In case of Emergency please phone: Pets: 01422 354999       Equine/Farm: 01422 354106

Pre-Purchase Examinations

Hird and Partners have an experienced team of Equine Veterinary Surgeons, many of whom have attended BEVA (British Equine Veterinary Association) courses on carrying out pre-purchase examinations. We offer a choice of either two or five stage vettings, consisting of:

Stage 1: Preliminary examination

  • A thorough examination of the horse to assess appearance and condition. This includes teeth, auscultation of the resting heart, skin, limbs and feet and examination of the horse’s eyes using an ophthalmoscope. Flexion of the limbs is carried out to reveal pain or a reduced range of motion.

Our Services

Influenza / Tetanus (combined):

Jockey club rules require all horses to receive a course of primary vaccinations, followed by annual boosters:

  • First vaccine (day 0)
  • Second vaccine (21 – 92 days after the first)
  • Third vaccine (150 – 215 days after the second)

The annual booster is to be administered no later than the anniversary of the booster in the preceding year.




















Tetanus is an acute, highly fatal condition. The disease is most often introduced through an open wound. Vaccination against tetanus is considered essential for every horse.

The vaccination protocol for tetanus is as follows:

  • First vaccine (day 0)
  • Second vaccination (4 – 6 weeks)
  • First booster (1 year)
  • Second and subsequent boosters (Every two years)

Recommended worming protocol:

  • Worm all in-contact horses at the same time
  • Use a weigh-tape to gauge accurate weight and avoid under-dosing
  • Faecal egg count annually to check efficacy of worming programme

March / September:

Tapeworm treatment:

  • Double dose Strongid-P®
  • Or use a wormer containing Praziquantel or Pyrantel (e.g. Equest Pramox®, Equitape®)

Throughout turnout season:

  • Annual rotation of Panacur®, Equest®, Noromectin at recommended dosing intervals – check manufacturer’s recommendations

Late October / November:

  • One Panacur® five-day course for the treatment of migrating and encysted redworm larvae or moxidectin containing wormer


  • One dose of Ivermectin / Moxidectin containing wormer (e.g. Equest® / Noromectin®) to treat bots

Foals: Start worming from 6 weeks old

Brood mares: Worm on return from stud or prior to foaling

Pasture management:

  • Remove droppings regularly
  • Rotate grazing with cattle and sheep
  • Rest pasture
  • Stable horses after worming (to prevent pasture contamination)

Please enquire with reception about our highly competitive prices on worming products – bulk prices negotiable.

Preventative Medicine

Our experienced large animal veterinary surgeons are able to provide advice on routine preventative issues, such as routine vaccinations  and worming. We are also able to offer worming products at highly competitive prices.

Lameness Investigations

Once a consistent lameness is noted the horse will be subjected to diagnostic or intraarticular analgesia ('nerve or joint blocks').

This involves sequentially 'blocking' anatomical regions of the horse's limb until the horse's lameness reduces significantly, thereby allowing us to ascertain the region of the lameness problem. Once the seat of the lameness is identified, further blocks (e.g. into joints, the suspensory ligament or particlar synovial structures) to confirm the precise location are performed.

Lameness investigations are carried out at our equine hospital; this is usually on a referral basis from either our own ambulatory veterinarians, or those at neighbouring practices.

A lameness investigation includes a number of stages, and is tailored to each individual case. A static examination is carried out first of all, in order to examine any anatomical / conformational anomalies that may be present on the patient.

A dynamic examination follows, with the horse being evaluated at walk, trot and on the lunge. Flexion tests are also carried out during this stage.

When the lameness has been isolated to a particular location, diagnostic imaging is carried out to assess any lesion which may be present. This is essential in order to allow a prognosis and treatment plan to be drawn up, which varies from case to case. Diagnostic imaging may include a number of methods including radiography (x-rays), ultrasonography and MRI, in order to best visualise the problem.

Once a lameness diagnosis is made, our orthopaedic team will evaluate the case and draw up a structured treatment plan, including details of any aftercare and revisits, which may be required.

Horses referred for lameness workups are usually admitted at the beginning of the week to optimise the time spent working with each individual horse, and thus provide the best clinical outcome. These investigations can sometimes take a few days as each 'block' takes time to have an effect, elongating the process and in some cases we require the blocks to finally wear off prior to carrying out any further investigations.

