Scenic Rim Veterinary Service is a growing practice with 15 veterinarians and 12 support staff, including qualified nurses and experienced administration staff. It has a large thoroughbred client base, both racing and stud, along with servicing a considerable number of Sporthorses, Quarter Horses, Australian Stock Horses, Polo Horses and companion horses.
We provide a full surgical service, ultrasound, digital x-ray, lameness workup, video endoscopy, gastroscopy, laparoscopy, powerfloat dentistry, equine reporduction, stud management, medicine and a full range of laboratory services.
The surgical team manages approximately 1000 general anaesthetic surgeries per year. These include orthopaedic, ophthalmology, reproductive, respiratory and gastrointestinal cases.
We offer comprehensive ambulatory services for both routine and emergency veterinary care. Our team of veterinarians is readily available 24/7 to perform all necessary procedures during urgent and emergency situations.
At our advanced reproduction facility, our experienced team offers artificial insemination, embryo transfer, semen collection and evaluation. We have a dedication stallion collection area with a stallion mounting dummy or jump mare, equipped semen laboratory for processing frozen and chilled semen, walk-on collection service, and specialised stallion paddocks for training and standing stallions.
Reproduction – Stud Farm Practice
At Scenic Rim Veterinary Service we consider our stud farm practice to be second to none in the district.
We pride ourselves in our reproductive service success which is reflected in the loyalty of some of Queenslands finest and largest thoroughbred stud farms.
Stud medicine and reproduction makes up a large part of our practice and as such our veterinary staff doubles during the breeding season to ensure we can cater to all the needs of our clients day and night. This means that mare owners can be confident they will get the care required to achieve optimal pregnancy rates and healthy foals.
Our aim is to provide the full package to mare and stud owners, complete from conception to yearling sales and everything in between.
We also offer a breeding package for mares on stud to make budgeting for veterinary services even easier.
Reproduction – Artificial Insemination
Artificial Insemination (AI) describes the process of introducing semen to a mare’s ovum (egg) for fertilisation without the need for natural mating with a stallion to occur.
At Scenic Rim Vet Service we have an excellent success rate with the use of both chilled semen (from anywhere within Australia) and frozen semen (stored in liquid nitrogen). The technique can also be used for fresh semen where there is physical reasons that natural mating is not possible.
The AI process allows mare owners to access the genetics from stallions all over the world. We have limited long term storage facilities for frozen semen on site but can make arrangements for semen storage locally given prior notice. Of course we will always ensure we have the semen with us during your mare’s stay.
Our purpose built reproduction facility at Scenic Rim vets allows us to provide full care for mares during the AI process, providing safe yards, paddocks and stables during their stay.
Our team of vets use the latest in techniques to ensure the mare’s best chances of conceiving. The AI process (especially with frozen semen) requires a much higher degree of timing than natural mating and as such mares are monitored around the clock.
We are happy to provide mare owners with an up to date list of costs for procedures involved in AI for the breeding season, which will include our agistment costs. It is wise to remember that the cost of your chosen stallion will in some cases only form half of your costs involved in obtaining a pregnancy.
Reproduction – Semen Collection – Chilled & Insemination
At Scenic Rim Veterinary Service we can offer semen collection from your stallion on site for transport as chilled semen or for storage as frozen semen.
The semen is collected using an artificial vagina while the stallion mounts an in-season “jump” mare or our custom made mounting dummy.
Semen collected for transport chilled can then be evaluated in our laboratory for quality and mixed with an appropriate “extender” ( a nourishing fluid for the sperm to swim in during transport). It will then be packaged in an insulated transport container and is ready to send off to the mare owner.
For frozen semen an initial appraisal includes use of two different semen extenders and two different freezing protocols to find which best suits your horse’s individual semen characteristics.
Approximately 1/3 of stallions will produce semen that once frozen is of high quality.
Another 1/3 of stallions will produce semen that once frozen is acceptable with some degree of manipulation.
The last 1/3 of stallions will not produce commercially acceptable semen no matter which protocol is adopted. This is generally reported by all laboratories that provide this service. If your horse’s semen isn’t compatible with the freezing process, then we will be unable to provide you with straws. We will not freeze and package semen that doesn’t meet our minimum post-thaw quality standards (ie: 30% live, progressively motile sperm is min. commercial standard)
The best age to freeze stallion semen is usually in the mid teens. Therefore, if your 4 year old stallion doesn’t freeze well, then try again in a few years time.
If you are going to present your horse for frozen semen collection, you must ensure he has ejaculated once a day for at lest three days prior to his initial assessment collection. We then recommend collection every second day for freezing.
