• Call us on:01505 704248
  • Out of hours:07831 173282
  • Emergency:07831 173282


Information on helping your horse through life

Our Equine services

  • 24-hour emergency service
  • Lameness investigations
  • Pre purchase vettings
  • Ultrasound & Endoscopy
  • Digital x-ray
  • Poor performance investigations
  • Minor surgical procedures
  • Microchipping and passport services
  • Annual worming scheme
  • Vaccinations

We provide a 24-hour emergency service, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. During opening times, the veterinary surgeon can be contacted on 01505 704248. For any other times please contact the on call veterinary surgeon on 07831 173282.


Horses should be at least 6 months of age, vaccinated and in good health before the procedure. Also it is important to ensure both testicles are fully descended into the scrotum.

As a practice, we prefer to perform the procedure with the patient standing, they receive a heavy sedation and local anaesthetic. Generally, we perform the castrations in the spring or Autumn as there is less chance of flies or mud splashing on the wound.

Cushings Syndrome

It is a common disease seen in older horses and ponies, this is when most cases are diagnosed. Diagnosis is made by clinical examination and blood tests.

Symptoms of Cushings include:

  • Long, curly coat
  • Laminitis
  • Lethargy
  • Increased sweating

Treatment of cushings is by medication which can be expensive, it is a drug known as pergolide and comes in tablet form. The dose is altered by repeating monitoring blood samples.


Laminitis is damage to the laminae, which binds the pedal bone to the hoof wall. This can cause inflammation, pain and tissue damage. Severe cases of laminitis lead to rotation of the pedal bone. Laminitis is unfortunately fairly common, it seems to occur in older horses, obese horses and during the summer period.

There are many causes of laminitis:

  • Lush pasture
  • Hormonal – Cushings disease
  • Metabolic – equine metabolic syndrome
  • Trauma or injury
  • Corticosteroid induced

Signs of laminitis include:

  • Lameness
  • Stiff
  • Difficulty turning
  • Shifting weight
  • Hoof shape changes
  • Bounding digital pulses
  • Pain on hoof testers
  • Widening of the white line
  • Long heels

It is diagnosed through the use of clinical examination, radiography and nerve blocks. Treatment of laminitis is the use of NSAIDs, frog supports (to support the pedal bone), stable on deep bedding and treat the underlying conditions (diet change, test for cushing’s).

Dental Care

You have your horse’s teeth checked annually (ideally at same time as yearly vaccine). It is important to check them regularly to detect any problems early on. If you have any problems, please contact any of the veterinary surgeons at the practice, who will be happy to help you.

Passports & Insurance


All horses must be issued a passport. All horses must now be microchipped before a passport is issued.


The cost of owning a horse is expensive regardless if your horse is for pleasure or competing. Insurance exists to help protect yourself against unpredictable costs. Ultimately, it is your decision to decide if you want your horse insured. Most insurance companies allow you to choose the cover you buy. We would recommend to cover third party liability, i.e. car damage caused by horse.


Strangles is a bacterial disease that can affect horses, ponies and donkeys. It is very common. There are varying different signs of strangles, ranging from mild to severe. It is caused by a bacteria called streptococcus equi, it is highly contagious unfortunately. It can be spread by direct contact with infected discharges or by contaminated equipment/clothing.

It is diagnosed by the following:

  • Blood test (antibodies)
  • Nasopharyngeal swabs
  • Guttural pouch wash (collecting fluid from pouches by flushing the throat)

The symptoms include:

  • Loss of appetite, fever, thick nasal discharge, swelling and abscess formation in the lymph nodes under the jaw
  • “Bastard” strangles is caused by the spread of bacteria and abscess formation in different areas of the body.


Good nursing care e.g. damp food to aid swallowing, poultices for the abscesses then cleaning and flushing


Enforce biosecurity polices on the yard, most yards have their own policy in regards to strangles including: All new horses to the yard placed in quarantine for 3 weeks prior to full entry and have a clear blood sample and if an outbreak is confirmed, close the yard, isolate the infected animals and ensure good infection control.



Tetanus is caused by a bacteria called clostridium tetani, which can be found in the soil and horse faeces. It mainly enters the body by a open wound. It has an incubation period of 7-21 days, so even a small wound can be contaminated with clostridium tetani.

