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Service Information

Additional services

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Acupuncture

Equine acupuncture is one of the more recent additions to the list of services we offer at Towcester Equine Vets.

Following careful examination and palpation of the whole of the animal, acupuncture involves the placing of needles into specific points on the horse’s body to varying depths. The needles used are very fine (most would fit down the middle of the smallest needles we regularly use) and flexible and generally well tolerated, although the benefits are also observed if the horse is sedated.

Treatments last for between 30 and 40 minutes and are cumulative – two to three sessions every week or fortnight, with gradually increasing intervals thereafter.

It works by ‘tricking’ the body into moving longer-standing aches and pains lower down the priority list reducing the discomfort experienced from them. It is particularly useful in the treatment of muscular discomfort secondary to arthritis elsewhere in the body (for example back spasm secondary to hock pain).

It has also been suggested that acupuncture can affect wound healing, the immune system and autonomic function.

Our acupuncture service is provided by Mr Mark Vale who is a member of the Association of British Veterinary Acupuncturists and the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society. If you feel that your horse or pony might benefit from acupuncture then please give the clinic a call.

Cardiology

Identification and assessment of cardiac disease in the horse is an important and specialised area of equine medicine. Recognition of irregular heart rhythms is aided by performing an echocardiogram (ECG). At the clinic we use a portable ECG monitor that allows assessment while the horse is exercising as well as standing still.

We are able to bring the ECG to your yard, should this be preferable, or assessment can be carried out at either of our clinics.

Insurance

Here at our Equine practice we are happy to help our customers with their insurance claims, providing assistance from the beginning right the way through to the end of the claim.

How do I make a claim?

Your equine insurance policy is an agreement set between you and your insurance company. If you need to make a claim for any veterinary work carried out on your horse, we ask you to settle your bill under our normal terms and conditions. Whilst this is happening, make sure you contact your insurance company to obtain a claim form and double check that all of your details are filled in correctly. Then send the form to our practice, we will complete the rest of it for you and forward it on to the insurance company. Most insurers will settle your claim, minus the excess amount and any deductions for services that are not covered under your insurance policy. This usually takes a few weeks and we aim to get it completed as soon as possible.

We are happy to provide administrative assistance with your equine claim form, helping you to receive the money back for all paid invoices settled by yourself. There will be no charge for this service, for any more information do not hesitate to call one of our equine practices.

Processing your claim

  • As a horse owner, it is down to you to inform your insurance company that your horse is undergoing veterinary treatment as soon as possible, to comply with all of their requirements.
  • Please request a claim form from your insurance company, fully complete the policyholder section and hand in to us at the clinic. If you are registered with NFU please start your insurance claim by calling the claims team at NFU. They will forward your claims form to us on your behalf.
  • It would be a massive help to our administration team if you can warn them of any potential restrictions or exclusions that may apply to your claim.
  • If the insurance claim is ongoing and your horse requires further veterinary treatment, a continuation form will be necessary and you will need to contact your insurance company for this. Please fill in the policyholder’s section of the continuation form and hand it to us at the clinic. We will fill in the veterinary section and send it to your chosen insurance company on your behalf.

It is your responsibility as the horse owner to instruct us at the equine practice to forward any invoices to the insurance company. These should all have the claim reference number clearly marked.

Direct insurance claims

Should your horse, pony or donkey need surgery, or long term treatment which is likely to prove expensive, it may be possible to set up a direct claim to the insurers on your behalf.

Direct claims can only be made after prior discussion and arrangement with the practice. An administration fee of £20.00 +VAT is applied for this service. This fee and the excess on your policy is payable before the direct claim is sent to the insurer.
Please note those with a percentage excess on the policy will be asked to contribute £150.00 at the initial stage of the claim being processed.

Processing a direct insurance claim

The following steps must be completed.

  1. Claim form sections for the policy holder to complete must been Hilled in IN FULL and signed by the policyholder. Where indicated the payment should be clearly marked to be paid to Towcester Veterinary Centre. Please note: we do not accept incomplete claim forms where the policyholder sections are left blank or unsigned.
  2. An administration fee of £20 +VAT must be paid along with the excess payment upon handing in the claim form to reception. In the case of a percentage excess a contribution of at least £150.00 should be made at this time.
  3. After discussion with the admin team a consent form needs to be Hilled in and signed by the policyholder.
  4. You, the policyholder, must phone your insurance company to inform them that the practice is making a direct claim and authorise them to speak to us on your behalf.

Following submission of your direct claim to your insurers, it is the policyholder’s responsibility to ensure the insurers process the claim promptly. The insurers, despite a direct claim being submitted, will only communicate with you the policyholder directly and NOT the practice. Any correspondence either by phone email or post should be communicated back to the practice as failure to do so can affect payment of the claim.

