Strangles Testing – 20% Discount During August

A survey commissioned by the Redwings Horse Sanctuary found that only 13% of yards test for Strangles on arrival of a new horse, but also that 78% of owners would welcome screening of new 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. The disease can, although rare, 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 the horse is sfae 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 gutteral pouch wash. This samples the back of the throat to check for the Strangles bacteria and 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.

More information  Strangles Leaflet

Throughout August we are offering a 20% discount on the cost of Strangles blood testing. This can be done on a Zone Visit and results typically take 2-3 working days to come back.

Chilham Castle International Horse Trials & Dog Show 28th&29th July

Looking forward to a great weekend at Chilham on 28th and 29th July. Our Milbourn Equine vets will be there providing their services for the horse trials. Both Milbourn & Cinque Ports Vets will be at their tradestand all weekend so come and see us for lots of freebies!

Summer Healthcare

The sun is shining. Your horse is enjoying its 12 hour turn out and you are delighted about the prospect of no mucking out for at least the next 2 or 3 months (although let’s not rely on the British weather for that one!), but what things should we be looking out for during the summer months?

Worms – These can cause concern as we would all expect. The summer is a high risk time for spread of worms as the horses are all out grazing, and poo picking may slide down our list of priorities as the sun shines and the beach calls! At Milbourn Equine we strongly recommend strategic worming via our worming programme.

For £37 per horse per annum, you are entitled to unlimited worm egg counts (just drop us in a poo sample at the clinic, and we will normally have your results within 48 hours) . We will also advise you on a horse by horse basis as to when to worm, and which product to use. The worming programme is there to detect the harmful roundworm within the gut, and helps us to target our worming.

Worm egg counts cannot detect tapeworm, bots or pinworm, but your vet can discuss control of these worms on an individual basis as required. Resistance to wormers is a huge problem at the moment in cattle and sheep, with some farms not having a single wormer that they can use, as the worms are resistant to them all! Unfortunately the equine world is heading in this direction quicker than we would like, and by target worming horses that require treatment, we will hopefully be able to reduce the likelihood of resistance developing.

Flies and Sweet Itch – The one thing that ruins a lovely hot summers day!

Some simple tips: Purchase a good insecticidal fly spray (Products can be purchased from your local branch of Milbourn Equine)

Try turning your horse out at night and bringing them in during the day, cover them in a fly rug, and apply a show sheen to help stop the flies landing on your horse. Please see our website fact sheet on “Fly Control” for more top tips.

If your horse becomes very itchy, then this can be distressing to both them and you as an owner. Please call us to have a chat to one of our vets who will be happy to advise you.

Runny or Swollen Eyes – Quite often at this time of year this can be allergic conjunctivitis.

If you find that your horse has a swollen eye, or if one of their eyes appears more closed than the other, then please call us ASAP so that we can arrange for a vet to come and see you that day. Although conjunctivitis is common at this time of year, there are some very serious conditions that can result in a swollen eyelid that should not be ignored. Uveitis and corneal ulceration are also common causes of a swollen/weepy eye, and ignoring one of these conditions could lead to permanent damage to the eye, and potentially blindness.

Laminitis – “He can’t have laminitis, he isn’t fat!” Unfortunately more and more of our horses are becoming overweight, sadly we, as owners are finding it more and more difficult to notice it, as our perception of what is normal has become distorted.

If you are at any point unsure as to whether your horse is overweight, then you can ask one of our vets who will be happy to help you ‘body condition score’ your horse, and help you devise a suitable weight loss programme for them. We also have a mobile weighbridge that can be brought to your yard if a group wish to have a weigh in! Call us to arrange.

Being overweight can predispose your horse to laminitis as they can develop Equine Metabolic Syndrome. This is a condition which is associated with overweight ponies, and as a result of their metabolically active fat cells, can have an increased resistance to insulin. This resistance can lead to large peaks in insulin concentration, which then leads to laminitis. Other conditions such as arthritis can be made worse if your horse is carrying excess weight.

Some steps to help your horse or pony lose weight can be as simple as placing them in a starvation paddock with only hay to eat: this way you are in complete control of what they are eating, whilst still allowing them to stretch their legs.

Soaking the hay for 12 hours before feeding will help to remove some of the sugars from the hay, reducing its calorific content. Unless in heavy work, horses DO NOT require feeding over the summer – if you feel that you have to feed, then a handful of low calorie chaff with a balancer should be adequate.

Invest in a grazing muzzle for turn out time, or turn out for short periods of time (i.e. 1-2 hours a day), and of course; EXERCISE!

Breathing issues – Pollen and dust are always at a high over the summer months. This combined with a high humidity and increasing temperatures can make for difficult conditions for your horse. Allergies can develop at any age, and just because your horse has not suffered over the summer months before, does not mean that they won’t suffer this year.

There is nothing that can really be done to prevent this happening, but if you notice that your horses respiratory rate has increased, they are putting in a lot more effort into their breathing, or if they have started coughing a lot lately, then please contact your local Milbourn branch to make an appointment, as they are very likely to require some medication.

