Answers to some common questions we get.

What is strategic deworming?
Did you know that it may be possible to deworm your horse once a year? Strategic deworming allows us to customize a deworming schedule for your farm based on fecal egg counts. Contact us today to see if this is right for your horse!

How do I know if I can mix medications and supplements?
Any time we prescribe medications for your horse, please let us know of any supplements your horse is on, or has recently been on, so we can avoid any drug interactions.

What is regenerative medicine and how can it help my horse?
Regenerative medicine involves using the body’s own cells and proteins to promote healing on a cellular level by regenerating normal tissue after a trauma. When used in appropriate cases it may benefit tendons, ligaments and cartilage. We have an in-house regenerative medicine lab offering IRAP (Interleukin-1 Receptor Antagonist Protein), PRP (Platelet-rich Plasma), and Stem Cell therapy.

Help! My horse just doesn’t seem right. What should I do?
You should check your horse’s behavior to see if it’s abnormal. Is your horse lethargic, anxious, agitated, rolling on the ground or pawing? Is your horse eating hay, grain and/or grass normally? Has your horse been drinking water normally? This is all important information so you can tell us what’s going on! Also, be sure not to give your horse ANY medications prior to calling us!

What are some common causes & signs of colic?
Please call us to describe what your horse is doing so we can better assist you.

When I call you about a colic for my horse, what information do you need from me? And what should I do while I wait for you to arrive?
While waiting for us to arrive, you can walk your horse in an open space as long as it seems safe to do so. Walking your horse on soft ground is always better in case your horse decides to try and roll. Also make sure that you have someone with you or on-hand who can calmly relay information to us.

What about Banamine? NO! Please do not administer ANY medications without speaking to us first!!

What if my horse has to be referred for surgery?
First, have your insurance information on hand if you have it. Then, know how to find our local referral centers:

How do I assess a lameness prior to calling you?
First ask yourself, “How lame is my horse and how long have they been lame?” Are they lame at a walk, a trot? Is there a difference when going in a circle or a straight line? Does the surface make a difference (i.e. hard ground or soft ground)?

Next examine their legs. Is one leg more affected than the other? Is there any heat or swelling? Do you notice any cuts or wounds?

If your horse is lame due to the presence of a foreign body such as a nail, wood or metal objects DO NOT try to remove the foreign bodies from the horse. We may need to do an x-ray to determine if anything has been impacted or wounded inside the body before being able to remove the item.

My horse’s eye is swollen and/or tearing. What should I do now?
Simple answer… call us! Eye conditions can range in severity from minor to very serious injuries. However the symptoms that separate one from another are very subtle and can often only be determined with an in-depth examination.

It is absolutely imperative for the long-term health of your horse’s eye that you NEVER treat an eye condition without specific instruction from us. This is because some types of medications are very specific for certain injuries but can be detrimental to the healing process with others. In addition, eye conditions that are left untreated can rapidly become much more serious if they are not treated properly from the start.

My horse has a wound. What information do you need from me?
We need to know the location of the wound, how long the wound has been there and if it’s fresh, bleeding or swollen. It’s also helpful for you to tell us any current medications your horse is on.

My horse has a wound. How should I clean/treat it?
First check to see if there is debris. If so, use a gentle hose to wash it off with cool water. Next flush it with saline, iodine or Betadine.

Do NOT apply any topical medications if the wound is draining, dirty, needs sutures (stitches) or lies over a joint, tendon or sheath. Be sure to call us for further instructions!

How do I know if my horse is in 'good weight?'
If you would like to know more about your horse’s weight and health, please ask us to go over your horse’s body condition score and weight management plans.

