Hospital offers TLC to horses

David Dugdale, vet, checks over a horse at the Newmarket Equine Hospital ANL-140826-110909001
David Dugdale, vet, checks over a horse at the Newmarket Equine Hospital ANL-140826-110909001

Being the largest equine hospital in Europe, the Newmarket Equine Hospital (NEH) is renowned for its specialist treatment and care as well as its outstanding work to make sure that horses can be back fit and healthy as soon as possible.

The practice itself has been going for around one hundred years, but has not always had the vast space, latest equipment and modern facilities that the home along the Cambridge Road in Newmarket provides.

Until 2008 the hospital was situated along Newmarket High Street next to the Horse Requisites firm, but due to the demand of clients and the expansion of the practice, the hospital outgrew the facilities and needed to move.

The impressive site on the edge of town was ten years in the making after having several planning rejections.

The modern complex was opened in 2008 by Princess Haya of Jordan, the wife of Sheikh Mohammed, who are both major clients of the hospital.

Almost like a village in itself, the hospital is made up of 30 veterinary surgeons who specialise in a variety of areas with the help of 70 support staff.

The practice has state-of-the-art equipment with an MRI scanner, nuclear bone scanner and most recently a CT scanner which allows the best possible fracture repair so that the horse can return to racing as quickly as possible.

Among the high-tech items is an intensive care unit and two large X-ray machines as well as a dozen portable machines to allow the vets to monitor horses out at studs and yards.

One of the most exciting and impressive pieces of technology is the Overground Endoscope which watches a horse’s throat while it is galloping. The NEH was one of the first equine practices to own this equipment and have used it hundreds of times to analyse the reasons behind poor performance and understand why abnormal breathing noises occur.

David Dugdale, managing partner, said: “The move from the High Street has been enormously beneficial. We have been able to invest in new equipment and we are able to have more stables.

“There are 80 stables at the hospital which are full pretty much all year round. It is more beneficial for the racehorse trainers as they can access the practice much easier.”

The hospital deals mainly with thoroughbreds but has expanded greatly dealing with a variety of horses, including leisure and eventing horses together with Arabian horses.

Mr Dugdale said: “We receive a large number of Arabian horses locally as the endurance side of the sport is growing.”

As well as the surgical operations and treatment for horses being second to none, a large part of the work that the NEH does is transporting horses. It deals with the shipping of horses to and from Newmarket and with horse racing taking place all over the world, horses are going to countries like the USA and Hong Kong and so many staff organise the transportation arrangements with shipping agents.

The impressive NEH will open its doors to the public for the third time as part of the Newmarket Open Day, sponsored by Betfair on Sunday, September 21, giving them the opportunity to see the outstanding work that the equine hospital carries out.

There will be tours running from 9.30am to 12.30pm every 15 minutes with the last one beginning at midday.

On the day, all the vets will be in attendance to conduct the tours explaining the facilities and all the high-tech scanners will be on show to the public with presentations of how the machines work, some even showing videos of the technology in action.

Bill Fellowes will also be showing one of his latest high- tech horse ambulances on the day.

Mr Dugdale emphasised the importance of showing the facilities to the public, saying: “Racing is central to the success of Newmarket and we are very proud to be a part of that industry. We feel that it is important for the wider racing public to see what happens should a horse hurt itself. We are very proud of the facilities here and everything is done to look after the welfare of the horse.”