Urgent - Please Give Advice

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30 January 2019
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I bought my horse a month ago, I decided to go with the veterinary practice that advises my new livery. My horse had her pre-movement Strangles blood test at her old yard to change yards and was 0.4 so she was allowed to be moved to my new yard subject to going into an isolation field there for 14days until the strangles test could be repeated. The repeat strangles test came back 0.7 so she had to remain in quarantine and be scoped and guttural washed. The yard insisted the procedure must be done in the field and would not provide a stable. Another more senior vet from the practice turned up to oversee the scoping and guttural wash. I was shocked when he not only sedated my horse but also twitched her. Then I was surprised when he pre-emptively administered penicillin to my horse since we did not yet know her strangles status. The day after the procedure my horse was extremely ill. She was very groggy, literally falling asleep, she constantly wanted to lie down, when she was standing she kept pawing the ground and looked uncomfortable, she was also refusing to eat. I called the vet and said she must be ill from the scoping and guttural wash as she was perfectly healthy before the procedure and that has been the only change in her routine. He was totally dismissive of my concerns and said there was nothing about the scoping and guttural wash that could've had made her ill. He stated he suspected she was suffering from impaction colic so he sedated, twitched her and tubed her. The next day my horse was still very sick and I asked the vet again if he was sure this wasn't connected to the scoping and guttural wash and he remained vehement that it wasn't. So she was sedated, twitched and tubed again... He checked her vital signs and said she had a high temperature and accelerated breathing so he now suspected she might indeed have Strangles. he was pressurising me to admit her to the equine hospital. I told him I wanted to wait on the Strangles results before making any decisions. The strangles PCR was negative so I asked could my horse please now be released from quarantine so she could have access to a stable to recuperate? He insisted she has ti remain in quarantine as the temperature and accelerated breathing indicated an infection and this may pose a danger to other horses so he wanted a battery of further testing done... By this stage I'd had enough, my horse was very stressed, it was ridiculous as she had been in isolation for over 3 weeks and in doing my own research I discovered all the symptoms she had were consistent with her having an allergic reaction to the penicillin. So I no longer had confidence in the vet and I am filing a formal complaint against him. But my horse is now in a terrible predicament as because he is the advisory vet to the yard the yard owner has to defer to him. Since he is claiming my horse may have a mysterious infection that poses a risk to other horses, my horse is basically being held hostage in quarantine where she has been for almost a month now. My horse is getting better now since I got rid of this vet, I have asked around other yards about this vet and the feedback was disturbing, that he uses horses as cash cows, is sadistic, narcissistic and frequently misdiagnoses. I have told the yard owner that I will never allow that vet near my horse again and will he accept the findings of another vet regarding whether my horse remaining in quarantine is justified? He said he will but those vets still have to liaise with his vet. This is an absolute nightmare, My poor horse has suffered so much. Please help, how can I get my horse out of this mess??? I would've left the yard but then my horse will likely end up having to be subjected to another quarantine and she cannot endure that.
 
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Was your horse used to being out 24/7 previously?
Yes, but that when she was in good health and eating. She was extremely ill and had barely eaten for days and the temperature were freezing but the livery refused to allow her to leave the isolation field. It didn't even have a shelter. I double rugged her but it was awful as she was so poorly.
 

splashgirl45

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dont like the sound of this yard at all.....if it was me i would contact another yard and employ a different vet. if you ask on here for recommendations for your area you may have some luck... yards that i have been on have a couple of isolation stables with a small turnout patch well away from the other horses. i would rather move her somewhere else and go thru isolation in a more humane way...and why a vet needs to keep sedating and twitching a horse is very odd. none of my horses have ever been twitched after sedation, IMO it is one or the other....
 

Theocat

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Why on earth would your new vet have to liaise with the yard vet? That's completely unnecessary. You don't like the treatment your horse has received, you change vet, end of story.

