Archive for Equine

CAUTION – Horses in hot weather

With temperatures expected to remain high over the weekend we thought we would give you some general advice about keeping horses cool in hot weather!

  • An obvious one to start…please try not to exercise your horse in the hottest hours of the day! It takes at least 2-3 weeks for horses to acclimatise to working in hot conditions. (more…)

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Equine Cushings Disease – FREE LAB TESTING FEES from 1st June until Autumn

We are pleased to let you know that we are participating in the Boehringer initiative Talk About Laminitis again this year which offers FREE lab fees when testing horses and ponies for Cushings disease that have not been previously diagnosed. The offer runs from 1st June until the autumn (terms and conditions apply)

If your horse is showing any signs of Cushings disease a simple blood test can confirm or rule out it out- symptoms include recurrent infections, a long curly coat, excessive drinking, fat pads, lethargy and arguably the worst symptom Laminitis. If confirmed the treatment is simple and can transform the quality of life of your horse . If you would like more information about Cushings disease, the testing or the treatment please follow the link – we are also happy to talk to you about your individual horse so please give us a call 01296 621 840.

Please download a voucher here – available from the 1st June 2017.


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Back on Track – Vaccination Amnesty June 2017

Equine Flu and Tetanus are serious threats to your horses health and Wendover Heights Equine strongly recommends keeping your vaccinations up to date.

During the month of June we will be running an Equine Vaccination Amnesty for Flu and Flu and Tetanus.   If your horse has never been vaccinated or the vaccinations have lapsed and you have the first vaccine of the primary course in JUNE the second vaccine will be FREE! A saving of over £30.

Your horse must be over 12 months old and you must have the second FREE vaccine done within six weeks of the first.

Please call our equine line to book on 01296 621 840.

Terms and Conditions apply.

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Client Evening – Donkeys are Different

Thursday 11th May 2017 at 7.30pm at the Practice in Wendover

Please join us for our next client evening when we will be joined by Vet Anna Harrison MRCVS from The Donkey Sanctuary. Anna will talk to us about the brilliant work the Sanctuary does and how and why donkeys are different- they are not mini horses and they have some very specific needs when it comes to care and management. Anna will also tell us about some of the more common health problems donkeys can suffer with and the role of your Veterinary Surgeon when looking after your donkey. We will also be joined by a Vet nutritionist who will talk to us about the importance of a correct and balanced diet. Our Vet Kathryn Tuckett will also be on hand to answer any questions you have.

As usual there is no fee to attend our client evening – we will be running a raffle on the night with all proceeds going to The Donkey Sanctuary.

Drinks and nibbles provided – All welcome. Please contact me to reserve your place.

Contact: Rachel, Equine Coordinator

Tel: 01296 621 840 or Email:

For more information on Equine events please view our News and Events page here.

Posted in: Equine, Upcoming Events

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Gastric Ulcer Awareness Month

November is Gastric Ulcer Awareness Month here at Wendover Heights Equine, kindly sponsored by Merial (manufacturers of ‘Gastrogard’).

THE OFFER – If your horse is gastroscoped and diagnosed with ulcers here at Wendover Heights Equine, Merial will cover the cost of 1 week of Gastrogard as part of the 4 week treatment course!

Ulcers are a bit of a ‘buzz-word’ amongst horse owners at the moment. What we do know, however, is that they are far more common than we previously thought. Whether you own a happy hacker or a thoroughbred racehorse, it is important to know the facts about gastric ulcers!

So What Are Gastric Ulcers and Why Do They Form?

Horses are designed to be trickle feeders with constant access to forage. In our modern management systems this natural state is somewhat altered, with many horses spending long periods of time stabled and fed large amounts of concentrates.

Horses are continuously producing gastric acid (up to 1.5 litres/hour) which can cause the stomach contents to become quite acidic. Usually this is neutralised by saliva whilst they graze.

The stomach is divided into a glandular and a non glandular (squamous) portion. Gastric acid sits within the glandular portion. When the horse is exercised, this gastric acid splashes onto the unprotected non glandular portion which ultimately leads to ulcers! However, you can also get glandular ulcers too.


Are there any risk factors?

PLENTY!! These include high concentrate/low forage diets, periods of starvation, long stabling periods, intense/increased exercise, transportation, management changes or increased stress levels. Foals are also at a higher risk.

