Vets for Horses
Caring for Your Horse
At Williams Vets we provide care for all our equine patients.
We can do this by travelling to you or alternatively you can bring your horse to the surgery.
We also provide a 24 hour emergency service.
Some of the main equine services we provide are listed below along with useful information regarding these services.
We also work closely with referral practices should your horse/pony require further treatments.
Williams Vets now offer an equine dentistry service. Regular, thorough dental work is important in maintaining your horses health and performance. It is recommended that a dental examination be carried out every 6 - 12 months. An ideal time to do this is with your horses annual vaccinations.
We recommend routine vaccinations against: Tetanus, Flu, Herpes and Strangles.
Tetanus: Every horse and pony should be vaccinated against Tetanus. Tetanus is a disease that can affect any horse or pony at any time. It is contracted from contamination of wounds (even minor ones) with bacteria that live in the soil. The toxin produced by the bacteria produces painful muscle spasms that can be severe enough to cause convulsions. Vaccination is a very simple and effective way to prevent this severe and often fatal disease. Depending on the brand of vaccine used, booster doses may only be needed as infrequent as every 2 years.
Flu (equine influenza): Whilst flu is not as serious to the individual horse as tetanus, it still has major implications for horse owners. Most horses infected with flu will get a mild fever and a persistent, long term cough which prevents the horse from being exercised for at least 3 weeks. The flu virus is highly contagious, so the disease can spread rapidly between horses at shows or where horses are kept together on a yard. Due to the disease’s potential to severely disrupt all equine activities, most reasonably sized equine events will insist that all horses are vaccinated against flu. The benefit of this is that equine influenza has now become relatively uncommon. Booster vaccinations against flu are needed every year.
Herpes (equine herpesvirus 1 & 4): In horses, herpes infection can cause one of three types of disease. The commonest effect of herpes is an unwell horse or pony that has a moderate fever and runny nose (and possibly a cough). Most horses and ponies will recover from this without complication but, like flu it can result in your horse being unable to be exercised for several weeks. Very rarely, horses that are recovering from a herpes infection can develop the neurological for of the disease. Some horses can recover from the neurological form of the disease, but unfortunately some do not and have to be put down. The third form of the disease is abortion – obviously this can only occur in pregnant mares. Herpes infection in horses is quite common; vaccination is most effective at preventing the disease when all of the horses on an establishment are protected. Booster vaccinations are required every 6 months.
Strangles (Streptococcus equi): This is a highly contagious respiratory tract infection that spreads by direct contact between horses and ponies. It can also be spread via grooming kits, clothing, buckets, vermin and tack. The disease is fairly common and appears to be increasing in prevalence in the UK. Infected horses normally have a high temperature, a purulent nasal discharge and swollen lymph nodes in the head and neck. Unlike flu and herpes, strangles is a bacterial infection and can be treated with antibiotics. In rare cases, lymph nodes throughout the body can become abscessed. This is called ‘bastard strangle’ and can be difficult to treat.
Routine worming and pasture management techniques to reduce the contamination of your grazing land form part of the basic care that your horse or pony needs. You should choose your worming products in order to kill the correct types of parasite at the time of the year when they are vulnerable. You should always use wormers in such a way as to prevent the development of resistance to the wormer.
We can provide:
Flies congregate in the corner of your horse’s eyes to drink the fluid, and as they carry bacteria, this can cause infection. They may also lay eggs on open wounds that hatch out into maggots — a condition known as myiasis, or fly strike. You should contact your vet at either branch if you see signs of this. Some horses suffer badly with sweet itch, an allergic response to Culicoide midge bites. This results in skin lesions that are aggravated by the horse rubbing them. In summer, it’s wise to invest in a fly rug to protect your horse in the field, you can also get fly masks to protect their eyes. For ridden work, you may like to try a fly veil, or a ride-on fly rugs if your horse is particularly sensitive. There are also many different insect repellant sprays on the market designed for use with horses
It is now compulsory for all horses registered after July 2009 to have a microchip implanted at the time of passport application but olderhorses can also benefit from being permanently identified. The microchips are implanted in to your horse’s neck by means of a simple injection.
This is usually just as quick and easy as giving your horse its routine vaccinations. The microchip carries a unique number which is read with an electronic scanner. This number is registered on a national database together with your details as the horse’s owner. If your horse is found following loss or theft, you will have an indisputable way of proving that you are the rightful owner.