Road Safety

Most of us will need to ride or carriage drive on the road at some point. It is important to keep ourselves and our horses safe when out on the roads. We have put together some helpful tips and advice for equestrians when heading out.

  • Please familiarise yourself with the Highway Code rules to ensure you follow their guidance on how you should behave on the road and interact with other road users.
  • Be alert, smile and make eye contact with drivers, thanking any who make an effort to accommodate you and your horse.
  • Both you and your horse should wear Hi-Viz and reflective equipment. We would advise a minimum of a tabard or jacket for a rider, and leg bands for the horse.
  • Let someone know where you are going and what time you expect to be back.
  • Keep your mobile phone on you for use in an emergency. Although please remember that it is not safe to use your phone whilst on the roads.
  • Remember to use the appropriate hand signals to make other road users of your intentions to manoeuvre.
  • Report any incidents of dangerous or irresponsible driving to The British Horse Society https://www.bhs.org.uk/our-work/safety/report-an-incident and the police.

Vettings; The Pre Purchase Examination

Choosing a new horse can be a daunting task. Many of you may decide to have a pre-purchase examination (PPE) performed by a vet, before committing to buying a new horse.  

A PPE is carried out by a vet on behalf of the purchaser of the horse, not for the seller. The PPE is a recognised examination, carried out in five stages. Sometimes the examination is not completed if the horse fails in the early stages, or when a two-stage (limited) examination is requested. This consists of only the first two stages of the examination and the vet will form an opinion based on a restricted set of findings. In this case, the prospective purchaser will need to sign a form before the vetting to confirm that they understand and accept that the examination is limited and may not reveal certain conditions. It may also have implications for insurance cover.

To arrange a vetting the potential purchaser should contact a veterinary practice, where they will take details of the horse, the name and address of the current owner and importantly the purpose the horse is intended to be used for. They will also ensure that the vendor or agent has the facilities which are required to complete the vetting, these include; a dark stable in which to examine the eyes, a flat concrete area for trotting up and an area for cantering the horse. If these are not available, arrangements should be made for the horse to be brought to the practice for the examination. It is recommended that the purchaser be present at the vetting, however, if this is not possible the vet will make contact prior to the vetting to discuss the client’s requirements for the new horse, insurance requirements or any other concerns in detail.

A Full 5 stage vetting:

Stage 1 – Preliminary examination

The horse is examined in the stable, at rest, is checked against their passport and the microchip scanned to verify identity. The heart and lungs are listened to and the eyes examined in a dark stable with an ophthalmoscope. The horses’ teeth are examined to look for abnormalities, it is not a requirement of the examination to use a dental gag to do this. The horse is checked for lumps, scars and joint swellings.

Stage 2 – Walk and trot in hand

The horse is examined standing square, is backed up, turned in tight circles on both reins and is walked and trotted in straight lines on a firm level surface. Flexion tests are usually performed. The legs are flexed, in turn, for 45-60 seconds and the horse is trotted away in a straight line. If the horse takes more than 3-5 steps to return to a normal gait then these tests are considered positive. The significance of these findings will be considered in the light of the rest of the examination. Lunging on a hard level surface is often considered a hard test of a horse, but this is commonly performed in a PPE, as it can demonstrate lameness that may otherwise be unidentifiable. If the ground is uneven, slippery or the horse is inexperienced this test may not be possible.

Stage 3 – Exercise phase

The horse is preferably ridden, however, if this is not possible, exercise can be on the lunge or by loose schooling. In these cases the vet cannot comment on how the horse behaves with a rider. The horse is observed in walk, trot and canter and any abnormalities noted. The horse is given enough exercise to increase the heart and breathing rates, enabling any abnormalities of either at fast exercise to be identified.  This phase needs to be tailored to suit the horse and its intended purpose. For example, a racehorse would need to be galloped, whilst a child’s lead rein pony would not.

Stage 4 – Period of rest and re-examination

The horse is returned to the stable and the tack removed. Normal behaviour is observed in the stable and an identification drawing will be completed. A blood sample is taken to be stored for six months, during which time it can be tested for the presence of sedatives, painkillers or steroids, if required.

Stage 5 – Second trot up

The horse is trotted in hand again, to assess any lameness that may have developed during the exercise or recovery phases.

In some cases, additional procedures such as radiography, ultrasonography or endoscopy, may be requested by the insurance company or the purchaser. These can only be carried out with the permission of the owner and will be at the cost of the purchaser.

