The Stanley House Veterinary Group Equine Department has been an integral part of the practice for as long as there has been a vets in Colne. Covering an area from Osbaldeston to Silsden, Wigglesworth to Whitworth, and everywhere in between, we pride ourselves in the provision of a very high standard first opinion equine service.

Equine Facilities and Services

Our policy is to use high quality portable diagnostic equipment to allow as many procedures as possible to be carried out at your own premises. We have a mobile CR x-ray machine, providing us with images almost instantly. Several battery powered portable ultrasound scanners are available for imaging joint, tendon and ligament injuries, pregnancy scanning and a investigating a wide variety of illnesses and injuries. Modern video endoscopes for respiratory and dental imaging give us incredibly detailed live images when investigating complex medical problems. We are continually investing in the latest ‘horse-side’ diagnostic equipment so that we can provide rapid results and the best of care for our equine patients.

In the unfortunate event that your horse requires more advanced imaging or investigation of a complex problem, we have excellent relationships with the best referral centres in our area.  Both Hird and Partners in Shelf and Oakhill Veterinary Centre in Garstang run an excellent referral service for investigation of lameness problems, including standing MRI and routine surgery such as rig operations and hernia repairs.

The Phillip Leverhulme Equine Hospital at the University of Liverpool has a reputation that speaks for itself. Cases are referred here for colic surgery, CT scanning, gamma scintigraphy and other problems requiring intensive care. For those in the Eastern part of our catchment area Rainbow Equine Hospital at Malton also provides the same full equine hospital facilities with access to CT. MRI, scintigraphy and renowned equine specialists.

You can be assured that as a client of Stanley House your horse, pony or donkey will receive the highest standard of care and easy access to the best diagnostic equipment, facilities and experts in the UK.

In addition to our full time first opinion service, the equine department is also proud to be able to offer a complete and fully staffed emergency service. With at least one vet available each week day night, and a staffing allowance for two vets every weekend and major holiday, it is not hard to see why Stanley House Vets should be the first choice for all of your equestrian healthcare needs.

Equine Routine Visits

With many of our clients currently stabling their horses at livery yards, coupled with the current demanding economic situation, we realise how expensive keeping a horse can be. As well as costs such as stabling, bedding, feed and forage, other routine fees also have to be catered for, such as farriery and replacing equipment. And, of course, veterinary costs, both routine and unexpected, also have to be financed. Having considered all of these factors it seemed prudent to offer those people on some of our larger livery yards free journeys on certain dates each month. These are our Livery Yard Routine Visit Days.

Once per month one of our vets will arrive at selected livery yards at a specified time, with the aim of undertaking routine work such a vaccinations, dental work, micro-chipping etc. Other, more extensive work, such as lameness investigations, can also be carried out during these visits, though this must be agreed with the attending vet beforehand. All intended work must be booked in before the vet arrives to ensure that all necessary equipment is taken to each visit.

During these Routine Visits the journey charge is waived, making the cost of any work more affordable.

For further details please contact the Equine department on 01282 868748.

Routine Dental Visits

Stanley House Vets Equine department is proud to offer all first opinion services at the highest possible standards. With this in mind we have included equine dental visit afternoons to our routine workload. The dental afternoons which take place every Tuesday aim to visit each area within our practice on a monthly or five weekly basis, covering all aspects of dental healthcare. The attending vet will assess your horse’s dentition, advising whether routine or more advanced dental work is required. No call out fee will be charged, and pricing will depend upon how much work has been undertaken. This will either be a standard fee – charged for routine dental checks and basic rasping – or a fee decided upon by the attending vet if more advanced work is needed. Sedatives and drug treatments will also be added if necessary.

These dental afternoons have proven very popular since their launch in 2007, and eliminating the journey fee has made the costing of these visits more than competitive when compared to the vast majority of equine dental technicians. Couple this with the availability of experienced veterinary surgeons to undertake your work, our access to sedative, antibiotic and painkilling drugs if required, and our ability to look at each and every condition from a ‘whole horse’ perspective, and it will quickly become clear that our equine department should be the first choice for your horse’s dental healthcare.

Best Practice Equine Worming

To control and prevent all the major types of redworms and tapeworms affecting horses, through routine and strategic dosing, use the correct type of wormer at the correct time of year.

