Southwest Equine Veterinary Group’s equine vets are an experienced team offering dedicated equine veterinary services across the southwest and at our purpose built clinic.
A partnership between Warrnambool Veterinary and Ballarat Veterinary Practice, Southwest Equine Veterinary Group combines local knowledge and equine experience.
Southwest Equine caters for horses across all disciplines from the race track to the family pony including pleasure horses, competition and pony club mounts.
An annual dental check-up brings peace of mind for you and your horse.
Regular dental examination and treatment is essential for every horse whether it be competing at a high level or just grazing the paddock as a retired pet. Dental treatments performed at least once a year are recommended to prevent painful conditions of the mouth.
Common signs of dental trouble is a change in chewing habits in your horse. Dental issues can include dribbling or dropping feed out of its mouth while eating, holding head to the side or simply refusing to eat hard grain. This can lead to behavioural problems that include:
- Tossing their head when being ridden
- Pulling to one side when ridden
- Increased resistance to the bridle
- Becoming nervous
- Lunging, rearing and being generally unsettled or unwilling to perform correctly or consistently
It is not uncommon for your horse to show no outward signs of dental issues. Our equine vets are trained in the diagnosis and treatment of dental issues and are fully equipped with hand floats, powerfloat, wolf tooth extractors and a dental halter giving you peace of mind.
We routinely also use sedation to ensure the dental process is a good experience for your horse and allows the veterinarian to perform a complete and thorough oral examination.
Poor Performance Investigation
Poor performance investigations are a core part of our racetrack veterinary service. In some cases of poor performance, there is an obvious reason for the horse’s inability to perform well, such as lameness a respiratory issue.
However, many other potential causes of poor performance can be subtle, and the horse may appear fit and healthy when examined at rest. In these circumstances, the cause of poor performance may only be evident during exercise, and some form of exercise testing is frequently required to make a diagnosis.
Any evaluation of an athletic horse with poor performance focuses on obtaining a detailed history and performing thorough clinical examination. Common diagnostic tests include blood testing, lung washes and endoscopy (airway scopes) as well as diagnostic imaging.
Endoscopy & Gastroscopy
At Southwest Equine Veterinary Group we are able to offer state of the art diagnostics for assessment of upper respiratory conditions such as Epiglottic entrapment, laryngeal hemiplegia (Roarers), and inflammatory conditions. We are also able to offer gastroscopy for assessment of gastric ulcers.
Gastric stomach ulcers are not just a problem for race horses. All horses from ponies to Clydesdales are prone to ulcers.
Many factors influence the development of ulcers including:
- Exercise intensity
There are many things that we can do to help reduce the likelihood of stomach ulcers developing, but once ulcers are present there are only a select few treatments that are proven to be effective in treating them.
The other complication with treating gastric ulcers is achieving a positive diagnosis. In some cases, we are able to identify behaviours (e.g. Girthy or snitchy during work) that suggest ulcers maybe present, other times our horses or ponies may show more vague clinical signs, such as being just a little bit off or mildly colicky.
MANY HORSES SHOW NO SIGNS AT ALL UNTIL THEY BECOME SEVERELY SICK.
Without using a camera to look in the horse’s stomach there is no way to absolutely confirm the presence or absence of ulcers and therefore develop appropriate treatment and ongoing management for effected horses.
Interested in how an endoscopy or gastroscopy procedure might benefit your horse? Give our clinic a call. We would be happy to talk about this service with you and answer any questions you may have.
Equine Lameness Examinations
Lameness is one of the most common conditions we see in horses.
At Southwest Equine we offer a comprehensive lameness exam for thorough evaluation of your horses’ soundness and performance issues.
Each lameness exam is tailored to the needs of the client and the direction it takes is dictated by our findings at each stage.
Investigating lameness in horses can be extremely challenging. Localising the source of lameness can sometimes take several visits and involve multiple techniques.
An initial lameness investigation involves the examination of the horse at rest followed by a lameness work-up including walk and trot in a straight line and on the lunge, flexion tests, hoof testing, nerve blocks and diagnostic imaging (radiography/ultrasonography).
Once the lame limb or limbs have been identified, our veterinarians will discuss with you whether imaging is indicated or if nerve blocks are required to further localise the lameness. Nerve blocks are the only objective way to determine where the source of pain that is causing the lameness is located. Nerve blocks numb areas of the limb and if the source of pain is within the area blocked, then the lameness will be abolished. Each nerve block can take 5-30 minutes to work completely, so allow a bit of extra time in case multiple nerve blocks are required.
Once the lameness has been localised to a certain region with nerve blocks, we can use various imaging techniques to help determine the underlying cause. This includes the use of our portable digital X-ray machine or portable ultrasound.
At SWE, we can assist with the required therapeutics once a diagnosis has been achieved. We offer a range of therapies including medications, joint injections, shockwave therapy as well as therapeutic ultrasound.
Our therapeutic ultrasound is available for hire if your horse required prolonged treatment.
Equine Reproduction Services
Southwest Equine offers a wide range of reproductive services both on farm and within our on-site facility.
Our reproduction services include Broodmare management including follicle testing, reproductive swabs and pregnancy testing. As well as this, we are also well equipped to perform infertility investigation as well as management of “problem breeders”. We are also equipped to perform artificial insemination.
Southwest Equine can assist in the preparation of broodmares prior to going to stud for natural cover or for artificial insemination (AI). A breeding soundness examination is performed to assess the mare’s suitability for breeding. This procedure is performed rectally and needs to be done in a safe environment to protect both your mare and our staff. Our on-site mare crush is ideal for such examinations. This examination involves evaluation of the mare’s external genitalia and an internal examination of the reproductive tract. The mare’s reproductive tract (cervix, uterus, and ovaries) is examined with an ultrasound. Any abnormalities can be identified, and we are able to determine the stage of her cycle. Various pathology tests may be required by the stallion owner prior to breeding which are often performed during these examinations.
With regular reproductive scans during breeding, we can accurately assess follicular activity on the ovaries, detect ovulation, manage any post-breeding reproductive issues (e.g. infection, fluid), and ultimately diagnose early pregnancy from 14 days.
Problem breeders & infertility investigation
Southwest Equine can assist in diagnosis and management of “problem breeder” mares – mares which fail to go in foal or have a history of pregnancy loss.
All problem or barren mares should have a reproductive evaluation performed by a veterinarian. The goals of the examination are to:
- Determine if a reproductive abnormality is present.
- Formulate a treatment plan, if needed, based on any reproductive abnormalities detected.
- Provide a prognosis for future fertility; and
- Develop a breeding management program for the future tailored to the specific needs of the individual mare.
Equine General Health Check
All horses require an annual health check to enable early detection of subtle health and soundness issues. Preventative and early management of health conditions provides greater well-being for your horse, improved treatment outcomes, and reduced treatment expenses in the long run.
An annual health check should incorporate a veterinary dental examination along with necessary vaccinations. This is also a great opportunity to discuss parasite management and nutritional advice.
An annual dental examination will aid in early recognition and prevention of dental problems, which enables a better outcome for the horse and owner.
We strongly encourage that all horses to be vaccinated against Tetanus, Strangles and Hendra Virus if you are planning on taking your horse to NSW/QLD for competition etc. An initial vaccination course is followed by regular boosters, which are essential for ongoing protection.
Horses can be affected by a range of internal and external parasites. We can assist with developing a drenching program tailored to your horses and property.
Nutritional requirements vary for different classes of horses (performance, youngstock, broodmares, geriatric). We can assist in providing you with sound nutritional advice and recommendations specific to your horse.