What vaccinations should my horse get and how often?
We recommend vaccinating your horse against the following diseases:

  1. West Nile Fever: This viral disease causes swelling in the brain and spinal cord and neurologic symptoms. It is spread to the horse by mosquitoes and cannot be spread from horse to horse. The disease can cause permanent neurologic damage or death and can cost thousands of dollars to treat. Vaccinate annually.
  2. Potomac Horse Fever: This is a disease that is not spread horse to horse. It causes fever, depression, and diarrhea, and can lead to severe laminitis, necessitating euthanasia. Vaccinate twice yearly.
  3. Eastern and Western Encephalitis: These viral diseases are much like West Nile Fever, in that they cause swelling of the brain and spinal cord and very similar neurologic signs. They are spread by mosquitoes but cannot be spread from horse to horse. Vaccinate annually.
  4. Tetanus: This disease is caused by a bacteria found throughout soil everywhere. The horse contracts it via wounds (usually deep punctures). The disease causes severe neurologic signs and often death. It cannot be spread from horse to horse. Vaccinate annually.
  5. Rhinopneumonitis: This viral disease has three forms. One form causes abortion in pregnant mares. The most common form causes high fever, nasal discharge, coughing, depression and even death. The third form can cause neurologic symptoms, but is relatively rare. The disease is spread from horse to horse, and outbreaks in unvaccinated horses can be common. Vaccinate twice annually.
  6. Influenza: This group of viral diseases can cause high fevers, depression, swelling in the legs, coughing, nasal discharge and even death. Flu is spread from horse to horse and outbreaks in unvaccinated horses can be common. Vaccinate twice per year.
  7. Strangles: This highly contagious bacterial disease is spread via nasal secretions, either by direct or indirect contact with infected objects. Signs include abscesses under and between the jaws, fever, depression, swelling in the legs, and potentially laminitis. Rarely, abscesses in the abdomen can lead to death. Vaccinate annually.
  8. Botulism: This bacterial disease causes neurologic signs. It is most commonly acquired by eating spoiled grain; rarely, by eating spoiled hay; and least commonly through open wounds. It is not spread from horse to horse. Vaccinate annually.
  9. Rabies: This viral disease causes neurologic signs and death. It is spread to the horse via the saliva (usually a bite) of an infected animal. It can be spread from horse to horse and from horse to human. Vaccinate annually.

Please call us to learn about specialized vaccination protocols for foals, pregnant mares, stallions and horses going to other parts of the United States or other parts of the world.

Ridgeview’s Health Program takes the worry out of keeping your horse up-to-date and healthy! (PDF)

My horse has rain rot. How can I get rid of it?
Rain rot, identified by localized flaking skin with small, bumpy scabs, is caused by dampness and dirt which can allow bacteria to penetrate the skin. Scratches is a similar condition to Rain Rot. The best prevention is a consistent grooming schedule. Treat by removing the scabs with warm water and bathing in Betadine scrub and dry thoroughly. Severe cases may require an antibiotic spray, available by prescription. It is important to treat these conditions, as they can develop into more serious problems.

My horse has Thrush. How do I treat it?
Thrush, an infection that invades the frog of the foot, is easily identified by its pungent odor and dark sludge. Regular hoof maintenance (picking the feet) is the easiest way to prevent it. Treatment consists of applying a solution of one part bleach to four parts water into the cracks of the frog, or using one of the commercial Thrush remedies. Please call with any questions you may have regarding a specific product.

I think my horse has Lyme disease. What should I do?
First, finding a tick on your horse does not mean he or she will get Lyme disease. Only one kind of tick can spread Lyme. Less than five percent of horses bitten by an infected tick develop the disease.

Next, schedule a visit with us so we can perform a thorough examination. Lyme disease can cause many different signs in your horse. Sometimes other conditions can look like Lyme. We will then make a diagnosis based on examination findings and blood test results. If your horse does have Lyme, antibiotics can resolve the infection. We will develop a treatment plan for each specific case together.

Also, remember that a Lyme vaccine approved for horses does not exist. The best prevention is removing ideal tick habitat away from your barns and pastures by clearing brush and tall grass. You can also use fly sprays or medications that can kill or repel ticks.