Clinical Signs

  • reduced appetite
  • poor condition
  • dullness
  • poor performance
  • low grade or recurrent colic
  • reluctance to work
  • irritability/attitude changes/ girthy

This list is by no means exhaustive as different horses may show a number of different signs.


Gastroscopy! This involves passing a long (3 metres!) but narrow fibre-optic camera up the nose, down the oesophagus and into the stomach. We can then look for ulcers which we grade from 0-4. Surprisingly, horses tolerate this very well and usually only require mild sedation.

The only other thing to bear in mind is that your horse will need to  be starved prior to gastroscopy, usually for 15-18 hours. Without this period of starvation all we would be able to see is what they ate for last night’s dinner…


Omeprazole, an acid inhibitor, has been shown to be the most effective treatment for gastric ulcers.   Omeprazole for horses comes as a paste which is given straight into the mouth. Following diagnosis, usually a 28 day course is given, followed by a review with your Vet.

Management and Prevention

  • Free access to  good quality forage and increased pasture turnout will help significantly.
  • Concentrate feed should be fed in smaller quantities in increased number of feeds.
  • Oil supplementation – a good alternative calorie source as opposed to concentrates.
  • Minimising periods with no food available (e.g. travelling with a haynet).
  • Ensuring a constant supply of fresh, clean water.

For more information, or to book your horse in for Gastric Ulcer Awareness Month, please contact Wendover Heights Equine on 01296 621 840.

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General Anaesthetics @ Wendover Heights Equine

Many of you may not know that we have a fully padded knock-down box (special stable for anaesthetising horses) and surgical theatre here at our equine clinic.  We use these for elective surgical procedures requiring a general anaesthetic.

A lot of routine surgical procedures can be carried out by our own vets but, to ensure the best care for your horse, we defer to the expertise of specialist equine surgeons for our more complex cases! We are super lucky to have some great relationships with nearby referral hospitals and surgeons who are happy to perform surgery here at the practice. Emergency surgical cases are referred to nearby hospitals in order to provide more specialist care.

General anaesthesia in horses is not without risk so careful decision making and planning is required to try and minimise the risks.

Below is a general guide as to what will happen during the anaesthetic.


This is a vital stage where the vet will perform a thorough clinical exam to check for any potential dangers that may complicate the anaesthetic.  We can then modify our technique or even postpone the surgery if we deem the risks are too high.

Usually, a  small area on the neck is clipped so we can place a catheter into the jugular vein. This can then be used to give medication and fluids during the surgery. If they are shod, the shoes are usually removed to protect them during recovery.


This often involves giving an injection containing a tranquilliser to reduce the horse’s anxiety. This has also been shown to significantly reduce the risk of anaesthesia.


The horse is walked into the padded knock-down box for induction. The horse will be heavily sedated and, after a few minutes, is then given the anaesthetic injection via the catheter to induce anaesthesia (where the horse becomes unconscious and goes down).  The padded knock-down box ensures the horse lies down on to a soft surface. All this is performed by the Vet.


Following induction, the horse is ‘intubated’.  This involves passing an endotracheal tube (a hollow, long tube) into the mouth, through the larynx and into the trachea (windpipe). This allows the horse to be attached to the tubes delivering gas from the anaesthetic machine. The horse will breathe a mixture of oxygen and anaesthetic gas to ensure he or she remains unconscious. It is also possible to maintain anaesthesia using intravenous drugs, instead of using anaesthetic gas. Your Vet will decide the best protocol for your horse.

The horse is then positioned on the surgical table in theatre.  It is very important to ensure the horse is correctly positioned, to ensure that there are no pressure points on any areas of muscle and allow the surgeon access to the appropriate area.

The horse is constantly monitored by a vet during the anaesthetic who monitors parameters such as heart rate, breathing rate and blood pressure. They will also monitor depth of anaesthesia and fluid therapy.


After the surgery, the horse is moved back into the padded knock-down box. When the horse is deemed ready by the vet, the endotracheal tube is removed. The horse is usually then left alone, in a dark and quiet environment and watched by the vet.

Recovery can be risky as the horse’s movements tend to be unpredictable.  We consider the operation completed once the horse is standing in the knock down box. Once he is able, he will be moved to a stable to continue recovery.

Kindly, some of our amazing clients have allowed us to use some surgery photos – which you can see below!

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