Hot Weather

With the temperature increasing by the hour, our internal medicine specialist, Natasha Jocelyn MA, VetMB, MVetMed, Dip ECEIM, MRCVS, has shared the following top tips to help keep your horse cool:

* Turnout at night instead of the day
* Ensure your horse has a shady spot to stand in
* Free choice water ideally from a trough that refills automatically. Horses usually drink around 25L in 24 hours but in hot weather will drink more so have multiple buckets
* Exercise early in morning or late at night and wash off with plenty of cold water afterwards
* Apply sunscreen to pale coloured muzzles or ears
* If you need to travel your horse pick the cooler parts of the day and make sure your box is ventilated
* When arriving at shows unload promptly and offer water straight away

🐴🌞

 

Jolly

Jolly, a British Miniature foal weighing 16kg presented to the hospital, after initially being seen by our stud team.
 
Jolly had developed diarrhoea and was no longer nursing very well. He was treated in our special foal unit by our internal medicine specialist along with the hospital team.
 
Key in the care of neonates are our experienced registered nurses who help provide the TLC and support foals need.
 
We are pleased to report after just over a week in the hospital Jolly was discharged back into the care of his owners. He made quite the impression while in the hospital and we wish him all the best at home.

Elephants….

Something a little different from the equines he usually deals with…..

Our house surgeon, Luis Rubio-Martinez performing a vasectomy via key-hole surgery (laparoscopy) in free range African elephants during his time as faculty at the University of Pretoria (South Africa).

Laparoscopic vasectomies have been performed on the African elephants within the elephant population management program (www.elephantpmp.org). This was a collaborative project of the University of Pretoria (South Africa),  Colorado State University (USA), Walt Disney Parks & Resort, Florida (USA), and San Diego Zoo Safari Park, California (USA).

Elephants were operated on in a modified standing position in a sling hung from a crane truck.
Elephant have intra-abdominal testes.
Elephants were operated on in a modified standing position in a sling hung from a crane truck.

Need a home or a new job for your Mare?

We are looking for suitable recipient mares for embryo transfer for our clients.

Embryo transfer is a technique where an embryo is flushed from the donor mare and then transferred into the uterus of the recipient mare. The embryo will then develop within the uterus of the recipient mare and she will raise it as if it was her own.

Ideally recipient mares should be between 3-10 years old, have a good temperament, be healthy and over 16hh.

The mares will be well cared for at all times. Please contact the hospital on 01903 883050 for further information.

Laparoscopy

 

Horse being prepared for left flank laparoscopy

 

The Sussex Equine Hospital offers state-of-the-art laparoscopy surgery for horses. Laparoscopy is key-hole surgery into the horse’s belly, involving inserting a camera through small incisions to view, assess and treat internal organs such as the spleen, intestines, ovaries and retainedtesticles.

The most common procedures performed include removal of retained testicles (rigs); removal of ovaries because of tumours; closure of the nephrosplenic space (between the spleen and the left kidney) where the gut can become trapped causing colic.

Other organs can also be treated, including parts of the gut, the diaphragm, the epiploic foramen, and the bladder.

 

Local anaesthesia being placed into the left flank in preparation for left flank laparoscopy

The advantages of laparoscopy are multiple. Key-hole incisions are very small leading to minimal scarring, low pain and shorter recovery times. Organs are clearer on the screen via key-hole than conventional cut-down surgery and many key-hole procedures are performed on a standing horse without the need of a general anaesthetic.

Historically, laparoscopy has been developed in humans and other animal species, including dogs, cats, ruminants and elephants.

An ovary has been dissected free, to be removed from the abdomen via key-hole surgery on the standing horse.
Intra-abdominal view of the left testicular cord (1) of a horse undergoing standing laparoscopy. The horse had been previously castrated on the left side. The gut (2) can be seen on the left side of the image.

The surgical team at the Sussex Equine Hospital, which includes Andy Crawford, Luis Rubio-Martinez, Nigel Woodford and Hannah-Sophie Chapman, have ample expertise and routinely perform laparoscopic surgery on horses.

If you have any questions or queries or any horse that you think may benefit from laparoscopy, do not hesitate to contact the Sussex Equine Hospital on 01903 883050 or email info@sussexequinehospital.co.uk.

Intra-abdominal view via key-hole surgery of the space between the spleen (1) and the left kidney (2). This space can be sutured closed to decrease the risk of nephrosplenic entrapment.

Foal Limb Deformities

Limb deformities in foals can either be ‘congenital’, meaning they are present at birth, or ‘acquired’ meaning that they develop after birth. Furthermore, within each of these categories limb deformities can be ‘flexural’ or ‘angular’.