Stage 2: Trot up

  • The horse is walked and trotted on hard, level ground to detect abnormalities in gait and action.
  • The horse is also lunged on a soft and hard surface, again to detect any abnormalities in gait and action.

Stage 3: Strenuous exercise

The horse is given sufficient exercise to make the horse:

  • Breathe deeply and rapidly, allowing any unusual breath sounds to be heard.
  • Increase the horse’s heart rate so abnormalities are more easily detected.
  • To tire the horse so strains or injuries may be revealed by stiffness or lameness after a rest period.

Stage 4: Rest period

  • The horse is allowed to stand quietly; the heart and respiratory rate are checked as they return to resting levels

This also allows us to see the forses' behaviour in a stable to discuss with the potential buyer.

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Stage 5: Second trot and foot examination

  • The horse is walked and trotted once more, turned sharply and backed, in order to reveal abnormalities exacerbated by strenuous exercise.

We are  prepared to travel longer distances to carry out pre-purchase examinations for existing clients at an agreed rate and these can also be carried out at the Shelf Equine Clinic. A full set of radiographs can also be taken in addition to a 5* vetting. Please contact large animal reception to discuss your requirements.

Surgical Facilities

The practice has recently invested in a state-of-the-art ultrasound scanner, with all our Veterinary Surgeons having received training on how to use this machine to its best capabilities.

This type of imaging method is useful for pregnancy diagnosis, echocardiography (ultrasound scanning the heart), and imaging soft tissue structures (such as abdominal organs – liver, kidney, spleen). Ultrasound can also be useful for some orthopaedic complaints.


Our hospitalisation facilities includes a total of 17 boxes, including three stables used for patients requiring intensive monitoring and fluid therapy (for example horses suffering from colic, and those requiring post-operative monitoring). We have a range of stables available to cater for all requirements and provide a large selection of feeds.

Patients are checked at regular intervals throughout the day, and by the duty veterinary surgeon out of hours.

Clients are welcome to visit their horses whilst hospitalised between the hours of 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm or weekends 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm.

If you intend to visit your horse during their stay, please let reception know beforehand on 01274 601534.

Shelf Equine Clinic

Our large animal operating theatre, located at the Shelf Equine Hospital is modern and well equipped. The facilities include a large padded induction / recovery box, modern preparation areas and a well equipped theatre. We hold a wide range of surgical equipment for procedures including advanced arthoscopy, fracture fixation, colic and opthalmology. A range of surgical procedures, including orthopaedic, soft tissue and emergency procedures are carried out at the clinic by our resident surgical team.

We also carry out surgical procedures on a referral basis from other veterinary practices in surrounding areas.

To refer a surgical case to us, contact the Hospital directly on 01274 601534.

All routine and emergency surgeries are seen on a first opinion and referral basis.  Emergency referals can be made through our 24 hour reception on 01422 354106.

Routine surgical procedures can be discussed with a member of our surgical team: Peter Scholefield, Tim Booth, Maja Andersen or Ian MacPherson at Shelf Equine Hospital or via email at: .

The anaesthesia team is provided by a team of four veterinary surgeons, headed by consultant anaesthetist John Hird, who is a ECVAA diploma holder in Veterinary Anaesthesia. Each horse undergoes a comprehensive pre-anaesthetic examination to check their cardiovascular and general health prior to the administration of any drugs. This allows us to tailor the general anaesthetic according to each individual patient.

We have a comprehensive array of monitoring equipment, which includes blood pressure monitoring, ECG, capnography and blood-gas analysis. We use a modern range of induction and gaseous agents, similar to those used in human hospitals. Coupled with this, we have a weighbridge, to accurately assess a patient’s weight, and allow us to accurately calculate doses of anaesthetic agents required.

Whilst the anaesthesia of any equine patient presents a risk, largely owing to their body mass and ‘flight-fright’ nature, we employ comprehensive monitoring equipment, modern drug combinations and comprehensive pre-anaesthetic examination to help minimise these risks.

A veterinary surgeon experienced in equine anaesthesia always monitors anaesthesia.


The hospital has a gastroscope to aid our understanding and diagnosis of diseases affecting the equine oesophagus and stomach. The scope is 3mm in length allowing thorough exploration of the equine stomach, carried out under standing sedation.

