Routine work

The things we do day to day may be small, but they are the back bone of keeping your horse, pony or donkey healthy and happy.

The team at Gibbs Marsh have extensive and wide ranging experience in treating equines of all shapes, sizes and disciplines. We are always available to talk you through any queries you may have regarding your horse’s health, however mundane they may seem. We also regularly work alongside a multitude of veterinary paraprofessionals such as farriers, physiotherapists and nutritionists to bring you a cohesive and well rounded approach to your animal’s wellbeing. Below we have clarified some of the most common routine procedures that we perform to help you and your horse.


Horses have very different dentition to dogs and humans, with ‘hypsodont’ teeth that are continuously growing throughout their lives. As the horse is designed to grind coarse grasses in pastures for many hours of the day, the teeth are continuously worn down at an equal rate to their growth. In our modern management of horses, they are spending fewer hours grazing, eating in unnatural positions and are wearing bridles, all of which make their dental health of great importance. Dental issues account for one of the most common causes of poor weight, difficult ridden behaviour and pain in horses. 

We recommend a routine dental exam once a year for all horses, and twice a year for those identified as needing specific dental work. We preferentially use motorised dental equipment with the horse sedated for its comfort, and our safety, however we also carry hand held rasps if required.


Equine Laboratory

We partner with AXIOM, an external Devon based veterinary laboratory that provide a dedicated courier service and next day results for a multitude of diagnostic samples. AXIOM have resident specialists in clinical pathology and internal medicine to support us in those critical interpretations of diagnostic samples. We are able to analyse a myriad of joint fluid, faecal, urine and tissue samples and blood samples, from a comprehensive blood panel to a specific PPID/Cushing’s test.


Vaccines are there to reduce the risk of, and severity of disease. There are vaccines available for a large range of infectious diseases depending on the age and lifestyle of your animal. Some vaccinations may be mandatory depending on if you compete with a registered organisation, intend on breeding your horse or are on a public yard. Below we will outline the most commonly requested vaccination protocols:

Equine Influenza

Influenza or ‘flu’ is a highly contagious, viral upper respiratory tract disease much like in humans, characterised by coughing, fever and malaise. Vaccines are given as a starting course of two vaccinations one month apart, followed by a third six months later. Thereafter given annually. Some competition organisations request that competing horses are within 6 months and 21 days of a vaccination, necessitating six monthly vaccinations for those competing all year round.


Tetanus is a bacterial disease caused by Clostridium tetani, which leads to fatal whole body paralysis. The bacteria is found in soil, but luckily the disease is very rare due to effective vaccination protocols. Vaccines are given as a starting course of two vaccines, one month apart and then one every two years.

Equine Herpes Virus

There are multiple viral strains of this disease found world wide, however two strains are found most commonly causing disease in the UK;  EHV-1 and EHV-4. Once a horse has been infected with EHV, they remain infected life long and the virus may trigger symptoms at any point in the future. EHV-1 causes signs of respiratory disease in young horses, abortions in pregnant mares as well as neurological symptoms of paralysis in the most severe cases. EHV-4 also causes abortions in pregnant mares, but rarely respiratory disease. In Europe, EHV is frequently given as a routine vaccine to all horses but in the UK we usually only vaccinate on specific request for at-risk horses. For pregnant mares, EHV vaccination is recommended at 5 months, 7 months and 9 months of gestation.