Our team of stud vets provide comprehensive reproductive and stud medicine services for stud farms in Newmarket and further afield.
Our professional and caring team includes a dedicated foal unit and an HBLB-approved laboratory. NEH and its predecessors have been providing reproductive care to leading Newmarket Thoroughbred Studs for over 100 years now, since Brayley Reynolds set up his practice in the High Street after the Great War.
Much has changed since then and over the century we have been instrumental in pioneering new techniques and treatments. However, the practice ethos of professionalism and care has remained the same, and our experienced team continue to deliver seven-day-a-week routine visits throughout the breeding season to all our Newmarket studs.
Routine thoroughbred stud work
Providing a seven-day-a-week service throughout the breeding season, our stud vets work in teams tailored to the needs of each individual client. Working as an integral part of the farms, our experienced vets perform routine gynaecological exams and pregnancy examinations and provide any treatments as required for both mares and foals. They primarily work on the studs but have the full back up of the Hospital as required. Our in house Lab is part of the BEVA registered lab scheme allowing us to issue BEVA certificates for breeding purposes.
AI has become increasingly popular for use in non-Thoroughbreds and we are a BEVA approved AI Centre offering a comprehensive service using fresh, chilled or frozen semen.
We can monitor the oestrous cycle, inseminate the mare at the optimum time and scan for pregnancy on your premises.
Mares require a short stay at the hospital to enable us to monitor the progression of oestrus and inseminate at the point of ovulation. This is important with frozen semen due to its very short life span. We have facilities for long term storage of frozen semen.
Further information on artificial insemination
Chilled semen has the advantage of resulting in higher conception rates and requiring slightly less intensive gynaecological work. It is possible to use semen from the UK and Europe.
- Check that the stallion’s semen chills and travels well (not all do).
- Find out which days of the week they collect from the stallion and how much notice you will have to give for them to collect and send the semen.
- Find out what you are paying for. How many doses of semen will you get? Are there additional transport costs?
- Semen coming from abroad must come with the relevant health certification otherwise we will not be able to use it.
Frozen semen has the advantage of allowing the use of stallions which are still competing or which are abroad. The semen can be sent well in advance of the mare being in oestrus avoiding the worry of last minute delivery of chilled semen which may not arrive on time.
- Order from a reputable stud and ask for details on semen quality and post thaw motility (some stallions’ semen does not freeze well).
- Check what you are actually paying for. How many doses of semen are included in the price? Will there be extra transport costs?
- Semen that is handled badly during transport may not be viable.
- It is best to have the frozen semen sent to us to store in our liquid nitrogen flask prior to setting up the mare for insemination.
- Semen coming from abroad must come with the relevant health certification otherwise we will not be able to use it.
- We would advise against using frozen semen in mares over 16 years old.
- Older maiden mares may have reduced conception rates.
- Due to the large number of gynaecological examinations needed for accurate insemination with frozen semen, mares with temperament problems are poor candidates.
That said many mares are suitable candidates for insemination with frozen semen. If you are in doubt about the suitability of your mare, we are happy to discuss this with you.
We require that all mares be swabbed for CEM and blood tested for EVA before examinations are started.
If you need further advice concerning artificial insemination please do not hesitate to contact us.
Embryo transfer is the procedure by which a pregnancy can be recovered from a donor mare at an early stage after conception and transferred to a recipient mare for the remainder of the pregnancy.
Embryo transfer is an increasingly popular technique in sport horse and polo breeding as it allows the donor mare to continue with her competitive career. Additionally, it allows the option of obtaining more than one foal from the donor mare each year and the prospect of continued breeding in mares which would otherwise be unable to carry a foal to term.
The process begins with veterinary co-ordination of the reproductive cycles of the donor mare and, preferably, two suitable recipient mares. Following insemination and ovulation in the donor, the early pregnancy is retrieved from the uterus after one week and transferred to a recipient. Embryos can be sent to premises with a recipient herd if this is necessary.
Each step of this process must be managed meticulously to achieve success and requires a close relationship between owner and veterinary surgeon.
The sex of an equine foetus can be determined from around 60 to 120 days of gestation, by transectal (internal) ultrasound examination.
Foetal sexing utilises ultrasonography to identify the anatomical structures which indicate the gender of the developing embryo. Accuracy of the procedure requires in-depth knowledge of the foetal cross-sectional anatomy, which is dependant on the stage of the pregnancy.
