App Offers Horse Owners Equine Health Information

An equine veterinarian in New Mexico has released an iPhone app designed to help caretakers of horses and other equids make better health-care decisions for their animals in a "horse-side" format.

“The downturn in the economy and contraction of the horse industry, combined with drought conditions and the cost of hay, have placed great strains on many of us,” said Doug Thal, DVM, Dipl. ABVP, a lifelong horseman, veterinarian, and creator of Horse Side Vet Guide (HSVG). “Horse ownership and veterinary care have become increasingly expensive and there is no relief in sight.

Thal, an equine veterinarian of over 20 years experience with special interests in lameness and surgery, explained that horse owners might opt for researching their horse health online instead of calling the veterinarian, an approach that he said “results in a delayed diagnosis and ultimately increased cost to the horse owner.

“It occurred to me that there might be a way to educate my clients via a smartphone application that provides credible equine health information horse-side–literally while standing in the stall and looking at your horse,” Thal continued.

Some app features include:

  • Observation assistance. In any situation in which you notice and input information about a problem with a horse, the HSVG is designed to show you relevant observations, list what other observations to look for, and tells the user how concerned they should be. The HSVG is also designed to alert the user to factors that determine how urgent the situation is and what to do until the veterinarian arrives.
  • Skill Development. The HSVG is designed to provide users with short, concise descriptions, photos, diagrams, and videos to help develop horse health care skills; the user can access the information without an Internet connection.
  • Communication improvement. The app is designed to facilitate communication between users and their local veterinarian by putting contact information at your fingertips to encourage a dialogue.

Thal explained that the Horse Side Vet Guide is not a substitute for your veterinarian, and it does not anticipate and address all of the subtle variations and unique circumstances associated with your horse’s health. The Horse Side Vet Guide is designed to increase the quality of communication between you and your equine veterinarian for the benefit of your horse.

To download the application for iPhone or for further information, please visit or

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