At Alnorthumbria we have the capacity to provide a full workup for many medical conditions of horses and ponies. This capability is maintained by our vets having an interest in these areas, and undertaking further training on a regular basis. At the Fairmoor Equine Clinic we have the equipment to provide many advanced diagnostic techniques to help manage the more complicated medical cases we see.
We are well equipped to perform cardiac ultrasound exams, as well as resting and exercising electrocardiograms (ECG). Cardiac ultrasound scans may be recommended if a heart murmur is noted during auscultation or in some cases of poor performance or cough, for example. The electrocardiograms let us analyse the rhythm of your horse’s heart and we may recommend it if we detect some abnormal beats or if your horse is not performing as expected during a race. With the portable ECG equipment we can monitor your horse’s heart rhythm either overnight or while you are riding at high speed.
Colic is a general term used to describe a group of signs of abdominal discomfort and pain in horses. There are many different causes of colic and so they may vary in intensity and severity. To investigate some colics, and in some cases decide if your horse needs surgery, it may be needed to do extra diagnostic tests. At Fairmoor Equine Clinic we routinely do blood analysis, abdominal ultrasound scans, collections of abdominal fluid and have nursing staff and stocks to help us handle the more difficult cases. If intensive monitoring or treatment like intra-venous fluids or repeated stomach tubing are required, we have stables and staff ready to do it day and night.
Skin abnormalities may reflect more systemic problems of the body or primary skin problems like an allergy. When horses show signs of pruritus (itching), hair loss, scaling and crusting, weeping, changes in pigmentation or nodular lesions (like some sarcoids), these may be investigated and, in most cases, treated successfully. At Fairmoor Equine Clinic we can perform many routine diagnostic tests like skin scrapings and other more advanced tests like intradermal skin tests.
Cough, nasal discharge and loud respiratory noises are common in horses. These may be the result of viral, bacterial or fungal infections, allergic reactions or mechanical obstruction of the airways. To investigate and treat respiratory problems in an appropriate way it may be necessary to do diagnostic tests, the same way they are done in people. So, on top of our vets expertise, here at Fairmoor Equine Clinic, we have available several techniques like tracheal and bronchial fluid analyses, airway endoscopies, chest ultrasound examinations, skull radiographs to investigate sinus problems. In some smaller horses we can also radiograph their chests. This allows us to reach the correct diagnosis and offer the best treatment options possible to your horses.
Liver problems are not uncommon in horses, and often occur in groups of horses. This is due to the fact that many causes of liver disease in horses are related to their forage source. If liver disease is suspected, on the basis of ventral oedema, jaundice, photosensitisation among other signs; or if liver disease is found incidentally on other bloodwork, it should be investigated using further blood tests and ultrasound-guided liver biopsy. This is a useful diagnostic procedure which we can carry out in the stocks at the clinic, under sedation. The benefits of liver biopsy is that in some cases it can definitively tell us the cause of liver disease, and in other cases can guide our treatment protocols and provide an accurate prognosis.
The eyes of the horse are placed on either side of their head to allow them to spot predators early, but this placement leaves them vulnerable to injury! Due to this, it is quite common to see corneal ulceration in horses. This can be a very painful condition, but one which if managed correctly will resolve fully. Other conditions of the eye are important to notice – any sign of pain or vision problems should be fully assessed as soon as possible as eye conditions often represent emergencies. Conditions we will check for include uveitis, glaucoma, retinal detachment, optic nerve issues and immune-mediated keratitis. All of our vets are equipped with high quality ophthalmoscopes and a full complement of topical drugs to enable a complete ophthalmic exam. We have good links with specialist ophthalmologists for further investigation and treatment as required, and access to further equipment and expertise within our small animal department at Fairmoor.
Horses get two main endocrine diseases, these being Equine Metabolic Syndrome, and Cushing’s disease. Both of these can lead to laminitis, and due to that it is really important that we identify and treat these conditions as early as possible. Both can be diagnosed using blood tests and we can effectively treat and monitor these conditions to reduce the risk of developing laminitis. If you are concerned about either of these conditions, or laminitis, contact us to discuss this with one of our vets.
Other Medical Conditions
There are various other medical conditions horses and ponies get, all of which we are well equipped and staffed to deal with on your yard or at the Fairmoor Equine Clinic. Please call us to discuss any concerns you may have.
Internal Medicine Endoscopy
Endoscopy of the larynx, trachea and guttural pouches can be performed on visits or at the surgery to evaluate structures and function of the upper airway. The more common diagnoses encountered are: dorsal displacement of the soft palate (DDSP), laryngeal hemiplegia, axial deviation of the aryepiglottic folds, vocal cord deviation, pharyngeal collapse and epiglottic entrapment.
We also have access to an over ground endoscope – state of the art technology which allows a remote assessment of the horse’s upper airways whilst being ridden. Endoscopy whilst at rest, although useful to diagnose the more severe or persistent problems, has been shown to underestimate some of the above diagnoses seen at exercise. This is where the over ground endoscope has been invaluable to get an accurate diagnosis allowing the best treatment or management options.
Internal Medicine Gastroscopy
Gastric ulcers are a common, but under-diagnosed condition in horses and can cause poor performance, poor condition, weight loss and recurrent colic.
We can diagnose these definitively at using a three-metre-long video endoscope which is passed into the stomach to evaluate the integrity of the lining.
Ulcers can range from mild to very severe and are graded accordingly. They can occur in both the upper (squamous) and lower (glandular) portions of the stomach, and different treatment protocols may be used for these different lesions. Most ulcers can be effectively treated, and recurrence prevented by management strategies.
Successful treatment of ulcers can result in a dramatic improvement of your horse’s behaviour and performance.
If you suspect your horse could have ulcers or have any concerns please contact us for more information, and also see www.equinegastriculcers.co.uk.