Most people choose to collect semen for freezing either before or after the breeding season peak to allow the horse to continue with natural covers. Although the peak of horse sperm production is in Summer, the heat associated with the Jan – March period can cause a drop in sperm health at this time. For this reason we prefer to collect semen between July – Sept. If this period doesn’t suit your individual requirements, it may be applicable to collect at other times.
Reproduction – Embryo Transfer
Embryo Transfer is the process involving the removal of a fertilized embryo from one mare (the “donor”), and placing it in the uterus of another mare (the “recipient”) to carry the pregnancy. This is usually done on young fertile donor mares that are still in athletic competition. This allows these elite competition horses to produce foals without having to loss competition time to carry the pregnancy and raise the foal.
Sometimes mares are used as donors if they have physical problems or fertility issues that prevent them from carrying a pregnancy naturally, although these mare often produce less viable embryos.
The process requires the donor mare to be bred (naturally or by AI). She then has her embryo “flushed” (with special fluid introduced to her uterus via a vaginal catheter) when it reaches approximately 7 days of gestation.
This fluid is then passed through a filter, which catches the embryo and this is then searched for with a microscope (as pictured) and moved into other special fluid media for transfer.
Embryos of this age are fairly resistant to trauma. The embryo pictured is a “morula”, which in a day or two will shed its outside layer and expand rapidly into a “blastocyst”.
The recipient mare needs to be at the same stage of her cycle as the donor at the time that she was served. Thus we normally keep multiple recipient mares in order to have a good chance of one having a compatible cycle with the donor.
The process is time consuming to both vet and owner, and requires patient dedication to achieve good results. We have a record of very good conception rates from this assisted reproductive technique, and perform many each year. We try to keep the majority of the ETs performed within the Oct – Dec period.
The most common breeds that receive ET work are Warmbloods, polo horses, ASH and quarter horses.
Diagnostics – Digital Radiography
Scenic Rim Veterinary Service offers state-of-the-art high resolution digital radiographic (x-ray) technology for our clients. With digital x-rays, we can provide faster and more accurate diagnostics, leading to enhanced treatment outcomes. This non-invasive imaging technique helps us identify and evaluate injuries, lameness, fractures, and other conditions with precision.
This system can be used in the surgery or in a mobile capacity on property visits. The speed and clarity make it ideal for thoroughbred yearling sales x-rays and allows it to be used for applications such as imaging of a laminitic feet as well as the guidance of placement of surgical implants (plates and screws).
Our digital x-rays help us make informed treatment decisions, ensuring that horses receive prompt and effective care.
Surgical – Soft Tissue Surgery
Scenic Rim Veterinary Services is able to offer a full range of soft tissue surgical procedures carried out in our fully equipped equine surgical facility.The surgery was designed to allow the safe movement of our patients from the adjacent stables into our padded anaesthetic induction room, through onto our fully adjustable surgery table, so that all procedures can be safely carried out under the very latest in inhalational gas anaesthetic (see anaesthesia section). Soft tissue surgery includes all procedures that involve tissues other than joints and bone (see orthopedic surgery section).
Our senior vets are skilled in this area and as such we can offer most procedures without long delays and regularly accept referrals from other veterinary practices locally and from distant sites.
Our surgeons can perform highly advanced procedures which include but are not limited to;
- Colic Surgery
- Caesarian Section
- Ovarian Tumour removal
- Rectovaginal Fistula Repair
- Castrations and rig surgeries( abdonial cryptorchids)
- Flexoral and angular limb deformities
- “Roarer” surgeries (Tie Back)
- And many more.
Surgical – Ophthalmic Surgery
Eye sight in horses is critical and eye injuries should be treated as emergencies. The successful treatment of eye injuries and infections hinges on early detection and treatment. Opthalmic Surgery describes procedures involving the eye and its surrounding structures. Using our purpose built equine surgical facility we are able to offer a full range of opthalmic surgery procedures. We have also assembled the necessary specialised equipment required to carry out these delicate procedures.
Our senior vets bring a wealth of skills and experience in advanced surgical procedures. Led by our surgeons our team is proficient in a wide range of techniques, including but not limited to;
- Conjuctival grafts
- Sub palpebral treatment system placement
- Corneal repair
- Treatment of sarcoids
Surgical – Orthopaedic Surgery
Scenic Rim Veterinary Service is able to provide a full range of orthopaedic surgery procedures within our fully equiped equine surgical facility. The surgery has been purpose built and designed to allow safe movement of horses from the adjacent stables into our padded anaesthetic induction room and through onto our fully adjustable surgical table.
This allows our patients to be safely monitored under the latest of inhalational gaseous anaesthetic (see anaestheic section). Orthopaedic surgery specifically involves bones and joints, other surgical procedures are termed “soft tissue” and are discussed in a seperate area.
