Blackdown Equine
Blackdown Equine - Telephone
  Sport Horse Medicine
Management and treatment of the sport horse is a speciality of Blackdown Equine Clinic providing veterinary care to some of Britain's best showjumping, eventing, dressage and polo horses. Our vets have a strong passion for sport horses and always aim to provide the highest quality personalised care for all equine athletes. In support of this our vets are equipped with advanced diagnostic imaging equipment including digital radiography (X-rays), and high quality ultrasound machines and endoscopes.
Led by Bruce Middleton who has many years experience with this common performance problem, our vets are trained and experienced in all aspects of lameness diagnosis, treatment and management. As well as having high quality equipment for on-yard diagnosis, we are developing the facilities at our clinic for those cases where an even closer look is required. We are also able to offer the most up-to-date therapeutic options for tendon and joint problems, including treatments such as stem cell therapy, platelet-enriched plasma, IRAP and shockwave. Please click the tabs below for more information.

Stem Cell – Tendon and Ligament Therapy 
Stems cells are used in the treatment of flexor tendon and suspensory ligament injuries. Stems cells originate from bone marrow and are capable of developing into any type of cell within the body. When injected directly into damaged tendons and ligaments they can greatly assist healing. The process involves bone marrow being harvested from the affected horse, usually from the sternum. It is then sent away to a lab where the stem cells are isolated and cultured. When enough stem cells have been produced, they are sent back to us for direct injection into the damaged area of tendon or ligament. The stem cells are then able to develop into tendon-cells and aid the healing process. When combined with an appropriate period of rest and a tailored rehabilitation program, stem cells can significantly help improve the chances of a return to performance.
IRAP – Joint Therapy 
IRAP isolates anti-inflammatory mediators located within the horse's white-blood cells and uses them to aid in reducing inflammation associated with degenerative joint disease and help promote cartilage regeneration. Blood is taken from the horse and incubated in special syringes containing chromium-coated glass beads that induce the production of these anti-inflammatory mediators, namely Interleukin-1 Receptor Antagonist Protein (IRAP). The sample is centrifuged and the serum containing the anti-inflammatory mediators is harvested, filtered and prepared for injection into the joint. The usual protocol involves 3 injections at weekly intervals. This treatment utilises the horses own anti-inflammatory properties and is totally drug-free; as such it is able to be used on performance horses during competition.
Platelet Rich Plasma – Tendon, Ligament & Joint Therapy 
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is similar to IRAP by the fact that it is harvested from the horses own blood and then injected directly into damaged tendons and ligaments. PRP is high in growth factors that stimulate the horses' own stem cells to aid the healing process. PRP can also be injected into joints to reduce inflammation and promote cartilage repair. PRP has the advantage of being harvested and prepared 'patient-side' for immediate administration.
Shockwave - Tendon, Ligament & Joint Therapy 
Shockwave is used in the treatment of a variety of conditions and is commonly used in the treatment of suspensory ligament injuries. The machine delivers a series of physical, rather than electrical, "shocks" aimed towards an area of inflammation or damaged tissue. The exact mode of action of this treatment is not fully understood but some evidence points towards it increasing blood flow, reducing pain by suppressing nerve endings, and increasing bone, ligament and tendon rejuvenation. Treatments are typically repeated every two weeks for three or four treatments.
Blackdown Equine Clinic has an excellent reputation in all areas of equine reproduction. Headed up by John Hennessy and Alex Mitchell our vets are skilled in all aspects of the management of mares; whether for natural cover or for artificial insemination (AI) with fresh, chilled or frozen semen. The clinic also has a well-established Embryo Transfer (ET) program. All of our reproductive services are offered to clients on-farm, as well as at the clinic. Facilities are available to keep embryo transfer donor and recipient mares, as well as mares for chilled or frozen AI.
Embryo Transfer- more info
ET has in recent years come out of the research centres and become a viable commercial option for many people. The main advantages of ET for an owner are:
  • the mare does not carry a pregnancy, and therefore does not interrupt her performance career;
  • more than one foal can be bred per mare per year;
  • it may enable breeding from a mare that cannot carry her own foal for any reason.
    The process involves inseminating the donor mare (naturally or artificially), and then usually 7 or 8 days after ovulation, the donor mare's uterus is flushed out to retrieve any embryo(s) present. These are then prepared and transferred into a recipient mare(s). A crucial part of the process is snychronising the cycles of the recipient mares with the donor, which must be done at the time of covering. We can either sychronise your own recipient mares, or flush and transport embryos to other centres for transfer.
Our vets are experienced in all aspects of equine dentistry and we offer a range of services from routine dental care to advanced procedures such as extractions. Dental health is vital to all horses regardless of age, whether for performance or pleasure; as such our vets take dental health very seriously and aim to provide a full and comprehensive dental service.