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Sarah L Rhoades, DVM

Providing quality veterinary services for horses in the greater Franklin County, Missouri area.

Wellness Plans

What does wellness mean?

Is it limited to vaccinations? Floating teeth? 

Deworming every other month?

What about....

Metabolic status - Insulin Dysregulation, PPID

Nutrition and body condition

Lameness - Laminitis, Navicular Syndrome

What about the eyes, heart, and lungs?

What about screening and treating actual dental disease or resistant parasite populations?

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Food for thought, a veterinarian's perspective:

Quality routine care and wellness is the absolute cornerstone of any health plan for your horse. But, here's the deal:

Wellness care is more than just vaccinations. 

Wellness is about disease prevention and monitoring for subtle signs of common disease processes before they become major problems. 

Dental prophylaxis is more than just knocking some sharp points off your horse's teeth once a year - so much more can go wrong!

Parasite control is more than just shoving a tube of de-wormer down your horse's throat every other month - most horses don't need treatment that often, and such tactics have lead to parasite populations that are resistant to common de-wormers causing significant problems for horses that do need it that often. Rotating de-wormers doesn't prevent parasite resistance, it actually contributes to it.

Disease prevention encompasses so much more than just mosquitos and contagious elements that we address when we vaccinate.

So many conditions can be improved, managed, and even avoided by taking appropriate preventative measures and by catching them early. And that is the point of having a routine wellness relationship with your veterinarian.

Having a comprehensive plan to address all aspects of your horse’s care is imperative to his longevity and health.

What am I trying to accomplish for you and your horse?
  • Detect the early physical signs of:

    • Endocrine Disruption (such as PPID and IR)/ID)

    • Orthopedic disease (such as Navicular syndrome and laminitis)​​

    • Ocular Disease (such as equine recurrent uveitis)

    • Respiratory Disease (such as COPD)

    • Heart Disease (such as atrial fibrillation)

    • Dental Disease

    • Nutritional Deficits

    • Cancerous masses

  • Address and Prevent disease from:

    • Parasitism and resistent parasite strains

    • Contagious and Infectious Diseases​

    • Colic and Gastrointestinal Disturbance​s

Why is this important for you and your horse?

Not all disease can be prevented or avoided, and I'm certainly not making the claim that I can. But, by monitoring for common diseases and problems on a routine basis, during your wellness visits, I can often times find symptoms of these diseases at an earlier stage in the process.

Appropriate diagnostics can then be performed to evaluate these findings and targeted recommendations & treatments then given based on those results.

Earlier treatment and management can slow the progression of these diseases, reduce their effects on your horse's health, prolong his life, and sometimes even prevent them from becoming a problem entirely.

How am I trying to Accomplish this?

Wellness Exam


This is probably the most important thing I do for your horse as a veterinarian. This evaluation checks to make sure your horse is in a healthy state for his vaccinations, but also to check and make sure he’s not developing early signs of other health problems.

I check his vital signs: listen to his heart for murmurs and arrythmias, I listen to his lungs looking for early signs of COPD (heaves), and I take his temperature checking for inapparent signs of infection. I check his feet – looking for early signs of navicular syndrome or laminitis. I use a weight tape to quantify his current weight, and evaluate his body condition score – I’m looking for physical signs of metabolic syndrome or Cushing’s disease (PPID), or perhaps something that may be causing him to gain or lose weight.

Strictly speaking, I’m looking for physical signs that your, otherwise healthy appearing, horse may be heading for trouble before it becomes apparent. My hope is that we can address, manage, or circumvent it earlier and give you that much more quality time with your horse – the very definition of preventative medicine.

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A variety of plans for a variety of horses...

For your Pasture King or Queen

This Wellness Plan is designed for the horse that doesn't travel - whether your pasture Royalty is living out retirement or taking you on adventures on your own property.


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