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Dr Susanna Ballinger MRCVS
Isolation of infected horses and rigorously enforced bio-security is essential to the effective management of strangles
Taking measures to prevent, or minimise the spread of, disease is an animal health and welfare priority. Invariably the costs and disruption of planned preventative measures are significantly less than those associated with treating the disease once it takes hold. The clinical signs of strangles and how it spreads are detailed in All About Strangles...
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Strangles in horses. Taking nasal swabs for PCR testing for Streptococcus equi equi infection
Strangles is caused by a bacteria called Streptococcus equi. subspecies equi. It is a common, highly contagious infection of a horse’s upper respiratory tract. Strangles can cause large abscesses to form, make swallowing difficult, restricting breathing and is both painful and distressing for the infected horse or pony. Whilst the disease often causes considerable suffering...
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Ragwort is highly toxic to horses and ponies and should be dug up and removed from grazing pasture.
The abundant bright yellow flowers of the common ragwort (Senecio jacobaea) seem to be everywhere at the moment – certainly in Hertfordshire ragwort seems to be flourishing to a markedly greater extent than in recent years. Ragwort is toxic to horses and ponies and must be removed from pasture as a matter of priority. Ideally...
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Ballinger Equine Practice Administrator, Sharni Heaps competing with Hugo at the PWPC Eventer Trials Open ODE at Bramfield, May 2021. Image copyright Catch it Quick Photography.
Bio-security – a term often associated with sci-fi movies, mysterious government laboratories, scientists in yellow protective suits and more recently, COVID-19. In reality these associations are anything but fictitious, with bio-security being something all of us should be thinking about daily. Increasing national herd density and movement raises likelihood of disease transmission Over time, an...
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Ballinger Equine Ambassador, Katie Branley, with Buntino starting the 2021 dressage competition season
With COVID-19 lockdown restrictions starting to ease, competitions are opening up. Whether you’re competing at a local dressage show, at Pony Club camp, completing a 60cm clear round showjumping, or braving a cross-country course, you and your horse or pony will want to be ready to achieve to your full potential. Here are some quick...
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Shetland Pony enjoying lush, sugar-rich grazing. Laminitis risk.
The unusually mild and very wet winter has finally receded and with the arrival of warmth and sunshine, grass in paddocks is now growing rapidly. For horses and ponies the new growth is irresistible and they love the lush grazing. But, the plentiful availability of sugary grass is not suitable for all horses and ponies....
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Dig up ragwort rosettes before they develop into flowers
Later this summer we may expect to see the bright yellow flowers of the common ragwort (Senecio jacobaea) and, knowing how toxic it is to horses and ponies we will need to remove it from pasture. But waiting for ragwort to flower before getting rid of it is a mistake and it is much better...
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Quarantine measures and good biosecurity help limit the spread of Equine Herpes Virus
Worldwide, there are nine identified equine herpes viruses (EHV) with five strains causing disease in the UK horse population. The two most common types are EHV-1 which causes respiratory infection; abortion; neonatal death and neurological disease (Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy or EHM) and EHV-4 which usually only causes low grade respiratory infection but occasionally can cause...
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Dr Susanna Ballinger and Dr Eleanor Kigozi undertaking a gastroscopy
Ballinger Equine is holding an autumn gastroscopy clinic for horse and pony owners who wish to establish whether their animals are suffering with gastric ulceration. The clinic offers a special discounted rate to those participating. Winter is almost upon us, the mornings are already icy and pasture is deteriorating. Turnout typically diminishes with the winter...
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Horses and ponies are flight animals and naturally tend to run from fire
It is the time of year again when bonfires are set alight and pyrotechnics are launched into the night sky. Whilst many people enjoy organised displays and back garden sparklers accompanied by hotdogs, burgers and smoky corn-on-the-cob, our horses and ponies find the evening’s proceedings worrying and often terrifying. Horses and ponies run from fire...
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