Don’t Forget My Teeth! 

Special Offer throughout September and October – £5 Off Dental Rasping

We recommend that all horses undergo a dental examination at least once a year.  Some horses such as those expected to perform at a high level and those with specific dental abnormalities might benefit from more frequent examinations.
Our vets have all received full dentistry training during their time at University and are more than happy to carry out dental treatment on your horse. In addition they can also administer drugs such as sedatives, local anaesthetics and pain killer drugs allowing safer more comfortable treatment. Rasping can also be combined with one of our £10 Zone Visits making us very competitively priced as well as additional discounts if your horse is a member of our Equine Healthcare Plan. Why not call us to find out more!

Gastric Ulcer Awareness Month – October 2017

Since the first Gastric Ulcer Awareness Month in 2007, awareness of equine ulcers among horse owners appears to have increased significantly. However, it is believed that many horses and ponies are still going undiagnosed and untreated, possibly due to the vague and often subtle nature of the clinical signs associated with this disease.
Whilst it’s generally recognised that around 90% of racehorses in training have ulcers, it’s perhaps less well known that about 60%, of performance horses and 40% of leisure horses and ponies are also affected – it would appear that ponies are equally vulnerable to developing ulcers.

Clinical Signs

Due to their vague and non-specific nature, clinical signs are often put down to back pain, behavioural issues or unwillingness to work. Additionally, they vary from one horse to another, and do not always correspond to the severity of the ulcers – some horses appear to be more stoic than others!

The signs include:

• Poor performance
• Picky appetite
• Mild weight loss
• Dull coat
• Colic
• Discomfort on girth tightening
• Salivation and teeth grinding – foals

So why are horses so prone to ulcers?

Horses evolved as ‘trickle feeders’ with free access to light grazing and rest, 24/7, so their stomachs are designed to receive a constant supply of food. Because of this, acid is released into the stomach constantly, regardless of whether or not they are eating. Saliva, which helps to neutralise this acid is, on the other hand, mostly produced when they eat. In contrast, people produce acid only when they eat.

In natural conditions, the horse will have a constant flow of fibrous food. This fills and stabilises the lower part of the stomach, which is more resilient to contact with acid, and prevents acidic stomach juices from making prolonged contact with the more vulnerable upper part of the stomach, which has a different type of lining that is less resistant to acid damage.
With modern stabling and exercise, the risk of the more vulnerable, upper parts of the stomach being exposed to acid is increased. A regular and constant intake of forage will help absorb the acid, whereas restricted intake or a high cereal/low forage diet will make the stomach content very fluid.

Management regimes of many horses can result in relatively long periods with restricted food intake, increasing the risk of contact between acid and the upper part of the stomach, and ulcers can start to form. Also, during exercise, pressure from the abdomen compresses the stomach, which in turn pushes the fluid level to the upper, more vulnerable area.

We also know that training affects gastric acidity, and horses fed the same diet will have higher levels of gastric acid during training than when out of training. Other factors affecting the development of ulcers include travel, separation from peers and solitary confinement. The horse ‘show’ environment can also result in interrupted meals and irregular schedules.

Treatment and prevention 

Examination via gastroscopy is the only definitive way to diagnose ulcers, and studies have shown the most effective treatment is the acid inhibitor, omeprazole, the only active ingredient licensed for the treatment and prevention of equine ulcers. For those horses where the risk factors remain high, due to the training regime for example, studies have shown that an ongoing preventative dose of omeprazole can help prevent the ulcers from returning.

Milbourn Equine Vets regularly hold Gastroscope Clinics and during October we are offering our usual great discounted promotion rates at our Ashford and Benenden clinics on 3rd and 18th October
For first timers – £105.00 including sedation. All other horses – £198.00
N.B. Any medication or hospitalisation if needed will be extra. In addition to this animal health company, Merial are also helping support our Awareness Month and if your horse requires treatment for ulcers Grade 1 and above, we can provide a 4 week course of ulcer treatment for the price of 3.
Please call our Ashford Clinic on 01233 500505 or Hawkhurst on 01580 752301.

For more information on our Gastroscope Clinics click here

Sevington Client Evening

Our Milbourn Equine Sevington team held a well attended and fun client evening at the end of June.

We had a very informative talk from the attending fire service followed by a practical demo rescuing a fallen horse from the Faversham fire brigade. They kindly brought along their ‘Unimog’ – which is the heavy lifting gear that they use in large animal rescues.

A lovely buffet followed, and the second half of the evening David McDonald provided a talk on First Aid followed by a question & answer session.

We also held a very successful raffle for the Pilgrims Hospice – prizes were donated from local businesses, clients & suppliers, which we are very grateful for. We had some excellent prizes and raised £355.35 – well done everyone!

Look out for details of our next client evening on our website, which will be held in the Autumn.