 

Flexural limb deformities are commonly present at birth (congenital) and can present as the tendons and ligaments being ‘too loose’ (lax) or ‘too tight’ (contracted). The degree of contracture or laxity and, specifically, which part of the limb is involved, will affect the management protocol that will be advised by our stud vets at the new born foal exam. This may involve more or less exercise, softer or firmer bedding, splinting, casting, medical treatment or surgery.

10 days of age

Acquired flexural deformities develop as the foal is growing and are often associated with rapid growth spurts and/or excess nutrition. These deformities can involve individual or multiple joints and can progress rapidly, even over as little as a week. Importantly, most of these flexural problems can be corrected provided they are recognised early and treated correctly. However, if left unmanaged, they can lead to permanent unsoundness for the rest of the foal’s life. The treatment might involve restricted exercise, early weaning, corrective farriery or surgery.

 

Angular limb deformities are limb deviations from the normal axis of the leg. The two main types are ‘varus’, meaning an inward deviation, or ‘valgus’, meaning an outward deviation. Congenital angular limb deformities are very common and management will vary depending on how severe the deviation is and which area of the leg is involved. The major growing phase of the fetlocks is when the foal is very young (less than two months of age), so angulations involving the fetlocks must be corrected very early. This is in contrast to the knees and hocks, where we have a little more time available, as rapid growth continues until four to six months.

5 Weeks

Acquired limb angulations such as flexural deformities commonly develop associated with imbalanced growth due to incorrect nutrition, mineral or vitamin deficiencies. Regardless of whether the angulation is congenital or acquired, management may involve restricted exercise, corrective farriery, shock-wave treatment, modified nutrition or surgery. Which option or combination of options is used depends on the degree of deviation, which joint is involved, age of the foal and other concurrent problems.

 

In summary, limb deformities (congenital or acquired, flexural or angular) in foals are a complex condition. Early recognition and correct treatment can usually resolve or significantly improve most of these deformities. However, a delay of a few weeks in instigating the correct management can mean a missed opportunity and a life-long conformational abnormality. It is vital that you monitor your foal’s growth closely and frequently observe your foal standing and walking on a firm flat surface so that problems are seen early. This is especially important for the farrier to be able to correctly trim the hoof.

 

I would advise that you immediately contact the Sussex Equine Hospital to speak to one of our stud vets regarding anything out of the ordinary with the growth and development of your foals’ limbs. We can then assess the condition and advise if there is time for conservative management or whether a more aggressive approach should be instigated immediately.

8 Weeks

Looking after your Brood Mare

Looking after your mare during her pregnancy is extremely important to ensure the best chance of her producing and raising a healthy foal.

The mare’s diet needs to be carefully considered with the aim to increase the level of nutrition in the last three months of pregnancy.  A brood mare should not be allowed to become too thin or too fat.  The diet for the last trimester of pregnancy should be a proprietary brood mare diet or balancer. This will include the correct balance of minerals and nutrients for the foals development.  Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines initially, then feed by eye resulting in a gradual increase in weight prior to foaling.  If your mare is getting too fat on a brood mare diet then please call for more specific advice for your individual circumstances as a balancer may be more appropriate.

Your mare should be following a normal worming programme, ideally based on faecal worm egg counts as recommended by your vet.  In the last month before foaling, your mare should be wormed with an ivermectin-based product, such as Eqvalan or Bimectin.  This is because some worms can cross the mares’ uterus and others can cross into the milk and infect the foal when it nurses.  Foals also eat the mare’s dung as a normal process during the first few months of life so good mare worming is essential.

There is a number of vaccinations that should be considered for your brood mare.  Influenza and tetanus vaccinations should be up to date and ideally the mare should be given a booster vaccination within the last month of pregnancy, to boost the level of influenza and tetanus antibodies in the colostrum for the foal.

Equine Herpes Virus (EHV) mostly causes respiratory signs in horses.  However Equine Herpes Virus 1 and 4 can also cause abortion. Mares at risk are those at yards where horses are coming and going and thus may bring in infection or mares that will be in contact with yearlings and young horses (as young horses are the most prone to carrying and spreading the infection).  Additionally, most studs will require your mare to be vaccinated against EHV for her to be accepted on to the stud for foaling down.  Vaccination to reduce the risk of abortion caused by EHV should be performed at five, seven, and nine months of pregnancy.

