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Intensive, routine reproductive work is carried out on Thoroughbred stud farms and Bridget is able to claim excellent fertility rates for the mares under her 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.
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; Scone has two excellent equine hospitals with internal medicine specialists so hospital referral and a second opinion is always an option for difficult cases. On the farms, we can provide regular monitoring and ultrasound assessment of sick foals with early therapy and basic intravenous fluid care.
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 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.
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.
Endoscopy or ‘scoping’ allows visualisation of the upper respiratory and digestive tracts. This can be carried out routinely in the assessment of airway function, and is performed as a condition of sale at yearling sales. Problems can be identified both prior to sale and if problems should arise during training.
The scope can also be used to take samples from the trachea, or identify the source of nasal discharges.