Dermatology encompasses all equine skin diseases including infections, allergies and tumours. Some of these conditions can be very frustrating to treat.
Any of our equine vets can advise you if you have any concerns about your horse’s skin, however, an examination will most likely be necessary in order to make an accurate diagnosis.
In some cases further tests such as skin scrapes, swabs or biopsies may be required in order to enable correct treatment.
If Sarcoids are suspected then photographs will probably be sent for assessment by experts at Liverpool University, and their treatment recommendations adhered to.
Whilst most dermatology cases can be managed on the yard, on occasion it may be necessary to bring horses in to the practice to facilitate more complex diagnostics or treatments.
Our equine veterinary and nursing teams are experienced in all aspects of foal care.
Sick foals require a lot of nursing care and often require fluid therapy, supplementary oxygen and assisted feeding as well as medication.
We are able to assess your foal at your yard and we can hospitalise foals for intensive care if necessary, and can provide round the clock care to sick foals.
We recommend having your newborn foal checked at 24 hours old, or earlier if you are concerned about it.
At the foal check we will perform a complete physical examination of the foal and take a blood sample to check that the foal has received enough colostrum. If the foal has not had enough colostrum we can treat failure of passive transfer with a plasma transfusion.
At the time of the foal check we will also examine the mare and make sure the placenta is complete.
We are experienced at dealing with medical and orthopaedic conditions of the growing foal.
Please contact the equine team if you have any further questions about foals or need more information about breeding from your mare.
Neurological signs can vary from very mild almost unnoticeable gait abnormalities or alteration in behaviour to extreme lack of coordination and ataxia.
In addition, they may be localised to one specific area such as a drooping lip, or affect the whole horse. As such, they can be difficult to diagnose and treat.
Signs may be caused by acute or chronic trauma to the head, neck or peripheral nerves; Equine Herpes Virus (EHV) or other infections; liver or kidney disease; severe abdominal pain such as colic; and toxin exposure.
Treatment Of Neurological Conditions In Horses
In most cases the horse will initially be examined at your premises, a full history taken to determine possible causes, and full clinical and neurological examinations undertaken, if safe to do so – a very ataxic horse may be unsafe to thoroughly examine. Blood samples may be taken for further diagnostics if appropriate.
If further investigations such as detailed radiography and ultrasonography are indicated then these are performed at the practice. Some cases may also require further diagnostics at a referral centre.
Treatment largely depends on the cause of the signs. It may be possible to treat the horse on the yard, but hospitalisation might be necessary to enable more intensive management.
Unfortunately, not all neurological cases are treatable, but some may improve gradually over a period of time if the horse is not so severely ataxic that it is dangerous to handle.
Equine Respiratory Disease
Respiratory diseases are very common in horses and ponies.
Our equine veterinary team is experienced in dealing with management of both group and individual cases of infectious disease.
Investigation Of Respiratory Diseases
Some, but not all, respiratory cases will require endoscopy where a fibre optic camera in inserted up the nose and into the back of the horses throat.
Samples can then be taken by passing the endoscope into the trachea (windpipe) or into the gutteral pouches. Other cases that are presenting for poor performance may have laryngeal problems. If these are not present in a standing case we also have access to dynamic respiratory endoscopy (i.e. endoscopy at exercise).
If a potential cardiology case is identified a detailed cardiological evaluation will include examination of the heart using colour flow Doppler echocardiography and an ECG (electrocardiograph) at rest and also an exercising ECG if indicated. This allows us to investigate a number of disorders, most notably those associated with cardiac murmurs and arrhythmias.
ECGs can now be obtained using modern digital equipment which is small enough to fit under a saddle pad to record results while the horse exercises. This allows us to examine horses at rest and during different levels of exercise.
Heart murmurs are extremely common in all types of horses and ponies. They are often detected during pre-purchase examination and this can lead to considerable concern over their possible future impact on the horse’s suitability for intended use.
A detailed cardiological examination at our practice will aid us to determine the significance of any detected murmurs and assess any likely impact on the horses’ future career.
Gastrointestinal Disorders In Horses
Gastrointestinal conditions can affect the oesophagus and stomach, intestines, or major organs such as the liver and kidneys.
Signs Of Gastrointestinal Disease
Signs of disease may include colic, weight loss and poor performance. As the abdomen of the horse is very large, diagnosis of some conditions can be challenging.
Acute gastro-intestinal conditions such as severe colic may be immediately transported to a referral practice for surgery, if appropriate. However, more chronic, on-going conditions can often be worked up by our equine team.
Treatment Of Gastrointestinal Disease
In these cases, a full and accurate history will be taken at the time of the initial examination, including details of previous worming and any pre-existing conditions or current treatments.
A rectal examination may be performed, and blood and faecal samples may be taken to give more information on the body system involved, and aid diagnosis.
Some cases may need to be admitted to the practice for further investigations – these might include gastroscopy, ultrasonography, or biopsies of liver or rectum, depending on clinical signs and previous laboratory results. Rarely, more invasive surgery may be indicated.
Treatment of gastro-intestinal disorders depends entirely on the cause, and can involve anything from intensive worming programmes to surgical treatments.
Poor Performance Investigations
Causes of poor performance are many and varied, and may include:
- Dental disease
- Low grade musculoskeletal pain, including mild lameness or muscular disorders
- Cardiac or respiratory problems
- Poorly fitting saddles or other tack
- Low grade infection
In some cases the horse may be being asked to do too much, and may not be physically capable of performing to the level requested.
Our equine vets can perform an initial examination of the horse at home – please be aware that we may wish to see the horse ridden and/or lunged, depending on the nature of the problem, and may take blood samples to aid diagnosis if appropriate.
Many cases, however require a more detailed examination at the practice in order to make an accurate diagnosis and establish what, if any, treatment is required.
In some cases we may also advise the services of a qualified physiotherapist and/or saddle fitter to ensure the whole problem is being addressed, and help to prevent any reoccurrences.