Signs include:

  • Stiffness of head or limbs
  • Reluctance to move
  • Trembling
  • Body spasms
  • Muscle spasms of head or neck causing difficulty chewing and flared nostrils

Approx 90% of unvaccinated horses that develop tetanus can die

Equine Influenza

A viral disease of the respiratory system caused by different strains of the influenza virus.
It can be contracted by contact with an infected horse or indirectly by contaminated air or environment. Outbreaks of influenza spread quickly due to the short incubation period (1-3 days).

Signs of influenza include:

  • Increased temperature for up to 3 days
  • Nasal discharge (develops to yellow, thick discharge)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Persistent dry cough for up to 3 weeks
  • Loss of performance
  • Lethargy

Vaccinations Schedules

Primary course of two injections are administered 4-6 weeks apart. Then the first booster is given six months after the second primary vaccine. Then yearly boosters are required every 12 months.


Pre Purchase Examinations

The aim of these is to carry out a thorough clinical examination on behalf of a potential purchaser to identify and assess factors of a veterinary nature that could prejudice the horse’s suitability for its intended use.

Each pre purchase examination is carried out on behalf of a prospective purchaser, so that the opinion can be based on that purchaser’s individual needs and intended use of the horse.

Its findings are assessed by a veterinary surgeon, who will form an opinion as to the significance and any possible adverse implications for the prospective purchaser.

We recommend a full five stage vetting for any purchase of a horse. The vettings are only performed by Catherine Wilson, please contact the surgery for further information or to book a vetting with herself.


There are many types of worms, and most use the horse as a host during their lifecycle. The amount of damage to the horse depends on the horses’ immune status, number of worms present and type of worm.

Large Redworms (strongyles)

Not as common as it used to be. Larval stage of the lifecycle is of most concern, as it migrates through the blood vessels. The migration can cause damage to blood vessel walls and can cause blood clot formation. Disruption to the blood supply can cause colic and in some rare cases death.

Small Redworms (cyathostones)

These are the most common internal parasite of the horse. The lifecycle takes a few weeks from larvae ingestion to adult laying eggs. These worms can hibernate in the form of cysts in the gut wall, this is when they become difficult to treat.

Large Roundworms (ascarids)

These worms usually only affect foals and young horses. Adult horses are not normally affected as immunity is developed with age. Adult large roundworms can grow up to 50cm in length. In foals and young horses they can cause poor growth, digestive problems, respiratory problems and even death.


Found in horse’s gut, usually found between the small and large intestine. Severe tapeworm infections can cause loss of condition, digestive disturbances, coil and death.


Usually a problem seen in the summer time for grazing horses. The bot flies lay small sticky eggs on the coat. Usual areas include forelimbs, abdomen or shoulder. As the horse grooms itself (or another horse) it causes the eggs to hatch and the larvae to enter the stomach. Once there the larvae attach to the gut lining. Daily removal of the eggs from your horse will disrupt the lifecycle.


It is thought donkeys are the natural host of lungworms but horses can be affected with lungworms also. It occurs more likely in horses that share grazing with donkeys. Donkeys tend to tolerate a large infestation of lungworms unlike horses which show obvious respiratory signs – coughing. NOTE – horses and donkeys can live together if a worming programme is in place.
Worm Egg Counts

Worm egg counts are used to minimise the risk of worm resistance and allow a targeted approach to the use of wormers. We send our faecal samples to an external lab for results. Worm egg counts should be performed 8-10 weeks after using a worming product.

Please note small redworms in the gut can’t be detected with this method. Also tapeworms aren’t detected by worm counts, these are detected by a tapeworm antibody test (blood test)

There are many different worming products available, please contact the surgery and one of the veterinary surgeons will best advise you.

If you require any further information or advice, please do not hesitate to contact the practice and speak to one of our staff. Alternatively, you can now book an appointment online.

Practice information

Kilbarchan Veterinary Practice

  • Mon
    8:30am - 6:00pm
  • Tue
    8:30am - 6:50pm
  • Wed
    8:30am - 5:50pm
  • Thu
    8:30am - 6:50pm
  • Fri
    8:30am - 5:50pm
  • Sat
    9:00am - 11:00am
  • Sun
    Emergencies only

Emergency Details

Please call:

07831 173282

Find us here:

11 Steeple Street, Kilbarchan, Renfreshire, PA10 2JF
get directions with Google Maps

Please call this number for emergencies:

07831 173282