Hermen Geertsema Equine Services Inc.

Summer 2010



Health & Wellness

 Plan ahead for your horses overall health & well being.



Learn to Recognize your Horse's Dental Problems 

Horses with dental problems may show obvious signs, such as pain or irritation, or they may show no noticeable signs at all.  This is because some horses simply adapt to their discomfort.  For this reason, periodic dental examinations are essential to your horse's health. 

          It is important to catch dental problems early.  If a horse starts behaving abnormally, dental problems should be considered as a potential cause.  Waiting too long may increase the difficulty of remedying certain conditions or may even make remedy impossible.  Look for the following indicators of dental problems from the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) to know when to seek veterinary attention for your horse:

  1. Loss of feed from mouth while eating, difficulty with chewing, or excessive salivation.
  2. Loss of body condition.
  3. Large or undigested feed particles (long stems or whole grain) in manure.
  4. Head tilting or tossing, bit chewing, tongue lolling, fighting the bit, or resisting bridling.
  5. Poor performance, such as lugging on the bridle, failing to turn or stop, even bucking.
  6. Foul odor from mouth or nostrils, or traces of blood from the mouth.
  7. Nasal discharge or swelling of the face, jaw or mouth tissues.

 Oral exams should be an essential part of an annual physical examination by a veterinarian.

  Every dental exam provides the opportunity to perform routine preventative dental maintenance. Mature horses should get a thorough dental exam at least once a year, and horses 2 -5 years old should be examined twice yearly.


Vaccinations: diseases known to our local surroundings:  


     Equine Influenza

A highly contagious viral respiratory disease characterized by a dry hacking cough.

     Tetanus (Lock Jaw)

Bacterial toxins pass through the body to the brain via local nerves. There is an irritation on nerves causing muscle spasms. Death may occur due to the paralysis of respiratory muscles and asphyxiation.


Acute contagious disease of the upper respiratory track and adjacent lymph nodes especially between the jaws.

     West Nile

Birds have been identified as major reservoirs for the virus. Mosquitoes feeding on the birds then spread the virus while feeding on other species including  human or horse. Horses that have contracted the WNV may have elevated temperature, listlessness, apathy, weakness, poor coordination, partial or full paralysis, nervousness, lethargy or drowsiness, and seizures.



To de-worm or not de-worm..... 


First.... ask which de-wormers you should use at different times of the year.

If your horse absolutely hates being de-wormed, take an old syringe, wash it out and fill it with something yummy like applesauce or molasses and water. Squirt this in your horse's mouth every once in a while. Soon, he might not mind being de-wormed so much.

If you haven't de-wormed your horse in a while, cut down on his hard feed (pellets, sweet feed) the day before, the day of and the day after his de-worming. The de-wormer may kill a lot of worms which could get stuck in his intestines. You don't want large quantities of digested feed getting stuck behind the worm blockage because this causes colic.

Worms can develop a resistance to one de-wormer if it is given all of the time. You need to rotate your de-wormers. Ask for a rotation  schedule.

Worms thrive in moist, warm environments so you must get serious about de-worming all of your horses in the spring and summer.

bannerWhen you use a paste de-wormer, put the syringe in the corner of your horse's mouth and aim for the back of his tongue. Squirt the paste in one quick motion, making sure that your horse's mouth is empty before administering. After squirting the de-wormer paste into your horse's mouth, hold his head up for a moment to make sure he doesn't spit it right out!

Horse de-wormer can make a dog really sick, so make sure you clean up any spilt paste and throw syringes away after they are used.



 Hermen Geertsema Equine Services Inc.

'Striving for excellence in veterinary care'

P.O. Box 1495 Aldergrove, BC,  V4W 2V1     Office: 604-857-5432 / 1-888-858-5432      


Cell: 604-729-2970      Pg: 604-918-1079 


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Hermen Geertsema Equine Services | P.O. Box 1495 | Aldergrove | B.C. | V4W 2V1 | Canada