Poll Recap: Visits From the Vet

Of the 682 respondents, 221 (32%) said their veterinarians see their horses twice a year.

Photo: Kevin Thompson/The Horse

For some horses, an annual wellness check and visit from the vet is enough to last the whole year. For others, vet visits might be a more regular occurrence. How often does your veterinarian see your horse?

We posed this question to our readers in last week’s online poll. More than 650 people responded, and we’ve tallied the results!

Of the 682 respondents, 221 (32%) said their veterinarians see their horses twice a year, and 198 people (29%) said their horses have an annual vet visit. Another 171 respondents (25%) said their horses get a visit from the vet three or more times a year. The remaining 92 respondents (13%) indicated that their veterinarians only see their horses during emergencies.

Additionally, more than 60 people commented about the frequency of their equine vet visits:
Some respondents said their veterinarians only see their horses once a year:

  • “Usually once a year (for teeth) unless an emergency pops up. I do vaccines myself.”
  • “Hopefully once a year, but also when I feel I need them to come.”
  • “Once a year unless there is a problem.”
  • “Usually once per year for shots, unless dental work is necessary or an emergency comes up.”
  • “A regular annual checkup visit with immunizations.”
  • “My mule gets a physical and dental care routinely one time per year. Hopefully no emergencies.”
  • “Usually once a year, unless there is an emergency”
  • “Just for spring check ups.”
  • “Once a year for vaccinations, teeth etc., plus emergenciess.”
  • “Just for spring shots and emergencies. My vet works closely through texting pictures to make less visits.”

Several others said their veterinarian pays their horse a visit twice a year:

  • “Spring and fall usually, however, this year I've had one emergency for each of five horses as well!”
  • “Other than twice yearly for their booster shots, there's always an emergency of some sort.”
  • “Twice a year for routine (vaccinations, Coggins, dental), more if needed”
  • “My vet has three different packages. The package I buy includes two visits annually, including body weight once a year.”
  • “Hopefully, only twice a year for vaccinations and dental care.”
  • “At least twice a year for routine shots/checkups.”
  • “Ideally, only twice a year, but it seems to be needed much more often!”
  • “Twice for routine care, more if needed.”
  • “Scheduled twice a year but sometimes more.”
  • “At least twice a year for vaccines and a check-up, but whenever is necessary beyond that.”
  • “At least twice a year routinely, vet is dentist and teeth get done every three to 12 months.”
  • “Usually spring work then again in fall for another check before winter and as needed otherwise.”

A few respondents said their vet visits multiple times per year:

  • “Several times a year for immunizations and as needed for illnesses.”
  • “My 20-year-old performance horse sees his vet about monthly for check-ups.”
  • “Three times if the equine dentist comes. It's a different vet.”
  • “Two aging horses and one brood mare ... we have multiple vet visits.”
  • “Now that two are in their mid- to late 20s, it's every couple of months.”
  • “Three times, for spring and fall vaccines and teeth floating.”

Various individuals commented about the procedures their veterinarian does during their visit:

  • “Follicle scan, pregnancy scan, foaling check-up, and emergencies.”
  • “Emergencies, pregnancy checks, castrating, and branding”
  • “Spring and fall for core vaccinations, dental and wellness, plus always a colic or lameness issue thrown in somewhere.”
  • “They visit the vet for shots, teeth floating, and anything that needs attention.”
  • “Healthy horse check-up and annual shots. Also once a year for dental check-up.”
  • “Vet comes for shots, chiropractic work, and fevers.”
  • “Annual vaccines/exam, teeth floating, and usually needed for lameness or ocassional injury.”
  • “Physical, blood test, vaccination twice a year, and teeth floating”

And others left general comments:

  • “I do most of the regular stuff and keep in touch with vet for advice.”
  • “I live on fairly remote, small island with no local equine vet. In emergencies I use the small animal vet.
  • “Only when really needed. I can call and pick up meds.”
  • “I am a retired veterinarian, so I can help myself a lot!”
  • “Generally, nonbreeding and nonshow horses go once per year; breeding horses go three times a year.”
  • “I feel like the vet is always out for some reason or another!”
  • “Focusing on prevention to avoid unnecessary vet costs which tend to be rather high these days.”
  • “Horses receive different vaccinations at different times depending on travel schedules.”
  • “Having your vet see your horse more often gives you as the owner a new perspective.”

This week, we want to know: are joint injections a regular part of your horse's joint management program? Vote now and share your comments at TheHorse.com/polls

You can find resources on choosing the right equine veterinarian, tips for being an awesome veterinary client, understanding the costs of veterinary care, how to know if your horse needs stitches, and why a veterinarian should vaccinate your horse at TheHorse.com!

The results of our weekly polls are published in The Horse Health E-Newsletter, which offers news on diseases, veterinary research, health events, and in-depth articles on common equine health conditions and what you can do to recognize, avoid, or treat them. Sign up for our e-newsletters on our homepage and look for a new poll on TheHorse.com.

About the Author

Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com Web Producer

Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com Web Producer, is a lifelong horse owner who competes with her Appaloosas in Western performance events. She is a University of Kentucky graduate and holds a bachelor’s degree in Community Communications and Leadership Development, and master's degree in Career, Technical, and Leadership Education. She currently lives on a small farm in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky.

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