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Did you know the Equine Influenza virus can travel up to 5km through the air?

It also travels easily via people, tack and yard equipment, not to mention nose-to-nose equine contact. Add to that the worrying statistic that less than 50% of Britain’s horse population are estimated to be protected from this infectious disease via vaccination, and it’s not hard to see that your horse doesn’t need to be regularly competing or moving around to be at significant risk. Indeed, recent outbreaks across northern Europe and now Britain have sparked increased concern with advice to be extra-vigilant with yard biosecurity and cautious with new, incoming horses.

Equine infectious diseases can severely affect a horse’s health and performance and in some cases prove fatal. Prevention is far better than cure and vaccination is a key element in the fight against these. The cost of vaccinating against ‘Flu and Tetanus is negligible compared to the cost of treating an affected animal; not to mention the recovery time needed post-illness. A horse that has suffered ‘Flu will need up to six weeks’ complete rest and may not be fully recovered for six months.

In light of the recent concerns over ‘Flu outbreaks, there are a number of easy, sensible precautions you can take to help combat the spread of infectious disease in addition to vaccinating:

  • Follow good hygiene procedures on yard: – as much as possible, use dedicated stable and grooming equipment, tack and rugs for each horse 
  • Ensure stables are well ventilated – this will improve respiratory health and help reduce the spread of disease
  • Clean and disinfect stables and equipment between horse usage with disinfectants which will kill viruses
  • Avoid horse-to-horse contact with unknown horses, such as at shows or events or whilst out hacking
  • Don’t share water at shows or events
  • Isolate new arrivals for at least 14-21 days. Isolation areas can be as simple as an isolated paddock or stable but should ideally be at least 10 metres from other horses
  • Be vigilant for signs – early identification of potential disease enables swift treatment and reduces the chance of infection spreading 
  • Be aware of horses at a greater risk – young horses, those kept in large groups and those which travel a lot are more susceptible 

We are running our annual vaccination amnesty this month, offering the perfect opportunity to re-start lapsed courses or even start vaccinating a new or existing horse in time for the competition season to kick off this spring.

Take advantage of the first two ‘Flu & Tetanus vaccinations in a course of three for just £50, or a complete course of two Tetanus-only vaccinations for £35.
Don’t forget, reduced call-out fees are available too through our Zone Visit Scheme.

For more information or to book your horse in, give our team a call on 01271 879516.

Gastroscopy month

We were pleased to help so many clients with our reduced fees on gastroscopy services throughout January.

The first two images are from a 12 year old event horse after a two week history of bucking and uncharacteristic ‘moodiness’.

There is a pronounced glandular haemorrhagic ulcer at the exit of the horse’s stomach (Pylorus). A number of lower grade ulcers were also identified throughout the glandular tissues.

Glandular ulcers take slightly longer to heal than those found in the squamous region of the stomach. The horse is being treated with two oral medications and will respond nicely.

Because of the warm summer in 2018, a not uncommon finding during gastroscopies this winter have been the presence of Bot Fly Larvae overwintering attached to the stomach mucosa (see third pic, below). They are very wise, emerging and hatching in the spring when it all warms up again! Apart from causing a bit of mucosal damage they rarely cause any clinical problems and are easily treated with routine worming. 

From fat to fabulous on Facebook

We’ve seen an alarming number of laminitis cases throughout the winter so far this year, and if you’ve read the papers or seen the news lately, it seems we are not alone. Obesity amongst our equine friends is, it seems, becoming increasingly problematic all year round. 

As vets, overweight equines are the biggest health problem we are faced with today. Ponies, cobs, donkeys, arabs and native breeds are “good doers” so keeping them trim is notoriously difficult. But carrying excess weight is directly linked to arthritis, breathing issues, laminitis and equine metabolic syndrome. Maintaining your horses at a healthy weight will not only improve performance, but increase quality of life, avoiding long periods of box rest and unwanted vet treatments into the bargain.

If you have a porky pony, the good news however, is that winter is by far the easiest time to help him lose those unwanted kilos. Our brilliant vet Nathalie has been sharing a host of invaluable tips and advice through a series of Facebook posts designed to inspire and motivate owners to make long-term changes to their four-legged friend’s lifestyle – take a look on our Facebook page to catch up and find out more. 

A promising duo

We were delighted to be asked to support promising young  rider Tichy Sanders and her wonderful pony, Cheeky at the start of their exciting dressage journey together. 

At the age of just eight, Tichy has been selected as a member of the South West British Dressage Youth Team, competing in 2018 at the BD under 25 National Championships on an individual and team basis and achieving remarkable results. Having recently had a health check from vet Martin we can confirm that Cheeky is raring to go and ready for a busy and successful 2019 with his talented jockey.


This time the spotlight shines on Carly – a member of our invaluable Veterinary Client Support Team

Q: How long have you been working for Torch Equine? Just over two years

Q: Do you have any pets? A five year old Irish Sports Horse mare called Jynx and the sweetest three year old collie called Taz.

Q: What do you enjoy doing on your days off? I spend as much time as possible in the saddle, I’ve had Jynx from a two year old so have goals we are aiming for, plus there’s nothing better than going for a good gallop! I also help out as much as I can at home on the farm and try and make time whenever possible for coffee & cake with my friends!

Q. What’s your fondest childhood memory?

It’s hard to pick just one as I had an amazing childhood but I had some fantastic holidays in Corfu with my family that I’ll never forget.

Q. Can you describe yourself in 3 words? 

Outgoing, driven, tired!!

Q. If you could be any animal what would it be and why? I think I’d be a cat. I’d like to be independent enough to be able to take myself off on adventures but also curl up and go to sleep whenever I fancied it.