Information for Horse Owners
The AHT Equine Centre is a second-referral clinic. This means that all the clinical cases we see come with a referral from, or with the knowledge and approval of, your own vet.
This is necessary, as after your horse has been to the Equine Clinic, and been diagnosed and possibly treated by us, they will return to the care of your own vet.
The reception for referral booking is open Monday to Friday, from 8.30am to 5.30pm. We try to arrange appointments for in-patients, who may be with us for three to four days, at the beginning of the week. Main appointment times are 9am, 11am and 2pm, although alternative times can be arranged when necessary. It is also possible for horses to be admitted to the Equine Clinic at the weekend in which case the intern on duty will admit your horse.
Confirmation of an appointment is sent out by post, fax or email, depending on how soon your horse is coming to us. Sometimes paperwork will be ready in reception for you to complete on your arrival. The paperwork comprises confirmation of the date and time of your appointment, together with the name of the clinician in charge of your case. There are two copies of a consent form, which has to be signed before any investigations can commence. The consent form covers all possible investigations, and many of the points will not necessarily be relevant for your particular circumstances.
Many horses are referred to us for lameness or poor performance investigations, and these appointments generally take three to four days, sometimes longer, depending on the complexity of the problem. For these cases we may ask you to bring your tack with you, as if we need to see the horse ridden, it is preferable to do this with your own tack. Your horse will be stabled for the duration of their stay, so if your horse is wearing rugs please bring them with you.
The Equine Centre has a large yard area, and it is possible to leave your horse box or trailer for the duration of your appointment. Vehicles are left at your own risk, but we do have security patrolling the AHT premises.
Your horse will be under the primary care of a senior clinician whilst at the Equine Centre. While you are here, the clinician will examine your horse, including watching your horse moving in hand, on the lunge and ridden if necessary. It may be necessary for you to ride your horse; however, if that is not possible, one of our experienced yard staff will be able to ride the horse at this stage or at any point during its investigations. If it is necessary to continue with investigations, your horse will be admitted as an in-patient for the clinician to continue with their investigations, which can include scintigraphy, computed radiography, ultrasonography, nerve blocks and sometimes MRI. The clinician will keep you informed each day of their progress, and seek your permission for any diagnostic or treatment procedures that require your consideration and agreement. As the appointment progresses, the clinician will be able to give you some indication as to when all the investigations and treatment will be complete, and when it is likely that your horse will be ready to go home.
In many cases, as part of our treatment protocol, corrective trimming and remedial shoeing may be appropriate, and our remedial farrier will carry out this prior to a horse being discharged.
Horses can be collected at your convenience, but owners are advised that hospitalisation charges are made from the day of admission to the day of discharge.
Outpatient appointments are made for those horses that require a specific examination, for investigations such as x-rays or ultrasonography, or for a treatment such as shock wave treatment. Horses that return to the clinic for re-examination will usually be admitted as out patients. Depending on the type of examination or treatment, the visit may last approximately one to two hours. If your horse comes in as a day patient for particular imaging, such as MRI, then your horse will need to be here for a full day. If your horse is sedated for any examination or treatment, they will be stabled and monitored until the sedation has worn off and your horse is fit and able to travel home safely. Out-patient appointments can be made on most days of the week.
Communication / Reports
The clinician in charge of your horse will keep you informed about the progress of your horse throughout the investigation and treatment. When your horse is admitted, you will be advised which are the best times to contact the clinician and you will be given a business card that has all the contact numbers you require. If you have a general enquiry about the health, happiness and behaviour of your horse, you will be able to speak to a member of our yard or nursing staff. Owners are also welcome to visit their horse, and these visits should be arranged through the Equine Centre secretaries.
At the end of your horse’s visit, the clinician will prepare a final report describing the results of the examination, diagnostic findings, and treatment for your horse. In some instances an interim report is prepared, if a procedure such as surgery or magnetic resonance imaging is recommended, and these reports can be forwarded to your insurers if necessary. The final report is a technical report, in that it is not written in layman’s terms. However the clinician will have discussed all their findings with you previously, and explained their diagnosis and prognosis and possible treatment options as applicable. Both you and your referring vet will receive a copy of the clinician’s report. Your vet will also receive copy of bone scan or magnetic resonance images as applicable.
We are always interested in the progress of your horse following discharge from the clinic, so we welcome feedback.
It is a legal requirement that all horses are transported with their passport. On admittance to the Equine Centre your passport will be checked by the intern or clinician overseeing the care of your horse. Once the passport number has been recorded, and the section IX declaration checked, we usually ask owners to hold on to the passport, rather than leave it with us while their horse is here. Where appropriate, we will take a photocopy of your horse’s passport to keep on the case record.
Clause 9 of our Consent Form states that the horse has been signed not for human consumption in section IX of their passport. It is therefore important that you keep a copy of the Consent Form with your records. This will be checked when the horse is admitted.
It is your responsibility to notify your insurance company that you have a referral to the Animal Health Trust for further investigation and possible treatment of your horse. Requirements of insurance companies differ, and to avoid delays with additional procedures it is helpful to keep your insurance company up to date and comply with their requirements. We can provide them with interim reports during an appointment if required.
As part of the confirmation paperwork for your appointment, we will send you an authorisation form. If you complete this and leave it with us, we will be able to claim direct from your insurers at the end of your horse’s appointment. We will send your insurers the original invoice, a copy of the clinician’s report, and your completed authorisation form. Copies will be provided to you, so you are aware that these have been sent to your insurers. In most cases, your insurers will pay the Animal Health Trust those amounts that are covered under your policy, and will advise you of any balance that is due to be paid by yourself.
If you have a claim form that requires completion by our clinicians, please bring this with you completed by yourself and signed, or forward it to us, and we will ensure it is completed and sent to your insurers.
If your horse is not insured, or if you would prefer to process your claim yourself, then you do not need to fill in the authorisation form. We will simply forward the final invoice to you, for you to submit to your insurers.