Standard operating procedures for herd health

General procedures

  • The equine herd health standard operating procedure (SOP) applies to all horses owned by WSU and defines the minimum preventive herd health.
  • Exceptions to the equine herd health SOP must be approved by the IACUC or through veterinary consultation.
  • Before acquisition, consult with veterinary staff to review incoming health status and determine a quarantine, testing and housing plan.
  • All veterinary assessments and procedures must be documented in the animal’s medical record.

Introduction of new animals

  • A negative Coggins test either prior to arrival (<90 days) or at the time of arrival.
  • On arrival:
    • Assign an Individual Animal Identification (IACUC SOP #7) and create an Animal Care Medical Record (example pdf) (IACUC Policy #4).
    • Complete a physical exam by a veterinarian, veterinary technician or trained animal care technician.
    • Quarantine away from resident animals for at least 2-4 weeks depending on risk factors. Observe closely for signs of illness and treat as needed.
    • All animals should either be dewormed, FEC (fecal egg count) performed, or documentation of deworming within the last 6 months on arrival. See Table 1 for deworming options, or consult with a veterinarian.
    • Animals intended to incorporate into existing herds or housed >6-8 weeks should be vaccinated with AAEP Core vaccines: Western equine encephalitis virus (WEE), Eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEE), West Nile virus (WNV), tetanus and rabies, unless documentation of vaccination within the last year. Alternatives and additions to core vaccines can be made with veterinary consultation.

Herd health maintenance

  • All assessments and procedures must be documented in the Animals Medical Record.
  • Annual exams will be performed on each horse by a veterinarian, veterinary technician or trained animal care technician. Annual assessment should include the following:
    • Dental exam and teeth floating if needed.
    • Assessment for the need for sheath cleaning for stallions and geldings and clean as needed.
  • Vaccinate annually with minimum of WEE, EEE, WNV, tetanus and rabies or if risk factors indicate, consult veterinarian.
  • Deworming schedule and choice can be based on frequent FEC surveillance to determine which anthelmintic to use.
  • Hoof trimming or farrier assessment at least every 8-10 weeks.

Minor cuts, scrapes or abrasions

  • If a horse is noted to have minor cuts, wounds, or abrasions, the area should be cleaned thoroughly with an antiseptic solution such as chlorhexidine or betadine (or equivalent) and a commercial salve or wound coat applied along with fly spray if in fly season. This can be done once daily for 2-7 days, ensuring that the wound is healing and no worsening occurs. If at any time the wound is draining or worsening, a veterinarian will need to assess and make a specific plan for the animal.
  • Daily documentation of treatment is necessary either in the form of a treatment sheet or in the medical record.


  • Free choice trace mineral (including selenium) salt must be provided.
  • Abrupt changes to the diet should be avoided, any changes should be introduced gradually over a period of several days.
  • Feed requirements of each animal should be determined and provided to prevent over or underfeeding.
  • Horses must have unlimited access to fresh water.

Table 1. Horse Dewormers

DrugDose (mg/kg)*RouteFrequency
Ivermectin0.2PO (orally)Once
Fenbendazole5.0PO (orally)Once
Pyrantel12.5-19PO (Orally)Once
Moxidectin/PraziquantelPer manufacturer labelPO (Orally)Once
“Plumb’s Veterinary Drug Handbook”. D. Plumb 6th Edition


To obtain the documents below in a form accessible to persons with disabilities, please contact the Office of the Campus Veterinarian.

AAEP Vaccinations for Adult Horses (pdf)

AAEP Parasite Control Guidelines (pdf)

AAEP Care Guidelines for Equine Rescue and Retirement Facilities (pdf)

Guide for the Care and Use of Agricultural Animals in Research and Teaching, 2020, American Dairy Science Association, the American Society of Animal Science, and the Poultry Science Association (pdf)

Effective Date: 11-2-23 NW