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Equine

Our equine services in Fort William

  • Routine visits and examinations
  • Vaccination
  • Dental Services
  • Lameness Exams
  • Castration
  • Pre-Purchase Exams (Vettings)
  • 24 Hour Emergency Care

Routine visits and examinations

We provide a wide range of ambulatory services including vaccinations, pre-purchase examinations, microchipping, castrations, routine and advanced dentistry (including wolf tooth removal, diastemas and molar extractions), lameness and poor performance investigations and treatment of medical conditions for ex. cushings disease or colic. 

We are available to treat all emergencies 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Vaccination

Regular vaccination of your horse, pony or donkeys is a vital element of care to prevent them from serious, and potentially life-threatening, diseases. Equine flu can affect the upper and lower respiratory tract, which can then lead to nasal discharge and a cough. 

We recommend vaccination to stop your horse from becoming potentially ill, averting the need for him/her to be isolated.  We also recommend vaccination against Tetanus, caused by the bacterium Clostridium Tetanii, which can be found in soil and droppings.  Tetanus enters the body through wounds, particularly puncture wounds if the wound is dirty, attacking nerves controlling the muscles of the body. 

Please be aware that competition horses must have an up to date vaccination record to meet the requirements of many sporting governing bodies. 

Dental Services

We provide a comprehensive dental service, ranging from routine rasping with power or manual tools, wolf tooth and cheek tooth extractions, x-rays, and treatment of diastema and periodontal disease.  

Signs of Dental Problems 

Signs of dental problems are varied and include: poor performance, resistance to contact or head shaking, difficulty in chewing and dropping of food (quidding), weight loss, nasal discharge, lymph node enlargement and foul-smelling breath. 

Severe dental disease can exist for a long period of time with no outward clinical signs, so regular examination of your horse's mouth every 6 - 12 months allows early diagnosis and treatment of dental abnormalities before they develop into more serious problems. 

Common problems identified include: 

Sharp enamel points - These usually develop on the outside of the upper cheek teeth and in the inside of the lower cheek teeth. They occur in almost every horse fed on a modern diet and can cause sores on the cheeks and tongue. 

Hooks the upper front cheek teeth can lie in front of the opposing lower cheek teeth resulting in overgrowths that point downwards. The lower back cheek teeth can lie behind the opposing upper teeth, resulting in overgrowths that point upwards at the back of the mouth. 

Diastema this is the name given to gaps between the teeth, which can result in very painful disease of the gums and ultimately tooth root abscess and tooth loss. 

Caries is dental decay that can lead to tooth root abscess and fracture of the tooth. Should you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us

Lameness Exams

What is lameness?

Lameness is a common problem in horses, ponies and donkeys, regardless of their age, size, and breed and whether they are ridden for pleasure, competition or simply kept as pets. Lameness occurs due to pain or restriction during movement, and varies in severity, sometimes only manifesting as poor performance or resentment of certain movements. 

Diagnosis of lameness

Our equine vets are experienced in lameness diagnosis and treatment . 

Lameness Evaluation Procedures

After a full clinical exam and lameness assessment, evaluation with hoof testers and flexion tests are usually performed to try to localise the area of pain. Unless there is an obvious area of abnormality, nerve blocks are normally performed which involves infusion of a local anaesthetic around a nerve to desensitise the structures below the level of the injection. To further localise the area of pain, local anaesthetic can also be injected into synovial structures – joints and tendon sheaths. Once the lameness has been localised the area in question needs to be imaged using x-rays, ultrasound or both. Further specialist imaging such as MRI or Scintigraphy (Bone Scanning) can be arranged if required. 

Treatment:

Once the cause of lameness has been determined, our vets can advise on the most appropriate treatment and management for the condition. We offer joint medication, Equidronate (Tildren), joint supplements and controlled rehabilitation exercise programs. 

We also work alongside veterinary physiotherapists and experienced farriers for a multifactorial approach to treatment. 

Castration

Castrations are normally done in the standing sedated animal at age 6 - 24 months, but may need to be done at the clinic under general anaesthetic for older animals, Shetlands, donkeys, or "Rigs", where there is an undescended testicle. 

It is vital that a vet performs a pre-castration check to ensure both testicles are present in the scrotum and the animal is healthy enough to withstand the procedure. The type of castration required will also be discussed at this appointment.  

We recommend castrations are performed in the spring or autumn months in order to avoid the flies. 

The surgical procedure varies slightly depending on the age and size of animal, however normally an “open castration” is performed, and the wounds are left open to drain. 

Pre-Purchase Exams (Vettings)

We strongly recommend that before buying a new horse, you think about a pre-purchase exam (vetting), in order to detect any abnormalities and determine their suitability for intended purpose.

A blood sample is taken at the time of examination and stored for 6 months. Should the need arise, this sample is then available for future analysis, to detect substances present in the horse’s system at the time of the examination, that might have masked any factors affecting the horse’s suitability for the purchaser’s intended use. We can carry out pre-purchase vettings on behalf of our registered clients or on behalf of non-registered clients.

Please be aware that if the horse to be vetted belongs to a client of the practice, we will request the permission of the vendor for full disclosure of any clincial history to the purchaser.

Both 2 stage and 5 stage vettings and vettings for insurance can be carried out, please call us to ask for further details.

24 Hour Emergency Care

Our dedicated and experienced equine team provide emergency cover on a rota basis. 

In an emergency, please call the normal clinic number . During our normal working hours - Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm - you will

you will speak to one of our own receptionists.  Out of these times, your call will be answered by our vet on call and provide veterinary assistance as quickly as possible. Please give clear details about your horse's location to ensure that our vet can get to you as soon as possible. 

The vet on call will always be one of our own vets and therefore you can rest assured your equine will receive the best possible care at all times. 

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