GUES, or Gastric Ulceration and Erosion Syndrome, may remain undiagnosed due to the subtle symptoms.

Clinical signs of gastic ulcers may include poor appetite, mild and / or recurrent colic, weight loss and poor condition including dull coat, poor performance, teeth grinding and behavioural changes.

Gastric ulcers occur when the normally protective lining of the stomach is overpowered. This can be due to excess stomach acid or weakened lining causing a simple change in diet or the long term use if certain medications.

Once gastric ulceration is diagnosed, treatment can start and in the majority of cases is successful. We are also fortunate to own a portable gastroscope to allow us to carry out investigations  in and on your yard, if facilities can cater for this.


Laparoscopy is performed under standing sedation and allows us to image the inside of a horse's abdomen, in order to perform further investigation and treatment of certain conditions. This technique is commonly referred to as 'keyhole' surgery in the human surgery field and uses similar (but longer) equipment through smaller incisions and therefore enables the patients to recover more quickly.

Uses include:

  • Ovariectomy for removal of granulosa cell tumours
  • Bilateral ovariectomy in certain mares with behavioural problems
  • Castration of cryptorchids ('rigs')
  • Closure of the nephrosplenic space
  • Exploratory abdominal and thoracic laparoscopy e.g. chronic / recurrent colic, suspected abdominal or thoracic masses

Endoscopy is used to visualise the horse's upper respiratory tract. This is carried out under standing sedation, with the endoscope introduced vis the horse's nostril. In this way, we can visualise the horse's nasal cavity, larynx, pharynx, major airways and paranasal sinuses. Endoscopy is also a useful means to harvest diagnostic samples, such as small pinch biopsies and mucus for further examinations.

Endoscopy is particularly useful in cases in poor performance syndrome, respiratory disease and sinus problems, where we can diagnose conditions such as laryngeal paralysis and can be useful in difficult cases.

Diagnostic Imaging
At Shelf Equine Centre we use sophisticated ultrasound

Radiography Diagnostic imaging plays a vital role in the workup of many cases. Some cases require a range of imaging methods to be employed to define the precise location of a specific problem and its extent.

Our second x-ray machine is fixed and capable of producing high output x-rays, ideal for imaging spinal and dental problems.

At Shelf Equine Hospital we house two state-of-the-art x-ray machines. The first is a digital processing machine which provides a rapid and high quality means of processing images.

This machine also allows us to change the contrast of images post-exposure to best highlight the area of interest without the need for repeating x-rays.

Our equine hospital has a sophisticated ultrasound scanner which is a particularly useful imaging method for assessing tendons, ligaments and other soft tissue structures (as part of a lameness workup, or to assess an injury).

 It can also be useful for investigating swollen areas, wounds and the integrity of bone surfaces.

In tendon and ligament pathology, we can assess both cross section and longitudinal sections of the structure of interest to visualise fibre pattern, we can also measure the structure of interest to assess any degree of inflammation. In horses with ongoing tendon / ligament complaints, repeat ultrasonography may be required to assess progress and response to treatment.

The other major application for ultrasound is pregnancy diagnosis and fertility management, carried out at either our equine clinic or by our ambulatory vets at your yard.

We have a total of 5 (battery powered) portable machines used by our ambulatory vets to monitor ovarian cyclicity and pregnancy diagnosis. These scans are carried out transrectally so usually require sedation for the safety of both the horse and our vets. It also improves the reliability of our images.

Diagnostics & Treatment

The practice has a modern x-ray machine and automatic processor, used for imaging skeletal problems and some soft tissue structures. Most x-ray procedures require a degree of sedation or full general anaesthesia.

Owing to the nature of x-ray images, a number of views are often required to reach a diagnosis. X-rays are extremely useful when pets have been involved in accidents in order to rule out damage to internal organs and fractures.


Our Shelf Equine Hospital houses our standing MRI scanner; we are one of only a handful of practices in the UK to have such a facility.

MRI involves applying a strong magnetic field and short pulses of radio waves to the limb. This results in a weak radio echo which is used to create an image. The intensity of the echo varies depending on the tissue encountered, allowing differentation between water and fat. Owing to the strong magnets used, scanning is carried out in a specially shielded room, under heavy standing sedation.

