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Services

How can we help?

We offer a wide range of services some of which you can find out about by clicking on the buttons below. If you would like further information on any of the services below or would like to discuss something not listed, please call us.

  • Routine Healthcare
  • Breeding
  • Castration
  • Dentistry
  • Gastroscopy
  • Endoscopy
  • Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT)
  • Height Measurement
  • Lameness
  • Regenerative Medicine
  • Vaccinations
  • Vettings
  • Weight Management

Routine Healthcare

Routine and preventative healthcare such as vaccinations, dentistry and worm control are essential components of responsible horse ownership.

Vaccinations

Routine vaccinations are important regardless of age, and whether your horse competes, travels or stays at home - we can advise on requirements depending on your individual situation.

All horses should be vaccinated against equine influenza (Flu) regardless of if they mix with other horses or not, and all horses without exception should be vaccinated against Tetanus, which is a potentially fatal disease.

Worming

There are a number of gastrointestinal worms which affect horses, ponies and donkeys frequently within the UK. We can advise on a worming programme dependent on your horse and situation, and generally recommend faecal worm egg counts and tapeworm saliva tests to determine if deworming is required.

Breeding

Kessock Equine Vets offer a range of reproductive services to clients wishing to put their mare in foal.

Pre-Breeding Check

Recommended for AI or natural service at the start of the breeding season to help identify any potential problems and test for venereal diseases if required.

Artificial Insemination

We offer AI packages for breeding mares using AI with chilled semen. All procedures are done at the clinic. Please contact us for more information as to what is included.

Pregnancy Diagnosis

We recommend ultrasound examination for pregnancy at day 14 or 15 following covering or insemination. Later in pregnancy blood tests can also be used for diagnosis.

Cycle Manipulation

Ultrasound scans are used to detect what stage of the reproductive cycle the mare is in, and medicines can be used to bring her into season as appropriate.

Examination of The New-born Foal

We recommend examination of new-born foals and the mare's placenta. We also advise blood sampling foals at around 12 hours old to ensure they have received sufficient antibodies from the mare's colostrum.

Castration

Castrations are normally done in the standing sedated animal at age 6 - 24 months, but may need to be done at the clinic under general anaesthetic for older animals, Shetlands, donkeys, or "Rigs", where there is an undescended testicle.

It is vital that a vet performs a pre-castration check to ensure both testicles are present in the scrotum and the animal is healthy enough to withstand the procedure. The type of castration required will also be discussed at this appointment. Your horse or pony will also be checked after the castration at no extra charge on the next available zone day.

We recommend castrations are performed in the spring or autumn months in order to avoid the flies.

The surgical procedure varies slightly depending on the age and size of animal, however normally an “open castration” is performed, and the wounds are left open to drain. For more information on care after castration and potential problems, please take a look at our castration information page.

Dentistry

Dental Services

We provide a comprehensive dental service, ranging from routine rasping with power or manual tools, wolf tooth and cheek tooth extractions, x-rays, and treatment of diastema and periodontal disease. Most routine dental work can be carried out at your own premises, however, for more advanced procedures your horse may need to come to the equine clinic.

Signs of Dental Problems

Signs of dental problems are varied and include: poor performance, resistance to contact or head shaking, difficulty in chewing and dropping of food (quidding), weight loss, nasal discharge, lymph node enlargement and foul-smelling breath.

Severe dental disease can exist for a long period of time with no outward clinical signs, so regular examination of your horse's mouth every 6 - 12 months allows early diagnosis and treatment of dental abnormalities before they develop into more serious problems.

Common problems identified include

Sharp enamel points - These usually develop on the outside of the upper cheek teeth and in the inside of the lower cheek teeth. They occur in almost every horse fed on a modern diet and can cause sores on the cheeks and tongue.

Hooks the upper front cheek teeth can lie in front of the opposing lower cheek teeth resulting in overgrowths that point downwards. The lower back cheek teeth can lie behind the opposing upper teeth, resulting in overgrowths that point upwards at the back of the mouth.

Diastema this is the name given to gaps between the teeth, which can result in very painful disease of the gums and ultimately tooth root abscess and tooth loss.

Caries is dental decay that can lead to tooth root abscess and fracture of the tooth. Should you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Gastroscopy

Here at Kessock Equine Vets, we frequently perform Gastroscopy procedures on horses. Often these are performed due to suspicion on changed behaviours in horses or as part of poor performance investigations.

