Large Animals

 
Large animal - Equine 

 

Facilities 

We have a large animal clinic located on the corner of Gurner’s Lane and Polo Road Goondiwindi. It is equipped with multiple day yards, stable and crush. We also have a portable crush so we can come to you. These facilities enable us to safely perform procedures on your horse. Horses are also able to be agisted at the clinic if ongoing treatment is required. 

 
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Equine dentistry 

Our vets have additional training in equine dentistry. Our dental procedures are done under sedation and we are equipped with a powerfloat. This enables a through oral examination and dental procedures to be most effectively performed. 

 

Dentals are recommended yearly in horses in order to prevent sharp points and address any changes in the teeth before they pose a problem to the horse. Some signs your horse may need a dental are they are dropping feed, they are slow to eat, they are not holding body condition or they resent the bit. 

 

Young horses may need more frequent dentals as they transition to their adult teeth and lose their caps. Horses can be born with wolf teeth. These can interfere with the bit. We often remove these in young horses. 

 
 

Equine reproduction 

We have an ultrasound machine with a rectal probe that enables examination of the mare uterus for the purposes of reproduction. We can help you work out the best time to breed your mare, help with hard to breed mares and perform AI with fresh semen. The horse breeding season starts in August and goes over the spring- summer. If you are interested in breeding a mare, get in touch. We usually start with an examination of the reproductive tract to make sure it is healthy and ready for breeding. We then determine based on the appearance of the ovaries where the mare is in her cycle. We can then time our breeding based on this or use medication to manipulate the cycle. 

 

Equine Emergencies, Field Medicine and Surgery 

We are able to assist in equine emergencies. One of the most common equine emergencies is colic. 

Colic refers to a pain in the abdomen. This may or may not be to do with the gastrointestinal tract.

Colic can be very painful for the horse and so often needs veterinary attention to address this.

 

The common signs of colic include pawing at the ground, flank watching, lying down and rolling. Our veterinarians will use a clinical examination to determine if your horse is suffering from colic and administer appropriate treatments. 90% of colics are able to be resolved with supportive care in general practice. The other 10% are surgical and require referral to an equine hospital.

 

Ways to reduce the risk of your horse showing signs of colic is ensuring good feed quality, regular dentals and worming. 

 

Another common emergency at Border Veterinary surgery is wounds on a horse. We stay up to date on the latest in wound management so are able to suture when required and advise on the best ways to care for wounds. 

 

At Border Veterinary Surgery we are able to perform surgical procedures in the field. Commonly we perform lump removals and castrations. 

 

We are also commonly asked to look at an unwell or a lame horse. We have in house laboratory machines that enable us to perform blood and urine testing so we can help determine what may be the cause of your sick horse and then nurse them back to health. We also have in field digital radiography that can help with the work up of a lameness. 

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Hendra Vaccination 

Hendra virus is a virus transmitted from bats to horses. It can spread between horses and from horses to humans. The signs in horse were traditionally thought to be a fever with respiratory and neurological signs. It has since been found that Hendra virus can make a horse sick with virtually any sign. Horses can be infectious 3-5 days before showing clinical signs. The greatest concern about Hendra virus is the devastating effect it can have on humans. The most recent case was an unvaccinated 7 year old Clydesdale in West Wallsend, near Newcastle on 6th October 2021.

 

At Border Veterinary surgery we will attend Hendra unvaccinated horses. If there is clinical suspicion that the horse may have Hendra Virus we are required by law to test the horse and advise minimal interaction with the horse until a negative result is achieved. This means that critical treatment may be delayed. In order to avoid this, we recommend ensuring that horses are Hendra vaccinated.  

 

The Equine hospitals we refer to, Toowoomba, Gatton and Scone have strict Hendra polices. 

Unfortunately this has become a necessity due to the legal requirements that veterinary practices are now facing when dealing with horses. 

 

The most lenient of policies is that all “sick” horses and in particular horses with colic, a fever, respiratory or neurological signs cannot be attended until they have received a Hendra exclusion. This involves a test which means that the horse cannot be treated until results of this are found to be negative. This means that treatment is delayed for 12-24 hours whilst awaiting test results. Often this means that the ideal diagnostics and treatment are taking place too late. This policy allows for lameness or injury work up including eye consultations without vaccination. 

 

Some referral practices won’t attend any horses that are not Hendra vaccinated until the exclusion is obtained (12-24 hours).

 

What does this mean for you? 

-If you have a horse that you would consider referring it would be worth considering vaccinating for Hendra virus.

 

Do I have a horse that I would refer?

-We are limited with what we can provide in general practice. If a horse needs to be hospitalised on IV fluids, needs advanced surgery or complex diagnostics we recommend referral. 

 

What is the Hendra vaccination protocol at the moment?

- 2 vaccinations 3-6 weeks apart, followed by a 6 month booster and then annual booster vaccinations. 

 

What if you have vaccinated the horses previously but haven’t done the boosters and are more than 6 months overdue for annual vaccination?

- 2 vaccinations 3-6 weeks apart and then annual vaccination. There is no need for the 6 month booster in this case 

 

What is the risk associated with Hendra Vaccination?

- Like any vaccination there is the potential for side effects. Most of them are mild and transient. The vaccination is registered under the Australian Pesticide and Medicine Authority which has rigorous quality control and safety requirements to ensure that and effective and safe product is available.

 

Large animal - Cattle 

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Pregnancy testing 

Pregnancy testing is recommended by our team at Border Veterinary Surgery in order to maximise production. Knowing who is pulling their weight and who is getting a free ride is vital when it comes time to make the choice of who will be on the next truck out of here.

 

At Border Veterinary surgery our vets are competent in manual and ultrasound pregnancy testing and with accreditation through the PregCheck scheme can provide tags upon request.

Some of the benefits of pregnancy testing may include: 

  • Early detection of non pregnant cows

  • Estimate calving dates and manage calving period 

  • Determine reproductive efficiency and highlight if there is an infertility or abortion problem within the herd

 
 

​Bull Breeding Soundness Exam 

Before putting your bull team out to work, make sure that they are firing on all cylinders with an annual check up. A Veterinary Bull Breeding Soundness Exam (VBBSE) is recommended by our team at Border Veterinary Surgery as it serves as a risk assessment for your breeding season by removing subfertile and high-risk bulls from your herd before they affect calving rates and ultimately your bottom line. A bull breeding soundness exam is best performed prior to joining, sale or pre-purchase. An exam of your team prior to joining allows you the peace of mind that age, illness and injury aren’t holding your bulls back in the preseason so they can get to work when they join the breeding herd.

 

A VBBSE involves a wholistic examination of the bull. They are examined at a distance for abnormalities of gait and conformation before being closely examined in the crush to assess their reproductive organs and function. A rectal palpation is performed that enables examination of the internal reproductive organs. Semen is then collected and evaluated crush side to ensure that you aren’t blindsided by a bull firing blanks. A sample can also be sent away to examine the morphology of the sperm for any deformities. 

 

Cattle/Sheep Emergencies, Field Medicine, Surgery and Herd Health Evaluation

Border Veterinary Services provides assistance with a range of aspects of cattle/sheep health and production. Commonly we are called out to assist with calving difficulty, down animals, prolapsed uterus/vagina/rectum, individual animal medicine, surgery and herd health evaluations. We are willing and able to consult on a range of herd health and production issues.

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