After the examination the vet and the purchaser should have a discussion about the findings of the vetting and the vet will produce a PPE certificate for the horse. This certificate is not a guarantee, it is the opinion of the vet as to whether the horse, as seen on that particular day, is suitable for purchase for it’s intended use. There can be some findings that do not affect a horse’s usefulness but do have insurance implications, in terms of exclusions. They may also affect the resale value of a horse in the future. Additionally, pre-existing conditions, such as Cushing’s disease, arthritis or sarcoids would be excluded from insurance cover and so this may need to be taken into account for the future financial management of the horse.

Whatever a horse or pony is being purchased for, a five-stage PPE is recommended to try to avoid purchasing a horse that is not suitable for the intended use.

Tips on caring for your horse during Coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown

During this period of uncertainty and with many of us self-isolating and in lockdown, some of our clients have been asking questions about COVID-19 in relation to their horses and also how to manage their upkeep and general care during this time.  We have pulled together this guide which we hope you’ll find useful.

Daily care

  • Travel to take care of your horse is categorised as ‘essential’.  Therefore, if you are the only person who can look after your horse and you are not self-isolating, then you can continue to do this.
  • However, if you keep your horse(s) on a livery yard then it is vitally important that you follow any rules the yard owner/manager has put in place. These rules will have been based on a number of factors including:
    • The safety of yard staff and horse owners
    • The safety of any vulnerable people living at the yard premises or with yard staff
    • The type of yard: either fully DIY or able to provide livery
  • If you are on a DIY livery yard, consider a ‘buddy-up’ scheme, where horse owners are put into pairs who then share the care of both horses. This reduces the number of people who need to attend the yard each day. Your buddy may also be able to help if you need to self-isolate at any stage.
  • Help to limit the number of visitors to the yard. Any visit by a professional that can be delayed, should be. This includes physiotherapists, chiropractors and saddlers. Vets are currently only undertaking emergency work following advice from our governing body, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), where the welfare of an animal is compromised. Farriery and dentistry should follow a similar rule: if delaying a trim will have no negative impact then this is ideal. However, if your horse has very specific shoeing requirements that impact their soundness, then this should be discussed with your farrier and a visit may be necessary. You should only have the dentist if your horse’s welfare will be impacted otherwise.

Biosecurity  

  • Again, it is important you follow rules set out by your yard manager with regards to biosecurity
  • However, the general advice is:
    • Wash your hands regularly, particularly on arrival at the yard and before leaving
    • Maintain social distancing at all times
    • Do not share equipment (staff may need to colour-code equipment to avoid inadvertent swapping)
    • Do not eat at the yard
    • Avoid communal areas such as kitchens and tack rooms where possible
    • Minimise your time spent at the yard as much as possible

Exercise

  • Exercising of horses is not prohibited, but many factors affect whether a horse can or should be worked at this time
  • Does it break “essential travel” rules? For example, a sharer who rides but does not provide daily care would not be able to claim that travelling to the yard is “essential”.
  • Does it break yard rules? Yard managers may decide to ban all exercising of horses if they feel that this creates too much of a risk of spreading the virus. For example, the risk of horse owners coming into close contact in the tack room.
  • Would riding your horse present a higher risk of injury than ground-based exercise? While the answer to this is “yes” in almost all cases, it could apply more strongly to youngsters or green horses. The NHS is currently under massive strain, so we should all be trying to limit their burden as much as possible. If you decide not to ride, consider lunging, long-reining or free-schooling as an alternative.
  • If you do decide to ride, you must maintain social distancing at all times. This means you should ride alone (or only with people from your household). All organised sporting activities are currently banned by the government, so you should not be attending lessons.     

Enrichment

  • Turning horses out more may be an option for some owners, as a way to minimise the amount of time they must spend at the yard. It also provides exercise for horses who are not able to be exercised currently. Turnout provides excellent enrichment for horses, particularly if they have company.
  • However, if you are unable to increase turnout and are unable to exercise your horse, you may want to provide some enrichment in the stable. This could include:
    • Treat balls
    • Stable mirrors
    • Root vegetables hung on ropes
    • Licks
    • Radio/music
  • However, do bear in mind the increased calories that some of these ideas provide. You may need to reassess your feeding plan to accommodate them (see below).

