As I’m sure many of you will have seen in the equine press, there is currently an outbreak of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) in continental Europe. The outbreak was first identified at a large show jumping competition in Valencia and has since spread to other sites in Belgium and France amongst other countries.

Many horses which contract EHV infections will have mild respiratory disease characterised by pyrexia, nasal discharge and ill thrift. A very small percentage of horses can go on to develop neurological disease (EHM), and it is this development that poses a significant risk to life. The virus currently circulating in Europe has shown the ability to cause neurological disease (EHM).

The FEI have moved to cancel all competition in mainland Europe until the 28th March to bring the outbreak under control. We expect this move will mean that many of the UK based horses currently competing in Europe will begin to return home. Returning horses should be strictly quarantined for 14 days upon their return, even if they have shown no clinical signs of disease. Herpes viruses have the ability to become latent and re-activate in times of stress such as long-distance transport. Whilst being maintained in isolation the easiest surveillance to undertake is monitoring of rectal temperatures and this should be done twice daily.

We do not advocate the practice of vaccinating in the face of an outbreak of EHM. Based on some data from a previous EHV-1 outbreak, there is evidence that recently vaccinated horses were more likely to go on to develop neurological disease. Vaccination does, however, play a major part in the control of EHV infections but should be instigated at the herd level and pre-emptive of an outbreak of disease to reduce the overall prevalence of the virus in the equine population. If you think your premises would benefit from ongoing EHV vaccination (the risk factors being similar to other respiratory viruses) then please give us a call to discuss with one of the veterinary team.

Shorter days, colder nights and wintery showers have arrived so we thought it would be a good time to share some top winter care tips...

Atypical Myopathy is a frequently fatal condition caused by severe muscle damage, not only of the muscle of walking and posture but also of the breathing and heart muscles. The disease is seen in grazing horses and was first reported in the 1940s, but is becoming more common with many cases seen across the UK and Europe.

What is colic?

Colic is a broad veterinary term used to describe any form of abdominal pain. Colic can be triggered by many different causes; most of these are gastrointestinal in nature but occasionally colic can be the result of urinary and reproductive problems and even some severe respiratory disease can present as colic.

As we confirmed earlier this week our full range of routine and emergency services will be available throughout the second lockdown. However, as part of our efforts to restrict the spread of the coronavirus we would like to take this opportunity to reacquaint our clients with our telemedicine consults that were launched at the end of March during the early stages of the pandemic. This service offers a face to face consultation with one of our veterinary surgeons without the need to leave your home/yard.

Circumstances under which a telemedicine consult may be appropriate are:-

  • For a live video assessment by a vet in order to determine whether a physical assessment is required. This could apply to wounds/skin issues etc.
  • In order to assess a horse before prescribing repeat medication . In these exceptional circumstances, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons have made clear that prescribing medicines following a video consult can be appropriate and in the best interests of animal welfare.
  • Before commencing return to work protocols/ turn out

During lockdown these appointments are being offered at a reduced rate of £25. This fee will be charged at the time of booking however if the vet decides that a visit/hospital consult and a physical examination are required the £25 will be deducted from our standard consult fee.

The appointment is very easy to set up - we use a program called Whereby which works either via an app or the web browser on your mobile phone. All you need is good 3G/4G reception or a WIFI connection.

For further details please contact our reception team.

We have introduced a new 'recommend a friend' voucher scheme. If you know a friend or family member that would benefit from Oakham Veterinary Hospital's equine services then email this voucher to them to complete and hand it to the vet at their first Oakham Vet Hospital appointment, you'll both receive £10 credited to your account! 

Download Voucher


Worming Strategy

A robust de-worming strategy is an important part of your horse's general healthcare plan. A high worm burden may result in ill health, weight loss, poor condition, diarrhoea and most seriously, colic.

Care of the elderly horse

A horse or pony of 18 to 20 years of age is entering the golden years. Some horses remain in excellent condition until the moment they pass, while others deteriorate quickly or slowly over time. Horses are living longer and often live healthy lives into their early thirties. Because of the physiological changes normally associated with aging, older horses require a more stringent healthcare routine, environment and diet.

As you will be aware from Friday 24th July facemasks become mandatory in shops and supermarkets in England. As much of our COVID-19 secure guidance has been taken from the Governments Working safely during COVID-19 documents, we will also require clients to wear face coverings when visiting our practice.

For us in the equine department, this means that anyone wishing to enter equine reception or visit an inpatient will be asked to wear a face covering. A one way system is now in place for clients entering both SA and Equine reception and clients will be asked to make use of the hand sanitisers available upon entry. Once admitted to the equine lorry park you will NOT be asked to continue wearing a face covering. The fact that we mitigate risk using other methods such as social distancing and that we can interact with clients in an outdoor space means coverings are unnecessary in this environment.

If you have any questions please ask our reception team. We thank you in advance for your cooperation.

Computed Tomography

Computed Tomography (CT) is the latest specialist imaging equipment to be added at Oakham Veterinary Hospital. The CT scanner takes multiple, single slice x-rays and is able to create a highly detailed 3-dimensional reconstruction of the patient. Using sophisticated software, we can use the acquired images to fully visualise and understand the location of the pathology. CT imaging is ideal for examining bone or soft tissue structures of the head, neck and limbs of horses, or anywhere in a dog or cat.

At Oakham Veterinary Hospital we are passionate about the promotion of preventative healthcare. Part of this is to make sure your horse’s vaccinations are kept up to date. Horses need to be vaccinated to prevent unnecessary suffering and to promote horse health. The consequences of lapsed vaccinations can be expensive and disruptive.

We have implemented strict protocols for clients bringing horses to the hospital for appointments. We ask that clients please observe the following for the safety of both yourselves and our staff.