FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Do all horses and ponies need a passport? Yes, the regulations state that all horses, ponies, donkeys and mules in the UK need a passport even if they never go off the yard. Anyone keeping a horse without a passport may be fined up to £5000.
Who is checking up on passports? The Trading Standards Department of your Local Authority is responsible for policing the regulations. They may check passports at events, when horses are transported, at livery yards and at Animal Health inspections.
Should I buy a horse without a passport? No! It is illegal to sell a horse without a passport and if you buy it you will be committing an offence and eligible for a fine.
Do I need to record medicines in my horse’s passport? If the declaration in Section 9 is signed to say the horse is NOT intended for human consumption there is no obligation to record medicines. If the declaration is not signed or is signed to say the horse IS intended for human consumption, you MUST record certain medicines in the passport and keep a medicines book. Vets will advise on which medicines need to be recorded.
How do I know if my horse’s passport is correct? Many horses have passports which are not valid according to the new legislation. This may be because they do not contain Section 9 (Medicinal Treatment section) or the identification section may not be satisfactory. If you are in any doubt, ask a vet to check it.
Why should I choose Aldington Equine Vets to treat my horse? Because we are entirely dedicated to horses so your horse will only ever be treated by an experienced equine vet. We offer a prompt, reliable and value for money service and we provide services unavailable at other vets.
How do your prices compare? We consider our fees to be highly competitive and we regularly provide special offers and discounted visit fees.
What do I need to do to register my horse with you? Either fill out the New Client Registration Form on the website or call us on 01254 888600.
Do you accept students for work experience? Unfortunately, health and safety plus insurance implications mean that we are unable to accept work experience students but we do have places available for veterinary students “seeing practice”.
Would you recommend insurance for my horse? Yes, we strongly advise cover for vets fees and third party. Horses regularly suffer from injuries to conditions such as colic. Treatment of these can easily run into thousands of pounds and if covered by insurance, you can rest in the knowledge that your horse will receive the best possible treatment.
Which companies do you recommend? Financial Service Authority regulations mean that we are not allowed to offer specific advice on the policies which are offered by various companies but we do provide leaflets and contact details of various companies who can offer further advice.
How much does horse insurance cost? This obviously depends on the level of cover and value of the horse, but you can expect to pay £20-60 per month for vets fee and third party cover for a horse worth not more than £5000.
How do I make an insurance claim? Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to let them know you intend to claim. They will send you a claim form which you should fill in as soon as you can and then forward to your vet. We have an advice sheet on making an insurance claim which can be obtained from our website (click here).
Do insurance companies pay the vet directly? Most insurance companies will either pay you or the vet depending on which you request. You are responsible for payment of the excess on your policy directly to the vet.
Why should I have a vet see to my horse’s teeth rather than a dentist? There are regulations in force to protect your horse from unqualified people carrying out certain procedures: Only vets are allowed to carry out extraction of teeth (including wolf teeth), removal of large overgrowths and use of motorised equipment. Horses which do not like having their teeth rasped may find the whole process distressing and are far better being sedated. Some horses cannot be rasped properly without sedation. Dentists cannot administer sedation. By choosing a vet you also know you are dealing with a fully insured, knowledgeable and competent person which cannot be said for all dentists.
Is it more expensive for a vet to rasp my horse’s teeth than a dentist? Our charges for dental work are comparable to those of a qualified equine dental technician. Anyone charging very low fees should be treated with suspicion as they may well not be completing a thorough job.
If I decide to choose a dentist, how do I find a good one? You must choose a registered Equine Dental Technician (EDT) who will be insured and have had relevant training. A list of EDT’s is available at www.beva.org.uk. There are no EDT’s based in Lancashire (as of September 2008)
How often do horse’s teeth need rasping? Horses with normal dentition will usually require rasping annually but checking the teeth more often is never a bad idea. Older horses and those with dental problems often need treatment every 4-6 months. Your vet or EDT will advise on how often checks are required for your horse. We offer a reminder service so you don’t forget to have your horses teeth checked at the correct time.
Does tooth rasping hurt? If it is done properly, tooth rasping doesn’t hurt but some horse resent being restrained and dislike the feeling of a rasp in their mouth. We can make the procedure as stress free as possible for these horses by administering sedation or analgesia as required.