If respiratory problems are ignored, then they can worsen and possibly cause a secondary infection, which can be much harder to control.

Airway Assist is a Milbourn Equine supplement that is specially formulated with a complimentary blend of natural ingredients to support a healthy bronchial system in horses. Please ask us if you would like more information.

Most of all, the summer is there for you to enjoy! Go out and have fun, and if you have any questions or concerns, then please contact one of the vets at your local branch of Milbourn Equine, where we will be pleased to help.


Donkey De-Worming!

Bluebell the donkey!

As donkey owners will know, donkeys cannot just be lumped in the same box as our horse and pony friends! Donkeys get redworm like horses and the worm egg counts are just as useful for donkey redworm control as horses – they can be included in our annual worming programme.

For the treatment of redworm not all products are licensed in donkeys but due to increasing resistance to wormers an unlicensed product may be required.

Below is an example of the de-worming diary recommended by The Donkey Sanctuary.

This gives particular treatments that may need to be carried out, however it should be noted that throughout the whole year it is recommended to perform Faecal Worm Egg Counts (FWECs) every 8 – 10 weeks to specifically tailor make a treatment plan for your donkey. Worm egg counts are performed on a small sample (handful size) of droppings which you can bring into the practice in a small labelled bag (e.g. freezer bag).


January to April Encysted cyathostomins (encysted redworms)

FWECs do not evaluate the burden of cyathostomin larvae. Treatment for encysted larvae will assist in reducing future pasture contamination and will guard against gut damage associated with encysted larvae.

Treatment options:

Equest (Moxidectin) – Not licensed in donkeys but is safe to use

  5 day Panacur (Fenbendazole) – Licensed in donkeys but lots of
resistance so may not be very effective. Good to use in young
donkeys/underweight/pregnant jennies

It should be noted that if your donkey has many FWECs that are 0 – there will be no need to treat for encysted cyathostomins.

Throughout the year perform FWECs every 8 – 10 weeks
March to May Liver fluke

A survey by the Donkey Sanctuary has found that a surprisingly high number of donkeys suffer from liver fluke. As fluke eggs do not show up in a standard worm egg count you might like to also ask for a fluke egg test. If your fields have wet areas or are subject to flooding it would be advisable to test for fluke annually. Spring is the optimum time for testing.


November Tapeworm

Tapeworm is much rarer in donkeys than horses but in high risk situations it would still be beneficial to treat once a year.

Treatment options

Equitape (Pyrantel) – Treats for tapeworm only

Double dose Pyratape P or Strongid P (Pyrantel embonate) – treats
for redworms and tapeworm

It should be noted that multiwormers (i.e. Equest Pramox or Equimax) are not advocated in donkeys.

Lungworms are a parasite that generally cause little problem for donkeys unless they are grazing with horses. Lungworms only develop fully in donkeys yet the immature forms in horses can be a serious cause of coughing. Therefore, if a donkey’s field companions are coughing, it can make sense to test the donkey faeces for lungworm larvae.

Please speak to your vet for more worming advice or contact us to register for our worming programme.

Lameness & Equine Physiotherapy Evening

Free Evening Talk

Join us for an informative evening to find out more about Lameness and Equine Physiotherapy.

Lameness – Speaker Tom McParland
Equine Physiotherapy – Speakers, Victoria Henderson & Kate Haynes

Buffet & Refreshments Q & A Session

To Book:
Tel: 01233 500505
Facebook: Message us with number of spaces you would like

You don’t need to be registered to book a place

Special Discount – Equitop Myoplast

Take advantage of £10 off your purchase of Equitop Myoplast only available in June. Download Voucher

Equitop Myoplast® is a unique and natural supplement for horses, packed with 18 key amino acids including 9 essential amino acids. The blend of amino acids in Equitop Myoplast provides the
building blocks for efficient lean muscle growth without horses becoming ‘fizzy’ or bulking up on fats and oils.

Help us keep you informed!

In May 2018 new legislation will come into effect which means we require permission from you as soon as possible for us to contact you electronically. You will be asked to complete a form either by your vet or when you pop into the branch.
If you do not wish to be contacted electronically (text and email) this may result in not receiving notifications about your horse’s healthcare.

The form is also available on our website by clicking here  if you have not already completed one. Many thanks for your help with this mammoth task!

World Equestrian Games 2018 – Exciting news!

We are very excited to announce that our Hawkhurst Clinical Director, Howard Newitt has been invited by the FEI to form part of the veterinary commission at the upcoming World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina (

This is a great honour as only a handful of vets are invited from across the globe to be part of the FEI veterinary team who will officiate at the horse inspections (trot-ups) and have overall responsibility for the welfare of the horses at the games. This appointment results from Howard’s 12 years as an FEI vet which includes previous appointments at local eventing & reining competitions, British Young Horse Eventing championships,  Junior European Reining championships & London Paralympic dressage.

Howard will be away for two weeks in September for the games which he is trying to convince everyone is all work and no pleasure!