The Victorian Equine Group is a team of ambulatory and hospital based equine vets who provide both first opinion and referral quality veterinary care to horses across the Central Victorian Region. This 100% equine practice established in 2012 owns and operates the Bendigo Equine Hospital and the Victorian Equine Group – Nagambie.
The Bendigo Equine Hospital is a specialised equine hospital and our team of vets have the expertise to deal with all your equine needs. We are dedicated to providing comprehensive twenty-four-hour care, seven days a week.
Our veterinarians are available for consultations and minor surgical procedures at your property, including routine consultations, dentistry, wound repair, castrations, vaccination, microchipping and initial investigations into medical or orthopaedic disorders.
More in depth examinations and surgical procedures, as well as hospitalisation of more severely affected horses may need to be performed at our hospital (the Bendigo Equine Hospital). We also perform mare reproductive work on individual owner’s properties but ask that you have the appropriate facilities (a crush with a closed in back door) to ensure safety of our veterinarians.
Diagnostic imaging is a critical part of equine work. At the Victorian Equine Group no expense has been spared in the acquisition of the very best equipment available, to allow superb quality images to be obtained.
We provide a team of vets 24 hours a day, 365 days per year to cover equine emergencies presented to the Bendigo Equine Hospital. A veterinarian is always available to speak to you and help you decide if your horse needs to be seen and whether that should be done on the property or in hospital.
If your horse requires admission to hospital, this can be easily arranged. Our emergency team usually consists of a minimum of three veterinarians; allowing us to evaluate and treat your horse that is injured, unwell or requires an emergency surgery. These services are available to both primary clients in the local area, or as referral cases from other veterinarians.
Equine Chiropractor Services
We are extremely fortunate to have access to the specialised skills of Dr Reinder Schurmanns. Dr Reinder’s chiropractic sessions involve a thorough examination and manual treatment of the horse, focusing primarily on the axial skeleton (the neck and spine). Like other joints in the body, the joints in these areas can have reduced mobility. Reduction of natural mobility leads to altered biomechanics of other areas as they compensate for it. In longstanding cases, these altered biomechanics place undue strain, and eventually injury of other structures.
The aim of the chiropractic treatment is to treat area of reduced spinal mobility early, to restore normal function, and encourage efficient, safe movements and maximise performance. These consultations are available following referral to Dr Reinder Schurmanns after being examined by our other veterinarians.
Equine Dental Services
Dr Steph Brooder, a member of our veterinary team, has a special interest in equine dentistry. Routine dental care is essential to your horse’s health and we offer a range of preventive and remedial dental treatments to assist in maintaining your horse’s wellbeing.
Dental examinations can be performed both on the farm or at the hospital and it is recommended that all horses should have dental examination annually. During the oral examination any corrective dental work can be performed either using hand tools or a dental power float.
Equine Internal Medicine
Internal medicine cases (abdominal and thoracic disorders, cardiac disease, skin disease, ophthalmic problems) are common disorders evaluated at the hospital. Specific examples of diseases are colics, weight loss cases, horses with diarrhoea, horses with pneumonia or respiratory allergies and eye injuries. In select cases, further specialist examinations may be necessary, and these can be accommodated at the hospital. Specialists that routinely visit the hospital include Dr Laura Nath who performs echocardiographic (ultrasound scanning of the heart) examinations and complex cardiac work ups, and Dr Simon Hurn a specialist ophthalmologist from All Animal Eye Services.
Our hospital is equipped and able to perform all types of elective and emergency surgeries, including arthroscopic surgery, laparoscopic procedures, upper respiratory tract surgery, fracture repair and colic surgery. Most surgeries are performed under general anaesthesia, but some surgeries (some laparoscopic procedures, some reproductive surgeries, some eye or sinus surgeries) will be performed with the horse standing.
If your horse is scheduled for surgery, please take as much time as necessary to understand and discuss the procedure and attending risks.
All surgeries are overseen by Dr Sarah Jalim and each surgical team consists of equine surgeons, anaesthetists and a team of veterinary nurses.
Foals – Neonatal Foal Medicine and Foal Care
Our hospital admits in excess of 100 sick neonatal foals over the course of the breeding season. These foals commonly suffer from conditions such as neonatal septicaemia, neonatal maladjustment (“dummy foal”) syndrome, and other gastrointestinal and urogenital problems. We have excellent purpose built intensive care facilities for mares and foals that to allow mares and foals to be separated so that they can be given continual intravenous fluids, continual oxygen and assisted feeding. We have an excellent team that allows us to provide the highest level of intensive care.
Examinations commonly include mortality insurance, foal mortality insurance, and suitability for syndication certification, loss of use insurance, and veterinary reports for brood mares for sale examinations.
