Tackling the problem of horse population

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Last week we hosted an equine castration clinic in association with the British Horse Society.

Overpopulation of horses in the UK is a continuing problem and it is hoped that by running these days that it will go some way towards tackling this.

These clinics are run at various venues every couple of months and owners bring colts and stallions from all over the North East.

It is a legal requirement that all horses in the UK have a passport. The purpose is to protect the human food chain so that no horse treated with certain drugs, such as bute, can ever be slaughtered for human consumption. Horses that attend the clinics receive a passport, have a microchip inserted and are then castrated.

The castration procedure is done with the horse standing under sedation and with the use of local anaesthetic. All the necessary drugs are included in the set price and we also give clients advice on the necessary aftercare. As the procedure is done standing it means that they recover and are able to travel home reasonably quickly.

If we find that a horse is a rig (has one undescended testicle) then we recommend that it comes into the hospital on another occasion so that the procedure can be carried out under general anaesthesia. On one of these days we can see up to 30 horses.

These clinics not only reduce the degree of unintentional breeding, but also give us a chance to educate horse owners about veterinary care.

By Charlotte Hewitt-Dedman, Vet