Autumn Newsletter 2017


**Dates for your diaries**

We have two client evenings planned for 2018, the first on Lameness and regenerative therapies on January the 23rd with guest speaker from Nupsala and our own vet Ben Gibson, to be held at 7pm at Wickham St Pauls village hall. The second talk will include Gastroscopy/Gastric ulcer syndrome and the Poor Performance Horse, date to be confirmed.

Catley charity news – The charity ball raised a whopping total of £10,311.00 for Essex air ambulance, St Nicholas Hospice and local animal charities and our dog walk raised £244.64 for Children in Need. Thank you to all clients that attended and supported both functions.



Petplan awards are now open – These awards provide an opportunity for pet owners to recognise the hard work and dedication of veterinary staff and say ‘thank you’. We have been kindly nominated by clients for many years, so if you have a spare 5 minutes and have been impressed by a particular member of staff or love the service you have received from our practice, please vote!


There has been an outbreak of equine flu confirmed in Essex. Please check your horses are all up to date with their vaccinations and contact the practice if you have any concerns or need to book an appointment.

We have the Equisal Tapeworm test kits in stock – the test uses your horses saliva to detect tapeworm – specific antibodies and tells you if your horse has a burden and whether you need to treat or not. The kit is available from us at £17.21 (and can be posted to you at an extra charge). We would recommend you think about testing now so that we know which Autumn/Winter wormer your horse will need for this year. Please remember the test needs to be performed at least 4 months from your last tapeworm wormer. For any further information on this product please email us at

 Vet Craig’s aquatic adventure!
Equine partner Craig Rutland had a feeling of foreboding when he got the call at around 6pm to attend ‘Ria’, a 30-year-old pony who had been found stuck in a water-filled ditch near Sudbury, possibly for the last few hours. Ria was stuck across the width of steep-sided ditch with water reaching up to shoulder height.  Her legs appeared to be stuck in the mud at the bottom of the ditch and she was just able to rest the tip of her muzzle on the bank in front of her.
‘I was really worried about her’ recounted Craig afterwards.  ‘Ria was an elderly pony and had probably been submerged in the chilly ditch water for several hours.  She appeared to be very quiet, her ears were cold and was making no attempt to struggle.  The other concern was that we couldn’t see what was happening under the water and were not able to tell whether Ria had sustained any serious injuries, such as a broken leg or stake wound.’
Craig was able to administer intravenous pain relief to Ria by crawling to the edge of the ditch, and with a fireman holding onto his ankles, dangle far-enough out in order to reach Ria’s neck.
‘Everyone was holding their breath as Ria was lifted by crane out of the ditch. Ria perked up but stayed calm as she was lifted. After giving her a couple of minutes to get the strength back in her legs the support provided by the crane was eventually reduced.  Craig was able to give Ria a more thorough examination and remarkably she appeared to be unscathed except for being a little hypothermic and more than a little muddy!
‘Once the straps were removed Ria could take a few tentative steps forward and much to everyone’s relief and delight the first thing she did was get her head down and take a good mouthful of grass and start munching’   Ria was given some antibiotics and anti-inflammatories for several days to help prevent pneumonia, as it was suspected she had aspirated some ditch water. She went on to make a full recovery.

This month’s article is on sinusitis and is written by our veterinary surgeon Ben Payne. Ben has a keen interest in dentistry.
Sinusitis can be described as an inflammation and infection of the sinuses. In horses this usually affects the paranasal sinuses which lie over the nasal-cavity and drain into the nasal cavity. Sinusitis can be split between primary and secondary causes.
The causes of a primary sinusitis are unknown but interestingly it is usually one-sided. Secondary sinusitis is usually dental associated or related to a sinus cyst however trauma and fistulae, holes between the sinuses and mouth can be a cause. All present with a malodorous smell and pussy discharge from one nostril.
When treating a primary sinusitis initial radiographs should be taken to look for fluid lines within the paranasal sinus cavities, these will show us as well defined horizontal lines and once diagnosed, thorough lavage of the paranasal sinuses should be undertaken. This is carried out by drilling or trephining a hole in the horses head around the level of the eye and inserting a semi permanent catheter to which a pump is attached to enable twice daily flushing with dilute iodine. The maxillary septal bulla should be broken down at this point to allow access and drainage of all sinuses. If further exploration is needed, then a bone flap may be made. Flushing should occur in conjunction with systemic antibiotic use.
With respect to a secondary sinusitis, the initiating cause must be treated. This is not to say that the sinuses won’t need draining, but the initiating cause must be resolved. Fractured molars on the upper arcade or diseased molars are often the leading cause of a dental associated sinusitis and should be noted on thorough intra-oral examination under standing sedation which must include the use of an oral endoscope. Dental radiography is used to confirm the affected tooth and treatment usually involves removal of the affected tooth.
Sinus cysts have an unknown cause and affect horses at any age but are thought to be associated with infection of the sinuses as they block normal drainage. As well as one sided nasal discharge they can also cause increased or decreased tear production and sometimes facial swelling. Treatment usually involves drainage and removal of the cyst and its lining via sinoscopy or open surgery via a frontal bone flap.
Sinusitis prognosis if caught early enough and acted upon can be very good.

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