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


Microchip Legislation

Compulsory microchipping to improve horse welfare

Government legislation now states that all owners must microchip their horses, ponies and donkeys by October 2020, according to the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs and Animal Welfare Minister, Lord Gardiner of Kimble. The long lead time up to this deadline enables owners to combine microchipping with a routine visit to, or from, their vet.  

The Government is working closely with equine vets and the British Horse Council to highlight this change in microchip regulations. The resulting Central Equine Database will be a complete log of all domesticated horses, offering a practical solution to pressing animal welfare issues which arise when horses are abandoned and make it easier to rehome the animals more quickly and effectively. The database will also allow local authorities and police to track down the owners of discarded horses, make sure they are held to account and the animals given the care they deserve. 

Failing to microchip a horse by October 2020, will result in sanctions from the owner's local authority, including a compliance notice and  a fine of up to £200.

The RSPCA reports to have rescued almost 1,000 horses in 2017 and a huge majority were not microchipped, making it virtually impossible to trace the owners. Compulsory microchipping will help find those owners who abandon their horses as well as helping reunite others with animals that have been stolen.

This new legislation has the full support of the British Horse Council, which reiterates that it will not only enable irresponsible owners to be held properly accountable for the treatment of their animals and aid in reuniting owners with lost or stolen horses, but also significantly support the UK’s efforts to protect our equines from disease outbreaks.


Sussex Equine Hospital’s Stud Team

Breeding Season 2019

The breeding season kicks off in a month, on 14th February. We have an incredibly experienced team of four stud vets here at the Sussex Equine Hospital: Simon Staempfli, Paula Broadhurst, Una Boyle and Ed Lyall, that can cater for all your equine breeding needs.

We are the only practice in the South of England that has a separate out-of-hours 'stud vet rota' during the breeding season. This means that when you have a breeding-related emergency, you will always get a stud vet experienced in dealing with mare and foal problems. It also means that all routine stud procedures that need to be carried out at weekends will always we dealt with by a stud vet.

  • Thoroughbred mares can be managed for 'walk-in' covers.
  • As the practice is a BEVA-approved AI Practice - sport horse mares can be mated by AI, using frozen and chilled semen. These can be done at home or in our hospital.
  • Embryo transfer can be carried out, again at home or in the hospital.
  • Competitive packages for AI and ET are available.
  • Stallions can have semen collected for chilled shipping at the hospital.
  • Our lab is HBLB-accredited for CEM swabs of both mares and stallions, all routine breeding swabs are also performed in-house.
  • We provide post-foaling checks on mares and foals and blood work for IGG.
  • The hospital is there to back-up the road vets. Mares that have foaling problems can be admitted for assisted delivery or C-section under GA.
  • The hospital also has two dedicated intensive care boxes for sick foals and mares.
  • All young stock management issues can also be dealt with by the stud vet team.

Please contact the practice on 01903 883050 too discuss your breeding requirements.




SAVE THE DATE! Keeping one step ahead of the 'herd' is the theme of the next Tour & Talk we're running on February 14th 2019 here at the Sussex Equine Hospital. Two of our well-renowned vets will take the floor to highlight some of the newest modern advances in equine management and surgery and also give some insights into a lameness examination, all in the lecture room upstairs and all aimed at sharing valuable knowledge. Start time is 7pm, but tours of the hospital begin at 6.15pm. Put your name down by calling 01903 883050. TICKETS ARE ABSOLUTELY FREE!

Contact the Sussex Equine Hospital on 01903 883050 for more information and to book your free place.


Festive Period Opening Times for the Pharmacy

Just to confirm that the Sussex Equine Pharmacy opening times reflect the hospital's opening times:

Christmas Day - closed

Boxing Day - closed

27th December - open 8.30am to 5.30pm

28th December - open 8.30am to 5.30pm

31st December 2018 - open 8.30am to 5.30pm

New Years' Day - closed

2nd January 2019 - open as usual


Spotlight on Specialist Liver Support

For optimal liver function

Our Veterinary Equine Specialist Liver Support product is a unique supplement developed in conjunction with some of the world's top equine professors.

It's designed to aid optimal liver function and provides an impressive 5000mg per daily feed of S-Adenosylmethionine (SAMe) which is converted into a liver anti-oxidant when absorbed.

For horses over 300kg and a daily feed of 33.4g a 500g pot will last 15 days. For horse under 300kg a 16.7g daily dosage will last a month.

Call Sussex Equine Hospital on 01903 883050 and speak to our Pharmacy to order.

Contact the Sussex Equine Hospital's Pharmacy on 01903 883050 for more information and to order.



SAVE THE DATE! This is the theme of the next Tour & Talk we're running on January 15th 2019 here at the Sussex Equine Hospital. Three of our well-renowned vets take the floor to share their insights on overground endoscopy, throat surgery and other standing surgical procedures, all in the lecture room upstairs and all aimed at sharing valuable knowledge. Start time is 7pm, but tours of the hospital begin at 6.15pm. Put your name down by calling 01903 883050. TICKETS ARE FREE!

Contact the Sussex Equine Hospital on 01903 883050 for more information and to book your free place.