Is it worth having a horse vetted before I buy it? Yes. Even if you are not paying much for the horse or you already know it, a vetting can prevent a lot of heartache at a later date.
How much does a vetting cost? Please see the vettings page for details of costs for vettings.
Why choose Aldington Equine Vets to do the vetting? The examination will be done by an experienced equine vet (who has done hundreds of vettings before), a blood sample is included in the fee and a thorough examination and report is always completed.
How far will you travel to do a vetting? We are prepared to travel all over the north of England. Please see the vettings page for details of costs. Vettings involving long journeys need to be booked well in advance.
How do I arrange a vetting? Make sure you have full details including the vendors name, address and contact number and directions to where the horse is kept, then call us to book in the vetting. We appreciate as much notice as possible as it takes at least 2 hours plus travelling time to complete a full vetting.
What does a vetting involve? We carry out 5-Stage Examinations according to British Veterinary Association guidelines. The examination takes around two hours and the five stages include:
Stage 1 – Examination of documentation, conformation, skin,
heart, lungs, legs, feet, scars, teeth
Stage 2 – Walk and trot up, flexion tests and assessment
of gait and movement
Stage 3 – Ridden exercise at walk, trot and canter
Stage 4 – Strenuous exercise followed by a cool down
period to assess recovery and examine the eyes
Stage 5 – Second trot-up and repeat of flexion tests
Additional procedures such as X-rays can be carried out at extra cost – Please ring to discuss.
Is a blood sample included? We take a blood sample after every vetting. It is sent to Newmarket to be stored and may be tested for pain killers or sedatives if it subsequently develops that these could have been given before the vetting. The blood sample can be tested straight away but this costs around £80-150.
What vaccinations are necessary for my horse?
Tetanus - All horses and ponies
Flu - All horses regularly attending shows and events and all horses kept at livery stables or larger yards
Strangles - If there have been cases of strangles in your area over the past 12 months and your horse is kept on a yard where other horses are coming and going.
Equine Herpes Virus (EHV) - Pregnant mares kept at stud or on larger yards and optional for competition horses to reduce the chances of respiratory disease.
Equine Viral Arteritis (EVA) – Breeding stallions
Rotavirus – Pregnant mares on yards where there is a high risk of rotavirus infection in foals
How often are vaccinations given?
- Tetanus – Primary course of two injections 4-6 weeks apart then every 2 years
- Flu – Primary course of 3 injections (4-6 weeks then 6 months apart) then every 6 months (according to FEI rules for international competitions) and not more than 365 days apart (for horses not competing under FEI rules)
- Strangles – Primary course of two injections 4 weeks apart then boosters every 3-6 months depending on the level of risk.
- EHV – Vaccination at 5, 7 and 9 months of pregnancy for mares or every 6 months for other horses (after a primary course of two injections 4-6 weeks apart)
- EVA – Every 6 months (A blood test is required prior to vaccination)
- Rotavirus – 8, 9 and 10 months of pregnancy
When can foals start vaccinations?
- Flu & Tetanus – 4 - 6 months old (depending on the vaccine used)
- Strangles – 4 months old
- EHV - 5 months old
What vaccinations are needed for me to enter competitions with my horse? Competition horses should be vaccinated against flu according to Jockey Club rules (with boosters no more than 365 days apart) and according to FEI rules if competing at international level (with boosters no more than 6 months apart). Refer to show rules for each competition to check the requirements.
Why do horses get laminitis? Most commonly triggered by a sudden change in diet or exercise. Overweight horses or ponies are most likely to be affected, as well as older horses with Cushings - but it can occur in any horse. Around 90% (statistics from 2012) will have an underlying problem of either Equine Metabolic Syndrome or Cushings disease causing the risk of lamimitis. It can also be triggered by toxic infection (such as retained membranes after foaling), inappropriate hoof shape causing abnormal stresses on the foot and administration of certain medicines.
How can I prevent it? If you own a horse or pony which has already suffered from laminitis, speak to your vet to get the most appropriate advice for your horse. The basics are to avoid your horse becoming overweight, keep your horse in regular exercise, keep his feet in good order, avoid any sudden changes of diet, feed according to breed, condition and workload and avoid excessive turn out on rich pasture. Older horses can be tested for Cushings syndrome and put on treatment if required.