Signs your horse may have EGUS (Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome)

  • Dull coat
  • Change in behaviour such as napping and reacting negatively to being saddled, girthed or mounted.
  • Mild colic signs
  • Poor performance or reduced interest in ridden work

Risk Factors

  • Horses under stress or in a new environment are more prone to developing ulcers
  • As are those in high workload

A quick glance at anatomy

The horse’s stomach is divided into 2 main sections, the squamous mucosa (upper 2/3) and the glandular mucosa (lower 1/3) these are distinctly separated by the margo plicatus, see below.

 

There are 2 main types of ulcer: Glandular and Squamous. These are graded from 0-4 based on severity and presentation. 

Why perform a gastroscopy, and what does this involve?

Using our 3 metre Digital Gastroscope we can obtain excellent quality images and videos of your horse’s gastrointestinal tract. From this imagery we can grade the ulcer based on location and severity, then treat appropriately.

We perform the procedure under standing sedation, passing the gastroscope via the nostril to the throat where it is then swallowed and passed down the oesophagus into the stomach. In most cases we can then reach the proximal duodenum (small intestine), where ulcers can also be found.

We ask that horses are starved prior to the procedure, as an emptier stomach allows better visuals of the mucosa and lets the scope pass through to the glandular part of the stomach without obstruction, please see here for more details on this.

Treatment

Treatment often involves making changes to management and administering medication. Commonly horses are prescribed a medication called Omeprazole, which is a proton pump inhibitor, and suppresses acid production in the stomach, allowing the ulcers to heal. Another common medication is Sucralfate which acts to line the stomach and protect the mucosa while the ulcers heal. Your vet may use either of these, a combination of both or other medications to treat the different types of ulcers. Each case is different.

It is normal procedure to then re-scope a horse after 4-6 weeks to check how the ulcers are healing/healed. And then we always taper off the medication doses, rather than suddenly stopping them.

Long term, horses benefit from management changes such as minimizing stress, feeding small amounts of food before ridden work and smaller more frequent feedings. We also have veterinary prescribed supplements, such as EquiGutPro available, which yield great results on reducing recurrence of EGUS.

If you suspect your horse may have gastric ulcers, or presents with any of the changes mentioned above, do not hesitate to call and chat to one of our vets who will be happy to discuss this with you.

Endoscopy

Endoscopy Procedures

Endoscopy of the larynx, trachea and guttural pouches can be performed at the surgery.

This is to evaluate the structures and function of the upper airway and take samples from the guttural pouch, trachea (tracheal wash) and lower airways (Broncho-alveolar lavage).

This procedure is generally completed under standing sedation and the vet may give an anti-cough medication for your horse's comfort. The main risk of this procedure is a minor nose bleed which generally resolves on its own.  We will always monitor your horse during and after this procedure to ensure their safety.

Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT)

Extra-Corporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT), a treatment adapted from human medicine, involves the generation of pressure waves which are then directed towards the damaged structure via a hand held probe. Shockwave has a direct analgesic effect, increases blood flow and stimulates healing.

Extra-Corporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) is most commonly used for high suspensory ligament injuries, back problems, splints, non-healing wounds, bone spavin and navicular.

The therapy is usually performed on the standing, sedated horse and can be done at home or at the clinic. Different energy levels, frequency and number of shocks are used depending on the injury, but the treatment normally takes around 20 minutes and is repeated on 3 - 4 occasions two weeks apart.

Height Measurement

Dr Natalia Dziekan-Wisniewska DVM, PgCert VPS, Cert AVP, MRCVS is an official Measurer of the Joint Measurement Board.

The Joint Measurement Board was established in 1934 to run a national scheme for the measurement of the height of horses and ponies for the purpose of description and classification of horses and ponies for competition.

Key features of the scheme

  • All horses and ponies must have at least one Annual Certificate before they can have a Full Certificate.
  • Annual certificates are issued to animals aged 4, 5 and 6 years old, or to any animal over 7 which is being measured for the first time. Full certificates are issued to animals aged 7 or over which have had at least one previous annual measurement.
  • Measurements can be done at any time of the year but Annual Certificates will expire on the 31st December following the last measurement.
  • Measurements are carried out by Official Measurers.
  • Measurements are carried out on registered measuring pads with shoes removed. We have an official pad at Kessock Equine Vets in our clinic.
  • Consecutive measurements must be done by different Measurers.
  • The Measurer for a Full Certificate must be from a different veterinary practice from the Measurer for the last Annual Certificate.
  • The animal’s passport must be available at the time of measurement, so please ensure it accompanies the animal on the day. Also all animals being measured must have a microchip inserted. This can be done at the time of measuring if required.
  • A re-measurement procedure can be used to settle doubts about accuracy.

