Gastric ulcers are a common complaint affecting both pleasure, sports and race horses and ponies. Clinical signs can be very variable ranging from dislike of tightening the girth, teeth grinding, dull coat, lack of condition to poor performance and mild-moderate colic. The only way to definitively diagnose gastric ulcers is to pass a video endoscope into the stomach under-standing sedation. The procedure is tolerated very well and takes around 15-20 minutes. If you horse has ulcers then we can advise on the best treatment plans.

On 18th and 19th September 2020, we are running a gastroscopy clinic at Sussex Equine Hospital. For horses booked in on these days only gastroscopy will be half price costing £135 including VAT and routine sedation.

If ulcers are diagnosed treatment would incur additional costs.

To book your horse in please call the clinic on 01903 883050 spaces are limited and you must already be registered as a client of Sussex Equine Hospital.

Insurance Reminder

We would like to take this opportunity to remind our clients that we cannot send invoices to your insurance company automatically. Unfortunately, due to the high volume of claims we submit, we are unable to check records for unclaimed treatment.

We will include all visits billed on our system at the time of submitting your claim form. After this, we do request that you contact our office upon receipt of any further insurance related invoices.

Some Insurance policies do require a continuation form with each invoice submitted. In this instance, please send the claim form into us as soon as possible. If you are unsure, please check with your insurance company.

We recommend that you keep in contact with your insurance company on a regular basis, so you are aware of their progress with your claim. We are unable to chase them on your behalf; it must be the policy holder.

If you have any questions regarding your insurance claim, please do not hesitate to contact our accounts department on 01903 882 384.

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, 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.


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.



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