Prior to scanning, the horse's shoes are removed from the front or hind feet, depending on the limb to be imaged. A catheter is placed, and the horse's limb is placed in the scanner, with the scanner being aligned over the area of interest. Many images are captured whilst the limb is scanned, and we take images of the corresponding limb for comparison.

The process takes approximately 2 hours in total. The captured images are reviewed; the degree of pathology assessed and a treatment plan is constructed.

MRI is useful for cases where lameness has been localised to the distal limb, where radiography proves uninformative, for acute onset injuries and penetrating injuries.

We are happy to see cases on a referral basis for MRI, please contact the Shelf Equine Hospital to discuss your case with one of the orthopaedic team or use the referral link to complete our referral form.

Medicine Cases

Whilst most medical cases are dealt with by the ambulatory vets, some may be referred to our equine hospital for further tests, (which may form part of the diagnostic workup.) This may include diagnostic imaging, endoscopy, glucose absorption tests and peritoneal taps.

Patients with medical complaints may be hospitalised if they require intensive drug therapy, for example horses with ophthalmic complaints, or those requiring intravenous fluid therapy.

An in house laboratory ensures results are available as soon as possible and ensures the highest level of veterinary and nursing care with regular monitoring of the inpatients.


In accordance with government legislation, and DEFRA guidelines, we offer a horse passport package to clients, which comprises of a passport and microchip offered at a preferential rate.

We are happy to complete passport silhouettes and descriptions for other passport issuing authorities and breed societies.

Coupled with this, we offer a JMB approved measuring service at our Shelf Equine Hospital.


All of our large animal team are experienced in dealing with equine dentistry, and many have attended CPD courses. Partners Sally Strachan and Chris Lockett have a professional interest and a wealth of experience in this area of equine practice. Associate veterinary surgeon, Linda Greaves also has a keen interest in this area and is starting her certificate in equine dentistry in 2016.

Our ambulatory practice offers a routine dental service to clients, from checking teeth, and removing hooks and spurs by using hand tools, to more complex dental management, including using power rasps and extractions. Our prices are also highly competitive.

Many horses or ponies with a dental disease will have a foul smelling mouth or start dropping their food (quidding). Another sign of dental disease in horses is a smelly nasal discharge.

Horses can be referred to the clinic to have their teeth examined endoscopically and for veterinary procedures such as removing teeth under standing sedation. This involves loosening the tooth and then extracting it through the mouth. The horse does not usually require a general anaesthetic and therefore can go home sooner. However, some difficult cases may require a general anaesthetic depending on the degree of tooth damage and also the position of the tooth.

Horses are also affected by diastemata, which are openings between the teeth that get impacted with food. These are usually widened to stop the food getting trapped using specialised mechanical dental burrs.

Please contact us if you require any further information.

Our animal team are experienced in equine dentistry
Yard Visits

We run a successful scheme of yard visits to selected livery yards and riding schools in certain areas. Yards are allocated a visit day during which we waive the visit charge, with the only cost being applied for the treatment administered. Unfortunately owing to the volume of work anticipated, it is not possible for clients to specify a specific time for these visits.

We respectfully ask that clients contact reception at least 24 hours in advance to request veterinary attention during yard visits.

We regret we can only carry out routine work during yard visits, such as vaccinations, teeth rasping, microchip implantation and passport mark-ups.

Contact us for a yard visit
Stud Medicine

Our team of large animal veterinary surgeons have experience in all fields of fertility work, including artifical insemination, pregnancy scanning and castration. We can offer pre-bredding examination of mares and stallions, and offer advice on biosecurity issues surrounding animals going to stud, including taking CEM swabs.

We offer a comprehensive ambulatory fertility sevice and are a BEVA accredited practice for handling chilled and frozen semen.

AI can be carried out at our Shelf Equine Hospital and we have a modern laboratory, with a heated microscope stage to allow accurate evaluation of semen prior to insemination.

We are able to provide other routine fertiity services at the clinic and at your yard, including diagnosis, by trans-rectal ultrasound scanning, uterine wash-outs and investigation of poor fertility.


Extracorporal shockwaves are acoustic pressure waves produced by a generator. This can be applied to a specific anatomical site using a handheld probe, which can be used to target different depths of tissue.