Lameness is an extremely common problem amongst all disciplines and therefore one of our highest caseloads. Although initial examinations can be performed on your property, we encourage clients to present for more in depth lameness investigations to the hospital and take advantage of the state of the art diagnostic tools such as digital radiology and ultrasound machines.
Lameness examinations will usually consist of a thorough examination of the resting horse and an assessment at the walk, trot, on the lunge (and sometimes whilst being ridden). Flexion tests are often performed.
We also commonly use the “Equinosis”; cutting edge equipment that allows us to objectively measure horses movement through a set of systems. In some cases, the location from which the lameness is originating will be easily apparent, and diagnostic imaging will be recommended at that point. In other cases, we may recommend diagnostic analgesia (also called nerve blocking). This means we inject local anaesthetic solution around a nerve or directly into a joint to desensitise an area of the limb. Following injection, if an improvement in the horse’s lameness is observed, we can determine that the injected part of the limb was painful and contributing to lameness.
The Equinosis is sometimes very useful in measuring the degree of improvement after nerve blocking, or between revists so we can quantify whether any ongoing lameness is improving or deteriorating.
Once the cause of your lameness has been diagnosed, we have the ability to offer you a range of treatments including surgery, regenerative therapies, or remedial farriery work. In addition, we offer complimentary therapies such as extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ECSWT or “shockwave”) and selective chiropractic work.
Orthopaedic and Soft Tissue Therapeutics and Regenerative Medicine
Orthopaedic injuries, joint disease and soft tissue injuries (such as tendon damage as suspensory ligament injury) are an unfortunately common occurrence in many performance horse disciplines.
Biologic therapies are now commonplace treatments for these injuries. Examples include IRAP therapy, platelet rich plasma (PRP) treatment and intra-lesional treatment with autologous stem cells or bone marrow extract.
Poor Performance Examinations
In horses that are underperforming, common procedures that will need to be undertaken include thorough clinical and lameness examinations, electrocardiographic (ECG) examination, upper airway endoscopy, broncholaveloar lavage (BAL), and dynamic respiratory endoscopy (also known as overground endoscopy. The latter procedure involves placing a small endoscope into the horse’s throat, and recording the appearance of the throat at exercise, to detect abnormalities which only occur at high speed. These examinations can be performed at the Bendigo racecourse opposite us, or the Bendigo Harness racing track, situated 4 km away. It can also be combined with exercising ECG examinations.
Pre-Purchase Examinations (PPE)
In horses that are underperforming, common procedures that will need to be undertaken include thorough clinical and lameness examinations, electrocardiographic (ECG) examination, upper airway endoscopy, broncholaveloar lavage (BAL), and dynamic respiratory endoscopy (also known as overground endoscopy. The latter procedure involves placing a small endoscope into the horse’s throat, and recording the appearance of the throat at exercise, to detect abnormalities which only occur at high speed.
These examinations can be performed at the Bendigo racecourse opposite us, or the Bendigo Harness racing track, situated 4 km away. It can also be combined with exercising ECG examinations.
Referral From Other Veterinarians
We accept a large number of referral cases from a large geographical area. These referrals may take the form of elective surgeries, complex medicine cases or horses requiring intensive care. Emergency referrals are welcome 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.
Remedial Farriery Work
Remedial farriery work is available at the Bendigo Equine Hospital following diagnosis by any of our veterinarians. We also offer combined consultations with a veterinarian and our farrier. We find working together at the same time, and re-evaluating horses together has given us the best success in returning your horse to optimum performance.
About our Farrier, Nathan Monk: Our specialist veterinarians utilise the services of Nathan in all cases where corrective trimming and shoeing are required. Nathan works closely with our vets to provide a combined vet/farrier approach to most foot related lameness. His skills are used on a daily basis to treat acute and chronic laminitics, sports horse injuries and navicular disease. Following any foot surgery such as infected pedal bones and keratoma removals, Nathan helps us design and apply the appropriate shoe for rehabilitation. Nathan performs our remedial work at the Bendigo Equine Hospital.
Yearling Sales Services
The Victorian Equine Group provides the full range of sales work required for all major sales. This includes the initial survey radiographs and endoscopic examinations, the pre-sale radiographs, repository endoscopy examinations at the sales complex, and pre-sale breeding examinations of the mare for sale.
Reproduction and Stud Services
Equine reproduction forms a large part of the Victorian Equine Group. Reproductive services are carried out in all areas and for many different clientele.
- Thoroughbred, Standardbred and other Stud Work
- Specialist Reproductive Consults
- Breeding – Individual Mare Owners
- In Hospital Reproduction
What if I have an emergency after hours?