High risk pregnancy
Factors which can make mares ‘high risk’ and likely to require assistance at foaling include age, maternal illness, a history of problems in pregnancy and placentitis. In high risk pregnancies, close monitoring is essential to reduce the chances of delivering a premature or compromised foal.
Placentitis (infection of the placenta) is one of the more common causes of premature delivery and abortion. However, advances in monitoring techniques and treatment strategies have improved the likelihood of affected mares delivering a viable foal. Early detection and treatment of placentitis greatly improves the chances of successfully maintaining the pregnancy and minimising intrauterine growth restriction. For this reason, mares with a history of placentitis, abortion or premature delivery are often monitored from 150 days gestation by monthly ultrasound examinations.
Mare infertility investigation
A reproductive evaluation is recommended in mares prior to purchase or in mares which have failed to conceive. A complete examination for mare infertility may include examination of the external genitalia, palpation, ultrasound, vaginoscopy, video hysteroscopy and the full evaluation of endometrial swabs.
There are many causes of reduced fertility and abnormal breeding patterns in mares, including cysts, foreign bodies and tumours. Depending on the results of our investigations, further treatment such as surgery to improve perineal conformation or laser removal of cysts or adhesions may be recommended (see reproductive surgery). In addition, we have pioneered the laparoscopic oviducal application of PGE gel for the treatment of obstructed oviducts.
Neonatal intensive care
Our dedicated foal team provides intensive care to sick foals both on stud, and where required, in our specially designed hospital unit. NEH Referrals Intensive Care Unit has specially designed divided stalls to allow us to treat foals appropriately without disturbing the bond between mare and foal. These facilities are equipped with video monitoring and round the clock nursing care is available for hourly feeding or to provide support for foals unable to stand.
Foals may be admitted for treatment of various problems including Neonatal Maladjustment Syndrome ('dummy foals') as well as sepsis and neonatal isoerythrolysis (jaundiced foals). Our surgical team has a great deal of experience and expertise in problems such as ruptured bladders and orthopaedic infections (septic joints or growth plates) or angular and flexural limb deformities.
Many conditions in neonatal foals have a much better outcome if they are recognised, and treatment implemented, as early as possible. Our hospital team is available 24 h/day to provide diagnoses and treatment to emergency cases.
Our hospital-based surgical specialists provide 24-hour cover for Caesarean sections and other emergency surgery associated with foaling, such as repair of uterine tears. In the unfortunate event of a condition or injury requiring surgical intervention, we have all the expertise and facilities required at the Hospital.
Injuries to the cervix sustained at foaling can significantly reduce conception rates and increase the risk of subsequent pregnancy loss. Surgical repair of this, and other foaling injuries such as perineal body lacerations, can be performed in the standing, sedated mare under epidural anaesthesia.
Many older broodmares develop endometrial (uterine) cysts which do not appear to affect their fertility. However, in a few cases, it is thought that the size or location of the cysts may interfere with the mobility and implantation of the conceptus, causing early embryonic loss. In these cases, they can be removed by laser. Recovery time is short and the mare can usually be covered during the next oestrous cycle.
These emergencies are dealt with by a full hospital team at any time of day or night.
Ovarian tumours can be removed by standing laparoscopy, although larger tumours may require general anaesthetic and recumbent surgery.
NEH pioneered the laparoscopic oviductal application of PGE gel for treatment of this condition and this treatment should be considered for older mares with unexplained infertility.
Stallion breeding examination
Stallion reproductive assessments may be required for pre-purchase or insurance purposes; or investigation and management of subfertility. The essential elements of stallion reproductive assessment include a detailed case history, thorough clinical examination, testicular ultrasound examinations, evaluation of libido and semen collection. These are usually performed on the stud or home premises and the semen analysis can then be performed in our own on-site laboratory.
The results will identify whether there are any potential problems, such as reproductive tract abnormalities or semen issues, thereby helping to establish a programme of treatment and/or management.
Dystocia is a critically time sensitive condition, describing various causes of difficult foalings. The condition is life-threatening for both the mare and foal. There is no time to waste, and a multidisciplinary rapid response team is on-hand 24/7 at NEH ready to deal with mares with dystocia. Upon arriving at the hospital the team will get to work immediately. Whilst the surgeon makes an initial assessment, the team will prepare the mare for general anaesthesia and surgery so that no time is wasted if it is needed to proceed with either. Most mares presenting to the hospital will be anaesthetised and attempts made to deliver the foal. If progress cannot quickly be made, progression to surgery follows for caesarean section. Once the foal is delivered the medicine team will work to revive the foal and further assess requirements for ongoing treatment and care.