Feeding

  • Every horse is different, so there is no firm rule on what you should or should not be feeding. You should do works for your horse, with input from your vet if necessary.
  • If your horse’s routine has not changed greatly, then you should not need to change their feeding routine.
  • However, if your horse is being exercised much less than usual or spending more time at grass, then some changes should be made. This is to prevent weight gain, laminitis and tying up. You could consider soaking their hay for 6-8 hours, reducing the size of their feeds or removing the more calorie-dense parts of their feeds.
  • The most important factor when altering your horse’s feeding is to make all changes gradually.
  • It is also worth ensuring you have two weeks’ worth of feed (and bedding) ready, in case you need to self-isolate. However, it is important not to stockpile unnecessarily.

As a group of practices, we are committed to delivering exceptional care to you despite these unprecedented times. The health and wellbeing of our patients, clients and staff is our number one priority. We are taking precautions to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and to protect our clients and dedicated staff.

Please ensure you call us or read our latest guidelines in case of an emergency.

Exporting/Travelling Horses Abroad

You will need to firstly go to the ‘Export Horses/ponies GOV.uk’ website – https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/sanco/traces/registration/open.do

You need to have a nominated veterinarian (such as Milbourn Equine) before continuing.

You will need to follow the links on this website to:

  1. Register with traces
  2. Then sign into traces
  3. Call Animal and Plant Health Agency APHA, to inform travel papers have been requested/created & the name of your signing veterinarian. (i.e. Milbourn Equine)

Your ITAHC (travel documents) are valid for 10 days after the veterinarian has signed them. There is no fee for the certificate but you will be charged for the veterinarian’s time.

If you decide to drive yourself, ensuring you have the correct documentation is vital, it may be a good idea to consult with your nominated vet.

You will need European vehicle insurance and, if you are a professional, you will need an International Operator’s Licence, which is obtained from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

You’ll also need a valid and up to date passport for your horse, an export licence to leave the UK and an in-date health certificate signed by a ministry vet.

Quarantine isn’t required when travelling within the EU.

Useful contacts
P&O Ferries: 0871 6642121, www.poferries.com
Defra: 0845 9335577, www.defra.gov.uk
John Parker International Horse Transport:
01303 266621, www.johnparkerinternational.com

Read more at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/features/taking-your-horse-abroad-what-you-need-to-know-415477#EgrETa309DDAaeh2.99

Equine Exports from the Vets Perspective

Once the practice has been nominated an Official Veterinarian (OV) will have to inspect your horse and sign the certificate which will allow your horse to travel.

Upon inspection the vet will be looking to see if the horse is fit and well to travel. The passport and microchip will be checked to see if this matches the horse. The Official Veterinarian will examine the horses for any signs of discomfort/illness which are present alongside a general health check. If signs of infectious diseases are present or if the horse is not comfortable to travel the Veterinarian will not allow the horse to travel. If signs of parasites (such as lice) are present the horse will not be allowed to travel.

Once the OV has given the horse the all clear they will sign and stamp the certificate. Your horse is now declared fit to travel.

Biosecurity

Biosecurity is a recent buzzword for a series of measures designed to protect a population/yard from disease.

The main disease threats that can be brought into a yard are:
1. Respiratory diseases eg Strangles, Influenza
2. Skin diseases eg Ringworm
3. Reproductive diseases eg EHV/Herpes abortion and CEM/EVA.
4. Intestinal diseases eg Salmonella
5. Exotic diseases (those not normally present in UK) are possible in imported horses.

The best way of controlling the risk of introducing any of these diseases is to have a biosecurity protocol drawn up by the yard manager and vet. This does not have to be as formal as it sounds and a lot of it is common sense but it helps to plan in advance to prevent missing any obvious steps.
When drawing up a policy, the first step is to work out what the risk factors are for your yard.

Things to be considered include what type of yard (livery or private), how many horses, any young/breeding stock, how many new arrivals, how many competitions do horses go to, is there a worming & vaccination policy, is there anywhere to isolate a potentially sick horse. The isolation facility is one that often causes difficulty when a new or sick horse is on the yard, but does not have to be any more complicated than a separated field shelter that is out of reach of other horses. Every yard is different and because of this it is possible to give only very general guidelines. However, if you would like to discuss the risks to your yard
then please contact the practice so that one of our vets can come out to advise you.

Once the risk factors have been established , we can then draw up preventative measures for the yard. General measures include the segregation of new horses to the yard for a three week period to guard against introducing disease into the yard, blood sampling new arrivals for strangles serology and taking swabs and blood samples for horses going to stud. Stable hygiene should also be ensured and the use of separate equipment for each horse for feed, water and grooming. Vaccinating against Influenza and Tetanus is advised and drawing up a worming plan. The ultimate aim is to protect our horses against disease for the benefit of all.