We are contactable 24/7 every day of the year. If you have an emergency, we can see your horse, assess, treat and even perform surgery at any time of the day or night if it is required. We have a team of experienced vets, surgeons and nurses on call at all times.
There is a minimum fee of $295 to have your horse seen out of normal business hours. Additional fees apply to have your horse examined at your property.
If you have an emergency or a situation that needs immediate attention phone 5448 5331.
What area does your ambulatory service cover
During business hours, Bendigo Equine Hospital provides ambulatory services to Greater Bendigo and surrounds. Travel beyond these regions is occasionally undertaken by prior arrangement depending on location and availability of veterinarians. If a veterinarian is unable to attend your property, there will always be an option to present your horse to the Bendigo Equine Hospital.
Selective ambulatory services for Murchison and Nagambie areas are offered, but may be subject to the availability of veterinarians, particularly in the busy stud season (August to February).
What should I do when I arrive at the hospital?
On arrival to the hospital with a float, please pull up at the float entrance (entry via Ross Street) and call reception on 03 5448 5331. A member of our admin team will direct you through the gates, and also send one of the hospital nurses out to meet you, and help unload and check in your horse. Depending on how busy the hospital is, we may put your horse in a stable while we’re waiting for the attending vet to become available.
If you are attending the site in a vehicle only, you are able to park on the gravel at the front entrance of the clinic and report to reception.
What should I expect during my consult?
At the beginning of your consult, you will meet with a member of our veterinary team to discuss the history and the plan for your visit. This is a great time to let us know if there is anything that may change our plan slightly, such as previous drug reactions, upcoming competitions, and preference for your horse not to be clipped. During the consultation process you may be able to stay with your horse if circumstances allow. For procedures where safety restrictions apply, for example radiographs, you will not be able to be present. If the hospital is extremely busy you may be asked to wait outside while we assess your horse, but the attending vet will be in constant communication with you during the vetting process. There may also be procedures where we will need to remove your horse’s shoes.
Who will be present during the consult?
During your consultation a number of people will be assisting. This will include a veterinary specialist who has extensive training in equine medicine or surgery, a veterinary nurse and perhaps a veterinary intern. Occasionally, we may have student vets on placement that may be involved in minor procedures (with your consent).
The handling of your horse will be performed by one of our trained veterinary nurses. This is for safety reasons and consistency of procedures, because they know exactly what our veterinarians require. It will also allow you to concentrate on what the veterinarians are doing and what they are explaining to you.
What happens if my horse is admitted?
It is often necessary for your horse to be admitted to the hospital either as part of the examination process or for further treatment and monitoring. Your horse will be placed into a stall and feed and hay will be provided. We can accommodate for a number of different feeds however if your horse has a special diet, please make the nurse aware and we can discuss the best course of action. We will use our own head collars and lead ropes while your horse is with us; however, if your horse has rugs, we are happy to ensure they are put on as required. Please do not forget to label your rugs.
Can I visit my horse? What are the rules?
Visiting your hospitalised horse is possible during office hours. Please just call ahead and inform the reception staff of your visit. It is important that we maintain a level of care for all of our patients in the hospital as well as ensuring the safety of all people while within the hospital. For this reason, we ask that individuals visiting their horse follow these rules:
- All visits must be pre-booked with reception. We may or may not be able to cater to the times you wish to visit your horse; this will depend on the workload of the hospital on the given day and time.
- Whilst visiting the hospital all clients must wear appropriate clean clothing and footwear, including closed-toe shoes.
- Clients must first check in at reception. Please do not go directly to the stables.
- Clients must remain with their horses during their visit.
- Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times.
- Clients should not remove their horse from the stall unless given permission by the attending veterinarian. Clients must obey all signage and not enter any area marked as restricted. This includes stalls that have increased biosecurity measures.
- To protect the privacy of our clients we ask that visitors do not walk around the clinic unattended, visit other patients, take photographs of other patients or read charts of any patients. Any client doing so will be asked to leave immediately.
Who will care for my horse while in hospital?
During your horses stay in hospital a team of vets and veterinary interns on rotating shifts will monitor and treat your horse. The duration and frequency of monitoring depends on the type and severity of the condition for which each horse is hospitalised. The care and treatment of your horse is of upmost importance to us and we ensure that all steps are taken in maintaining the comfort of your horse.
Payment of account
Your account must be paid in full at the time of the consultation or on discharge from surgery or the hospital. There are a number of payment options available so please talk to our office to discuss.
Registered Specialist in Equine Surgery
BVSc BScAgr MACVSc Diplomate ACT
BSc DVM MVetStud (Equine Surgery)