Churchfield Vets's home page
Emergency 01707 666 399
Small animal out of hours 0114 242 1929
Skelmanthorpe Surgery 01484 864 089
Equine Unit 01226 763 542
Barnsley Surgery 01226 733 333

Equine care

We provide a comprehensive service in equine care

Our equine care services

  • Complete hospitalisation and surgical facilities

  • Operating theatre

  • Castration

  • Stud work (more information below)

  • Check-ups throughout pregnancy and following birth of a new foal

  • Dental hygiene (more information below)

  • Advanced dental procedures

  • Lameness evaluations

  • Laser surgery

  • Soft tissue surgery

  • X-Rays

  • Microchipping

  • Vaccinations

  • Worming programmes

  • Dental care
  • Gastric ulcers
  • Artificial insemination
  • Annual Winter Health Scheme

Dental care

We provide you with an equine dentistry service

The horse’s teeth are important to its general health and condition and should be checked regularly. The most routine dental procedure for horses is reducing sharp points which are mostly found on the edge of the upper molar and premolars and the inner edge of the lower molars and premolars. They occur to a greater or lesser extent in every horse due to the grinding action of the teeth when chewing hard feed and roughage.

These points can be very sharp and can cause ulceration of the inner cheeks and tongue, obviously causing pain and discomfort. This may also lead to problems with accepting the bit, with eating and foraging for food, may affect movement of the jaws and also turning when ridden, together with the horse losing weight and condition.

All our vets at Churchfields are equipped with dental equipment

We are able to examine your horse’s mouth and provide routine dental care on the yard or at the centre. We also have power tools for those dental cases which have large spikes and overgrowths especially of the front premolars and back molars which then require more extensive work to be done.
At our practice we perform advanced dental techniques only permitted by vets such as wolf teeth extraction, other tooth extractions, diastema widening and dental radiography. Sedation is often required for routine equine dentistry; it allows a more thorough examination of a horse’s mouth, so that abnormalities can be detected early.

Horses with tooth problems may show abnormal behaviour or signs such as:

  1. Eating food slowly
  2. Quidding i.e. dropping half chewed food on the ground
  3. Drinking less due to tooth sensitivity to cold water
  4. Drooling excessively
  5. Swellings on upper or lower face
  6. Halitosis (bad breath) which signals dental decay, or decaying food particles caught between teeth.
  7. Sores on lips or gums
  8. Weight loss
  9. Aggressive shaking of hay before eating it
  10. Soaking own hay in water bucket
  11. Head shaking when eating
  12. Head shaking or different head carriage when ridden

All horses should have regular checkups at least once a year often combined with annual vaccinations, and some horses require a checkup twice a year, especially older horses or horses with particular problems, so as to prevent further deterioration of the teeth.

Gastric ulcers

Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome (EGUS)

Thisis the erosion of the stomach lining due to prolonged exposure to the acid produced by the stomach. It can affect 1 in 3 leisure horses with a higher incidence in competition and racehorses. EGUS can be a serious condition. The earlier the gastric ulcers are found, the better the prognosis for the horse.

In adults, gastric ulcers are mainly associated with stabled horses with reduced access to continuous feeding, overfeeding with concentrate with minimum roughage and long term use of certain drugs (e.g. bute).

Signs of gastric ulcers can be:

  • poor performance and appetite
  • mild or recurrent colic
  • dullness
  • attitude change and weight loss


In foals gastric ulceration may be fatal and may show signs as:

  • poor appetite
  • poor body condition
  • rough coat
  • frequent dorsal recumbence
  • diarrhea
  • depression
  • grinding teeth
  • pot belly
  • excessive salivation

One or more of the above clinical signs may indicate the presence of gastric ulcers. They are graded 1–4 and grade 2 and above are considered to be significant.
There are two options for diagnosing EGUS:

  1. Succeed Test: This involves testing a fresh faeces sample from the affected horse. Antibodies are used to measure occult blood in the faeces.
  2. Gastroscopy: This is a definitive method of diagnosis; evaluating the lining of the stomach and pylorus to investigate the presence of ulcers.

Succeed Test will not detect early grade 1 gastric ulcers, but is an inexpensive non-invasive test which usually detects more advanced gastric ulceration (grade 2 and above).
Gastroscopy is relatively expensive in comparison to the faecal test, however, it is a more successful method of diagnosing early stage EGUS.

Gastroscope days are held regularly at the clinic throughout the year.