Our surgeons are skilled in a range of orthopaedic procedures and as such we are able offer many procedures without delay.
Surgical – Anaesthesia
Good anaesthesia is a key component to safe and effective surgery. The horse must be maintained at the correct depth to allow them to be pain free during procedures, while keeping the animal’s vital functions at safe levels.
Scenic Rim Veterinary Service uses SEVOFLUORANE, the latest in inhalational anaesthetic agents (one of very few practices in Australia). The horse is able to recover more quickly from this anaesthetic agent, and it gives more rapid adjustments of anaesthetic depth during the maintenance phase. In contrast to some other inhalation anaesthetics, it is very safe for foals and it maximises self ventilation.
Our staff are all well trained in anaesthetic monitoring. Their observation of clinical parameters is assisted at Scenic Rim Veterinary Service by late model digital monitors of heart rate, oxygen saturation, systolic, diastolic and mean arterial blood pressure to further maximise patient safety.
Our recovery box is exceptionally safe and well padded. The recovering patient is observed here by the anaesthetist, as well as by every vet at a computer station via closed circuit IP camera. This way multiple people can provide assistance if the animal finds itself in an uncomfortable position during recovery.
Surgical – Standing Surgery
As the name suggests there are some surgical procedures which can be done safely in a standing horse. It is in fact preferable to perform some techniques this way.Scenic Rim Vet Service has several options of stocks/crushes to adequately restrain horses to prevent stress and injury and we have staff that are experienced in a wide variety of described surgical techniques.The use of sedation and local anaesthetic ( by local infiltration, nerve block or epidural) ensures that there is no stress or pain experienced during a procedure.
The types of procedures offered include but are not limited to; sectioning of faulty ligaments or tendons (desmotomy or tenotomy), surgical repair of lacerations to head and limbs, dental procedures as well as mare reproductive techniques (including ovariectomy, rectovaginal fistula repair and urethral extension) and some eye related procedures.
The use of ultrasound technology is an essential diagnostic tool for the equine veterinarian. Each one of our equine veterinarians has been equiped with the latest in ultrasound technology allowing it to be used for a variety of day to day tasks.
Ultrasound as the name suggest uses sound waves that are emitted from a small hand held probe. The sound waves are extremely safe and cause no discomfort or audible noise. As sound waves are directed at various body tissues they are bounced back to the same probe. The amount the sound waves bounce back will vary with the density of the body tissue. The probe can then send this information to the macine via a cord. The machine instantly converts this signal to a black and white image which we can then interpret.
Our biggest use of ultrasound at Scenic Rim Vets is for the detailed examination of the reproductive tracts of mares during the breeding season, with any one of our vets performing up to 100 of these examinations each day. The technique involves the careful placement of the probe in the rectum of the mare which gives us a birds eye view of the uterus, ovaries and cervix. Another common usage for ultrasound is the examination of the tendons and ligaments of the horses lower limb.
Our vets can also use ultrasound to look at chests, abdomens, muscles and other soft tissues of the body. There are very few limitations to the use of ultrasound, it can only visualise the surface of bone and is not suitable for deeper boney structures (see section on radiography or x-ray).
Tendon and ligament injuries in the limbs of competitive horses are, unfortunately, very common. It is true that many owners and trainers of performance horses have regarded injuries to these structures as more threatening to an equine athlete’s future career than fractures.
It often seems that these injuries are becoming more common, and many believe there is a heritable component that breeders are allowing to be more prominent within the population. These injuries are more common in horses of poor conformation, horses that are competing when still reasonably immature and when performing at a higher level.
Usually horses with suspected tendon injuries are presented when an owner recognises swelling over the structures and the presence of mild lameness. The swelling is usually not present at the time of injury, but is more commonly noticed the following day. At this point, there are several questions that need to be answered.
- Is the inflammation within the tendon or ligament or is it in surrounding tissue?
- If it is in tendon/ligament – how severe is the damage?
If swelling is surrounding the tendon the prognosis is very good, and the horse only needs a very short period of rest before return to performance. If the damage is to tendon or ligament fibres themselves, then the prognosis and treatment change depending on the severity.
Assessment of tendon damage is best performed by a veterinarian experienced in the use of a quality ultrasound machine. For basic assessment of obvious lesions, examination with a portable machine on farm may be all that is required. For the detection of more subtle lesions and better assessment of the tendon fibres can be achieved at a dedicated surgical facility with an appropriate high end machine.
The factors that indicate severity that are usually assessed are
- cross sectional size of the tendon or ligament (Usually compared to either an ‘established normal’ size, or comparison against the opposite limb. It is important to remember that the opposite limb may also have been affected at some time, and therefore it may not represent a normal size for the use as a comparison). If the cross section size is increased by 20-30% it is rated as ‘moderate’ damage (obviously if it is <20% it is ‘mild’ and >30% it is ‘severe’.)