Payment 

For details of fees and payment methods, please look here or further and more full information about the Joint Measurement Board and its panel of Official Measurers look here.

Lameness

What is Lameness? 

Lameness is a common problem in horses, ponies and donkeys, regardless of their age, size, and breed and whether they are ridden for pleasure, competition or simply kept as pets. Lameness occurs due to pain or restriction during movement, and varies in severity, sometimes only manifesting as poor performance or resentment of certain movements.

Diagnosis of Lameness

Evaluation for lameness is best carried out at the Kessock Equine Clinic where we have a designated trot up area and an arena for assessment on soft ground on the lunge or under saddle. The clinic also provides a clean area for sterile procedures, stocks and on site digital radiography and ultrasonography.

Our equine vets are experienced in lameness diagnosis and treatment and regularly attend training courses across the UK and Europe to ensure they are up to date with the latest treatments and information. Internationally recognised specialist consultant veterinarians also visit the clinic on a regular basis.

Lameness Evaluation Procedures

After a full clinical exam and lameness assessment, evaluation with hoof testers and flexion tests are usually performed to try to localise the area of pain. Unless there is an obvious area of abnormality, nerve blocks are normally performed which involves infusion of a local anaesthetic around a nerve to desensitise the structures below the level of the injection. To further localise the area of pain, local anaesthetic can also be injected into synovial structures – joints and tendon sheaths. Once the lameness has been localised the area in question needs to be imaged using x-rays, ultrasound or both. Further specialist imaging such as MRI or Scintigraphy (Bone Scanning) can be arranged if required.

Treatment

Once the cause of lameness has been determined, our vets can advise on the most appropriate treatment and management for the condition. We offer joint medications, shockwave therapy, Equidronate (Tildren), PRP (platelet rich plasma) and stem cell therapy, joint supplements and controlled rehabilitation exercise programs.

We also work alongside chartered veterinary physiotherapists and experienced farriers for a multifactorial approach to treatment.

Regenerative Medicine

Kessock Equine Vets offer Stem Cell Therapy and Platelet Rich Plasma. These biological products are regenerative medicines used as appropriate in the treatment of tendon, ligament and joint disease.

Stem Cell Therapy

Stem cell therapy uses cutting edge technology, founded on the pioneering work of Professor Roger Smith and his colleagues at the Royal Veterinary College. It is primarily used in tendon and ligament injuries and results in a better functional repair as well as reducing re-injury rate. Research has shown that it is the best way to treat injuries of the superficial digital flexor tendon.

The procedure involves bone marrow being aspirated from the sternum of the injured horse, and then in the laboratory, identification and expansion of mesenchymal stem cells. 10 million of these stem cells are then injected into the core lesion of the injured tendon or ligament, using ultrasound guidance.

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)

Platelet-rich plasma or PRP, is obtained after blood taken from the horse is put through a special centrifugation process. This is a quick process, and the product of centrifugation can be injected into the damaged tendon or ligament on the same day. The product has a high concentration of platelets which are activated by contact with damaged tissue, and act by releasing growth factors to stimulate the healing process and decrease inflammation. It is most commonly used in the treatment of suspensory ligament lesions.

Vaccinations

Vaccination is the core of Kessock Equine Vets’ preventative healthcare service. Not only does vaccination offer protection against debilitating and potentially fatal diseases, it also provides the opportunity for your horse to receive a veterinary examination and for you to raise any concerns and discuss all aspects of your horse’s health and welfare on an annual basis.

Tetanus 

It is essential to vaccinate all horses, ponies and donkeys against tetanus:

  • Tetanus is a disease of the nervous system caused by a toxin produced by a soil borne bacterium called Clostridium tetani
  • Tetanus vaccination is very effective and involves two injections four to six weeks apart with the first booster after 17 months and subsequent boosters every two years
  • Tetanus is normally fatal and can develop in any unvaccinated horse

Flu

Did you realise ALL horses are at risk of flu, even if they don’t leave the yard?

Once the flu virus is airborne, it can travel further than you think and it can also be transmitted on clothes, yard equipment, troughs and feed buckets.

While some horses are more vulnerable than others to equine flu, ALL horses are at risk of catching the disease. 