Strangles Testing

A recent survey commissioned by the Redwings Horse Sanctuary found that only 13% of yards test for Strangles on arrival but also that 78% of owners would welcome screening of new yard arrivals.

Strangles is a highly contagious bacterial respiratory infection that is commonly seen in the equine world. It is spread by direct contact with an infected horse or by sharing equipment e.g. buckets. The signs of infection are a thick nasal discharge, swollen glands and high temperature, this disease can, rarely, be fatal.   Affected yards are recommended to cease movement on and off until the infection has cleared which can take several weeks. A small percentage of horses that contract Strangles can become carriers whereby they show no external symptoms but still harbour the bacteria.

A blood test is available to detect antibodies against Strangles which are made when the body encounters the Strangles bacteria. The main use of this blood test is to screen new arrivals to a yard for Strangles before they come onto the yard.

The results will either come back as negative, borderline or positive. A negative result means that the horse is safe to move but should still be kept in isolation for 2 weeks as the blood test does not detect horses who have been exposed to Strangles within the previous 14 days. A borderline result would want re-testing in approximately 14 days to see if the result becomes either positive or negative. A positive result means that the horse has been exposed to Strangles within the past 6 months although it may not be showing clinical symptoms. A horse with a borderline or positive result should not be accepted on to a yard without further investigation. If a horse has a positive result, then this horse should ideally receive an endoscopy to perform a guttural pouch wash which samples the back of the throat to check for the Strangles bacteria which is usually found in carrier horses.  Carrier horses would require further specialised treatment over several weeks.

We would encourage all yard owners to consider instigating a policy to test new arrivals for strangles on the above basis.

We normally offer the Strangles blood test at £62.85, but until 31st August we are offering a discounted price of £50.28 (Including blood sampling), the strangles blood test can be done on a zone visit.  Results typically take approximately 2-3 working days to arrive.

Talk About Laminitis- FREE LAB FEES are back

Have your horse tested for PPID (Cushings disease) with FREE laboratory fees until OCTOBER

This special offer is brought to you by Talk About Laminitis a national disease awareness initiative provided by Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, to improve awareness and understanding of the underlying endocrine causes of laminitis.

Go to to download your voucher now and then contact your local Milbourn Equine branch to arrange a visit.

If your horse is prone to laminitis it’s important to know that although grass can be a trigger, up to 90% of cases are caused by an underlying hormonal disease.

Equine Cushing’s disease (PPID) and Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) are the two most common hormone or “endocrine” disorders of horses and ponies. Recent advances in our understanding of laminitis has changed our approach to the diagnosis and treatment of the problem. Despite the common perception that PPID (Cushing’s disease) is solely a condition of veteran horses and ponies, new data shows that horse and ponies over the age of 10 can be commonly affected.


PPID can be easily diagnosed by a blood test taken by your veterinary surgeon. If your horse or pony is within the 90% that do have an underlying hormonal disease, then it’s essential to reach the correct diagnosis as early as possible in order to be able to treat the laminitis appropriately and reduce the risk of future painful episodes.

Talk About Laminitis also offers an interactive online aftercare service which enables horse owners & their vets to manage & monitor horses with PPID (Cushing’s Disease) post diagnosis.

logo-ccOnce you join TAL Care and Connect you will be able to set up a profile for your horse which allows all your ACTH results to be stored in one place so you can easily monitor your horse’s progress over time. You will also automatically receive relevant reminders when follow up ACTH tests are due.

In addition, a PPID owner information pack written by a panel of expert veterinary surgeons can be downloaded to provide you with comprehensive information on the condition. Edited by Prof. Catherine McGowan with contributions from Dr Jo Ireland, Prof. Andy Durham, David Rendle and Dr Teresa Hollands, the pack includes advice on monitoring and follow-up ACTH tests, feeding, general care of the PPID patient and the link between laminitis and PPID.

To join now go to


Sanne one of our vets at our Ashford clinic recently assisted on a equine project in Mexico and kindly wrote this article for us. 

I flew to Mexico in April for 2 weeks to help with an annual veterinary project organised by a small American organisation called RVETS. The aim of this organisation is to promote quality, affordable veterinary care in under served areas, like Mexico. Another aim of the project is to provide veterinarians and students with further education and experience in medicine and surgery of horses and donkeys. The organisation is run by an American board veterinary surgeon and his wife, who is a very experienced veterinary nurse.







This particular project was run out of a half finished Equine veterinary clinic in San Miguel de Allende. Every day we would fill our American sized Ford bus with veterinary supplies, and then fill the rest of the bus with a team of eight Mexican veterinary students, two Mexican veterinarians and a few volunteers. We traveled to all the villages around the city providing first line veterinary care and doing castrations, looking at about 200 to 300 horses and donkeys per day. All the veterinary care was free to provide for those people who cannot afford this otherwise. The only requirement from the village we would visit that day was that they would cook for us and we had some great spicy Mexican lunches!

