BEYOND THE BASICS: SPECIAL FEATURES
Do you run a breeding program or house a barnful of performance horses? If so, there are some special features you might consider adding to your facility to make your vet’s life even easier. Here are just a few.
STOCKS. If you’ll be breeding mares, your vet will spend a lot of time working in a dangerous position directly behind those mares to perform rectal exams, inseminations, or other diagnostic procedures. While these procedures can be performed with a well-behaved mare in a stall or barn aisle, your vet is still forced to function in a fairly dangerous position. And if your mare isn’t feeling cooperative, your vet’s job is even harder and more hazardous. A set of stocks will not only help keep your vet safe, it might also save you money in the long run by reducing the need for your horse to receive tranquilizing medications.
DENTAL SETUP. Many veterinarians favor a padded head-ring hung from above to support your horse’s head during dental procedures. To hang this ring correctly, make use of an unobstructed beam (no water pipes, please), ideally over a stall door in a quiet corner of your barn. Consider asking your vet what he or she prefers to have available for performing dental procedures, then do what you can to set it up ahead of the appointment.
HEAT LAMPS. Do harsh, cold winters happen where you live? Consider installing heat lamps overhead in your designated vet/farrier area. Not only will this keep your health-care pros more comfortable, it’ll allow them to work on your horse without shuffling blankets back and forth to expose body parts. Heat lamps can be especially useful for acupuncturists or therapists who may be working on your horse for extended periods of time; lamps may also enable better results by keeping your horse’s muscles warm and soft.