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2015 press releases

Posted: 25/11/15

Nominate your equine vet for a Petplan Veterinary Award before 31.1.16

Your last chance to nominate your vet for the 2016 Petplan Veterinary Awards is fast approaching. If your vet or veterinary practice goes above and beyond the call of duty and you would like to show your appreciation by nominating them for one of these prestigious awards, now in their 16th year go to before 31st January 2016.

Because our pets and horses can become sick or injured at any time of day or night, vets are at the end of the phone 24/7 for anything from providing advice to responding to an emergency. All horse owners have been in the situation where they know something isn’t quite right. - sometimes it is an obvious emergency and other times it is unclear if a vet is needed. Petplan Equine’s veterinary expert, Gil Riley, has produced this handy listicle of common symptoms and what they may mean to help in these situations.

Urgent – call your vet out immediately:

If you spot your horse with any of these symptoms, it is a real emergency so a vet should be consulted immediately.

could indicate painful back injury or rhabdomyolisis (tying up) – a painful condition requiring urgent intravenous pain relief administered by a vet.
Eyes If it is involving the eyeball itself this could indicate an ulcer of the cornea or a uveitis, both of which require very prompt veterinary attention.
Nasal discharge A thick smelly discharge may indicate anything from choke to strangles to sinusitis, all of which would merit a vet visit - the first two would be emergency!
Cough If the coughing is severe and/or your horse is struggling to breathe or if other horses on the yard are displaying these symptoms this would merit an emergency call.
Skin If other horses are also affected or if the symptoms are suspected to be an infectious condition such as ringworm, it is time to isolate affected horses and call the vet.
Loose droppings If the horse is already displaying symptoms of being unwell or if the horse is losing weight or worms are visible in the droppings, the vet would need to come as soon as possible.
Foot If the foot is significantly hot or the horse is severely lame or lame in more than one foot possible emergency causes could include; a deep abscess, a fractured pedal bone or most commonly but no less urgent, laminitis. The vet will need to visit.
Swollen legs If the horse is significantly lame or has had a foot infection prior to the swollen leg it is possible the infection has travelled up the leg. Lymphangitis is another possible cause of such acute lameness. Both of these conditions require urgent veterinary attention due to the level of pain and that delay could greatly delay recovery.
Wounds If the wound is deep, bleeding, close to a joint, in the sole of the foot or if the wound is resulting in obvious lameness. Even if the wound is small, the vet should be called immediately.
Agitated behaviour Looking at flank, scraping ground, kicking tummy, sweating, wanting to roll; always an emergency as indicates colic or poisoning
Reluctant to move Standing square, sweating, pain on palpation of muscle back/hind quarters could indicate painful back injury or rhabdomyolisis (tying up) – a painful condition requiring urgent intravenous pain relief administered by a vet.

There are many symptoms that often require veterinary attention but in some situations you can treat these yourself with guidance from your vet. Despite most vets offering free advice, only 3% of horse owners that we surveyed, take advantage of this service. So if you notice your horse is suffering from any of these symptoms; give your vet a call to talk through the condition. The vet will let you know if he needs to pay you a visit or if it is something you can manage.

Call for advice:

Eyes If the eyes are generally sore or the horse has possibly had a dust reaction or is suffering from conjunctivitis.
Nasal discharge A watery serous discharge would generally be the least concerning, a mucous more notable.
Cough If the cough is occasional and possibly an allergy or reaction to dust.
Skin If it is suspected to be an allergy or reaction to an irritant in the environment and the skin condition is not excessively itchy.
Loose droppings If the droppings are loose following dietary changes or recent worming or lack of worming.
Foot If the horse is not very lame and it is only one foot affected and it is not too hot.
Swollen legs If there is no or merely superficial evidence of injury and any lameness that is present is mild.
Wounds If the wounds are superficial and away from any joints and there is only very mild lameness.

At Petplan Equine we know first-hand how important it is that your horse gets the correct care and attention in the event of him being injured or unwell. The symptoms described above are a few examples but there are many more possibilities and our advice is that if you are unsure about your horse’s wellbeing, it is always best to call your vet and talk about the options.

“Where would we be without our amazing equine vets?” said Isabella von Mesterhazy of Petplan Equine. “As a trusted insurer, we place equine welfare at the top of our agenda, working closely with the veterinary profession to bring horse owners the latest information on horse care. This is why, as part of this year’s Veterinary Awards, we have enlisted the support of Petplan Equine veterinary expert, Gil Riley, to produce a ‘listicle’ featuring symptoms seen by owners in their horses and guidance on when to call the vet.”

Does your veterinary practice or a member of its staff go that extra mile? If so, nominate them for the 2016 Petplan Veterinary Awards before 31st January 2016.



Horse’s name
Bonney Bere
Stable name
16.1 hh
Bay mare
Age (when injured/ill)
17 (April 2015)
Cleveland Bay x TB
Unaffiliated dressage
Tim Mair at Bell Equine, Mereworth, Kent

Bonney breathes easy after bleeding lung

Janet has owned Bonney for 10 years

Janet has used the same practise for over 30 years

Out hacking one day Cleveland Bay x Thoroughbred, Bonney, aged 17 started to act as if she wanted to cough. Owner/rider Janet pulled up and dismounted, Bonney was coughing and blood was pouring out of her mouth and both nostrils. She immediately rang vet Tim Mair whose advice was to walk her home very quietly and that he would make his way to the yard. There Bonney was scoped and it was confirmed that the blood was from a lung rather than the guttural pouch which would have been considerably more serious. Following a short period of rest Bonney made a full recovery and the cause remains a mystery.

Janet commended her vet for keeping her calm at the time and praised his swift and calm response. She has been registered with the same practice for over 40 years and cannot praise them enough.

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For more information please contact:

Name Telephone
Kate Hopkins (0208) 580 8024
  • Petplan Equine offers comprehensive insurance cover for horses and ponies aged from 30 days. Established 25 years ago, Petplan Equine understands the evolving equestrian market and strives to enhance knowledge and understanding of the equine world through employing horse enthusiasts and working closely with the equine industry.
  • Petplan Equine is part of the Petplan brand. Founded in 1976, Petplan is the UK's largest pet insurance provider, offering comprehensive cover for dogs, cats, rabbits and horses.

Note to editors:

Media enquiries: for further information, please contact:

Andrea Worrall at The GPC by email: [email protected] t: (01608) 654040

Tilly Tayler-Levy at The GPC by email: [email protected] t: (01608) 654040