I would call a new vet and explain the situation. It has absolutely nothing to do with the YO and they can't insist the vets liaise.

What you describe sounds exactly like a penicillin allergy to me, having dealt with the same thing last year.
 

Pearlsasinger

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I have known a horse be twitched after sedation, when she was fighting the drug but I would want to find a different yard and a better vet. I don't understand the relationship between the vet and the yard and I would definitely complain about the vet, although you probably won't get very far with that.
 
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Thank you all for your comments. It has been hellish. I am enraged by how my horse has been treated. I have been very tempted to walk out of the yard in disgust but I cannot subject my horse to any more quarantine elsewhere and certainly no more strangles tests. I was in shock at how inhumane the isolation conditions were. There wasn't even a shelter in the field. I have changed vets and the new vet is coming to offer a 2nd opinion on Thursday. My problem is the YO feels he has to defer to his advisory vet so I said all I was prepared to do was have my new vet get the clinical history. It makes me sick to consider what my horse has been put through and I am bewildered by why it is not blatantly obvious to all involved that my horse suffered an allergic reaction to penicillin and hasn't randomly and coincidentally been struck down by some mystery infection...
 

Red-1

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The whole situation sounds awful, but I think it will be difficult to find a new yard willing to accept a sick horse.

I would, however, get a second opinion. The second vet may have some options for you. Is the horse sick enough to require hospitalisation?
 
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I have known a horse be twitched after sedation, when she was fighting the drug but I would want to find a different yard and a better vet. I don't understand the relationship between the vet and the yard and I would definitely complain about the vet, although you probably won't get very far with that.
My horse wasn't fighting the sedation, she's a chilled out mare and she was subdued with sedation. The twitch was cruel and unnecessary. I have found a different vet. The previous vet was what the yard describes as "their advisory vet" and claim they have to follow his advice or they'd be liable for having ignored it. I have filed a formal complaint to the practice and will follow this up with a complaint to the RCVS. But my main problem right now it how to get my horse out of quarantine.
 
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The whole situation sounds awful, but I think it will be difficult to find a new yard willing to accept a sick horse.

I would, however, get a second opinion. The second vet may have some options for you. Is the horse sick enough to require hospitalisation?
The horse has recovered now, she's still not eating as much as she usually does but she's no longer got a temperature or accelerated breathing, that was a consequence of the allergic reaction to the penicillin
 
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Why on earth would your new vet have to liaise with the yard vet? That's completely unnecessary. You don't like the treatment your horse has received, you change vet, end of story.

I would call a new vet and explain the situation. It has absolutely nothing to do with the YO and they can't insist the vets liaise.

What you describe sounds exactly like a penicillin allergy to me, having dealt with the same thing last year.
Did your vet acknowledge it was a reaction to penicillin? The vet I had completely refused to and said it had nothing to do with it.
 

Pearlsasinger

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My horse wasn't fighting the sedation, she's a chilled out mare and she was subdued with sedation. The twitch was cruel and unnecessary. I have found a different vet. The previous vet was what the yard describes as "their advisory vet" and claim they have to follow his advice or they'd be liable for having ignored it. I have filed a formal complaint to the practice and will follow this up with a complaint to the RCVS. But my main problem right now it how to get my horse out of quarantine.

Actually, a twitch can be less bothersome for a horse than sedation but it is unusual for a horse to require both. I must say that the 'advisory vet' stuff is just rubbish - and there are very few yards near me that would have the same procedure for quarantine. Not that any yards would want a sick horse to be introduced to them. Get your horse well and get out of there would be my advice!
 
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I just want to clarify - I wasn't suggesting that you move her while she's sick, but rather find out what other yards are out there. I know what it is like to have no trust in a yard and the link the Vet has to your yard may or may not cause trust issues. If it does cause issues, I would want to know what yards are available in the area, how long the waiting list is for a space, what their isolation policy is (if they have one) etc... Be prepared in other words.

ETA - I'm glad that your mare is feeling better now.
 