Vettings

Buying a horse is both an exciting and nerve wracking time and we recommend a pre-purchase vetting to help reduce some of the risks associated with the potential purchase!

Pre-purchase vettings are intended to provide the buyer with enough information to decide whether the horse will meet their needs as contrary to popular belief, they are not a simple pass/fail. A pre-purchase vetting is not a lifetime guarantee of soundness but a risk assessment of that horse on the day which will hopefully show up any potential future issues.

There is a saying that any horse can be sold, you just need to find the right buyer and the right price…the pre-purchase vetting will detect abnormalities in most horses but the question is whether they will be significant for the intended use of the horse. This is where a good conversation with your vet is important so that they understands what you intend to do with the horse and can then best advise you on the significance of any findings. It is important that you mention anything that concerned you when trying the horse as the horse may not reproduce it when the vet is watching!

The examination consists of five stages which incorporate an examination at rest, moving in hand and usually ridden exercise. Young or unbroken horses may only have a restricted or two stage examination which does not involve a ridden assessment.

Should you have X-Rays, endoscopy etc. at the vetting?

X-rays are commonly taken for insurance requirements for horses valued over £10,000. Your vet may recommend x-rays if there are concerns regarding a particular joint during the examination. If you are buying the horse to produce and sell on then x-rays may be taken to ensure that there are no problems such as bone chips which may be detected at a subsequent vetting.
It should be remembered that X-rays only show bone changes so for example, just because a horse has clean foot X-rays it does not mean that it cannot go lame in the feet due to a soft tissue injury.

Endoscopy of the upper airways may be performed if the horse makes an abnormal breathing noise at exercise (whistle) or if the horse is intended for strenuous pursuits such as racing or eventing.

Sheath Washing

Many owners feel that washing their horses sheath is a fundamental part of their horse care regime, however sheath washing is usually unnecessary and can result in the establishment of quite severe bacterial infection which can be very difficult to resolve.

What is normal?

When relaxed, the horse’s penis normally remains within its protective sheath where it is held in place by muscles. When these muscles relax and/or the penis fills with blood and becomes erect, it becomes exposed. At the tip of the penis (the glans) is the opening of the urethra. This is surrounded by a deep ‘pocket’, or fossa. Apart from the glans, which is covered by a thin sensitive membrane, the rest of the penis (shaft) is covered by smooth, supple, well-oiled skin, much of which is normally folded within the prepuce. Debris from the normal secretions of the skin glands and normally-dying cells from the surface of the skin within the sheath may accumulate in these folds and in the urethral fossa and diverticulum. This accumulation of waxy material is called ‘smegma’. It may be black, grey or cream coloured in normal horses and has a slightly greasy feel. It occasionally forms into bean-shaped lumps which lodge in the urethral fossa and diverticulum. Some horses produce very little smegma whereas others produce large quantities. In such horses, smegma can often be seen staining the opening of the sheath and on the inside of the thighs and hocks.

The penis and sheath have a permanent population of normal bacteria on their surface, just as all skin surfaces do. These bacteria do not cause disease, they undoubtedly help maintain the health of the skin and may help prevent infection by controlling ‘unwelcome’ bacteria. The urethral fossa and diverticulum, in particular, can harbour potential venereal disease producing bacteria (specifically Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Taylorella equigenitalis). Infection with these organisms can cause venereal disease in mares following mating but rarely cause signs or symptoms of disease in the carrier stallion, which is usually infected by a carrier mare. When stallions become infected, these organisms may survive on the penile skin alongside the ‘normal’ bacterial population and can then be very difficult to remove.

What harm can sheath washing do?

Washing the penis and sheath with strong detergent solutions can remove the natural skin oils, resulting in dry penile skin which cracks as it folds and unfolds, causing irritation and damage followed by inflammation and secondary infection. If this infection is caused by bacteria that are easy to treat, the problem may resolve spontaneously once washing with detergent has stopped. Local (creams or ointments) or systemic (by injection or by mouth) antibiotic treatment may be necessary.

Repeated washing with antiseptic, i.e. antibacterial washes or detergent solutions can result in alteration or removal of the normal penile skin bacterial population. This may result in colonisation by unwelcome bacteria that are not normally present, either from the stable environment or following mating with a venereal disease carrier mare, and severe penile skin and sheath infections can result. The infection results in inflammation, swelling of local tissues and a profuse foul-smelling discharge which is much more unpleasant than smegma.

