We provide the following services to our equine clients:
- Routine visits and examinations
- Emergency service 24 hours a day
- Assistance at foalings and treating the mare and foal
- Lameness investigations
- Poor performance investigations
- Pre-purchase examinations
- Microchipping and markings
- Ultrasound Scanning of mare at the clinic or at home
- Vaccinations for flu and tetanus
Colic is the number one killer of horses. Fortunately, most cases of colic are mild and resolve with simple medical treatment or no specific treatment at all. In fact, less than 10% of all colic cases are severe enough to require surgery or to lead to the death of the horse. Nevertheless, every case of colic should be taken seriously, since it can be difficult to differentiate a mild case from a potentially serious one in the early stages.
‘Colic’ is not a disease in itself; it is merely a symptom of disease, indicating pain in the abdomen (belly). There are many different conditions that can cause a horse to show signs of abdominal pain. Most of these involve the digestive system, i.e. the stomach or intestines, although colic can also be related to other body systems such as the reproductive tract.
WHAT TREATMENTS MAY BE ADMINISTERED?
Pain relievers or sedatives may be used to control pain while intestinal function normalises, further tests are performed or other treatments are administered.
Fluid therapy helps to correct dehydration and to soften intestinal contents. This may be administered either by stomach tube or via an intravenous catheter, most often in the jugular vein.
Laxatives such as mineral oil administered via stomach tube.
Enemas, particularly in young foals suspected of having meconium retention.
Surgery under general anaesthesia.
The key to minimising the incidence of colic is good management. The key to minimising the impact of colic and increasing the chances of a good outcome is early and appropriate treatment. Treat every episode of colic as potentially serious and involve your Veterinary Surgeon from the outset.
Strangles is a contagious disease of horses caused by a bacteria called Streptococcus equi (S equi). Horses acquire the infection from other horses, who may or may not be showing signs of the disease. Horses with Strangles typically have a fever, nasal discharge and swollen lymph nodes. The lymph nodes may form abscesses, which can then burst and drain purulent material (‘pus’). Most horses with Strangles will recover uneventfully, but in about 20% of horses complications will occur. In fact, the name ‘Strangles’ comes from one of these complications – the lymph nodes which surround the larynx and pharynx (the throat) may become so enlarged that the block flow of air, hence the horse sounds like it is being ‘strangled’. In these cases, a tracheotomy, or ‘trach tube’ where a temporary hole is made into the trachea (the windpipe) is necessary to allow the horse to breathe.
Equine Influenza (horse flu) is a highly infectious disease in which the affected animal will have several symptoms including a high fever and a dry cough.
- a high temperature of 39-41deg C (103-106deg F), lasting for one to five days.
- a cough that may linger for several weeks.
- a clear nasal discharge that may turn green or yellow as secondary infections develops.
Vaccination is necessary to prevent the disease. There are a number of vaccines available, with a tetanus vaccine included in some. The vaccine has to be repeated after approx one month, six months and then every twelve months. If any of the vaccinations are missed the process must begin again. So it is very important to keep vaccinations up to date.
Horses should not be worked hard for at least two days after vaccination.
Tetanus is caused by the bacteria called Clostridium tetani. Outside of the body the spores of the bacteria live in any type of soil, dust or manure. The bacteria from the dirt or manure can enter the body through any wound such as a cut, open burn, surgical incision or puncture in the skin as well as punctures in the soles of the hoof. Even a small innocuous wound may be an entry point for the Clostridium bacteria. Foals whose dams have not been vaccinated for tetanus can develop tetanus through an infected naval. Puncture wounds are particularly worrisome as they are difficult to clean and provide the perfect anaerobic conditions for the bacteria to thrive.
The bacteria enter the wound and there begin to multiply. The powerful toxin (a neurotoxin) that the bacteria produce as they multiply blocks the nerves’ messages to the muscles causing the muscles to tense up.
It may take ten days to two weeks for the symptoms of tetanus to appear. There will be stiffness and the head and neck area, hind quarters and area of the wound may be affected first. The nostrils may be unusually flared. The animal will become progressively stiffer, taking on a ‘saw horse’ stance with head and tail up and will not be able to eat or drink.
The mortality rate for horses with tetanus is unfortunately high and treatment is usually difficult.
Tetanus is easily prevented in horses. Your horse should be vaccinated against tetanus at least every two years although as part of the core vaccinations, most people will vaccinate yearly. Foals need to be vaccinated after about four months. If the mare is vaccinated, the foal will receive some protection from the colostrum. Because you work around dirt and manure when you’re with your horse, be sure your tetanus shot is up-to-date as well.