Equitop Myoplast Discount Voucher

Take advantage of £10 off your purchase of Equitop Myoplast only available in December

Click here to download your voucher

FREE Milbourn Equine Year Planner

Keep organised in 2018 and pick up your  FREE  Milbourn Equine Year Planner from Reception at our Hawkhurst or Ashford branch or ask your vet when they visit. Only available while stocks last!

Caring For Older Horses

More and more horses and ponies are living for longer and becoming geriatrics (defined as aged 20 years and over). As a horse ages it is important to monitor for certain health problems which are commonly seen in an ageing population.

Dental problems– These are common and may manifest as difficulty with the bit, reduced appetite, weight loss or headshaking. Six monthly dental checks are recommended for horses over 15 years old. Milbourn Equine can check teeth as part of the health check at your horse’s annual vaccination and we are happy to perform any dental work required.

Lameness – Low grade lameness is to be expected as osteoarthritis sets in; this is often put down to ‘stiffness’. Most of these conditions can be improved with treatment after the lameness is localised to a particular joint or area.

PPID/Cushings – Older horses (especially ponies) commonly develop PPID (Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction) also known as Equine Cushing’s disease. The clinical signs include a curly coat, recurrent laminitis, a ‘pot bellied’ appearance, lethargy and recurrent infections. This condition is treatable once it has been definitively diagnosed with a blood test. More information can be found at www.talkaboutlaminitis.co.uk.

Condition– Many older horses struggle to maintain their condition, especially over the winter months. If weight loss is sudden or dramatic we will investigate to rule out concurrent disease. However often a change in diet is all that is necessary. Horses become less efficient at extracting nutrients from their feed as they age. It is important to maintain fibre content even if the horse is struggling to eat hay or haylage. A hay replacement diet can be created with chaff, sugar beet and soaked pony nuts. We can advise you or put you in touch with nutritionist if you feel your horse would benefit from a dietary change.
Older horses and ponies struggle more with extremes of weather than their younger friends. However they generally benefit from the low grade exercise that turnout provides and would stiffen up if kept indoors for long periods. Therefore we recommend that they remain turned out but with the benefit of good rugs and a field shelter, in all but the most extreme weather conditions.

This time of year you should also be on the lookout for Mud Fever and Colic in horses of any age.

Mud Fever– Is a condition of the skin on the lower legs which typically occurs during wet weather in horses who are turned out. It is a bacterial infection caused by a particular bacteria called Dermatophilus which live within the mud. As with many things, prevention is better than cure! Removing mud from the horse’s legs is important. The best way to remove mud is to allow the legs to dry and then to brush the mud away with a dandy brush. An oil based barrier cream such as Vaseline can be applied to legs before turn out. Checking your horse’s legs on a daily basis can allow you to intervene and instigate treatment of mud fever at the first sign.

Colic-At this time of year colic signs are common, especially when there is snow on the ground and the horses are suddenly exposed to a dramatic change in management. Prevention is not always possible however trying to keep the horses management similar regardless of weather conditions helps. Making a gradual change to hay or haylage in the autumn and maintaining the horse on the same brand or batch of long stem forage is helpful.  If snow curtails your exercise plans be sure to reduce the hard food that you are providing to the horse, continuing on high levels of hard feed when the horse is doing no exercise will often lead to tying up.
Don’t forget Worming! – Every horse should receive a larvicidal dose of roundwormer such as moxidectin in the late autumn/early winter. Most other wormers will not kill encysted roundworms and therefore the horse can colic as a result of encysted larvae despite having received a wormer. Please contact us for advice. Our Equine Healthcare Plan includes our worming programme as standard.

Make sure your horse is in tip top condition this winter. Winter Healthchecks – Only £97.50 inc VAT

What’s on your horse’s Christmas list?

Why not make it our Equine Healthcare Plan. For only £13.50 a month it provides your horse with 2 health checks a year, annual vaccinations and membership to our worming programme. Additional discounts are also available for dental work, worming products and supplements. Our plan allows you the opportunity to spread the cost of your horse’s routine healthcare over the year and will save you money! More info

Hawkhurst Evening Talk

Thank you to everyone who came along to our Milbourn Equine evening talk at Bodiam International Arena last Wednesday.

Merial gave an informative talk about the causes of gastric ulcers, while Dengie Horse Feeds gave an entertaining talk regarding nutrition. Our vet Howard finished off the evening with a brief summary of what you should be keeping stocked up in your first aid kit.

Our raffle also raised £68. We hope you enjoyed it and keep an eye out for details of our next one in the Spring.

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 www.talkaboutlaminitis.co.uk 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 www.talkaboutlaminitis.co.uk/careandconnect