These infections can be extremely difficult to treat due to the resistant nature of some unwelcome bacteria. In such cases, prolonged treatment with specific systemic and topical antibiotics may be necessary, followed by a period of rest and then the application of a specially prepared ‘normal’ penile skin bacterial broth culture to re-colonise the area. In some cases even this treatment may be unsuccessful and chronic infection may result in thickened cracked penile skin, chronic discharge and extreme discomfort.

How should sheath washing be performed?

If your horse appears to have a healthy penis and sheath there is almost certainly no need to wash it at all. In horses that produce large amounts of smegma and appear uncomfortable, and in show horses or others where this would be considered unsightly, excess smegma can be wiped or rinsed away with warm clean water using soap that contains no antiseptics or detergents. A small amount of light mineral oil (such as baby oil) may help to loosen lumps and make excessive smegma easier to remove. It is important to be gentle and not abrade the skin and to rinse all trace of soap away. For healthy breeding stallions, rinsing the relaxing penis with warm clean water immediately on dismount is usually all that is required.

Passports

It is a legal obligation that every horse in the UK has a passport to permanently identify them. The fine for being found to not have a passport for a horse under your care is £5000.

There are many misunderstandings about the passport system in the UK; it is the intention that this information sheet helps to resolve some of these questions.

Does my horse need to be microchipped to receive a passport?
As of the 1st July 2009, a new passport can only be issued if the horse is microchipped. This applies to older horses as much as to foals, therefore if you are applying for a passport for the first time for your horse you will require to have them microchipped at the same time.

Why do I need a passport?
Horse passports act as a record of drugs administered to your horse, as the horse is now regarded as a food producing animal in the EU. Certain drugs cannot be administered to horses that are intended to enter the human food chain (including commonly used drugs such as bute). If you cannot produce a passport for examination when the vet attends to examine your horse the vet may be limited in which drugs he or she can administer.

What if I buy a horse and do not receive a passport?
A passport proves a horses identity, if one is not produced at the time of purchase, this is not only illegal but should alert the buyer that all may not be as it seems with the horse! The vendor can be prosecuted by Trading standards for not producing a passport at the time of sale.

My mare is due to foal, how quickly do I need to get the foal passported?
This must be done before the foal is six months old, or by the 31st December of the year the foal is born, whichever is later.

I am putting my horse out on loan, who keeps the passport?
Technically the day to day keeper of the horse should have the passport in their possession in order for it to be inspected on demand. Many people are concerned that by giving their passport away they are relinquishing ownership of the horse however it is a legal requirement that the passport can be shown to an inspector within 3 hours of a request for inspection. These rules also apply if a horse is kepy at livery, the person who is in charge of the horses day to day care should be in possession of the passport. The passport must accompany the horse at all times if it is travelling or attending shows.

What if I lose my passport?
Ask a vet to scan your horse’s neck for a microchip, if there is one present the number will assist the passport issuing authority in identifying the horse involved. Contact the original passport issuing authority to arrange a duplicate passport to be issued. There are many issuing authorities including breed societies, British Horse Society and PetID.

Do I have to sign my horse out of the food chain in order for a vet to treat him?
No, however it is essential that you make your wishes known to the treating vet before they administer any medication. If you decide that you would like your horse to enter the human food chain eventually it can still be treated but certain drugs cannot be used. The horse must be signed INTO the food chain in this situation and all drugs given must be recorded. Most pet and general purpose horses are signed out of the food chain to allow flexibility in treatment options and peace of mind. Once a horse is signed OUT of the food chain it can never be signed back in, so consider your options carefully before making a decision. If you are unsure whether your horse has been signed in or out of the foodchain, or would like to clarify the position for your horse, please ask a vet to look at your passport when they are next at your yard.

What happens to the passport when my horse dies/ is euthanased?
Upon the death of a horse, the passport should be returned to the issuing body for cancellation.

Useful links:
www.gov.uk – Horse passports

Anti Doping

The British Equestrian Federation which regulates British Showjumping, British Dressage, British Eventing & British Reining introduced new medicine regulations from 1st January 2012.
The new regulations will match the international (FEI) regulations and essentially divide medicines into two categories:

  • Banned substances which have no therapeutic use in the horse and should not be used in horses. This is termed Doping, i.e. the use of artificial enhancements to gain an advantage over others in competition.
  • Controlled substances which can legitimately be used to treat medical conditions in horses but are not permitted in competition.

