Factsheets - Equine

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    Euthanasia: The importance of advanced preparation

    The decision to euthanase a horse may be the most difficult faced by an owner. In addition to the emotional stress, the situation is further complicated by the practical arrangements necessary. While the decision can never be made easy, considering the options available in advance can help to prevent further distress both during, and after the procedure. It can be useful to leave a plan of your arrangements with your yard owner or temporary carer, so that if you are unavailable in an emergency situation, your wishes can still be respected.


    irap® (interleukin receptor antagonist protein) is a natural anti-inflammatory product that can be used to treat a variety of joint injuries. irap® is produced from your horse’s own blood and injected into the affected joint to treat inflammation and lameness and to encourage joint healing.

    The Newborn Foal

    After eleven months of waiting, when your bundle of joy finally arrives; it is worth knowing some facts about the newborn foal, especially about the first few hours of life.

    Inhalers for Respiratory Disease

    Recurrent airway obstruction (RAO) is a common cause of coughing, nasal discharge and poor performance in many stabled horses. Whilst several therapies exist, the use of inhaled drugs plays an important role in the long term treatment of affected horses.

    The Rig

    A rig is an entire male horse with no signs of external testicles so appears to be a gelding; but one or two testicles are still present, producing testosterone. A rig behaves like a stallion and, potentially, may be fertile. Their behaviour is unpredictable and they can be dangerous to handle so they should be castrated. Some geldings still show stallion-like behaviour despite being fully castrated; they are called “false rigs”. The only form of treatment in these cases is behavioural therapy.


    Donkeys are not small horses, and their natural environment is not the temperate conditions of the UK but a more semi-desert like environment where food is scarce and of a poorer quality. In the UK donkeys live a pasture lifestyle, and many of the clinical problems which arise are the result of too much food and not enough exercise. These are problems which are exacerbated as a donkey reaches old age. Donkeys frequently live into their thirties, so are a long term undertaking and need regular veterinary and dental care throughout their lives.


    The term 'sidebone' describes a condition where calcium deposits are laid down within the lateral cartilages, in a process called mineralisation.

    Sweet Itch

    Sweet itch is a hypersensitivity reaction to the bite of a midge which produces skin irritation that leads to rubbing, scartching and biting of the affected areas resulting in hair loss and skin damage.


    Tetanus or 'lockjaw' is an acute, usually fatal disease caused by a bacterium Clostridium tetani found in soil.

    Orthopaedic Ultrasound Imaging

    Ultrasound imaging has been used in equine veterinary practice since the mid 1980s.