Our Breeding Services
Liam qualified in 1993 from Massey University, New Zealand. After qualifying, he worked in mixed rural practice in New Zealand, before coming to the UK and joining Greenwood, Ellis & Partners in 1996. In 2001 he returned to New Zealand where he worked in a large Thoroughbred practice. He returned to NEH in 2014.
Liam has been involved in all aspects of general Thoroughbred practice and now focuses on all aspects of stud medicine. He has also served on the Complaints Assessment Committees for the Veterinary Council of New Zealand.
MA VetMB CertEP CertESM MRCVS
After some time working in mixed practices in Hertfordshire and Malton, North Yorkshire, David joined Greenwood Ellis & Partners in 1989 and became a partner in 1995. He has responsibility for a number of Thoroughbred stud farms and racing stables and has a particular interest in the control of inflammatory airway disease in horses in training.
David obtained his Certificates in Equine Practice in 1990 and in Equine Stud Medicine in 1992. He held the position of Chief Examiner for the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in Equine Stud Medicine for several years and has lectured regularly at the TBA Stud Farming Course, the National Stud and Cambridge University. David joined the Council of the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) in 1998 and in 2008 became President. From 2012-2018 he acted as Veterinary Advisor to the Racecourse Owners Association and is Veterinary Advisor to the sales company Tattersalls. He is Chairman of the Trustees of the University of Cambridge Veterinary School Trust. Since 2010 he has acted as Managing Partner.
Jan qualified in 2001 from the School of Veterinary Science, University of Bristol.
She worked in general equine practice for three years where she gained an interest in reproductive work and artificial insemination (A.I.). Following a stud season in New Zealand, she joined Greenwood Ellis & Partners in 2006.
Her interests include all forms of stud work, including A.I. and neonatal care.
MA VetMB MRCVS
Zara qualified in 2000 from the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge.
She joined Greenwood Ellis & Partners in October 2001 and work in stud medicine, including all aspects of mare and foal care. Zara also has an interest in artificial insemination (A.I.). In 2004 she spent a season doing stud work in Scone, Australia.
BVetMed CertEP MRCVS
Charlie qualified in 1987 from the Royal Veterinary College, University of London.
After a brief period in mixed practice, Charlie moved to a small equine practice where he specialised in competition horses and polo ponies. He joined Greenwood Ellis & Partners in 1993 initially working predominately on the racing side of the practice. He took sabbaticals gaining experience in stud medicine at the University of Melbourne, Australia. Charlie obtained his Certificate in Equine Practice in 1999. He became a partner in 2000 and now divides his time between racetrack medicine, stud medicine and referral clients.
He has spent time on the committee of the Association of Racecourse Veterinary Surgeons.
His interests focus on lameness investigation, cardiology and stud medicine.
MVB CertAVP(ESM) MRCVS
Denis graduated from University College, Dublin in 2007.
After graduating he worked in mixed practice in Tipperary, Ireland for 4 years. He moved to New Zealand in 2011 to work in equine practice for a year. He then undertook a 6 month internship at Goulburn Valley Equine Hospital in Victoria, Australia before spending the 2013 breeding season on a stud also in Victoria, Australia.
In 2014 he returned to England and spent the breeding season in stud practice with Equine Reproductive Services in North Yorkshire. Denis completed his certificate in Equine Stud Medicine in 2021.
Tim graduated from the university of Bristol in 2015. He then worked in general equine practice in Lancashire where he gained an interest in both thoroughbred reproduction as well as artificial insemination (AI). Following a season as resident vet on a large Queensland thoroughbred stud, Tim joined Equine Reproductive services (UK) in Malton, North Yorkshire for two seasons and furthered his interest in assisted equine reproductive techniques including embryo transfer. Tim has spent his UK “off-seasons” working for Hunter Equine Centre in Scone, New South Wales, Australia where he predominantly worked as stud vet for a large thoroughbred farm.
Tim is currently working towards a certificate in Advanced veterinary practice (Stud Medicine) which he aims to have completed in 2021.
MA VetMB MRCVS
James graduated in 1978 from the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge.
Having worked in Queensland, Kentucky and New South Wales, he returned to the UK to work with Professor 'Twink' Allen at ARC before joining Greenwood Ellis & Partners in 1981. He became a partner in 1984.
James's principal interest is stud medicine and he was Chairman of the Newmarket Stud Farmers Association between 2001 and 2006.