I had a wonderful time working with all the people involved and I learned a lot while performing the surgeries. Working with the bare essentials and trying to provide the best veterinary care is challenging but working with these dedicated, hard working people made it a very special experience. I hope that I will be able to do a project like this with this organisation again. 

Introduce a Friend …and be rewarded!






It’s easy, just complete the details found in
our Reception (Card or Leaflet), and both you
and the friend you introduce to Milbourn Equine
Vets will receive a…

*For terms and conditions & how it works
please see our website:

Foot Balance – How do X-Rays help?

Hoof imbalance is one of the most common problems associated with lameness in a horse’s foot. It can be attributed to a variety of causes including conformation, the type of shoes fitted and how regularly the horse is shod.

Ideally the horse’s foot should strike the ground as a unit, with the entire weight-bearing surface hitting the ground together. In the case of side-to-side imbalance (lateral-medial imbalance) the outside toe strikes the ground before the heel, with the inside heel landing first. This leads to uneven forces across the hoof and uneven loading of the lower limb joints.

Many horses tolerate a large degree of foot balance, remain sound and are able to compete to a high level. Others are more sensitive, with a minimal discrepancy adversely affecting performance.

X-rays are a tool that we are using more and more in conjunction with farriers to evaluate & correct foot balance….. Essentially a side to side (Lateromedial – side view) and front to back (Dorsopalmar – front/back view) x-ray is taken of each foot to show the position of the pedal bone and the rest of the bony column in relation to the external hoof wall. These images can then be used by the farrier to trim to optimise foot conformation and correct any underlying imbalance. Severe imbalance is often evident without an x-ray but mild to moderate imbalance can be present in a “normal” looking foot.

Foot balance x-rays are particularly useful in horses with poor foot shape or sensitive feet as well as those suffering from foot related lameness. Many elite sports horses have this procedure on a regular basis to pre-empt any problems. The stage of the shoeing cycle must be considered when interpreting the images, it is unreasonable to expect the feet to look as good when they are due for re-shoeing as when they are freshly shod.

Foot balance x-rays can be performed at the clinic or on your yard providing there is an area of level concrete under cover and mains electricity.

We are offering a special promotion during MAY & JUNE of £150 (plus callout and sedation if required) for foot balance x-rays of all four feet. We can then email the images to your farrier and discuss the findings to formulate a shoeing plan for your horse.

Remember if your horse is a member of our Equine Healthcare Plan you will also receive an additional 10% discount on the cost of the Foot Balance X-rays.

Back on Track – Save 25%

Milbourn Equine are pleased to be running another Back On Track campaign during Flu Awareness Month in April.

We are offering the opportunity for all eligible horses to receive a discounted restart primary vaccination course, saving you 25%

Why not restart now, taking advantage of this great offer combined with one of our £10 Zone Visits for even better value! Call your local branch now to arrange a visit.

Equine flu is not spread by direct contact alone. It can travel more than 2km in the air and be passed on via tack or equipment, quickly spreading from an individual to the whole yard and beyond. Clinical signs can be subtle, especially in horses with a history of vaccination. Horses presenting with as little as a low-grade cough and/or serous nasal discharge should arouse suspicion.

A horse with flu needs complete rest and isolation, often putting them out of action for weeks. In addition to this, outbreaks can affect competitions at all levels, potentially resulting in the cancellation of events in order to control the spread of disease. The equine flu virus evolves and changes constantly and it is important that its development is monitored in order to ensure vaccines protect against the circulating strains.


VERY IMPORTANT SMALL PRINT – This offer is open to all equines over 12 months of age that have not yet been vaccinated against equine influenza or are overdue a booster. Any visit fee must be borne by the horse owner.

Hawkhurst Evening Talk

Thank you to everyone who came along to our evening talk on the 5th April at Bodiam International Arena and Leisure Club.


Juliette from Merial provided a very informative talk on equine flu and the importance of vaccinating.  A horse with flu needs complete rest and isolation, often putting them out of action for weeks. In addition to this, outbreaks can affect competitions at all levels, potentially resulting in the cancellation of events in order to control the spread of disease. The equine flu virus evolves and changes constantly and it is important that its development is monitored in order to ensure vaccines protect against the circulating strains.

Our Back on Track campaign is running throughout April offering a 25% discount if your horse’s flu vaccinations have lapsed. Do call us to take advantage of this special offer.


John Haizelden from ESFRS Large Animal Rescue explained more about the important job they do rescuing horses and other large animals!

The ESFRS Large Animal Rescue are also holding an Equine Safety Day informing about the dangers you should be aware of and giving you the opportunity to get your trailer or horsebox safety checked.


We also raised £95.20 for The British Horse Society Changing lives through horses campaign from the raffle on the night.

Don’t forget our next talk will be at our Sevington Clinic in Ashford on Gastric Ulcers April 25th so reserve your free place now!