We are dedicated to providing the very best in equine veterinary care for the health, performance and breeding of the sport horse
We provide a comprehensive service to our equine patients to ensure all of their veterinary needs are met on a daily basis.
Routine care includes health checks, vaccination, worming, dentistry, and general treatment of day to day ailments.
We have the experience to advise you on what worming and vaccination protocols are suitable for your horse’s particular situation, and any other queries you have regarding your horse’s needs, such as nutrition and preventative disease control.
If you’re ever unsure whether or not your horse requires a visit, our vets will always be happy to have a chat with you over the phone first to give you advice and assess if a visit is required.
Vaccination is one of the mainstays of preventative healthcare for your horse.
In the UK, the most common diseases to vaccinate against are equine influenza and tetanus. Effective treatment of these diseases can be very difficult and vaccines are the only effective method of prevention, so it is important to keep your horse up to date.
Vaccination 1 This can be given from 5 months of age
Vaccination 2 21-92 Days from 1st Vaccination - This vaccination must be complete in order to compete your horse.
Vaccination 3 150-215 Days from 2nd Vaccination
Due to the current outbreak of equine Influenza in the UK, the current guidelines are for a horse to receive a 6 monthly equine influenza (flu) booster rather than an annual booster which was previously recommended. Most organisations are currently requesting a booster vaccine within 6 months of a competition, we recommend you contact the organisers of any event you go to to check what their particular requirements are.
If a horse is competing under FEI rules it will always require a booster vaccination within 6 months of the competition, but not in the 7 days prior to the event.
Similarly, if a racehorse is racing under BHA guidelines, it will require 8 monthly boosters rather than annual boosters as of 2020.
Tetanus vaccines will be incorporated in your horse’s influenza vaccination schedule when required by way of a 2 in 1 vaccine, but the below tetanus guidelines are for owners who wish to vaccinate their horse solely for tetanus.
Vaccination 1 This can be given from 5 months of age.
Vaccination 2 4-6 Weeks from 1st Vaccination.
Booster Every 2 Years
Pregnant mares have additional vaccine requirements, including Equine Herpes Virus (EHV) at 5, 7 & 9 months of gestation, and Rotavirus at 9, 10, 11 months of gestation.
Parasitic worms can negatively affect the health of horses, ponies and donkeys of all ages and breeds. Severe infestations can be life threatening but even lower rates of infection can cause malabsorption of the diet, loss of weight and increased incidence of colic. An adequate worm control programme is of huge importance to the wellbeing of your horse.
We offer an in-house laboratory for faecal egg counts – simply bring in a fresh faecal sample to the clinic or give it to one of the vets if they’re at your yard. Faecal worm egg counts are simple and inexpensive and helps us reduce unnecessary over-worming and resistance to wormers. If the worm egg count is high a specific wormer will be advised by your vet depending on the time of year and your horse’s worming history.
Routine dental care is an essential part of your horse’s healthcare plan. Generally, we suggest routine dental examinations every 6 months to 1 year, depending on the horse’s individual dental care needs.
Equine dentistry is continuously advancing and in recent years there is much more of an understanding of dental disease and the extent to which it can cause severe pain, digestive difficulties, colic, choke and behavioural problems. Unfortunately, horses can hide dental pain very well which is why it is so important to have their teeth examined regularly by a qualified professional, in order to pick up on any problems they may be experiencing early in the disease process. Often, by the time a horse shows signs of significant dental issues such as dropping food, difficulties chewing, headshaking or a reluctance to accept the bit, the horse has been suffering with dental problems for a long time.
All of our vets are skilled at powerfloating teeth as well as the removal of wolf teeth. Included in any routine dental appointment is a detailed investigation into your horse’s oral health. We usually recommend your horse is sedated to allow a detailed examination to take place and any work required to be carried out with minimal stress to the patient. In most cases we will be able to carry out a full examination and any treatment required at the yard.
Unexpected accidents or emergencies can occur at any time but you can be assured that the Walnut Hill Equine team are here when you need help.
We provide our own dedicated emergency service 24/7, all year round. This gives our clients the reassurance of seeing a familiar face when it matters the most.
In an emergency please call the normal office number 01564 794104 and you will be directed to the vet on duty.
As horse owners ourselves, all our vets understand how stressful and worrying it can be when your horse presents with an urgent problem such as colic or a nasty wound. In an emergency situation, we endeavour to attend to your horse as soon as physically possible and to provide urgent care as your horse’s welfare is of paramount importance to us.
We are happy to speak to clients out of hours about any urgent concern they may have, even if they’re not sure if it’s an emergency or not, so don’t hesitate to call and we can give you advice over the phone if a call out is not required.
Walnut Hill Equine Clinic is a British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) approved centre for artificial insemination (A.I).
Our stud vets are experienced in all aspects of breeding work and provide reproductive services for many large stud farms in the area, both sport horses and thoroughbred studs.
Our reproductive services include:
- Management of the broodmare
- Pre-breeding mare examinations
- Pre-breeding stallion examinations
- Mare infertility investigations
- Uterine biopsy
- Uterine endoscopy
- Uterine cyst removal
- Artificial insemination
- Embryo transfer
- Pregnancy testing
- Post-foaling checks
- Foal neonatal care
Our stud vets are very experienced with using fresh, chilled and frozen AI and have had great success working with problem mares that have had poor breeding success in the past.
The main advantages of AI are:
- Greater choice of stallion - semen can be transported worldwide.
- Avoid having to drive mare long distances to stud, semen can be shipped to you.
- Avoids dangers to both mare and stallion associated with natural service.
- Useful if mare or stallion are recovering from injuries and not fit for natural cover.
- Semen quality and quantity can be assessed after each collection.
