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Life in an Equine Hospital - Part Two

Emilie carrying out an ultrasound scan
Lucy and resident falabella Humbug

We caught up with British Grooms Association member and KBIS blogger Lucy (a trainee vet nurse) to hear what she has been up to.

WOW! What a week we’re having here at the clinic. I firstly want to thank KBIS and British Grooms Association for picking me to blog on this patch. What an honour.

We are inundated with vetting's at the moment, it’s clearly time to buy a horse! Vetting's are highly recommended when buying any horse or pony, it ensures that you are buying a healthy, happy equine. There are two types of general vetting, stage 2 which is basic and stage 5 with is extremely thorough and will usually include x-rays and blood tests. When the horse arrives at the clinic for a 5-stage vetting it is taken into the examination suite where Tim will carry out confirmation checks, feel and look for any unusual lumps or bumps, check heart and respiration rate along with a check of the horse's vision and teeth, a neck flexion test is also carried out. We then take the remainder of the vetting outside where the horse or pony is trotted up, lunged on our hard trot circle and flexion tests on all four legs. This is pretty exhausting work (if you’re not very fit like me!!!!) but I do enjoy assisting with these appointments, meeting the sellers (who are usually very tense during the examination!) and sometimes the buyers too. The client is asked to ride the horse in our beautiful sand ménage in walk, trot and canter on both reins, the whole time, Tim is checking for any signs of lameness/ uneven gait, symptoms would fail a vetting and it would be up to the owner and seller to discuss the next steps. The horses respiratory and heart rate are checked again after exercise. Finally, we lunge again on the hard circle and carry out the leg flexion tests again. 

The KBIS link explains the vetting requirements needed for insurance purposes.

I had a morning of vetting's earlier this week and I definitely need to up my game on my fitness levels!!!!!!

Later that day we were presented with a very cute section B pony who had been unsound for about a week but with no obvious reason or signs for being lame. We walked and trotted him up for Emilie our vet and he was lame on the right hind, slight swelling to the fetlock. We took him to the hard-standing circle to lunge him on both reins and see how the lameness affected him on the circle. With there being no obvious reason for the lameness we took him into the examination suite for an ultrasound scan to check that all the tendons were in good order. Emilie scanned both legs so that we could compare the tendons in both legs, thankfully, no issues appeared. The little pony was sent home to rest and we will catch up with him again in three weeks to check his progress.

Following this, I quickly take a lunch break and pop to the stables next door where I conveniently keep my 2 trusty steeds and do a lunch time check.

The vets are all out on calls this afternoon so Kirsty and I are kept busy skipping out, sweeping (of course!!) de-cob-webbing, general cleaning, steaming hay nets, feeding and watering the gang.

We aim to finish work at 5pm but if an emergency comes in at ten to five there's no going home!! I’m on call tonight which means I carry the on-call phone and I'm back at the hospital for 9pm to do late night checks, skip out, hay, water and administer medication required, then it’s home to a cuppa, chocolate and bed!!!! 

Lucy is a member of the British Grooms Association, the professional body for people who work with horses, they offer a wide range of benefits to their members and you can find out more about the association here.