Due to their nature, horses of all ages and breeds are very prone to injuring themselves. Almost every horse will have at least one, if not several wounds throughout their life time, so as a horse owner it is important to know some basic first aid.


  • First step is Don’t Panic! – Be as calm as you can when catching your horse and try to calm them so they don’t cause any further injury to
  • If your horse is able to walk then take them to a dry and clean stall or a quite area on the yard. If you feel your horse is too sore to walk far then keep them where they are. A feed bucket is always a nice way to distract your horse from the pain of its wound and is often an easy way to relax them.
  • Get an extra pair of hands to help hold your horse before your try to assess the wound or apply first aid. Wounds are often painful and your horse might be quite anxious – the last thing you need is for them to accidentally hurt you whilst you are looking at their wound.
  • If the wound is still bleeding, apply even and direct pressure to the area using a sterile absorbent bandage, such as gauze swabs (avoid cotton wool). If the bandage soaks with blood simply place fresh material on top. By doing this you can avoid disturbing newly formed blood clots when the soaked material is peeled away.
  • Once bleeding has been controlled, try to assess the location, depth and severity of the wound and call your veterinarian. It is important to remember that wounds can be very deceptive in appearance. Some large wounds that appear horrific initially can heal extremely well where as other seemingly minor wounds can result in severe career-ending infections if they are not dealt with quickly and appropriately.
  • Gentle cold hosing the wound is a useful measure to initiate. Cold can help reduce swelling, stop minor bleeding and clean the wound of contaminated material. One must try however to avoid further imbedding contaminates deeper into the wound by using a stream of water too powerful.
  • You should remember to avoid giving your horse any painkillers before your veterinarian arrives as they can mask the severity of the wound. Also avoid placing any topical treatments onto the wounds without consulting your veterinarian first.


Horse first-aid box

All good tack rooms should have some sort of a first-aid or bandage box. The following is our recommendation for what you should have inside.

  • Disposable rubber gloves
  • Sterile Gauze swabs
  • Various sizes of Melonin®
  • Cotton Wool rolls
  • Gamgee®
  • Vetrap®
  • Elastoplast®
  • Scissors
  • Digital thermometer

As you can see, this is quite a simple list but it will allow you to look after most types of wound. All of the components of this first aid box can be purchased from us (we have kits available for purchase), your local pharmacy or tack shop.




A healthy set makes for a happy horse

August is Dental Health Month and horse owners are being encouraged to ensure they speak to their veterinarian about dental check-ups for their horses.

Dental and oral problems are very common in horses and many of these conditions can lead to changes in behaviour, chronic pain and reduced performance.

To provide horses with optimal health and quality of life, good oral care is essential.

Dental Health Month is an initiative of the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) and the theme this year is Healthy Set, Happy Pet. Dr Kirsten Jackson, spokesperson for the AVA, said the theme highlights the importance of good oral health in horses and its impact on the overall health of an animal. It also raises awareness of the need for at least yearly dental check-ups performed by a veterinarian.

“A thorough dental examination provides the opportunity for a veterinarian to properly examine the mouth and teeth and allows painful problems to be picked up and treated early.

“Horses should have their oral health checked at least once a year by a veterinarian. Young horses (birth to six years of age) and senior horses (20 years of age or older) often need more frequent dental examinations.

“For a complete oral examination and good quality corrective care, horses need to be sedated to allow for a thorough examination of the oral structures using a dental light source. Pain relief during treatment can also be provided when needed. Veterinarians are trained in the use of these medications and in assessing the health of the horse so we can make the best and safest decisions for your horse’s wellbeing.” Dr Jackson said.

Horses are reluctant to show signs of pain or weakness, so dental disease often goes undetected. Thorough dental examinations performed by a veterinarian are essential to maintain your horse’s oral health and happiness.

Visit www.ava.com.au/dental-month for more information.



The NSW DPI have recently confirmed a third case of Hendra virus in NSW in less than four weeks. All cases have been in unvaccinated horses in northeastern NSW (2 near Lismore, the other near Murwullimbah). As is well known, the disease is a notifiable disease (suspect cases must be reported to and investigated by the state government) and highly fatal. It can also be spread from infected horses to people and dogs.

Now is a good time to ensure you are well aware of the relative dangers and what preventative measures can be taken. Take the time to talk to your vet to discuss the risk factors for your specific horses and location.

For more infomation speak to your vet or follow the link:-




Choke a relatively common condition

Choke is a relatively common condition in the horse that requires veterinary attention as soon as it is noticed.

What is ‘choke’ and what causes the problem?

The term ‘choke’ actually refers to an obstruction of the oesophagus (gullet), as opposed to an obstruction of the airway when a human chokes.

Choke may occur as primary problem, such as swallowing a large or dry piece of food material. Choke can also occur secondarily to issues such as poor teeth, leading to inadequate chewing and breaking down of food.

How will I know my horse has choke?

Often, the first thing you will notice in a case of oesophageal obstruction is a green, frothy discharge coming out of both nostrils. The discharge usually has food material in it and is due to build-up of ingested food in front of the obstruction. Unlike other species, horses can’t vomit, so the easiest path for food material to track back up the oesophagus is out through the nose.

Horses that are “choking” often hold their head out stretched, swallowing multiple times, coughing and can also look anxious. You may even see a bulge in the left side of their neck where the obstruction is.


How is choke treated?

Firstly, your vet will often sedate your horse to calm them down, allowing further investigation without any stress. An anti-spasmodic drug is often used to relax the oesophagus to increase the likelihood of the obstruction passing into the stomach. A nasogastric tube is often passed into the oesophagus. This helps to identify how far down the obstruction is and sometimes your vet maybe able to push the obstruction into the stomach or potentially flush it down by administering some water into the tube.

