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Equine Routine Care & Pre-Purchase Exam Checklist

Horse exams are useful for both ensuring the ongoing care of horses that you already own and providing you with valuable insight into the health of a horse you plan on purchasing. Today, our Ocala equine vets share a standard horse health care checklist as well as some valuable information about what to expect with pre-purchase horse exams.

Routine Veterinary Horse Care: What to Expect

By having your horse fully examined at least once yearly, you can ensure that any potential conditions are managed quickly and that your horse's health remains optimal. These exams can give you a baseline and help identify future health risk factors so they can be addressed early on.

You can expect your vet to examine the heart, lungs, intestinal system, temperature, dental health, eyes, weight, and the horse’s overall condition during these examinations.

Preventive Care For Horses


Vaccination programs are created for your horses based on their age, risk of exposure, use, geographic area, and environment. Vaccines can minimize the risk and severity of infectious diseases.

There are adult and foal vaccinations that your horse will need so be sure to talk to your Florida Equine Veterinary Associates vet about the schedule.


Internal parasites are a constant threat to your horse’s health. Parasites can cause extensive internal damage, lower resistance to disease and absorption of essential nutrients, as well as cause colic and death.

Deworming programs are designed by taking into account your geographic location, pasture management, number and age of horses, and management practices. Contact our Ocala vets to establish the best program for your horse.

Other Types of Routine Care

Dental Exams

Our equine vets recommend routine dental exams once or twice a year to ensure the health of your horse's teeth and oral structures.

The veterinarian will check inside the mouth for teeth with sharp points or edges, trimming them down with a file or nippers.


Our team can perform advanced diagnostics both in our clinic and right in your barn. Visualizing the equine respiratory and gastrointestinal system with a video endoscope allows the diagnosis of many conditions affecting the upper airway, sinuses, trachea, lower airway, esophagus, and stomach.


Grooming should be a normal part of your horse's standard care. Daily brushing and currying help remove dirt and debris that can allow bacteria a place to multiply.

During grooming, you can also check the overall condition of your horse’s skin and find sores, infections, bumps, or welts when they first arise.

Hoof Care

You should be cleaning or 'picking' your horses' hooves each day to remove debris and to monitor for any potential concerns. The shoes should also be checked for wear and tightness of the nails. Hoof dressings may be needed, but care should be taken to apply them appropriately. For example, water-repellent dressings can be important to keep hooves dry and healthy during wet weather. However, excessive use of emollient dressings can soften the hooves and lead to problems.

Antifungal solutions should be applied every 1 to 2 weeks during winter and wet weather to prevent thrush. Your veterinarian and farrier can provide information on when and how frequently to treat your horse’s feet.

Horses with tender or bruised feet require shoes for protection, as do horses working on hard or rough surfaces. Various kinds of corrective shoes are available for particular hoof or lameness problems.

Equine Pre-Purchase Exams in Ocala

At Florida Equine Veterinary Associates, we help clients from across Florida and beyond ensure that the next horse they purchase is ready for everything that their training program will throw at them.

By performing a pre-purchase exam we can evaluate any potential purchase for any concerns that may prevent them from performing as intended.

What We Do During a Pre-Purchase (PPE) Horse Exam

Our team performs pre-purchase exams to ensure that the horse that you intend on training will be able to succeed in the program and that there are no obvious health concerns or conditions. Some of the areas we will cover during the pre-purchase exam include:

  • Standing evaluation of the entire horse, including the heart, lungs, eyes, gastrointestinal tract, musculoskeletal system, and overall body condition.
  • Moving exam where the horse is observed on soft and hard footing, and if possible, under saddle.
  • Flexion tests to evaluate each limb region.
  • Radiography of the distal limbs, neck, hooves
  • Screening bloodwork (drug screen, EIA, etc)
  • Endoscopy of airway
  • Ultrasonographic examination of tendons and ligaments

Why consider pre-purchase horse vetting?

Purchasing a new horse is a large investment, with both time and finances. Pre-purchase exams help to give you some insight into whether the horse you are considering is likely to be a good investment.

This will help to ensure that you make your purchase with minimal risk involved. While these exams do not offer a guarantee, they help provide valuable insight allowing you to make an informed decision.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding animals or professional advice regarding equine regulations. For the diagnosis of your animal's condition and help to navigate rules governing the care and transportation of equine animals, please make an appointment with your vet.

Do you need to schedule a pre-purchase horse exam? Contact Florida Equine Veterinary Associates to speak with our team today.

New Patients Welcome

Florida Equine Veterinary Associates is passionate about the health of sport and performance horses. Get in touch today to book your equine athelete's first appointment.

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