Respiratory diseases are very common in horses and ponies. The veterinary team at the practice is experienced in dealing with management of both group and indivual cases of infectious disease. Some, but not all, respiratory cases will require endoscopy where a fibre optic camera in inserted up the nose and into the back of the horses throat. Samples can then be taken by passing the endoscope into the trachea (windpipe) or into the gutteral pouches. Other cases that are presenting for poor performance may have laryngeal problems. If these are not present in a standing case we also have access to dynamic respiratory endoscopy (ie endoscopy at exercise)
If a potential cardiology case is identified a detailed cardiological evaluation will include examination of the heart using colour flow Doppler echocardiography and an ECG (electrocardiograph) at rest and also an exercising ECG if indicated. This allows us to investigate a number of disorders, most notably those associated with cardiac murmurs and arrhythmias.
ECGs can now be obtained using modern digital equipment which is small enough to fit under a saddle pad to record results while the horse exercises. This allows us to examine horses at rest and during different levels of exercise.
Heart murmurs are extremely common in all types of horses and ponies. They are often detected during pre-purchase examination and this can lead to considerable concern over their possible future impact on the horse’s suitability for intended use. A detailed cardiological examination at our practice will aid us to determine the significance of any detected murmurs and assess any likely impact on the horses’ future career.