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Actually, a twitch can be less bothersome for a horse than sedation but it is unusual for a horse to require both. I must say that the 'advisory vet' stuff is just rubbish - and there are very few yards near me that would have the same procedure for quarantine. Not that any yards would want a sick horse to be introduced to them. Get your horse well and get out of there would be my advice!
But if I took my horse to another yard she would have to go through quarantine all over again. She has already been in isolation for over a month and gone through 2 strangles blood tests and a scope and guttural wash. She would potentially have to endure all of that all over again.
 

Theocat

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Did your vet acknowledge it was a reaction to penicillin? The vet I had completely refused to and said it had nothing to do with it.
Yes - absolutely. It's hardly their fault, and it is a welfare issue not to consider it. Would this vet seriously deny it and run the risk that the horse is given penicillin again in the future?

Mine did, though, recover relatively quickly. She was very ill a few hours after the dose, I saw her that evening after a dash to say goodbye (because that's how ill she was), by the time we arrived she had perked up a bit, and by the next day she was looking 80% better.

Theoretically it could be something else, but if it came on straight after being given penicillin, I certainly wouldn't want to risk it again- and I am slightly horrified that a vet doesn't seem bothered.
 
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Just so you know, I've never had to quarantine a horse when going to a new yard and that includes both DIY at a farm type yards and fancy full/part livery yards.
In my area, all the respectable yards insist on strong bio-security, all new horses have to have a pre-movement strangles blood test then go into quarantine for 2 weeks and have a repeat strangles blood test. If their numbers are good they can then be admitted to the livery. My horse will likely always need to be scoped and guttural washed as she has historic antibodies which is why we had all the problems with the blood testing.
 

tankgirl1

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I have never had to quarantine a horse past 24 hours either, and have moved yards quite a few times. What area are you based in OP? Maybe someone can advise you of another yard?
 
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Yes - absolutely. It's hardly their fault, and it is a welfare issue not to consider it. Would this vet seriously deny it and run the risk that the horse is given penicillin again in the future?

Mine did, though, recover relatively quickly. She was very ill a few hours after the dose, I saw her that evening after a dash to say goodbye (because that's how ill she was), by the time we arrived she had perked up a bit, and by the next day she was looking 80% better.

Theoretically it could be something else, but if it came on straight after being given penicillin, I certainly wouldn't want to risk it again- and I am slightly horrified that a vet doesn't seem bothered.
The vet was in complete denial, He was totally dismissive of me when I stated that my horse was perfectly healthy until she was scoped and guttural washed and I repeatedly asked him if she was suffering a reaction to the sedation or penicillin. Instead he diagnosed it as impaction colic, tubed her twice. It didn't make sense to me as she was pawing the ground not her stomach. I think my horse would have recovered faster if she had not been misdiagnosed as impaction colic and sedated again twice.
 

Pearlsasinger

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The vet was in complete denial, He was totally dismissive of me when I stated that my horse was perfectly healthy until she was scoped and guttural washed and I repeatedly asked him if she was suffering a reaction to the sedation or penicillin. Instead he diagnosed it as impaction colic, tubed her twice. It didn't make sense to me as she was pawing the ground not her stomach. I think my horse would have recovered faster if she had not been misdiagnosed as impaction colic and sedated again twice.

Horses don't normally 'paw' their stomachs when they have colic, they might well dig the ground. Did the vet examine her manually before diagnosing colic? I am not sure what response you expected to the post, if you are not prepared to move your horse away from your current yard. I cannot imagine that there are no yards at all near you which don't require a strangles test before accepting a horse. If you were to move as soon as the horse is well enough, surely her vet history would stand to show that she doesn't have active strangles? Or is the problem that she is a carrier?
 
