Geriatric horses should be seen at least yearly, and more frequently if they have metabolic issues, such as pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction, hoof or dental disorders or some other chronic illness. During annual health checks, Joanne L. Ireland, BVMS, PhD, Cert AVP(EM), MRCVS, recommends that veterinarians include an assessment of activities and functional tasks similar to ones used with senior dogs or cats.
Source: Modern Equine Vet, Issue 1, 2017, page 8.
Prepare horse owners for the possibility that the horse’s life quality might become so poor that euthanasia would be the best, most humane, option. “Our research has found that owners look to vets as the ones to give the advice about the prognosis of a disease or condition that leads to a hopeless or poor prognosis, and ultimately to the decision to euthanize a horse.”
INSIGHTS: Note this article contains a sidebar with a list of questions to ask owners during yearly assessments. Reps and clinic teams can use this questionnaire with each exam and compare results over time to note changes or quality of life reductions.