VET’S DIARY: Advice that’s straight from the horse’s mouth

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After a week away I return to see the equine clinic as busy as I can remember for this time of year.

Currently there is a very varied caseload as well as a lot of routine health work. In addition to this, we are spending a significant amount of time maximising performance in the competition and racehorses.

February is arguably the busiest time of year for National Hunt racing and point-to-points.

I was one of the duty veterinary surgeons at Kelso racecourse on Thursday. There was some great racing and we were privileged to have AP McCoy riding, and winning of course!

Lesley and I were on veterinary duty at the Percy point-to-point on Sunday. It was a very chilly day but the racing was good and competitive.

It was fantastic to see local trainers winning many of the top prizes.

The dental work is particularly busy and the Friday dental promotion (for dentals performed at the Fairmoor Equine Clinic) is proving very popular.

Routine equine dentistry involves removing the sharp enamel points from the outside edges of the upper molars and inside edge of the lower molars. They become sharp in these locations due to horses chewing in a circular motion.

We also see more serious problems, for example, when food is forced into small gaps between the teeth (diastema) leading to gum disease. This is thought to be one of the most painful conditions seen in the horse’s mouth.

We have the specialist equipment to flush out and clean these gaps and if necessary widen or fill the gaps to try and prevent food becoming trapped again.

It is the time of year for getting mares prepared for breeding, be that AI (artificial insemination) or going to stud.

The preparation includes taking swabs to check that mares are not carrying any unwanted pathogens before they go to stud.

If you would like any advice on putting your mare in foal or managing the mare at foaling time please phone to speak to one of the vets. I look forward to seeing this year’s crop of foals arrive.

We are very pleased to have attracted a very experienced vet to join the equine team in March.

Keesjan Cornelisse is originally from Holland, he did a residency (specialist training) in equine internal medicine at the Michigan State University, USA, becoming a diploma holder in equine internal medicine, this is one if the highest qualifications in veterinary medicine.

He has worked in both North America and for the last 10 years in the UK. Keesjan has a strong interest in all aspects of internal medicine and would be happy to advice on all cases including weight loss, diarrhoea, cardiology and cardiac scanning.

On a lighter note, I have found the perfect solution to giving our 30-plus-year-old pony, Narmy, her daily tablet for Cushing’s disease. She was becoming increasingly fussy about eating the tiny tablet each morning. I found that it neatly fits in the centre of a polo which she readily eats (or sucks as she has very few teeth left!)