What do Equine Practitioners do?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Equine practitioners provide care for horses and other equids.
Equine practitioners provide care for horses and other equids.

Equine practitioners are veterinarians who specialize in the care of horses and other equids such as donkeys and kiangs. Most equine practitioners work primarily with horses, donkeys, and mules. Practitioners who work with zebras and their related wild relatives practice at zoos, wildlife parks, and conservation centers and usually are wildlife veterinarians who have chosen to specialize in equids, in contrast with being large animal vets who work with horses in particular.

Equine practitioners might tend to zebras and other wild animals at a zoo.
Equine practitioners might tend to zebras and other wild animals at a zoo.

The work of an equine practitioner can be quite variable, depending on the area in which he or she practices. Practitioners can care for working horses, race horses, pleasure horses, and horses utilized in competition. The care of horses can include routine examinations to confirm that animals are healthy, visits to diagnose and treat sick horses, care for pregnant horses, and surgery on horses who require surgical treatment.

Farriers are equine specialists who can treat hoof injuries and infections.
Farriers are equine specialists who can treat hoof injuries and infections.

Many equine practitioners travel to their patients whenever possible. They usually have vehicles which are equipped with some basic tools of the trade, and some may carry mobile X-ray machines, ultrasound units, and other diagnostic equipment. The practitioner can travel to give vaccinations, perform dewormings, float teeth, trim hooves, and engage in other routine equine care. Some practitioners also have clinics to which horses can be brought for treatment, and horses are usually brought in for surgery so that the practitioner has a sterile operating room with equipment such as a lift.

Equine practitioners may work with donkeys.
Equine practitioners may work with donkeys.

Some equine practitioners choose to specialize in particular areas of equine care. For example, an equine reproductive specialist focuses on caring for pregnant horses, supervising matings, and helping owners determine why their horses have difficulty getting pregnant. Reproductive specialists often work in areas where horses are bred for specialized tasks such as racing or competition. Equine specialists can also focus on care of a particular type of horse, such as sport horses or draft horses.

Equine practitioners are veterinarians who choose to work specifically with horses and other types of equine animals.
Equine practitioners are veterinarians who choose to work specifically with horses and other types of equine animals.

Hoof care is often left to farriers, specialists who have trained in shoeing of horses. When a horse has special needs or a hoof infection, an equine specialist may work with a farrier to develop a course of treatment. Hoof and lower leg care is critical for many horses and can sometimes be very challenging.

Equine practitioners who work with wild equids such as zebras have a more hands off approach with their clients, because they want to avoid traumatizing them. They help to manage the herds they work with and they conduct routine examinations, vaccinations, and similar tasks. When animals get sick, the equine specialist determines why and provides appropriate treatment.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a PracticalAdultInsights researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a PracticalAdultInsights researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discuss this Article

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register:
    • Equine practitioners provide care for horses and other equids.
      By: Eric Isselée
      Equine practitioners provide care for horses and other equids.
    • Equine practitioners might tend to zebras and other wild animals at a zoo.
      By: Duncan Noakes
      Equine practitioners might tend to zebras and other wild animals at a zoo.
    • Farriers are equine specialists who can treat hoof injuries and infections.
      By: chelle129
      Farriers are equine specialists who can treat hoof injuries and infections.
    • Equine practitioners may work with donkeys.
      By: Norman Nick
      Equine practitioners may work with donkeys.
    • Equine practitioners are veterinarians who choose to work specifically with horses and other types of equine animals.
      By: Monkey Business
      Equine practitioners are veterinarians who choose to work specifically with horses and other types of equine animals.
    • Earning an undergraduate degree from a vet school is not necessary to become an equine practitioner.
      By: Rita Kochmarjova
      Earning an undergraduate degree from a vet school is not necessary to become an equine practitioner.