If you feel your horse or pony may have ulcers then please call the Equine Centre on 01226 763542

Artificial insemination

Advantages of AI (artificial insemination) at Churchfield Veterinary Centre:

  • AI eliminates the risk of injury to the mare or stallion during natural covering
  • AI reduces the risk of sexually transmitted diseases
  • AI gives a much greater choice of stallion
  • Reduces the need to travel long distances for covering

While artificial insemination is not a cheap option, there is general agreement that it has a number of useful advantages over natural service. The main advantage being the best stallion can be used for local mares no matter where in the world he is standing at stud. It also lessens the risk of injury to both the mare and stallion which can occur during natural covering, and can prevent transmission of infection. Monitoring the mare while she is in season is vital to ensure that the insemination is timed correctly.

Breeding Season

The breeding season will soon be in full swing and Churchfield Veterinary Centre offer a comprehensive A.I. price package for inseminating both chilled and frozen semen.

This includes all necessary scans and swabs, drugs to induce ovulation, insemination, wash-out +/-antibiotic infusion after AI, and two pregnancy scans at 16 days and 28 days post insemination. The frozen package reflects the increased number of scans, due to the short life span of this semen.

Known difficult breeding mares are charged at a different rate.

Chilled Semen

This type of semen is processed at the stud collection centre, chilled to a temperature of 4ºC, and then sent chilled by courier or post for next day insemination. The timing is determined by the mare’s ovulation period. Often chilled semen cannot be delivered on a Sunday or Monday because of working conditions at the semen collection centre. The major advantage of chilled semen is the large volume of sperm per dose, and its shelf life that can be 36-48 hours.

Frozen Semen

This type of semen is frozen at the collection centre and sent to us in the frozen state to be stored in our liquid nitrogen containers. Then we have the semen on site for whenever we wish to use it to inseminate a mare. The timing of insemination is critical as thawed sperm survival time in the mare is limited to approximately 12 hours.

Fresh Semen

This type of semen may also be used. This is semen taken from the stallion at the stud, processed with an extender to keep the sperm alive, but must be used within 2 hours as the sperm will not survive beyond this time.

A.I. Success Rate at Churchfield Vets

Our overall success rate has been consistent at 70%-80% for both chilled and frozen semen. The lower rate is due to older mares being outside the acceptable age of 3-16 years and mares which haven’t had a foal previously.


A.I. Prices 2020 (livery extra)

- Chilled semen package: £318 incl vat for firstcycle.
- Chilled semen package forsecond and subsequent cycles: £300 incl vat
- Frozen semen package: £450 incl vat for the first cycle.
- Frozen semen package for second and subsequent cycles: £360 incl vat
- Fees to be paid on mare collection

Please don’t hesitate to ring the Equine Team (01226 763542, Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm) for advice or to have a discussion on any aspects of breeding, and we will do our best to help.

Annual Winter Health Scheme

We provide you with a complete annual health check is important in the older horse.

Comprehensive MOT Health Check on your Older Horse (12yrs +) at an affordable price, available annually at our equine center, Hoylandswaine or as a visit (extra charge for the visit)

The Churchfield annual health check includes:

  • Full clinical examination of eyes, heart and lungs
  • Limbs at rest, walk and trot
  • General body score. These would enable us to detect any abnormalities that would otherwise go unnoticed.
  • Dental examination and standard rasp (including sedation if necessary at a reduced cost)
  • Blood sample screening (includes haematology and biochemistry to identify general health problems such as anaemia, loss of organ function, etc)
  • Faecal worm egg count and discuss worming regimes.

Please note that you may bring your vaccination dates forward to this November - March period, so that we can combine the Annual health check with your horse's vaccination. This will help you to remember to have both done at the same time. It is important not to let vaccinations lapse beyond their due date.

The cost of vaccinations are not included in the annual health check but will be reduced by 10% under this Scheme.

Blood testing for Cushings Disease can be undertaken at the same time again, with a 10% reduction in the cost of the laboratory fee.

Horses of all ages can be included in the scheme

While we are particularly targeting 'the older horse', we recognise that all horses need checking over from time to time, especially if they are not performing to their ability. We can also visit your horse under this scheme, although the visit fee would be an extra.

More involved dental work, lameness work-ups, stud work and other tests and treatments would also be prices as extras under the scheme, and may have to be done at a later date.

Now only £95 + vat
Booked individually, this package would cost approx. £160 + vat
Available 1st Nov 2019 to 31st March
Available as a Gift Voucher

Please telephone 01226 763542 to make an appointment.