- if a core lesion (seen as a hole on ultrasound in the tendon) is present it should be measured. In this case, ‘moderate’ applies to core lesions of 15-30% of the tendon cross sectional area or if it extends 20 -30% of the length of the tendon.
- Chronicity (ie. Is this a re injury of a previous lesion?). If the tendon has been torn several times the prognosis for ongoing soundness is obviously reduced. Assessment of deposition of previous scar tissue is readily established with good ultrasonographic technique and will change the case management.
Some of the more common structures involved are the Superficial digital flexor tendon (SDFT), the Deep digital flexor tendon (DDFT), the Suspensory ligament origin (behind the knee and hock) and the Suspensory branches. Some of these structures more commonly form low grade ongoing tendonitis, while others tend to suffer acute severe tears.
Treatment options for these injuries are many and varied. The most important factor on healing is a graded exercise program, which prevents further damage and the slow introduction of exercise allows for realignment of healing tendon fibres. This is sometimes aided by use of an aqua walker if one is available.
An example of a regime for a moderate tear of the SDFT might be
- Stable confinement for 2 weeks and treat with anti inflamatories (usually phenylbutasone). At this point (usually the 5-10 day mark) you may consider intralesional treatments (i.e. injected into the tendon itself). These have been widely researched and used, with very variable results. Two of the most common currently in use are platelet rich plasma (PRP) and stem cells. These are both reasonably expensive therapies. Then..
- Small yard for 4 weeks.
- Larger yard for 6 weeks. At this point introduce hand walking (or on a rotary walker) for 10 minutes per day. Then add 5 mins extra walking per day each week for the next 6 weeks (i.e. till you reach 40 mins walking per day).
- 3mth post injury. Re evaluate with ultrasound.Horse may remain in yard or be turned into paddock. At this time the horse should have 5 minutes extra of its walk removed and replaced with ridden trot each week.
- 6mth post injury. At this time the tendon should be re evaluated with ultrasound, and if healing is progressing well the horse can begin work at a canter.
- 8mth post injury full work (but not at racing speed)
- 10mth post injury re evaluate then back into competition
The average rehab program for a SDFT tear is approximately 4-5 months for a mild tear, 8-10 months for a moderate tear and 12-18 months for a severe tear. The success rates of tendon therapy (measured by successful return to multiple racing starts) are often difficult to accurately report as individuals and companies frequently exaggerate claims of their own success. As a guide (from a large study in University of California Davis) the percentages were approximately 70% for mild tears, 60 % for moderate tears and 40% for severe tears when treated with a graded exercise program. Big claims of success are also made by the manufacturers of some of the intralesional therapies available, but clinical observation doesn’t always reflect them. The important thing to remember is that no treatment or regime is capable of returning the tendon to the strength it had prior to original injury. Thus it is necessary to maximise the strength of the healing as described above, but it is also absolutely essential to take all measures to correct any mechanical imbalances in the foot to help prevent re injury.
Several specialised shoes are commercially available for reducing stress on different tendinous and ligamentous structures, and are a vital tool to an astute vet/farrier team in supporting these horses.
Although controlled exercise requires time, effort, and money, if coupled with the accurate interpretation of regular clinical and ultrasonographic examinations, it provides the best opportunity for a successful resolution of tendon injury.
Your horse’s teeth can often be overlooked when it comes to horse care.
There are many reasons for having your horse’s teeth checked on a regular basis.
A general rule is to have them checked annually unless you have been advised otherwise, with some horses requiring 3 to 6 monthly assessments.
Sharp teeth can be a source of pain and in turn lead to a difficulty in eating and loss of weight. Sharp teeth can also lead to a reluctance to accept the bit and cause a horse to misbehave whilst being ridden.
Horse feed is often expensive, so to maximise the efficiency of feeding it is vital that your horse be able to use its teeth to reduce feed to a size that the gut can process effectively.
Equine dentistry is a rapidly expanding area of horse care. There are many different people offering this care. In Queensland equine dentistry is not restricted to vets only. However, the use of sedatives and pain relief is restrcted by law to veterinary surgeons only. Further to this, insured horses are not normally covered for any accidental damage sustained whilst having teeth done by dentists who are not veterinary surgeons.
At Scenic Rim Vet Service we are able to provide a full range of dental services for horses, with access to specialists for even the most advanced procedures.
Our equipment includes a “Powerfloat” which is the latest in motorised dental tools. Such equipment is designed to improve the efficiency of equine dentistry and correct problems without prolonging the time your horse needs to stand with its mouth open.