yes and no. it's not a seperate apt. but done with seasonal shots.
  • waste of money for a knowledgeable horseperson
  • make sure my horse is free of disease before sending them out to shows, trails etc.
  • $$$$$$$$$

About the Author

Megan Arszman

Megan Arszman received a Bachelor of Science In print journalism and equine science from Murray State University in Murray, Ky., and loves combining her love of horses, photography, and writing. In her “free time,” when she’s not busy working as a horse show secretary or riding her American Quarter Horses on her parents’ Indiana farm, she’s training and competing her Pembroke Welsh Corgi and Swedish Vallhund in dog agility and running.

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