There are different types of AI available:
Fresh AI - semen that has not been mixed with extender medium, must be inseminated into mare immediately upon the collection of semen.
Chilled AI - extended semen that can survive for up to 24 hours in a chilled container, this is the most common method of AI used in horses and is available for most European based stallions.
Frozen AI - semen is stored in liquid nitrogen and can last indefinitely. It is only thawed out when the mare is ready to be inseminated, within 6 hours of her ovulating. Frozen semen from deceased stallions can be used, and those who are based in different continents or with busy competition schedules.
Following insemination, your mare will be checked for ovulation and for post-breeding inflammation. Treatment may be required following insemination, especially in older or problematic horses. Your mare will be scanned at 14 days following ovulation and if pregnant, it is advised that scans are performed at 16, 28 and 45 days to make sure the pregnancy is developing normally.
Deciding which method of AI to use on your mare will depend on the availability of your chosen stallion, and the breeding soundness of your mare. Our stud vets would be happy to advise you what options would be best for your mare.
Our stud packages offer clients a comprehensive and affordable price scheme which include reproductive drugs and all the scans involved leading up to insemination of your mare, as well as the subsequent pregnancy scans.
We can carry out breeding services at your yard or at the clinic. If your mare is not a suitable candidate for being scanned without being contained in stocks, we might advise that she is brought to the clinic for safety of both horse and vet and to avoid having to give her sedation.
Embryo Transfer is the process where a ~7 day old embryo is flushed from a donor mare and transferred into a recipient mare whose oestrous cycle has been synchronised with the donor, and this recipient mare carries the foal to term.
The main advantage of Embryo Transfer is to obtain foals from performance mares without interrupting their competitive careers.
At Walnut Hill we will follow your donor mare’s cycle through to insemination and ovulation, as well as lining up recipient mares to synchronise alongside her. At approximately day 7 post ovulation, the donor mare will go to Twemlows stud farm for an embryo flush and they will then carry out subsequent embryo transfer to a recipient mare there. Twemlows stud farm have a resident herd of recipient mares that they can line up to synchronise with your mare if you do not have suitable recipient mares yourself.
A Pre-Purchase Examinations an important step in the process of buying a horse. Our vets regularly carry out pre-purchase examinations (PPEs, often referred to as ‘vettings’) on behalf of our own clients and on behalf of non-registered clients.
The PPE is based on a recognised examination carried out in five stages. Sometimes a two stage examination (‘limited examination’) may be requested. This consists of only the first two stages outlined below and the vet will form an opinion based on a restricted set of findings.
The five stages of a pre-purchase examination are:
- Stage 1: This stage consists of a thorough clinical examination of the horse at rest to detect any apparent signs of injury, disease or physical abnormality. The horse is usually observed in their stable initially so the vet can pick up on any stable vices. Their microchip and passport are checked, followed by a thorough examination of the entire horse, looking for any lumps or bumps and palpating all limbs. The horse’s heart and lungs are auscultated with a stethoscope and eyes are examined with an ophthalmoscope. The front incisor teeth are examined to check the stated age is accurate.
- Stage 2: Observation of the horse at walk and trot in hand in a straight line on a hard surface. Flexion tests are performed on each limb and the horse is trotted off after, and the horse is asked to back up for several strides and turn on the forehand. The horse is also trotted on a small diameter circle on a firm surface to detect subtle lameness issues.
- Stage 3: Observation of the horse performing strenuous exercise under saddle, or on the lunge if the horse is unbroken. This allows further evaluation of the way the horse moves at a walk, trot, canter and gallop if required, as well as assessment of the respiratory systems’ response to exertion. Abnormal breathing sounds may indicate an airway problem that could impair athletic ability. Any abnormal behaviour seen during this phase will also be noted and discussed with the buyer, for example if the horse appears cold-backed or shakes its head excessively.
- Stage 4: The horse is returned to the stable and untacked, followed by a period of rest to give time for any stiffness induced by the exercise to become apparent. The heart and lungs are listened to again as the horse recovers from the exercise phase.
- Stage 5: A second examination of the horse trotting up on a hard surface. This is to check that the exercise has not exacerbated a subtle underlying lameness problem. Flexion tests or trotting on a small diameter circle are sometimes repeated at this stage if indicated.
It is recommended that a blood sample is taken at all vettings, however it is the purchaser’s choice. The sample is stored for six months and the purchaser can request for the sample to be run if any concerns arise within that time. The sample can be tested for medications such as sedation and painkillers.
In some cases, the client may request, or the vet may advise, for additional procedures to be performed. Further diagnostic tests include xrays, ultrasound scans of limbs or endoscope of the airways. If insuring a high value horse, your insurance company may request some additional procedures to be carried out.
The Pre-Purchase Examination Certificate
After the pre-purchase examination, the vet will form an opinion as to whether any of their findings may compromise the suitability of the horse for the intended use. The findings will be discussed with the purchaser and the vet will write a PPE certificate which includes a report of the relevant clinical findings, a copy of this is often required by the insurance company before taking out insurance on the horse.
All of our vets are trained Official Veterinarians, licensed by the Animal Health Agency to perform export testing and complete the appropriate export health certificate should you wish to transport your horse abroad. We work closely with transport companies and international governments departments to arrange these services.
When horses are exported to foreign countries, they will usually require a vet's inspection within 48 hours of leaving. All animal exports have to be approved and be issued with certification through DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs).
Some countries will require blood tests, swabs or quarantine. It is important to find out from DEFRA what exactly is required for export to that particular country as soon as you have made the decision to export, as these test results will be required in advance of exporting.
We cover both temporary export for competition and permanent export requirements, we will be happy to advise you should you have any queries about the process or how to initiate the export requirements for your horse, just give us a call today.