In recent years there has been rapid growth in the number of performance horses in the UK and we have a large number of local, national and international clients who compete at all levels in such diverse disciplines as dressage, eventing, endurance, showjumping, showing, driving and polo. A number of our clinicians are FEI-accredited as Event Veterinarians and act as team and regulatory vets in the UK and abroad, and as veterinary advisers to organisers of international events.
In addition to servicing our own clients' needs, we see a high number of sports horse referrals from other practices across the UK and from further afield. These cases are referred to our Equine Diagnostic Centre for lameness investigation, the investigation and treatment of respiratory tract abnormalities, or for specialist procedures, such as stem cell therapy for tendon, ligament and joint injuries. Horses are also referred to our Equine Hospital for other medical and surgical conditions.
Our expert clinicians aim to provide accurate diagnostic information on which to base decisions for treatment and prognosis. Whilst many conditions can be assessed and treated successfully at owners’ yards, more complex cases can be referred quickly to our Diagnostic Centre, which sees a range of equine problems including many horses with lameness, poor performance and back problems. Our large arena is used for ridden examinations, including jumping if required. We have gained a lot of experience in evaluating the actual performance limiting problem, not just the most obvious problem. Detailed clinical examinations, including diagnostic nerve blocks, ultrasonography, and radiography are performed routinely daily. Where further investigation is required, advanced imaging techniques including nuclear scintigraphy (bone scanning), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) are readily available to our expert clinicians.
Upper and lower airway disease is another important and common cause of poor performance in sports horses. We can routinely perform endoscopic examinations at yards, often obtaining tracheal wash samples, the latter of which are analysed by our own specialist equine laboratory to enable rapid turnaround of results. This allows quick, correct and efficient treatment and management protocols to be instigated.
Our state-of-the-art VetMed remote dynamic endoscopic system enables the function of the upper airway to be assessed under normal exercise conditions at stable yards or gallops, or in our own Martin Collins Ecotrack arena on our hospital site. Visible malfunction and pathology may be diagnosed. This dynamic endoscopic procedure is commonly combined with an ECG examination allowing an assessment of heart function to be made concurrently. This procedure provides a quick and accurate diagnosis of a multitude of well recognised (and less well recognised) conditions affecting this critical region of the performance horse.
Rossdales’ clients have direct access to the support of our hospital facility. Complex surgery including fracture repairs and colic surgery is carried out by our skilled team of specialist surgeons in our fully equipped operating theatres. Our standing surgery suite now enables us to carry out a variety of surgical procedures on standing sedated horses, under local analgesia, overcoming the need for a general anaesthetic, where appropriate.
Our specialist internal medicine clinicians are available for more complex medical and neurological cases. These clinicians are available to provide in-stable support with mobile diagnostic equipment, or at our Equine Diagnostic Centre, as appropriate to the case.
We also provide advice to the international insurance industry, for which the Sports Horse market is an increasingly important area of their business. Most of these horses are insured for All Risks Mortality, loss of use and veterinary fees and our close working relationship with insurers assists in the provision of a quick service in claims cases.
For more information regarding services for sports horses, please contact Andy Bathe, Tim Greet, Richard Payne, Marcus Head, Sarah Boys Smith, Sarah Powell, Oliver Pynn, Fred Barrelet, Mike Shepherd or Celia Marr.