Horse and Equine Vet Services

Lameness

Our equine services include one of the most common problems in horses, lameness. While we can perform diagnostic procedures at your farm or smallholding.

Procedures and equipment that we might use depend on the horse’s condition and location of lameness.

Common Horse Vaccinations

Horse Vaccination

To eradicate diseases for your precious animal, vaccines are highly recommended. Common vaccines include:

Tetanus

Clostridium tetani bacteria cause tetanus. Spores of this bacteria are passed through animal faeces and the ground is infected. Tetanus occurs when there are wounds present as it enters wounds and multiplies.

While it can attack any animal, horses are incredibly sensitive to it. A horse that contracted tetanus will have pricked ears and a sawhorse stance, the tail held out stiffly and the head elevated. Many horses will not be able to walk and if they can, it will be stiff-legged. When a death occurs, it is often respiratory paralysis.

To treat tetanus in horses is expensive, time-consuming, and difficult with the mortality rate very high despite treatment. Vaccination is highly recommended with the initial vaccination or two sets, four weeks apart. A year later a booster is recommended with an additional shot between one and three years after that.

Strangles

Strangles is an infection caused by the bacteria Streptococcus equi  equi. It is a highly contagious disease seen in horses, donkeys, and mules. Although young horses are typically affected, any age group can become sick. Typically the horse develops a fever (high temperature, >38.3*C) and swollen lymph nodes which abscess and rupture. The purulent material (creamy yellow discharge) in strangles abscesses and from the nose contains very high numbers of the bacteria. The infection spreads by direct horse-to-horse contact or by humans, tack, drinking troughs, fences, and from the environment contaminated with the infectious discharge. Vaccination is recommended to either prevent the disease or at least reduce its severity and duration.

Vaccines against strangles are highly recommended. Around 50% of vaccinated horses will still develop a milder form of strangles after exposure. The vaccine is an injection into the muscle and can be given alone or combined with tetanus (2-in-1).

Initially, a course of 3 vaccines should be given, each 2 weeks apart. This may also be required in horses that are overdue for vaccination. Immunity to infection should be present 2 weeks after the final vaccine. Recommendations for booster vaccination are at least every 12 months and every 6 months in horses that travel and contact other horses regularly.

There are some risks associated with vaccination, including very rare cases of purpura haemorrhagica. However, the risk of purpura haemorrhagica is much greater in non-vaccinated horses that contract strangles.

Colic

Horses can have colic for many reasons, so recommendations for management may vary.  If you have any questions or concerns with your colicky horse, please get in touch with us.