Rotavirus is a viral diarrhoea that can affect foals in the first few months of life.  Young foals can become life-threateningly ill with this infection if not given intensive treatment and nursing.  Foals most at risk of infection are those being born at properties where there has been a history of rotavirus previously or where a lot of foals will be present in the same area such as stud farms.  To reduce the risk of rotavirus diarrhoea in your foal, the mare should be vaccinated during month eight, nine, and ten of pregnancy to ensure a high transfer of immunity through the colostrum to the new born foal.

It is usual to remove the mare’s shoes when foaling becomes imminent. This is to lessen the damage caused if the mare accidentally stands on the foal.  However, some mares may become foot-sore without shoes. Therefore, if you have any concerns call one of our stud vets for advice.  It is important to maintain hoof health with regular trims as a mare with overgrown, cracked, sore feet will not be able to remain fit and healthy for producing a foal.

If you are planning on foaling your mare down at a stud, it may be worth discussing with them what their requirements are now so you can make sure the vaccinations are performed correctly.  If in any doubt, call one of our stud vet to discuss your individual situation so more specific recommendations can be made.

 

Advances in Throat Surgery

SEH team performing standing “tie back” surgery

Sussex Equine Hospital provides the most advanced state-of-the-art treatment options available for horses with upper airway problems. These include tie backs and laryngeal re-innervation, both of which can be done standing without the need for horses to go through a general anaesthetic.

Performing the surgery standing offers many advantages to both the horse and the veterinary surgeon. It avoids the risks associated with general anaesthetic and recovery, and at the same time, offers improved visibility to the surgeon, which in the majority of cases aids completion.

Roaring occurs as a consequence of an unhealthy nerve not firing the muscle responsible for opening the airway. As a consequence, the amount of air flowing into the lungs is reduced during the horse’s physical activity, causing fatigue.

Laser surgery by the SEH team and Fabrice Rossignol

The tie-back surgery has long been recognised and practised as a treatment for ‘roaring’. During the tie-back, the opening into the airway is ‘tied’ open so that the flow of air into the lungs is increased. Laryngeal re-innervation is another surgical option available for some ‘roarers’. This technique effectively replaces the unhealthy nerve by a separate healthy nerve. During laryngeal re-innervation, the healthy nerve is identified and implanted into the main muscle responsible for opening the airway so that the horse has a good chance of recovering its ability to open its airway itself.

Laryngeal re-innervation was actually developed in the 1980s. However, in recent years, further developments and refinement of the technique now provides an excellent surgical option for many horses and the standing surgery is rapidly

becoming popular. Dr Fabrice Rossignol (Clinique de Grobois, France) is a world-renowned veterinary surgeon who has been a key figure in the recent development of laryngeal re-innervation on horses. The Sussex Equine Hospital is privileged to work closely with Dr Rossignol, who has provided his top-quality expertise and guidance for some of our more complicated cases.

Nerve implantation treatment for ‘roaring’ under standing sedation by Dr Fabrice Rossignol together with the Sussex Equine Hospital team.

Sussex Equine Hospital has already treated a good number of horses with standing tie-backs and nerve implantations on the standing horse with impressive results.

Influenza News

Equine Influenza Outbreak: February 2019

As you are probably aware there is currently an equine flu outbreak occurring in the UK. At the moment 7 yards have confirmed disease and further testing is underway. NO yards in Sussex, Kent or Surrey have been confirmed as affected yet. 

Flu can affect horses of all ages. 

Clinical signs include lethargy, coughing, nasal discharge and fever (temperatures over 38.5 degrees celsius). The disease usually resolves within 2-3 weeks with rest and supportive care in most cases but can have complications. 

The virus is highly contagious and spreads rapidly between horses via nasal secretions and breathing. People can also spread the disease via contaminated clothing or equipment so hygiene is really important. 

To confirm the disease a nasal swab and blood is taken and sent to the Animal Health Trust.

Vaccination is very important to limit the signs of infection and is the most effective tool against a large flu outbreak. Horses who have been fully vaccinated usually have no or only very mild signs. Protection against the flu virus starts to drop 6 months after vaccination so some horses can become susceptible again.  

Sussex Equine Hospital is taking part in a vaccination amnesty month. We use ProteqFlu which contains the relevant strain of flu virus. 

During February, all horses starting or re-starting their vaccination course will receive the 2nd vaccination for FREE

Visit charges still apply. The offer is open to horses that are over 6 moths of age and have not been vaccinated or those that are overdue an annual booster. The first vaccination must be booked  to take place in February 2019.  

Please feel free to discuss with one of our vets if you have any questions 

Further useful information can be found here https://www.aht.org.uk/disease-surveillance/equiflunet/equiflunet-for-horse-owners