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New Clients

It is important to be familiar with the signs of good health, so that any illness or abnormality can be detected in the early stages. A healthy horse or pony should have:

  • a bright, alert attitude, with pricked ears taking an interest in their surroundings,
  • a good appetite,
  • a shiny coat with healthy skin that is loose and supple,
  • clear, bright eyes with no discharge,
  • clean nostrils (a small amount of watery discharge is normal),
  • good condition without being fat,
  • droppings that are passed regularly and are not too loose or too firm,
  • a body temperature of between 37 and 38.5º C (98.5-100.5º F),
  • a pulse rate of 28-42 beats per minute,
  • a respiration rate of 8-16 breaths per minute. The horse’s breathing movements should be smooth and relaxed,
  • moist and salmon pink-coloured mucous membranes.

Since every horse is unique, it is important to know what is normal for your own horse. For example, horses will often have an increased pulse and respiratory rate if they are excited. If you have any doubts about your horse’s health, the best person to consult is your vet.
How to contact your vet

The reception team is always available to help you during office hours (Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.00pm) on 01622 813700.

If you have an emergency at any other time, please still call the office on the usual number 01622 813700. You will then be given 2 options:

  • Press 1 to have your call diverted directly to our pager service who will contact the duty vet for you.
  • Press 2 for a non-urgent message, which our receptionists will return when they are next back in the office.

Please stay by the phone and one of our vets will ring you back within 10 minutes. Try to keep the line clear until we contact you. If the vet does not call you within 10 minutes, please call 01622 813700 again and the pager service will contact the vet again.

Emergencies include choke, colic, problems with foalings, injuries and large wounds, severe lameness and any other condition when your horse is in acute pain. If you are unsure at the time, then please ask us.

Please ensure that your horse is caught, clean and with its feet picked out, ready for when the vet arrives. A clean bucket of water, soap and towel is certainly appreciated by the vet!

Somebody who knows the horse and its history needs to be there to see the vet. We try to keep to time for our appointments but emergencies have to be fitted in as well; if we are delayed we will endevour to ring and let you know what is happening, or we can ring when we are on the way to your yard to save you waiting. When making an appointment with the office please make sure you leave a mobile number which you will have with you at the time of your appointment.

The passport and/or vaccination certificate should be available for every horse and ready for the vet. Different vaccinations need to be given every year, so it is important we check the paperwork before we treat the horse. This may save you money and unnecessary injections for your horse or pony. In most cases, injections against tetanus only need to be given every two or three years, but we need the vaccination records to check what is required before injecting the horse.

All horses, ponies and donkeys are required to possess a passport. Animals without a passport are not allowed to be sold, exported, slaughtered for human consumption, transported to attend a competition or show, or moved to new premises. We recommend that you sign the passport declaration that your horse IS NOT intended for human consumption. When we treat your horse we can then use all medical options that are available, and there is no need for them to be recorded in the passport which reduces the paperwork required. In the absence of a passport, it becomes your responsibility to record the medicines administered and the last date of administration. We will supply the treatment details on our invoices to assist you.

When you first register as a client at Bell Equine you will be asked to pay a £50 upfront payment before the inital appointment and to pay the remainder at the time of treatment. You will be asked to pay at the time of any appointment for the following year. The office may agree that you can be invoiced, thereafter, however, all invoices must be paid within 28 days of receipt. We provide a discount of 5% of the net total for payment at the time of the visit or  within 14 days of the invoice being issued. We accept cash, cheques, debit and credit cards; we are unable to accept American Express. If you have any questions regarding payment or insurance, speak to our accounts office on 01622 816033 between 8.30am and 5.00pm on weekdays.

Please see our Frequently Asked Questions regarding Insurance and you can download our guide for insurance claims here.

Preventive medicine includes the procedures that should be routinely carried out to keep your horse in good health and protected from disease.
These procedures include:

  • vaccination against equine influenza and tetanus. Depending on the risks of your particular situation, vaccination against EHV-1, EHV-4 (herpes virus) and strangles may also be worthwhile; ask the vet for advice,
  • a worming programme; we can provide further information specific to your yard,
  • regular dental checks: we can perform dentistry at your horse’s yard and we also run clinics at our hospital.

In addition, every horse should:

  • be checked regularly every day. Horses should be inspected at least twice daily.
  • have regular hoof care from a farrier: If a horse has foot problems do consult the vet as well. We run a foot clinic regularly at the hospital.

Planning Ahead
Missing any of these important preventative procedures may result in a horse or pony being unable to work and may be an expensive oversight. If a vaccination is given late, the whole course may need to be started again. We will attempt to send vaccination reminders, but this is not a fool-proof system and it is your responsibility to ensure appointments are made before the next vaccination falls due. It is therefore advisable to plan your worming programme and book visits for vaccination, dentistry and shoeing well in advance.

Do not forget retired horses, brood mares and companion animals, as they require the same consideration and veterinary care. They are at risk even if they rarely leave the field.

Whether you keep your horse at home or in a livery yard, it is more cost effective to arrange a shared visit from the vet. The travelling costs of the vet can then be shared between a number of owners. Although it will not always be feasible to provide a shared visit, we will do our best to arrange this if it is possible. If your area is covered by one of our Area Days, book in for routine appointments on one of the days we are in your area.

Making bookings well in advance can assist us with this too.  Another option is to bring your horse to the clinic, since you will not have to pay a call out fee, and if your horse is at our Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons approved equine hospital there will be more help and equipment to carry out any investigations or treatments required. We have expertise available in all fields of equine medicine, surgery and breeding, including artificial insemination.

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us, either on the main office number 01622 813700 or speak directly to the vet looking after your horse. If you have any specific complaints or concerns, please feel free to contact any of the partners.