Frequently Asked Questions
Do all horses and ponies need a passport? Yes, 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? Some horses have passports which are not fully valid according to the current legislation. This may be because they do not contain Section 9 (Medicinal Treatment section), are missing a 15 digit Life Number (UELN) or do not contain a satisfactory identification section. 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 provide discounted visit fees for most areas covered and free monthly visits to certain livery yards.
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 can suffer from injuries and conditions such as colic even if they are looked after carefully. Treatment of these can easily run into thousands of pounds and insurance cover offers peace of mind that you should avoid any unforeseen expense.
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 advise you.
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, under fact sheets.
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. We also charge a £12 fee to process the claim for you
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 which means that non-veterinary "dentists" are limited to basic rasping. As vets, we can offer a much wider range of services including extraction of teeth (including wolf teeth), removal of large overgrowths, dental endoscopy, X-rays and periodontal treatment. We are able to administer medication and analgesia whenever it is required. Many horses require sedation to allow proper dental examination and treatment. Only vets are allowed to administer sedation. By choosing a vet you also know you are dealing with a fully insured, regulated, knowledgeable and competent person.
Is it more expensive for a vet to rasp my horse’s teeth than an Equine Dental Technician? 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 not be completing a thorough job.
If I decide to choose a "dentist", how do I find a good one? You must choose an Equine Dental Technician (EDT) registered with the British Association of Equine Dental Technicians who should be insured and have had relevant training. A list of EDT’s is available at www.baedt.com
How often do horse’s teeth need checking? 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 provide 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 and sound 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.
More complicated procedures like diastema treatments and extractions are frequently painful and often require a sedative.
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? A standard 5 stage examination is £240 excluding visit. Please see out Pre-purchase Examinations page for further information.
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 up to 40 miles driving distance from our surgery. Additional mileage charges apply to journeys over 20 miles driving distance. 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 seller's 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 including trotting in a circle on a hard surface
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 suspicion arises that these could have been given before the vetting. Blood samples can be tested straight away at additional cost.
What vaccinations are necessary for my horse?
Tetanus - Required for all horses and ponies. Vaccination is a cheap and effective means of preventing this often fatal disease. Horse owners have a duty of care to protect their animals from diseases wherever possible and we require all horses to be up to date with tetanus protection in order to register them with our practice.
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. An annual blood test is an alternative.
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 (The first booster may need to be done after 18 months depending on the vaccine used)
Flu – Primary course of 3 injections (4-6 weeks then 5-6 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 / BHA 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? At least 90% of horses and ponies suffering from laminitis have an underlying metabolic disorder such as Cushings Disease (PPID) or Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS). These can be tested for by blood sampling. Laminitis is often brought on in these horses by a trigger factor such as an increase in carbohydrate intake (which could be caused by a flush of grass or change in haylage). Laminitis 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. Testing for metabolic conditions is usually recommended. And if PPID is diagnosed, treatment can be used to control it. Horses prone to laminitis must be managed carefully: Avoid becoming overweight, keep in regular exercise, keep 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.
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.
Please also see our leaflet on Saying Goodbye
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 £500-600. Group cremation (without the option of the ashes being returned) costs around £210. 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 AHPA website (See our links page).
How often should I worm my horse? The modern approach to controlling worms in horses is to use strategic worming regimes, where horses are tested and only wormed if needed, rather than to give them wormers at set intervals whether they need them or not. Resistance to wormers is becoming a big problem and is exacerbated by over-use of worming products. It is now considered quite normal for horses to harbour a small number of worms and they may even be beneficial to the horse's immunity.
When should I do a worm egg count? Most adult horses should be tested for worms by collecting a small droppings sample for a worm egg count every 8-12 weeks over spring, summer and autumn. The recommended interval between testing will vary according to to various factors such as the number of horses on the yard, previous worm egg count results, stocking density, management of pasture etc.
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.
What if my horse is kept on his own? Horses turned out on pasture which has not been grazed by other horses are at much lower risk of becoming infected with worms so the interval between testing can be reduced.
How do I test for tapeworms? Worm egg counts do not test for tapeworms (or encysted small redworms). It is possible to test for antibodies to tapeworms by a blood test or saliva test, but this does not give an acurate assessment of current tapeworm infection. Horses with repeated negative blood tests may not need worming for tapeworms but most horses require dosing with praziquantel (Equitape) once a year in the autumn.
Should I worry about resistance to wormers? Resistance has been reported to all the wormers we currently use and no new wormers are under development for the near future. If levels of resistance increase we may have the situation where horses suffering from severe worm infestation are unresponsive to any treatment. To avoid this, we must use wormers responsibly and only when they are needed.
What about foals? Foals are susceptible to different types of worms than adult horses. For this reason, we recommend dosing with pyrantel (Strongid-P / Pyratape) once monthly from 3 to 6 months of age.
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.