IMPORTANT

As our client you will remain liable for all outstanding fees if
a. the insurance declines to accept the claim in part or full.
b. the insurers deduct costs excluded from your policy
c. your bill extends over and above the maximum claim bene=it on your policy.

Please note follow up claims will attract a further fee of £10 +VAT for administrative costs. To avoid this charge it is advisable to pay Towcester Veterinary Centre for any follow up treatment at the time of invoicing and claim the money back from your insurers. Unlike many practices we do not charge for administration of claims when the invoices have been settled and we claim back on behalf of you, the policyholder.

If you have any queries please contact the insurance administration team on 01327 811007 or insurance@towcesterequine.co.uk

Towcester Equine Vets reserve the right to decline a request to undertake a Direct Claim if the circumstances suggest that the insurers may not settle the claim.

Laboratory

Our in house laboratory offers a range of services and gives rapid results to help ensure your horse receives gold standard care.

  • Same day routine haematology and biochemistry blood screens
  • Performance profiling
  • Bacteriology, culture and sensitivity
  • Synovial and peritoneal fluid analysis
  • Uterine swab analysis
  • Cytology; reading of tracheal wash samples
  • Faecal worm egg counts
  • IRAP processing
  • Stem cell and PRP processing

Haematology and biochemistry

We use our in house equipment to provide rapid, accurate results.

All haematology blood smears are also read by one of our experienced nurses to ensure the accuracy of white blood cell differential counts.

Samples for all routine analysis do not need to be sent away so we can have blood results reported to you within hours of the blood being taken. This means treatment or further diagnostic tests can be undertaken quickly and in a targeted manner.

Performance profiling

Knowing an individual horse’s normal haematology values is very useful when investigating subtle performance problems. Often horses may still show values within the ‘normal’ range, however values may be high or low for that individual horse.

Ideally, horses should have a blood screen every 4-6 months to allow a ‘normal’ for that individual to be established.

This also allows comparisons between previous results to highlight any subclinical performance limiting problems, to assess fitness and the suitability of training levels.

A report containing a copy of current and previous results as well as a written comment from your vet is produced for each performance profile. Your vet will also discuss results with you.

We offer a “performance” screen at a heavily subsidised rate as we feel it is a very useful tool in the management of any horse.

Bacteriology

We carry out in house microbiology to test for bacteria and fungus.

This means the causal agents can be identified quickly and the appropriate treatment selected.

Synovial and peritoneal fluid analysis

The ability to perform an accurate white blood cell count on synovial or peritoneal fluid is very important in equine practice. We most commonly need to quickly assess joint fluid to determine if surgery is required in potentially infected joints. Peritonitis is also an important condition in which cell counts help to diagnose and monitor treatment response.

Uterine swab analysis

We routinely swab mares proir to insemination to ensure no inflamatory process or bacterial growth is present in the uterus.

Uterine swabs are also very useful in the investigation of fertility problems as they allow identification of uterine infections and selection of the appropriate antibiotic treatment.

Cytology

Cytological analyis is looking at cells under the microscope.

We most commonly do this with tracheal wash samples taken via an endoscope. The aim is to indentify lower airway inflammation common in infections or ROA cases. We also routinely carry out culture and sensitivity on these samples.

Faecal Worm Egg Counts (WEC)

These are essential in any strategic worming programme. Our nurses can perform WEC on an individual basis or as part of one of our worming packages.

All count results are discussed with a vet and the appropriate action can be advised on an individual basis.

IRAP processing

IRAP is a modern technique for producing high concentrations of a horse’s own anti-inflammatory cells which can then be injected into their joints to promote healing. We offer IRAP to our clients and other vets in areas.

Stem cell and Platelet Rich Plasma processing (PRP)

This exciting area of the veterinary medicine is developing fast. As well as tendon injuries these technologies are being used to successfully treat problems with joints and ligaments, such as proximal suspensory desmitis. In the future it may be used in laminitis cases.

We have vets trained in the harvesting and processing of both stem cells and PRP.

Vaccinations

We offer a complete range of vaccinations for your horse. The most routine vaccinations we provide include:

Influenza / Tetanus (combined)

Jockey Club rules require all horses to receive a course of primary vaccinations, followed by annual boosters.

The vaccination protocol for influenza and tetanus is as follows:

  • First vaccine (day 0)
  • Second vaccine (21-92 days after the first)
  • Third vaccine (150-215 days after the second)
  • The annual booster is to be administered no later than the 365 days of the booster in the preceding year.

Influenza

The vaccination protocol for influenza follows the same rules as above.

Tetanus

Tetanus in horses is an acute and fatal condition. The disease is most often introduced through an open wound. Vaccination against tetanus is considered essential for every horse.

The vaccination protocol for tetanus is as follows:

  • First vaccine (day 0)
  • Second vaccination (4-6 weeks)
  • First booster (one year)
  • Second and subsequent boosters (every two years)