Our Sanne’s Gambia Adventure


After the success of the first two BEVA Trust volunteers, Sara Fleck and Christine Fuchs, visit to the Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust (GHDT) in December last year, another opportunity was given to me, to visit the charity in the beginning of February. I had volunteered with the charity at the end of my time at university and was very excited to be given the opportunity to visit the charity again. The GHDT, which is run by the director Heather Armstrong and managed by the two long term volunteers, Katana Ashby from the UK and Karelhia Garcia-Lopez from Venezuela, has two bases. One in Sambel Kunda which is the original site of the charity and Makasutu which is located only 30 minutes from Banjul airport. Because I had seen the start of the building of the Makasutu centre on my previous trip, it was incredible to see how large a clinic it has become. 

The centre in Makasutu is run by the two long term volunteers and they play a vital role in giving the short term volunteers the ability to hit the ground running when arriving at the centre and to ensure that they work well together with the para-veterinarians and the apprentices to be able to make the most of their time there. This showed as the moment I arrived, we were called out to a foal with tetanus. I was able to go with the team to visit the foal straight away. The foal was admitted the next day and has been slowly improving. 

The para veterinarians and apprentices are responsible for the care for the patients that are admitted to the clinic. As a volunteer, the goal is to help the team at the centre in any way possible. Mostly this involves helping the GHDT team treat the current patients in the clinic and to teach and discuss every aspect of veterinary medicine. This also works both ways as many problems that the team deals with are diseases that are unknown to veterinarians working in Europe like trypanosomiasis, epizootic lymphangitis and fistulous withers.

Because a working, healthy donkey or horse can be a valuable asset to farmers and can increase their income by 500% in The Gambia, education is a critical part of the GHDT. They teach owners about correct harnessing, bits and how to keep their animals healthy. Part of this is done on the road, when visiting animals or when mobile clinics or ‘treks’ are run, but the GHDT educates students as well, which is done on a regular bases on Saturdays. This includes talking about wound management, performing a clinical exam and many other subjects.

There are many challenges to the life at GHDT. One of the challenges is getting to the animals that are in need. Because veterinary care is limited in The Gambia, sometimes the animals in need can be very far away. An example was a donkey, that was noticed by a tourist, that was most likely hit by a car, had been unable to stand and had a possible broken leg. The time it took to travel to the poor animal was 4 ½ hours. Sadly the animal had already died when we arrived. Even with these difficulties it is inspiring to see how determined the team at the GHDT are to try a support all the animals that are in need of veterinary care and to improved their welfare.

I had a wonderful time working with all the people involved. I hope the team at GHDT will continue the important work of reducing poverty by improving the health, welfare and productivity of working animals and that more people will take the opportunity to support this great charity.. 

Fit To Succeed – Horse & Rider Evening

Our vet Katie relives her success at Burghley International horse trials last year and shares the trials and tribulations of keeping a horse fit on the road to Badminton 2019. Whilst qualified personal trainer and local horse rehabilitation expert Rebecca discusses rider fitness and how this impacts your horse’s performance at all levels.

Monday 15th April 7pm (doors open 6.30) @ Bodiam Arena. TN32 5UJ

Refreshments provided

Book your free seat for this inspiring and interactive evening on 01580 752301 or hawkhurst@milbournequine.co.uk

Equestrian Planning Evening

Free Evening Talk 13th March Doors open 6.30pm for a 7pm start

Come along for a free informative evening at Bodiam International Arena TN32 5UJ.

Eyesore to Eyecatching
Planning permission for your arena and stables
Change of use for your barn and farm buildings or land
Holidays – Glamping – Commercial – Leisure – Residential

Raffle with excellent prizes raising funds for Kent Air
Ambulance and World Horse Welfare

The Batcheller Monkhouse planning team have been successful in securing consent for a wide range of interesting projects including: a cookery school, riding facilities for the disabled, glamping sites and shepherds huts, holiday lets, residential conversions, fishing lakes, farm shops and even a takeaway pizza business!
Presentation from Kirsty Castle MRTPI AIEMA of Batcheller Monkhouse

Our vet Howard Newitt will be talking about sarcoids and treatment options. Food and drink will be provided.