Click below to download more information on Equine worming!

For further advice and information please contact the surgery on 01282 868748


It is a compulsory and legal requirement when owning any species of equine (including exotic species such as Zebra) that each animal has an authorised ‘Horse Passport’ for identification purposes. It is also a legal requirement that the owner of any equine is able to produce the passport within three hours of the document’s request by a suitable authority; including when the horse is travelling either within or outside of the U.K. Additionally many shows, and particularly affiliated or national/international events, often require the presence of a passport before equines are even allowed to enter the premises; making passports very important indeed.

Since the 1stof January 2009 newly issued passports, such as those for new-born foals, as well as any passports where a change of details is required, such as horses or ponies changing ownership, also require a registered microchip to be part of the identification. This therefore requires all new-born foals to be implanted with a microchip within either six months of birth, or before December 31stof the year of birth. Horses and ponies changing hands are required to be microchipped, and if necessary passported if a passport is unavailable, within thirty days of purchase. If the horse or pony already has a passport and registered microchip the new owner should change the details of ownership with the issuing authority within thirty days of purchase. As of January 2016 when a new passport is issued it must also include a full silhouette (markings).

It is worth remembering that it is the obligation of the animal’s keeper (for example if the horse or pony is on long term loan) and not the owner to be able to produce the passport on request by a suitable authority.

It is important to remember that owners of equine’s with an incorrect or missing passport can be subjected to a fine of up to £5,000, and that passports must be certified correctly if the animal in question is not intended for human consumption. Horses and ponies with a passport that does not declare this will be assumed to be intended for human consumption at the end of their life.

So please remember to passport your horses and ponies, as it is more important than many people think.

Pre-Purchase Examinations

Pre-Purchase examinations (PPE), otherwise know as ‘Vettings,’ are an important and increasingly essential consideration when planning to buy a horse or pony. As an assessment of suitability, the PPE not only gives the prospective new owner valuable information as to the horse’s usefulness, but also is becoming increasingly demanded by insurance companies. Falling into five complete stages, the examination follows a strict regime developed by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, in conjunction with the British Veterinary Association, and often takes close to two hours to complete.

Stage One – Preliminary Examination

The first stage of each pre-purchase examination is a full and comprehensive clinical assessment of the animal. The actual order in which the assessment is carried out will vary from vet to vet, with all of the important body systems being examined thoroughly. The heart and lungs are examined with a stethoscope at rest, so as to identify murmurs, arrhythmias and other defects. The intestines are also examined using the stethoscope to assess normal gut motility. The skin is thoroughly and meticulously palpated in order to identify potential sarcoids and melanomas, as well as traumatic or surgical scars, and a dental examination is undertaken, though a ‘gag’ is only used if the assessing vets deems this to be necessary. In addition to this the eyes are examined externally using a bright light, and internally with an ophthalmoscope, so any visual defects such as cataracts can be discovered. A full assessment of conformation, including straightness of limbs and symmetry of musculature, is also undertaken, and the feet are examined.

Stage Two – Trotting Up

Immediately following stage one, the ‘trot up’ phase of the pre-purchase examination is designed to identify lameness in the assessed horse or pony. Again, as with stage one, the structure of the assessment will vary from vet to vet, though the full examination will always be undertaken. Beginning at walk, the vet will ask to see the horse or pony move in a straight line, and will use this to assess freedom of movement, quality of gait and lameness. The examination will then be repeated in trot, and tight circling and strides of reverse will be asked for. The stage is then concluded with flexion tests of all four limbs. As mentioned above, this stage is designed to assess lameness and freedom of movement, but is also useful in the diagnosis of conditions such as ‘shivering’ and ‘stringhalt.’ As adjuncts to stage two there are various other tests which are not included within the standard PPE. These include lunge work on either hard of soft ground, and will be used if the examining vet deems necessary.

