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 preventative herd health.
  • Exceptions to the equine herd health SOP must be approved in an IACUC-approved animal protocol.
  • Animals will be observed at a minimum of once per day. Observations will be recorded on the Daily Care Sheet.
  • 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 a herd number/name and begin a new animal record (acquisition information).
    • Complete a physical exam by a veterinarian, veterinary technician or trained animal care technician.
    • Quarantine and use dedicated equipment if possible for that animal for at least 7-10 days, preferably 2-3 weeks. Observe closely for signs of illness and treat as needed.
    • Deworm with ivermectin, fenbendazole, pyrantel, praziquantal or combination of the above based on veterinary recommendation, unless documentation of worming within that last 6 months. FEC (fecal egg count) can also be performed, which would be interpreted by a veterinarian for case-by-case treatment.
    • Vaccinate 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 on a case-by-case basis with veterinarian approval.
    • Once the isolation period is over, introduce the new animal to the herd and observe for social incompatibility.

Herd health maintenance

  • All assessments and procedures must be documented in the individual 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.
    • Annual PCV and TP for horses over age 17.
  • Annual core vaccinations will be performed against WEE, EEE, WNV, tetanus and rabies, unless there is veterinarian directive on a case-by-case basis.
  • The need for additional vaccinations such as rhinopneumonitis, influenza, Potomac horse fever and strangles is made on a case-by-case basis with veterinarian approval.
  • Deworming will occur 1 to 2 times a year with a rotation of ivermectin product, fenbendazole, pyrantel or praziquantal. FEC surveillance is recommended in the interim periods between deworming.
  • 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 (blue sheets).


  • Horses must have unlimited access to fresh water.
  • Free choice trace mineral (including selenium) salt must be provided.
  • Horses should be fed free-choice hay or pasture or if limit fed at least twice daily.
  • Abrupt changes to the diet should be avoided, any changes should be introduced gradually over a period of several days.
  • If horses are fed in groups, adequate manger space or separate feeding areas must be available to minimize competition for feed.
  • Feed requirements of each animal should be determined and provided to prevent overfeeding, obesity and laminitis or to prevent under conditioning.


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)

Approval Date: 021618 NW