Originally used in human medicine as a means of dissolving kidney stones, the treatment has been used successfully in many orthopaedic conditions. Although the exact mode of action remains unclear, the treatment is thought to increase cell division, stimulate cytokine production, and encourage new blood vessel growth to an area. Pressure waves may also help to disperse fluid from an area and break up a physical lesion. In this way, they act as an anti-inflammatory, analgesic and speed the healing process. Horses are sedated to perform shockwave therapy. The area to be treated is clipped and a coupling gel is applied to improve contact. The treatment is then applied using a handheld probe, with a pre-determined number of 'shocks' being delivered at a set frequency and pressure.

Shockwave treatment has been successfully used in cases of tendon and ligament injuries, kissing spines and other spinal anthropathies and bony extoses. The exact treatment protocol varies depending on the anatomical site being treated and the severity of the lesion.

Hird and Partners have been using Extracorporeal Shockwave Treatment (ESWT) for a number of years and can be carried out by our orthopaedic team and our ambulatory Veterinary Surgeons.



What is it?

Osteokine  is a device which is used to produce Platelet-Rich-Plasma (PRP).

What is PRP?

PRP is a preparation of autologous concentrated platelets (thrombocytes). RPR produced by Osteokine  contains theraoeutically significant concentrations of platelets.

How does it work?

Citrated whole blood is taken from the horse and placed into the red-capped Osteokine  bag. After processing in a special centrifuge, a pellet of PRP is generated which can be re-suspended to treat the horse from which it was taken.

What can it be used for?

PRP has been shown to accelerate healing in injuries involving fibrous tissues (tendons, ligaments, skin) and has also been used in bone healing.

Has it been tested?

Although in its early stages in Equine medicine, it is widely used in human medicine.





The Osteokine  system was developed in Germany by Orthogen GmbH. The enclosed sterile dual bag system enables simple aseptic processing of whole blood to produce PRP.

Why Osteokine?

  • Concentrated platelets are a rich source of useful growth factors
  • Osteokine  is for autologous use, minimising the risk of disease transmission
  • Platelets are fresh and still functional, resulting in an optimum growth factor output
  • Total operating time to get PRP is about 30 min
  • The Ostekine  system is easy to operate

Benefits of Osteokine

  • Accelerated healing of tissues such as, skin, bone, tendon, ligament
  • Produces growth factors (biological signalling agents)
  • Accelerated vascularisation
  • Reduced time of new tissue maturation
  • Improved bone density
  • Reduced perioperative traumatic pain







IRAP  treatment has been used effectively in the treatment of horses with destruction of the cartilage lining joint surfaces (oeteoarthritis) and inflammation of ligaments (such as suspensory ligament desmitis and tendon injuries).

Traditionally, the cornestrone of treatment in horses with osteoarthritis has been rest and anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), as palliative care. IRAP can help to effectively address the pathological mechanisms associated with the disease process.

IRAP is bases using the patient's own blood; this is taken aseptically (so not to introduce infection) and incubated in a specialised syringe at 37oC for 24 hours. This produces an 'autologous conditioned serum' containing growth factos and anti-inflammatry proteins which can be injected into the affected joint or inflamed structure. The effect of this is to relieve inflammation and pain.

Shelf Equine Clinic has been using IRAP for over 10 years and have a good knowledge in which cases its use is warranted.





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Contact Us

Small Animals King Street Practice

2 King Street, Halifax, West Yorkshire, HX1 1SR

Small animal: 01422 354999

Farm/Equine: 01422 354106


Shelf Equine Hospital

Lower Giles Hill Farm, Giles Hill Lane, Shelf, Halifax,
West Yorkshire, HX3 7TW

Tel: 01274 601534



Small Animals

52 Oldham Road, Ripponden, West Yorkshire, HX6 4DP

Tel: 01422 823312     Fax: 01422 822732


Unit 2D, Walsden Industrial Estate, Rochdale Road, Walsden, West Yorkshire, OL14 6UD

Tel: 01706 810271     Fax: 01706 818841


Sheffield Equine Clinic

Howarth Lane, Rotherham, South Yorkshire, S60 4NB

Tel: 01709 911900


Hird and Partners LLP - Cheshire

 Chowley 7, Chowley Oak Business Park,
Chowley Oak Lane, TATTENHALL, Cheshire, CH3 9GA

Tel: 01829 708222


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