The following statements are either True, Plausible or need to be Busted! See how your veterinary and horse care knowledge rates against the veterinary pros (answers are at the bottom).

1. Horses do not need vaccines if they do not travel/show.

2. Applying tea bags to a suspicious eye for a few days to see if it improves is a good option to try and avoid a veterinary appointment.

3. A choking horse can survive for hours waiting for the choke to be cleared.

4. Shoulder lameness is very common in horses.

5. Diatomaceous Earth is an effective natural dewormer.

6. There is no hope for keeping a horse with “navicular” sound.

7. Horses under the age of 5 do not need routine dental work.

8. Continuous application of cool water over the whole body is the most effective way to cool a hot horse.

9. Embryo transfer is an effective strategy for reproduction in older mares that have been difficult to get in foal.

10. Banamine can safely be given orally, IV, or IM.

11. Senior horses should be vaccinated at the same interval as younger horses.

12. If a sick horse passes manure it is not suffering from colic.

13. Hot horses should be allowed access to as much water as they want.

14. If you suspect your horse has colic, you can syringe mineral oil into its mouth.

15. You don’t have to walk a colicky horse even if it is lying down.

16. Fecal egg counts are a waste of money.

17. Bran mashes warm a horse and help it pass manure.

18. It’s okay to wrap one leg without wrapping the other.

19. When buying a horse it must have passed the pre-purchase exam.

20. Veterinarians, farriers, chiropractors, and massage therapists should all stay in “their respective lanes.”


1. BUSTED: Most of the diseases vets vaccinate for do not spread via horse-to-horse contact; for example:

Rabies – scratches or bites from infected wildlife

WNV, EEE/WEE – Mosquitoes

Tetanus – Spores live for a long time in soil and can be activated in deep wounds.

If any horse leaves the property to mingle it can bring influenza or herpes virus back to your horse.

2. BUSTED: Any time you are concerned about an eye (tearing, squinting, swelling, cloudiness) it should be treated as an emergency. Prompt diagnosis and appropriate treatment greatly improves prognosis. The tannins in tea can be soothing, but will not treat a primary issue like uveitis or a corneal ulcer.

3. TRUE: Unlike in people, horses choke when there is an obstruction in their esophagus. This means they can’t continue to swallow food, but their breathing is not blocked. They will usually have saliva and food material coming from their mouth and nostrils. A choke that lasts more than an hour should be seen by a vet as there is a risk of aspiration, but bad chokes can take hours(or days) to resolve.

4. BUSTED: Shoulder lameness is quite rare, with the exception being trauma. The gross majority of cases suspected to be shoulder are in fact foot issues.

5. BUSTED: Its particles are supposed to slice up the eggs and larva in the GI tract, but there is NO evidence that the particles cause any damage to microscopic eggs/larvae. Infective larvae are very hardy and have already survived the grinding teeth and acid in the stomach. Once particles get to the intestine mixed with ingesta, they are unlikely to contact any parasites. Particles big/numerous enough to damage parasites would also damage the horse’s mouth and digestive tract.

6. PLAUSIBLE: Prompt accurate diagnosis is most important. This was always a vague diagnosis with treatment consisting of a “shotgun” approach, but vets now have the ability to accurately diagnose lameness in the heel of the front feet. Prompt and accurate diagnosis and treatment greatly improves prognosis.

7. BUSTED: Young horses have rapidly-changing mouths due to the shedding of deciduous “caps” and eruption of permanent teeth. Younger teeth are also softer, so sharp enamel points develop quickly. Wolf teeth may need to be removed, as painful mouths in early training can lead to performance issues that can be hard to un-train later.

8. TRUE: Also scraping water off is not necessary during the cool-down period. Scraping really only helps to dry a horse more quickly.

9. BUSTED: Older mares have older eggs that are generally less fertile. Moving those eggs to a different mare does nothing to resolve the situation. Embryo transfer is ideally used in cases where we want to breed an actively competing mare without interrupting her show schedule for a pregnancy. It can also be used in healthy mares who have non-reproductive reasons for not being able to carry a foal.

10. BUSTED: Banamine should only be given orally or IV. Intramuscular banamine injections present an increased risk of activating clostridial spores in the muscle. The result is a life threatening anaerobic muscle infection (se gas gangrene below yuck) that requires aggressive and intense medical intervention.

11. TRUE: There is no research to suggest that vaccinating older horses less frequently is prudent.

12. BUSTED: The horses digestive tract is over 120ft long and it’s almost always full. If one area becomes a problem, there is still ingesta/manure behind it. Example: In pelvic flexure impaction, they will pass manure from the left dorsal, right dorsal, small colon and rectum but they are still impacted. Manure production does not rule out colic or mean they are recovered.

13. TRUE: It is important to rehydrate hard-working horses without delay. There is no evidence that giving a hot horse free access to even cold water is harmful.

14. BUSTED: Mineral oil is only used in one specific type of colic, if at all. Large volumes would be needed and difficult to give by syringe. Force syringing fluids into a horse presents the risk of aspiration into the lungs. Oil is a bad thing to aspirate!

15. TRUE: Colicky horses only need to be walked if they go down and roll when left alone. Lying quietly to rest is okay; forced continued walking will only exhaust them.

16. BUSTED: They identify which horses need to be dewormed more than twice a year. They can detect resistance to a particular class of dewormers.

17. BUSTED: Neither is true. It makes people feel good, but has no nutritional benefit. The best way to help a horse stay warm is adequate forage (and water) and proper shelter during cold/wet weather. They may even be detrimental, as they contain too much phosphorus and represent a sudden diet change.

18. TRUE: This is not necessary for support. It can help if the horse tends to stock up standing in a stall, but a soft bandage does not “support” the tendons. Bonus! Does it matter which direction you wrap? NOPE! Having an even tension is more important.

19. BUSTED: (although it is a trick question!) Vets do not ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ horses on prepurchase exams. It is just a snapshot of the horse’s clinical picture on the day of the exam, a risk assessment. Findings must be interpreted with many considerations, such as the horse’s previous vs. intended use, the buyer’s budget and expectations, comfort with risk, etc.

20. BUSTED: Success is maximized when all of these people communicate and collaborate towards a common goal: your horse’s health!