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Word of an equine disease outbreak can spread faster than the contagion itself, causing chaos and worry. And rightfully so, when an outbreak can affect our horses—animals that not only play a critical role in many people’s livelihoods and businesses, but that are also partners and confidants.

But while it’s easy to get wrapped up and overwhelmed in the hype of headlining health concerns and how to protect our horses, it’s comforting to know that most problems can be easily handled through diligent horsekeeping practices, such as keeping a well-stocked first aid kit. The best protection a horse has is its caretaker.

Attentive owners are likely to detect seemingly imperceptible clues about their horses’ health, says Maggie Peitzmeier, DVM, DACVS, an equine surgeon at Pioneer Equine Hospital in Oakdale, California. Peitzmeier spent many years working in veterinary clinics before getting her veterinary degree from Iowa State University and working at Peterson and Smith Equine Hospital in Ocala, Florida.

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