at Bluestack Veterinary Clinic
Horses require an in depth knowledge and understanding to give them the care they need and to ensure they perform at their peak.
Our vet, Kathryn McAloon, is a highly experienced equine veterinarian having worked with horses throughout her entire career. From reproduction and fertility, to passports, vaccination and breeding, Bluestack Veterinary Clinic have the expertise and knowledge to treat your horse.
Kathryn is also a registered vet for the Cavan Horse Sales.
Bluestack Veterinary Clinic help owners protect their horses against infectious diseases by providing regular vaccinations.
We strongly advise that all equines are vaccinated against equine influenza and tetanus. If you plan for your horse to compete in equestrian events, up to date vaccinations will be required.
Our equine vets in Donegal aim to diagnose the cause of lameness promptly and successfully create an effective and comprehensive treatment plan.
We work closely with physiotherapy specialists at our equine hospital to help with the overall rehabilitation programme for your horse. Lameness can cause pain, concern and poor performance if left untreated.
Our equine veterinarian is also available to examine and treat horses in the comfort of their own yard thanks to our portable digital X-ray machine which allows us visualise X-rays within seconds.
We also have a brand new ultrasonography machine which is vital for diagnosing any tendon or ligament injuries. Bluestack Veterinary Clinic are able to investigate and diagnose any other causes of poor performance such as respiratory diseases, gastric ulceration and many more.
All horses born after July 1st, 2009 are required by law to have a passport and all horses born after June 6th, 2009 must be microchipped.
Our equine vets in Donegal can provide microchipping and passports for all types of equids, from horses and ponies to donkeys.
Bluestack Veterinary Clinic are available to provide pre-purchase examinations for horses on behalf of prospective buyers.
Pre-purchase examinations assess any veterinary factors which may affect a horse's suitability for its intended purpose. We perform a more basic two-stage examination or a five-stage examination depending on requirements.
This comprises the first two stages of the pre-purchase examination and does not include any exercise examination. Most horses are intended for some form of athletic performance and omitting this from the vetting is not recommended because there are many problems that can only be identified during exercise. However, there are some situations when a two-stage vetting is acceptable, such as a young horse that is too young to be exercised or a brood mare that is not intended to be ridden.
We recommend horses to undergo a five-stage vetting as you can obtain significantly more information about the horse, particularly with regards to the exercise. The full five-stage vetting is more likely to show up any subtle lameness or heart/respiratory problems that may only be evident after strenuous exercise.
The procedure normally takes approximately 1.5 hours and involves the first two stages of a 2-stage vetting with the additional exercise and recovery stages as well as a final trot-up as follows:
Stage 1 - Clinical Examination At Rest
This occurs in the stable
Stage 2 - Lameness Examination In Hand
This assesses the horse on a hard surface in a straight line at walk, trot, and after flexion tests. It is important to have an area of flat, level and even hard surface of at least 30 metres to allow this to be carried out.
Stage 3 - Exercise
This is the part of the vetting to increase heart and respiratory rates. Lunging on a hard and soft surface is also performed as some types of lameness may be more pronounced on the turn rather than in a straight line. The ridden examination is a fundamental part of the PPE and involves seeing the horse tacked up and mounted before ridden at walk, trot and canter.
Stage 4 - Rest Period
This is a period of half an hour to allow the heart and respiratory rate to return to normal after exercise. During this period, the identification sketch is normally done and any other examinations may be carried out such as the eye examination (some horses are more relaxed after exercise and tolerate the ophthalmic examination better at this time) and a further foot check.
Stage 5 - Final Trot-Up
This stage involves the final trot up and flexion tests in hand. It is used to assess if any lameness has developed after the exertion of stage three, followed by the “cooling down or stiffening up” of stage four. The horse is always turned in a tight circle and then backed up to assess co-ordination and to look out for problems such as “shivers.”
A blood sample will be taken and is normally stored for six months to allow for testing if deemed necessary. In some cases testing may be carried out immediately although this is unusual. Testing is carried out if there are any concerns regarding substances being present in the horse’s system such as sedatives or painkillers which may have been used to disguise bad behaviour or hide lameness.
Other tests can be performed such as radiography (X-ray), ultrasound scans or endoscopy if there are any concerns about any findings. These may also be requested by the owner or by insurance companies particularly if purchasing a performance horse or one of high value. Under FEI rules, horses competing require an equine influenza booster every six months.
Using a targeted and appropriate worming programme for your equine is very important for their welfare. Our equine vets and nurses can advise what wormer is required for your horse.
Worms are intestinal parasites that can cause irreversible damage to the gut and other organs. Signs to look out for if you are concerned your horse may have worms are:
Signs to look out for if you are concerned your horse may have worms are:
Poor body condition
Diarrhoea and colic
We strongly recommend Faecal egg counts to determine if your horse needs worming and with what product. All we require to perform these tests in-house is approximately two tablespoons of your horse's dung.
Bluestack Veterinary Clinic provide all aspects of health care during the breeding season, including full clinical examinations and uterine ultrasonography.
We also perform swabs for congenital equine metritis and uterine infections while bloods can also be taken for equine infectious anaemia and equine viral arteritis. Both of which can be transmitted and spread through mares and stallions during breeding season.
It is recommended that our equine veterinarian performs all of these checks at the beginning of the breeding season. Some studs require these tests to be performed before accepting your mares. Researching early in the year will prevent valuable time being lost if further testing is required.
Our equine vets are available to discuss the different vaccinations that are recommended for breeding and pregnant mares if you wish do so.
We also provide artificial insemination (AI) packages for both frozen and chilled semen for stud work. It is vitally important that good communication occurs between ourselves and the stud to ensure that the semen is available at the correct time for optimum insemination.
I am looking for an equine vet near me. What is your catchment area?
The equine Department at Bluestack Veterinary Clinic is based in Donegal Town and serves clients throughout the Northwest of Ireland and parts of Northern Ireland. Get in touch with us to discuss your requirements.