The vast majority of choke cases in the horse resolve to simple treatment on farm, but sometimes they don’t resolve easily and further investigation and treatment may be required at a referral hospital. Often an endoscope is required to visualise what is causing the obstruction and how serious the obstruction is.


Are there any complications associated with choke?

The main complication associated with choke is aspiration pneumonia. This occurs when food material that has tracked back up the oesophagus due to the obstruction and becomes inhaled down the trachea and into the lungs. Even small amounts of food and saliva down in the lungs can cause an infection and develop into a severe pneumonia. If you vet suspects that this may be occurring they will most likely start your horse on some antibiotics. The other common complication of choke is the formation of an oesophageal stricture. A stricture is essentially a narrowing of the oesophagus due to scar tissue formation after the oesophagus has been traumatised by the obstruction. It is also important to treat any primary dental disease that may have caused your horse to choke in the first place.

If you think your horse is ‘choking’ please do not hesitate to call us on 02 4861 7983.

The Team @ SHEC







Spring has finally sprung in the Southern Highlands and as an equine vet clinic this  is our favourite time of the year.

A large amount of foals are born over the coming months and the Southern  Highlands is becoming a renowned breeding area for Thoroughbred’s and non-  Thoroughbreds alike, but what should you know about the  foaling process?

The normal gestational length for a mare is 326 – 343 days. Predicting parturition  is difficult but mammary development and dried secretions or ‘wax’ on the end of  the teats is a sign of impending parturition.

Since most mares foal at night, most commercial studs elect to observe mares on a  24-hour basis as they near their due date. Foaling alarms and milk electrolytes test  kits can help the small breeder better predict time of foaling and help avoid sitting up all night for weeks on end.  Southern Highlands Equine Centre has both available at the office either for purchase (test kit) or for hire (foaling alarm).

The first stage of parturition lasts from 30 minutes to 3 hours and characteristics include sweating, colic-like signs, and repeatedly lying down and getting up.

The onset of the second stage starts when the fetal membranes rupture (‘water breaks’), the cervix is dilated and the foal enters the birth canal due to strong uterine contractions.  The foal should present with one foot just in front of the other with the soles of the hooves pointing down and the head following shortly after. The nose should appear once the fetlocks are through the vulva and the amnion should rupture when the shoulders are visible.  If this doesn’t occur the amnion should gently be broken and removed from the foal’s nostrils to prevent suffocation.  Once the foal’s hips are through the pelvis the mare may rest with the hocks and hind fetlocks in the birth canal.  Minimal disturbance at this stage is important to continue to allow the blood from the placenta to reach the foal while the cord is still intact.  When the mare stands the umbilical cord usually ruptures.  The whole of the second stage should be completed within 20-30minutes.  If there is no progression of parturition within 15 minutes of the waters breaking veterinary attention should be sought immediately.  Dystocia is a true emergency and prompt correction of the problem is imperative for the survival of the foal (and sometimes the mare).

Third stage of parturition involves expulsion of the fetal membranes and uterine involution.  This can take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours after birth.  Retention of fetal membranes over 6 hours requires veterinary treatment.

The foal should be standing within 1 hour and on the suck (drinking) within 2 hours of birth. Monitor the foal closely over the first 24 hours of life to detect any abnormalities. Please call your veterinarian if you have any concerns about your newborn foal.

Maria Diaz 2.1





MAY 16, 2016, 2:30 PM

SYDNEY, May 16, 2016 – Today marks a breakthrough for horse owners and the equine industry with the world’s first Hendra virus horse vaccine, Equivac® HeV, now approved for annual boosters following administration of the first three doses.

Previously, horses were required to have six-monthly boosters to maintain immunity against the deadly virus. Now, horse owners can halve the number of boosters required after a single six-month booster is administered, making Hendra vaccination much more affordable.

“When vaccinated horses were challenged with a potent strain of Hendra virus 12-months after receiving a six-month booster, these horses were protected from infection,” said Dr. Deborah Middleton, lead researcher at the CSIRO’s Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL). The work at CSIRO was supported by extensive field studies in which antibody levels were measured in horses vaccinated at intervals of 12 months.

“We are confident in the safety and efficacy of 12-month immunity for Equivac HeV and pleased this work has resulted in a positive outcome for horse owners and the equine industry”, she added.

Lance Williams, General Manager for Zoetis in Australia and New Zealand added:

“This highly anticipated announcement would not have been possible without the ongoing support from the CSIRO and our industry partners, as well as those involved in the initial development of this important vaccine.

“Zoetis is extremely proud to be part of the solution to reduce the risk of the deadly Hendra virus,” he said.

The Hendra virus can be fatal to both horses and humans. Vaccination is the single most effective way of reducing the risk of Hendra virus infection in horses. By vaccinating horses, owners are also protecting themselves, their families and anyone who comes into contact with horses.

Horse owners are reminded to speak with their vet to ensure their horses are vaccinated and compliant with required boosters.

About Zoetis
Zoetis (zô-EH-tis) is the leading animal health company, dedicated to supporting its customers and their businesses. Building on more than 60 years of experience in animal health, Zoetis discovers, develops, manufactures and markets veterinary vaccines and medicines, complemented by diagnostic products and genetic tests and supported by a range of services. Zoetis serves veterinarians, livestock producers and people who raise and care for farm and companion animals with sales of its products in more than 100 countries. In 2015, the company generated annual revenue of $4.8 billion with approximately 9,000 employees. For more information, visit www.zoetis.com.