How will I know if my horse starts with laminitis? In milder cases, a slower gait on hard ground or "stiffness", hesitation on turning, heat in the feet and an increased pulse to the feet. In more severe cases, lying down excessively, leaning back on the heels (especially on turning), reluctance to walk forward, shifting weight continually on the front feet. Laminitis is very serious and if you suspect your horse could be affected you must consult a vet as soon as possible.
What options are available when my horse comes to the end of its life? Euthanasia can be carried out by injection (given by a vet) or shooting (done by a vet or registered slaughterman).
Why should I choose injection? If you wish to be with your horse when he or she is put to sleep you may find this method less traumatic. In an emergency, injection may be the only option because it may not be safe to use a firearm (such as at a competition) or there may be no firearm available.
Why should I choose shooting? This method is extremely quick and perfectly humane providing it is done by a competent person. It usually involves less expense. Nervous horses can be sedated by a vet prior to shooting.
What will happen to my horse afterwards? Whichever method of euthanasia is chosen, most horses will be taken for cremation. Individual cremation with the option of the ashes being returned (either in a casket or in a tub ready to scatter) is likely to cost £400-600. Group cremation (without the option of the ashes being returned) costs £180. Burial is possible in certain circumstances (See below). We can make all the arrangements for our clients horses to be taken for cremation if required.
Am I allowed to bury my horse? European legislation prevents the burial of food animals (which includes horses according to European definitions). If you can prove that your horse or pony has been kept as a pet, burial may be permitted. In this situation, you should seek local authority approval and adhere to other regulations governing the depth of the hole and distance away form watercourses and drains. We advise anyone considering burial to read the latest guidelines on the DEFRA website (See our links page).
How often should I worm my horse? Most horses require worming 4 times per year but the frequency depends on many factors such as age of the horse, type of pasture, how many other horses are on the same pasture, whether droppings are collected from the pasture, any history of wormer resistance and results of any worm egg counts. It is best to speak to your vet for advice or follow a worming plan produced by a vet or by one of the companies making wormers. Our current worming plan is available from our information sheets page. We recommend "strategic worming" for most horses, where regular worm egg counts are performed and wormers are only given when the horse is actually carrying worms.
Which wormer should I choose? It is wise to alternate wormers to reduce the chances of resistant worms developing. Be aware that many different brands actually contain the same active ingredient so make sure you alternate the type of wormer rather than just the brand. It is best to use certain types of wormer at certain times of year so you should use a structured worming plan.
Do I really need to worm my horse as often if he is kept on his own? In general, No. It may only be necessary to worm twice a year if your horse has had repeated worm egg counts done which show no worms present.
I find it very difficult to administer wormers to my horse, what should I do? Wormers are available in several different forms so use the one which is easiest for your horse. Panacur comes as a paste, granules or liquid. EquiMax comes in paste or palatable tablet form. If you find it difficult giving paste, you can buy an Easy Wormer which attaches to the syringe to make administration easier. Bear in mind that a worm egg count can be done on your horse's droppings and if it is negative, you may not need to worm. If all else fails, speak to a vet who may be able to administer paste or give an (unlicenced) injection.
How do I know how much to give my horse? You should estimate the weight using a weight tape. These are readily available from most tack shops or from Aldington Equine Vets shop. In general, it is better to overdose slightly rather than underdose.
When should I give a double dose? You should only ever double dose with Strongid P or Pyratape (to treat for tapeworms). There is no advantage in giving a double dose of any other wormers.
How do I do a worm egg count? We sell worm egg count kits with full instructions and everything required to collect and post a sample. Basically, a small sample of fresh droppings is collected, suitably labelled and sent to a laboratory. The number of worm eggs per gram of faeces is calculated. If the results come back positive we will offer advice on which wormer to use and when to test again.
PLEASE NOTE: The advice given above is intended as a guide only and specific advice may vary for individual horses. Aldington Equine Vets Ltd does not accept responsibility for any problems resulting from inappropriate interpretation of the above advice. If you are in any doubt about your horse’s health, always consult a vet.
We endeavour to keep our advice as accurate and up to date as possible. If you find any of the above advice misleading or inaccurate, please let us know via our contact form.