Call 01580 752301, email hawkhurst@milbournequine.co.uk or facebook us to book your place.


BEF advises horse owners after equine flu outbreak

Following British Horseracing’s decision to cancel all racing today (7 February) the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) is closely monitoring the situation. Veterinary experts have advised that it is not necessary to cancel other equine events at this time, but we will issue a further update once the full extent of the outbreak is known.  

In the meantime, we recommend that all owners follow the guidelines below as a precaution and ensure that all vaccinations are fully up to date. If your horse is currently vaccinated, we recommend a booster if it has been longer than 6 months since your horse’s last vaccination.                                                                                         

Actions for owners to take:

It is crucial for all horse and pony owners to be vigilant and follow recommended guidelines on how to detect and prevent the spread of this infectious disease.

Look out for signs of disease which can include high temperature, cough, snotty nose, enlarged glands (under the lower jaw), swollen or sore eyes, depression, loss of appetite and swelling in the lower legs.

If you see any of these signs, isolate the horse and call your vet immediately.

It is essential that any horses showing signs of possible equine flu, or horses that might have been in contact with possibly infected horses, do not travel to competitions or other events where there will be groups of horses. If your horse has been in contact with an infected horse we suggest that you should take immediate veterinary advice.

We advise that horses are vaccinated with a booster for equine flu with a vaccine that contains the Florida Clade 1. There are two such vaccines currently licensed in the UK, ProteqFlu and Equilis Prequenza. If your horse is currently vaccinated, but it has been longer than 6 months since the last vaccination, we recommend that you discuss a booster with your veterinary surgeon.

The BEF also has guidance on its website regarding equine infectious diseases and is urging owners to take the necessary precautions to avoid their horses becoming infected.

Further information

Follow @equiflunet



Pastures New

We are very sad to announce after 22 years Howard Newitt is leaving the practice in July to take-up an exciting new challenge running a stud in Ireland. The Milbourn vet team of Katie, Harriet and Catarina will continue to look after our Hawkhurst clients in conjunction with Clinical Director David McDonald. We are currently recruiting for a replacement for Howard and he’s worried that our clients may prefer the replacement! Howard said “It was a hard decision to make to move on from the many friends that I’ve made during my time here but it’s time for a new challenge for me and for someone else to take the practice forwards on their own style.”

Stamping Out Flu Campaign

You may have seen several reports lately about flu outbreaks here and across in France.

Equine Flu is an infectious disease affecting the upper respiratory tract of horses. It is prevalent in the UK and a horse with flu needs complete rest and isolation, often putting them out of action for weeks.

Milbourn Equine are teaming up with Boehringer to offer our clients whose horse’s immunity against flu has lapsed a free flu vaccination as part of a course throughout the month of February.

Please call to book a visit now.

**Vaccine cost only, visit fee and administration fees still apply. The offer is only open to horses that are over 9 months of age and have not yet been vaccinated against equine influenza or are overdue an annual booster.  Vaccination to take place in the offer month.

Does your horse have a sarcoid?

Sarcoids are the most common skin tumour in horses. If not treated effectively they can grow and/or spread and in extreme cases can end a horse’s athletic career.
Laser surgery is one of the best techniques for sarcoid removal and is usually completely curative. It uses a high intensity beam of light to cut around the growth, before leaving the resulting wound open (without stitches) to heal by itself. The procedure is carried out under standing sedation using local anaesthetic, and is usually very well tolerated by the patient.
On 21st January 2019 Milbourn Equine will be holding a special Sarcoid Clinic, where we will be offering laser surgery at discounted prices.
Horses will need to be dropped off at the Sevington practice in the morning and picked up later that day. Prices are detailed below and include all sedation, medications and stabling.
If you would like more information, or would like to book a place for your horse, please ring the Sevington practice (01233 500505).
1 sarcoid £400 + VAT
2 sarcoids £450 + VAT
3 or more sarcoids £500 + VAT