VET’S DIARY: Follow the three Ps for horse care

Many horse owners in Northumberland will be well aware of the recent problems caused by local outbreaks of the respiratory disease called strangles, caused by the bacteria Streptococcus Equi, writes Lesley Barwise-Munro.

Disease outbreaks in any species of animal can cause suffering, emotional upset to owners and significant economic loss to individuals and to the relevant industry.

Foot-and-mouth disease of 2001 was an extreme example of an infectious disease outbreak and the impact it can have.

Each year, XL Vets Equine, of which Alnorthumbria is a member, runs a national campaign to raise awareness in horse owners about a specific aspect of horse care in order to help our clients to understand and build their knowledge to help their horses, ponies and donkeys. Plan, Prevent, Protect, our campaign for 2014, is all about infectious diseases of horses and how we can reduce the incident and prevent spread.

The main infectious diseases that we encounter are equine influenza, equine herpes, strangles, ringworm, equine infectious anaemia and equine viral arteritis.

With the massive increase and ease of international travel for horses, there are other potentially devastating diseases that are increasingly putting our horses at risk including African horse sickness and West Nile virus.

The campaign kicks off with some of our key members of staff attending a XL Vets CPD (Continuing Professional Development) event in Derbyshire to learn about the most recent advances in disease prevention from top specialists from the Animal Health Trust. (Kate Smith, vet, Sarah Holmes , nurse, and Kath Nixon, branch administrator).

On May 29, we are holding a joint client evening at Newcastle Racecourse with Scott Mitchell Associates, Hexham, a fellow XL Vets member. By joining forces, we are bringing to the North East one of the best authorities on equine infectious diseases in the world as our guest speaker – Professor Josh Slater, from the Royal Veterinary College, London, who devised all of the disease prevention and biosecurity protocols for the Equestrian Olympics at Greenwich Park in 2012. This will be a great opportunity to learn and ask any questions you may have.

There will also be a raffle in aid of the Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust, which XL Vets is supporting, to fund animal welfare education in Africa. We are also planning to request tack donations from our horse owners in the near future.

Please come and support us at what promises to be a great event. Ring the Fairmoor Equine Clinic on 01670 897597 to reserve your place.