Vaccination is essential to help stop the spread of flu:

  • Your horse is not protected from flu until 14 days after the 2nd vaccination 
  • Between the 2nd and 3rd vaccinations in the primary course your horse’s antibody levels decline 
  • The third vaccination is vital to ensure that your horse continues to be adequately protected

The aim of flu vaccination is to stimulate an immune response against the flu virus, so that if your horse is exposed to flu in the future, the immune system is already primed to quickly protect your horse.

Vettings

Pre-Purchase Exams (Vettings)

We strongly recommend that before buying a new horse, you think about a pre-purchase exam (vetting), in order to detect any abnormalities and determine their suitability for intended purpose.

Our experienced vets perform pre-purchase examinations following the BEVA/RCVS guidelines.

If necessary, further diagnostic tests such as x-rays, ultrasonography and endoscopy can be performed.

Both 2 stage and 5 stage vettings and vettings for insurance can be carried out, please call us to ask for further details.

We can also recommend vets across the UK and in Ireland, if you are purchasing outside of the Highlands.

Weight Management

Did you know we offer free use of our weighbridge for you to weigh your horse? We can bring it free of charge to yard visits, just ask ahead of your visit for availability.

 

Weight management can be difficult, especially in the summer grazing months. There are many disadvantages to your horse being over conditioned, such as :

  • An increased risk of metabolic disorders, like laminitis or Equine Metabolic Syndrome
  • Extra strain on joints, increasing the risk of injury or osteoarthritis
  • A decreased ability to regulate body temperature
  • Lower level of fitness and further strain on their cardiovascular system
  • A decrease in fertility

The weighbridge is the most accurate measure of bodyweight, but weigh tapes are also useful for monitoring changes to weight too.

Body condition scoring your horse is also a great baseline to have when understanding if they are over or under weight. The scoring system commonly used is on a scale of 0-5 where 5 is morbidly obese, and 0 is emaciated. An ideal score for the average horse is 2.5-3/5.

Please visit this LINK for reference.

Body Condition Score Chart

Ways to manage weight

  • Reducing calorie intake is key. But to do this we cannot sacrifice nutrient or fibre intake without risking detrimental effects. Horses require approximately 1.5-2% of their bodyweight in forage (dry matter content) daily, however food orientated horses can consume double this if grazing full time in good pasture. We can reduce this intake to 1.25% to reduce calories, however any less than this would risk affecting digestive function. Consider adding a low sugar or laminitis friendly balancer or nutrient mix to your horse’s diet, especially if actively restricting grazing for weight management.
  • Reduce the starch and sugar in forage. Soaking hay for 4hrs reduces the sugar content allowing for the volume of feed to remain the same whilst still decreasing calorie intake.
  • Restrict grazing, either by strip grazing or the time spent out on pasture. Track systems are also useful for making your horse burn calories walking around for their food. A grazing muzzle or small holed haynets can also be considered, whilst these can take some time for a horse to adjust to, the benefit is worth persevering with. Also be aware that a ‘bare’ looking paddock can actually have short new grass shoots that are very dense in sugar content.' to 'Restrict grazing, either by strip grazing or by reducing the time spent out on pasture. Track systems are also useful for making your horse burn calories by walking around for their food. A grazing muzzle or small holed haynets can also be considered, and whilst these can take some time for a horse to adjust to, the benefit is worth persevering with. Also be aware that a ‘bare’ looking paddock can actually have short new grass shoots that are very dense in sugar content.
  • Increase your horse’s exercise. Though always consider your horse’s fitness levels if they are overweight, carefully increase the volume of work gradually rather than jump in the deep end and risk injury or stress on their body.' to 'Increase your horse’s exercise. However always consider your horse’s fitness levels and if they are overweight, carefully increase the volume of work gradually rather than jumping in the deep end which risks injury or stress on their body.

Any of the vets are happy to discuss matters with you if you have any queries. Also talking to the professionals at feed companies can be helpful in formulating a balanced diet for your horses whilst trying to lose bodyweight.

24 Hour Emergency Care

Our dedicated and experienced equine team provide emergency cover on a rota basis.

In an emergency, please call the normal clinic number. During our normal working hours - Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm - you will speak to one of our own receptionists.

Out of these times, your call will be answered by our phone-answering service who will take your details and pass them onto the vet on call. The vet will return your call to give advice and provide veterinary assistance as quickly as possible. Please give clear details about your horse's location to ensure that our vet can get to you as soon as possible.

The vet on call will always be one of our own vets and therefore you can rest assured your equine will receive the best possible care at all times.

Repeat Prescriptions

Repeat Prescriptions

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