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Horses don't normally 'paw' their stomachs when they have colic, they might well dig the ground. Did the vet examine her manually before diagnosing colic? I am not sure what response you expected to the post, if you are not prepared to move your horse away from your current yard. I cannot imagine that there are no yards at all near you which don't require a strangles test before accepting a horse. If you were to move as soon as the horse is well enough, surely her vet history would stand to show that she doesn't have active strangles? Or is the problem that she is a carrier?
It depends on whether another yard would have confidence in the quarantine at the current yard and would be willing to stake their bio-security on assuming another yard's isolation was beyond reproach.. No she is not a carrier, her PCR and culture are negative. She simply has historic antibodies which show up in her blood tests and so necessitate scoping and guttural washing for a definitive result.
 
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Horses don't normally 'paw' their stomachs when they have colic, they might well dig the ground. Did the vet examine her manually before diagnosing colic? I am not sure what response you expected to the post, if you are not prepared to move your horse away from your current yard. I cannot imagine that there are no yards at all near you which don't require a strangles test before accepting a horse. If you were to move as soon as the horse is well enough, surely her vet history would stand to show that she doesn't have active strangles? Or is the problem that she is a carrier?
It is not that I am not prepared to move yards, I don't want to subject her to another quarantine period (she has been confined to an isolation field alone for almost a month already) to any further strangles testing, particularly another invasive scope and guttural wash.
 
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I really wish you and your horse well for the future and that things settle down soon and that she is allowed to move into the main yard. This must have been (and still is at the moment) a really horrific introduction to horse ownership with your new horse. I really feel for you both.

I know that you can't change their policy so feel free to skip over the following part of the post. :)

I do wonder what happens with horses that compete off site? Or horses that come for lessons there (if they have an instructor who teaches at the yard). Even going for a hack and meeting another horse could be a bio security issue.

Oh well, it's probably a good thing that I'm not respectable and don't fit in on respectable yards these days.
 
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I really wish you and your horse well for the future and that things settle down soon and that she is allowed to move into the main yard. This must have been (and still is at the moment) a really horrific introduction to horse ownership with your new horse. I really feel for you both.

I know that you can't change their policy so feel free to skip over the following part of the post. :)

I do wonder what happens with horses that compete off site? Or horses that come for lessons there (if they have an instructor who teaches at the yard). Even going for a hack and meeting another horse could be a bio security issue.

Oh well, it's probably a good thing that I'm not respectable and don't fit in on respectable yards these days.
Thank you for your kind words, It is my 1st horse and it truly has been a nightmare. Isolation was already brutal as we were confined to the field, but ending up caught up in the politics of having registered my horse with the yard's advisory vet and him turning out to be such a terrible vet has truly been awful in the suffering it has caused my poor horse and how we are being held hostage in quarantine. It states in the livery contract that none of the livery horses are allowed to come into contact with any non-livery horses and that only livery horses are permitted on the yard.
 
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Flipping heck!

So you can't meet up with a mate who keeps their horse at a different yard? What about competing? How do you avoid non-livery horses at a dressage comp (for example)?

Oh gosh, she's your first horse. That's such an emotional time anyway.
 
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It is not that I am not prepared to move yards, I don't want to subject her to another quarantine period (she has been confined to an isolation field alone for almost a month already) to any further strangles testing, particularly another invasive scope and guttural wash.
Her exact symptoms were she was very lethargic and groggy, her eyes were half closed, she wanted to lie down a lot, when she was standing she looked uncomfortable and was pawing at the ground, she was refusing to eat. The vet examined her by checking her vital signs, hoof pulse, listening for noises in her abdomen (which he said was quiet) and he did a rectal examination, he said he suspected impaction colic, he found no evidence of a blockage so said it must be further down than his arm could reach. He tubed her. On the 2nd day when she hadn't recovered he said she had deteriorated as she now had a high temperature and accelerated breathing so must have an infection which he felt was likely strangles (this was before we had received the negative strangles result). When the strangles result came back negative he said we must be dealing with another type of infection and she would require further bloods taken in the meantime he tubed her again.
 
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