Intensive, routine reproductive work is carried out on Thoroughbred stud farms and we are able to claim excellent fertility rates for the mares under our care. A reproduction contract is available to allow regular monitoring and extensive treatment at a fixed cost. This enables us to work together intensively, enjoying good reproductive results without incurring ongoing costs.
Routine reproductive work incorporates regular monitoring of the ovaries to identify the optimum time for breeding, assessment of the uterus with regards to infectious or anatomical abnormalities to maintain optimum fertility rates, pregnancy diagnosis and foetal development.
Additional work can be done to further investigate reproductive failure and placental dysfunction. At the time of foaling, any problems are attended as a matter of urgency, the mare is checked internally and the foal examined and monitored closely during its first days.
Our laboratory is equipped to run on-site blood haematology and biochemistry analysis. We also offer a serum amyloid A test which can be performed in-house or on the road with excellent stall-side tests and readers in all the cars. This is an excellent immediate indication of an infection. During the season the lab is very busy with microbiology performed in-house on mare uterine and clitoral swabs.
Looking after a sick foal can be the most difficult but rewarding part of the breeding season. Neonatal medicine is complex and often very intensive. On the farms, we can work with some of the excellent staff and provide regular monitoring and ultrasound assessment of sick foals with early therapy and basic intravenous fluid care. Sicker foals can be admitted to the practice for more intensive treatment.
The most rewarding and best approach to foal care is preventative medicine. In-depth advice can be provided regarding vaccination, worming, foaling and quarantine protocols. It is also routine on all farms serviced by BRVS to check each foal after it is born for any signs of rib fracture, congenital abnormality, sepsis, maladjustment syndrome or any other sign of illness.
We also routinely perform a chest scan on each foal at approximately 4-6 weeks to pick any sign of Rhodococcus infection early. Rhodococcus results in lung abscesses causing a condition known as ‘Rattles’ that can be difficult and expensive to treat, and even fatal if advanced. By picking them up early, treatment is generally both quick and inexpensive.
Lameness and conformation assessments and musculo-skeletal problems in young horses are a particular interest to the practice. Radiography has become a very important aspect of the sale of yearlings and, working closely with a specialist surgeon, we can offer advice to those both selling and buying horses.
Experience has been gained from Australian, European and American markets and from monitoring horses closely as foals, yearlings and racehorses. Survey radiographs are routinely taken of weanlings and yearlings between July and September on many farms to alert the owner to potential problems that can be managed or operated on prior to sale.
Radiographs are taken within 6 weeks prior to yearling sales. These are then available to other veterinarians, working on behalf of potential purchasers, in x-ray repositories at most yearling sales. Please be in touch for any yearling advice at any time of the year, or at the major yearling sales.
General health care and lameness evaluation is available to trainers, pre-trainers and spelling farms. Keeping horses sound and healthy is one of the most difficult aspects of training and an important part of the practice.
Diagnosing lameness issues requires a methodical and systematic approach. If obvious external signs do not point to individual anatomical structures, nerve and joint blocks with local anaesthetic are used to identify anatomical regions. Radiology and ultrasound are then used to identify particular lesions in joints and tendons. Treatment and training regimes can then be modified appropriately.
We also have a particular interest in respiratory medicine – inflammatory airway disease and exercise induced pulmonary haemorrhage are common problems and causes for reduced performance. Tracheal endoscopy and bronchio-alveolar lavage (BAL, or lung washes) can provide important information and treatment plans involving anti-inflammatories and nebulisers can have excellent results.
We also have the ability to video-endoscope horses during treadmill exercise which has provided invaluable information about laryngeal function.
We also have a 3m scope which enables us to perform gastroscopy and identify stomach ulcers. The prevalence is up to 90% in untreated racehorses – management changes and treatment can increase the condition and performances of racehorses hugely.
This is a safe, non-invasive and extremely valuable tool in the assessment and management of many cases. BRVS has a mobile, high-quality, multi-purpose ultrasound machine.
This is commonly used for musculo-skeletal assessments (tendons, ligaments, pelvis, joints, bone surfaces and the pelvic area), medicine cases (such as colic, enteritis, pneumonia, Rhodococcus infection, bladder rupture), reproduction (follicular activity, pregnancy and twin diagnosis, identification of endometritis and placental assessment).
The ability to use and interpret ultrasound images on-farm provides immediate and invaluable diagnostic and prognostic information for all of these cases.
At Hunter Equine Centre, we are equipped with the most modern, portable and/or video endoscopy equipment available. This includes upper & lower airway endoscopy (race track - pre/post work, general health examinations, sales reports), gastroscopy (equine gastric ulcer syndrome, foreign body retrieval, etc) & hysteroscopy (internal uterine endoscopic examination). High definition video endoscopy enables our vets to more closely examine & freeze frame videos, allowing for pin point diagnosis and a clear understanding with our clients. In addition, these HD videos are readily uploadable onto USB device for sales purposes.
As an addition to our usual endoscopy services, we are able to offer treadmill video endoscopy. This allows our vets to make diagnosis beyond the capabilities of static endoscopy, as we evaluate real-time performance whilst the horse is working, emulating scenarios encountered during a race.
At Hunter Equine Centre, we recognise horse sales as a fundamental part of your business. For that reason, our veterinarians keep themselves strongly engaged in the market at all times; this enables us to offer honest advice from a veterinary standpoint on the prospective sales of your horse. Our vets are able to provide the latest in radiography and video endoscopy, both on farm & at sales.
We strive to maintain a constant presence at all of the major Australian horse sales and as such are able to offer clinical examinations, professional opinions & treatment at the complex.
Whether it be weanlings, yearlings, broodmares or breeze-ups, our comprehensive service extends right through from sales entry until the hammer drops.
Our vets provide the utmost standard of care when it comes to dentistry because we understand that without this, there is no horse.
We offer an experienced dental service which ranges from a general performance or broodmare float through to more intensive dental health care. All of our procedures include an examination of the whole mouth using a gag, light & palpation.
No hoof, no horse
Our clinic works in conjunction with some of the country’s best farriers to provide a two-pronged approach to podiatry; this includes general hoof care, conformational changes from foals to competition horses & chronic lameness.
Whatever the query, we are able to aid your farriers in optimising the outcome for your horse using digital radiography and more advanced venogram techniques.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the stimulation of specific points in the body which have the ability to alter various biomechanical, neurological and physiological conditions. The horse has 361 acupunture points which are located along channels. These channels are associated with the local anatomical structures and also with a certain organ and its characteristics.
Microscopically, these points are seen to differ from surrounding tissue by altered nerve endings and blood vessels. These points are also shown to have lowered skin electrical resistance and energy is able to flow between them. It is this energy flow that is disrupted in many disease states.
Stimulation of these points has been shown to release numerous neurotransmitters and activate neurological pathways. Certain points can be seen to affect muscles, glands and immune cells. Detailed studies have shown alterations in organ function and biomarkers after treatment. Probably the most extensive use of acupuncture in the horse relates to its significant effect on muscle injury, reducing pain transmission and stimulating endorphin release.