Stage Three – Strenuous Exercise

Following stage two directly, stage three is an assessment of the horse under conditions of exertion. Once the flexion tests have been successfully completed, the examining vet will ask the handler to tack up the horse or pony being assessed. This provides useful information about ease of tacking, as well as about vices such as biting or other bad behaviour. If the horse or pony is unbroken this stage can be carried out using lunge work. Beginning with a normal warm up on a suitable surface, the vet will assess the horse or pony through ridden walk, trot and canter, as well as during transitions through the gaits. The animal will be examined on both reins, so that symmetry, movement and lameness can be thoroughly investigated. Following this the horse or pony will be asked to canter or gallop until exerted and breathing hard, allowing for a wind and fatigued gait assessment to be undertaken. Once the strenuous exercise phase is complete the animal’s recovery rate is determined, and the heart and lungs are auscultated to identify exercise induced abnormalities. Each stage of a PPE may have to be modified due to conditions and facilities, and this is particularly true during stage three. If the conditions are not suitable then the examination may either have to be abandoned, or the prospective purchaser (the client) will have to accept that there will be limitations to this stage.

Stage Four – Rest

During the ‘rest’ phase, and directly following the strenuous exercise portion of the examination, the animal is observed whilst being untacked and returned to the stable. It is during this stage that vices such as crib biting and box walking can be discovered. Stage four is often combined with the end of stage three.

Stage Five – Second Trot and Foot Examination

Once the rest phase of the examination has concluded, the horse or pony is assessed again at walk and trot in a straight line. Stage five is a repetition of stage two, and is designed to uncover lameness and gait problems which can be seen only following strenuous exercise. As with stage two flexion tests are undertaken, and other ‘non-standard’ examinations can be carried out if the assessing vet deems them to be necessary.

Post-Examination Practices

Following the examination a blood sample is taken from the assessed animal, to then be stored at the Veterinary Defence Society laboratory for six months. The cost of the sample, as well as postage to and storage at the lab, is included within the cost of the PPE, and is an essential service. If there is any concern following the PPE this sample can be used to check for the presence of pain killers or sedatives within the animal’s blood. Fortunately such events are rare, but as they do occur a blood sample is required from each animal examined. Once the examination has been concluded the attending vet will, as soon as is possible, relay the findings to the prospective purchaser. If the purchaser can be present at the vetting so much the better, but if not the vet will telephone as soon as possible with the results. A detailed and official pre-purchase examination certificate will then be issued and posted as soon as it is written.

A Note on PPE – Pass/Fail

Following changes to the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons guidelines to PPE, vets are no longer supposed to pass or fail assessed horses and ponies. The examination is designed to provide the client with a detailed clinical insight into the animal, and it is up to the owner, using this information, to decide whether or not to go ahead with the purchase. Following a PPE a vet may use the phrase, ‘In my opinion I can find no reason for this horse to not be suitable for Dressage,’ but not, ‘Yes, this horse has passed.’ Please appreciate that we are not being difficult when we do this; it is just that the number of litigation cases following PPE is so high that we have to cover ourselves as much as we can. The decision to buy a horse or pony is ultimately to be made by the prospective purchaser, though we will try our best to give as detailed a picture as possible, so that the decision can be made with all available information to hand.

Limited PPEs

A limited PPE is an examination which only covers the first two stages of the full PPE assessment. Better know as a ‘Two-Stage Vetting,’ this examination is very useful in certain situations – for example when the animal is unbroken or not trained to lunge. It is not a ‘cheap alternative’ to the full examination, and no information can be gathered as to exercise potential or ridden gait evaluation etc. If a Limited PPE is desired this must be discussed in advance, and a disclaimer must be signed and presented to the assessing vet before the examination begins.

Additional Tests

In certain circumstances, when the animal in very valuable for example, the prospective purchaser may wish for further investigations to be undertaken. These include X-rays and Ultrasound examinations of various structures, usually on the limbs. At Stanley House we are more than happy to provide such services, and we can do so at the location of the vetting using our portable equipment. These examinations must be agreed upon in advance, and will obviously significantly increase the cost of the examination.

Arranging PPEs

In order to book a PPE with the Stanley House Large Equine Team, please contact the large animal office with the following information:

  • The prospective purchaser’s name, full address and phone number
  • The vendors name, full address and phone number
  • Details of where the horse is kept and directions
  • The horses details – name, age, breed/type, colour, sex etc
  • Expected use
  • Particular concerns/points to note

It is also advisable to ensure that the location of the vetting has the necessary facilities before booking a PPE. These include:

  • A flat, reasonably long surface for stages two and five
  • A dark box for stage one ophthalmic examination
  • An arena, either indoor or outdoor, with a suitable surface and of a large enough size for stage three

Please note that we do not carry out pre-purchase examinations on horses or ponies which currently belong to clients of our practice. This allows us to avoid conflict of interest. If a PPE on a client’s horse or pony is desired we can suggest other suitable veterinary surgeons in the area.