Full details of the new rules can be found at www.bef.co.uk

Essentially, if your horse requires medication out of competition which may still be in the horse’s system at the time of competition then the owner/rider and vet need to complete a medication form stating the reason for use of the product. This form must be taken with you to the competition to be produced in the event of a test. Your vet should be able to advise you of the detection time of any medication prescribed and it is usual to add in a safety factor as some horses may exceed the average detection time.

The detection times of many drugs in the controlled substances category can be found on the FEI website http://www.feicleansport.org as can lists of medications in the controlled and banned lists. Please bear in mind that the drugs listed are the active ingredients not the trade names so please check the labels of any medication that you use carefully.

If your horse is tested at a competition then you must apply for a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) within 10 days of the test. The medication and TUE forms can be found on the BEF website.

Admitting Your Horse To The Clinic

Operations are performed at Milbourn Equine at an ever increasing rate. We are very fortunate to have a close working relationship with a team of visiting surgeons who are always willing to come to us to perform surgeries. These surgeons are experts in their field of work and with the exception of some emergency procedures, such as colic surgery, we are now able to perform almost all operations your horse may need at our clinic.

If surgery is recommended by one of our vets, an equine surgeon specially trained in that procedure is contacted, and a date suitable for both you and the surgeon is arranged. If your horse is insured, we advise you contact your insurance company to let them know your horse has been advised to have surgery. If you have insurance permission before the surgery it provides you with peace of mind that you are covered. It also allows us time to write a report to the insurance company explaining why the surgery is indicated if necessary.

Once a date has been decided we will arrange for you to bring your horse in to the clinic the day before so that they may have time to settle into their new stable. Please can you ensure that you bring a bridle with your horse when they are visiting the clinic. One of our nurses will meet you on arrival and settle your horse in. We will ask you to sign a consent form for the surgery and ensure we have all your contact details. We request that you arrange for your horse’s shoes to be removed before they arrive at the clinic, this ensures that when your horse is waking up form the surgery they do not hurt themselves on the metal shoes.

Our nurses check on all our in patients during the evening. They will remove your horses feed at 10pm so that your horse has an empty stomach for the surgery. This helps your horse breath with greater ease under the anaesthetic without a big stomach of hay lying on their lungs.

The following morning the vet who will be anesthetising your horse examines them closely, listening to their heart and checking they are fit for surgery. A catheter is placed into one of the neck veins to allow drugs to be given easily without the need for your horse to have repeated needles placed in their vein. Your horse is then given antibiotics and pain killers ready for surgery before being taken into our purposefully built padded surgical box. A sedative is then given so that your horse is relaxed and sleepy before the anaesthetic injection is given.

When the anaesthetic injection is given our team of surgeon, anaesthetist and nurses guide your horse to the floor. Once asleep a soft rubber tube is placed into your horse’s mouth down their trachea (wind pipe) to allow your horse to breath easily. Ties are then placed around your horses legs to allow us to lift them onto the surgical table with a winch. Our table is inflated with air to provide a comfortable bed to support your horse and allow us to adjust the height depending on the surgery being performed.

Once your horse is on the surgical table the breathing tube is connected to an anaesthetic machine which provides a continuous flow of oxygen. An anaesthetic gas is also combined with the oxygen to keep your horse asleep throughout the surgical procedure.

During the surgery your horse is closely monitored by the anaesthetist. An ECG is used to visualise your horses heart beat, the carbon dioxide content of your horse’s breath is continuously monitored as is the oxygen content of their blood. A small catheter is also placed into one of your horses facial arteries to continuously monitor his/her blood pressure. Once the surgery has been completed we carefully winch your horse off of the table and lay them onto the floor of the surgical box. The anaesthetist remains with your horse until they begin to wake up and are able to swallow. We then leave your horse to continue to wake up quietly, whilst watching them through the doors of the box. Once your horse has stood they remain in the surgery box for up to an hour to allow them to recover quietly before we walk them back to their stable.

Following the surgery we keep horses in the clinic for a few days to ensure they make a full recovery and continue their injectable antibiotics. For most surgical conditions this is a 5 day antibiotic course with your horse able to go home once the course is completed.

Depending on the surgery performed we do advise that owners do not visit their horse until the following day. After an anaesthetic your horse will be feeling sleepy from the drugs administered and they will not feel up to having visitors! During the weekend we will provide you with the on call nurse’s telephone number so you may arrange a mutually convenient visiting time.

Please do not hesitate to call the clinic for updates while your horse is in hospital as we will be happy to discuss their progress with you.