Equine Vaccinations and health care

Maintaining a comprehensive vaccination regime is very important for any horse or pony’s well being, and in the U.K equines are protected against two important diseases using inoculations.

Equine Tetanus

As with all mammals, and in fact even more so than most, horses and ponies are highly susceptible to tetanus. This awful disease, caused by the toxins of the bacterium Clostridium tetani, causes paralysis of the major muscle groups resulting initially in stiff limbs and an inability to move. The affected animal also becomes unable to open its mouth, which is why tetanus has the old-fashioned title of ‘Lock Jaw.’ The bacterium is technically known as ubiquitous, which mean that it can be found almost everywhere, and especially within the soil. Horses and ponies contract tetanus through small cuts and abrasions, usually to the feet or lower limbs, which are often too small to even be noticed. Once contracted the disease is almost inevitably fatal, and even animals which may eventually survive often have to be euthanased on welfare grounds. For this reason, if for no other, tetanus vaccination is essential for every horse, pony and donkey. The tetanus vaccination regime is as follows:

  • Initial primary vaccination
  • Second primary vaccination 4-6 weeks after the first
  • First revaccination between 12-17 months after the second primary vaccination
  • Booster vaccinations at an interval of not more than 24 months (2 years) following the first revaccination, and then every two years after this

Equine Influenza

Equine influenza vaccination is especially important in competing horses and ponies, as well as those stabled on livery yards or establishments with a high turn over of animals. Unlike tetanus, equine influenza, or ‘Flu,’ is rarely fatal, though it does make the affected animal very unwell, often rendering them unusable for several weeks or months. The main signs of equine influenza include a loss of appetite, severe cough, nasal discharge, very high temperature and weight loss; and unvaccinated horses often suffer terribly once the disease is contracted. In addition to this an increasing number of shows and events are now stipulating that attending animals are vaccinated against influenza, and will eject any animals found not to be. The influenza vaccination regime, which can be combined with the tetanus vaccination program, is as follows:

  • Initial primary vaccination
  • Second primary vaccination 21-92 days after the first
  • First booster vaccination 150-215 days after the second
  • Yearly booster vaccinations at an interval of not more than 12 months following the first booster.

*** Please note that the FEI rules for vaccination differ from those of the vaccine manufacturer’s. Any horses competing under FEI rules must have their first booster vaccination not more than six months and twenty one days after the second vaccination of the primary course. They must also be vaccinated within six months and twenty one days of any competition, but not within seven days of the competition.***

Official measurements and inspections

Established in 1934, the Joint Measurement Board (JMB) offers standardised height measurements for all types of competition horses and ponies. Using stringent guidelines, these measurements allow owners and competition organisers to accurately assess the height of each horse or pony, thereby ensuring the animal is entered into the correct class/classes.

Within the Stanley House Equine Department David Walmsley is a member of the JMB panel, and is one of only a small number of vets licenced to measure horses in Lancashire. Along with standardised testing and trained operatives, the JMB certificate also requires horses or ponies to be measured whilst standing on an authorised surface or ‘pad.’

Rules Of Measurement

  1. Shoes must be removed and the hooves prepared for trimming.
  2. Only head collars are allowed, no bridles or pressure halters are permitted.
  3. No sedatives or tranquilizers are to be administered before or during the measurement.
  4. Annual measurements are not to be undertaken until a horse or pony reaches 4 years old.
  5. For full certificates at least one previous annual measurement will be required, and horses or ponies must be at least 7 years old.
  6. Annual measurements can be undertaken at any time of year, but will expire on the 31st of December of that year.
  7. Consecutive measurements must not be undertaken by the same measurer.

For further information please visit the JMB website at www.thejmbonline.co.uk.

If you wish to book a measurement please contact the Stanley House Equine department reception on 01282 868748.

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