Tuesday morning, 01.30hrs. Frederik Mijten (44) goes to bed. 04.30hrs the phone rings, a breeder needing urgent support, sending some photos via Smartphone. It´s an emergency: a red bag delivery. Not intervening is no option. Frederik takes action and cool-headedly talks the breeder through the necessary actions. Fortunately, the breeder smoothly follows up his leads. Puncture the amniotic sac! A little while later the foal is on its feet. ‘Even if it´s in the middle of the night, this gives me energy’, Frederik evaluates the past night: ‘which is a good thing because not every intervention has a happy end.’ Today we have a chance to see it all. A day that began with the emergency call at 4.30hrs. At 08.00hrs we have a cup of coffee at Frederik´s place and then drive to his surgery in Spalbeek. It´s not even ten minutes by car and it turns out to be the shortest trip of the day. When we arrive home after midnight the mileometer has clocked another 300 km. We crisscross through the Flemish countryside. We do checks and inseminate, vaccinate and euthanize. We come up with diagnoses, provide help, but occasionally are powerless. As the day progresses we realise that vets cannot help but develop thick skins because each day they go through an emotional roller coaster. They create life, sometimes they end lives because it´s time to say goodbye. Or they have to advise their clients and find a balance between feelings and ratio.
His two sons are off to school. There´s time for another cup of coffee. ‘Everything about being a vet I have learned from my father. He´s a pensioner now but has 40 years of practical experience under his belt. When I see the range of communication contraptions we work with these days I cannot begin to understand how they contrived to do it all 40 years ago. That was an era without GSM and Internet. I do remember though, that my father had a CB (a device that made it possible to communicate via certain radio frequencies in the car, ed.), but this is something the younger generation won´t be familiar with. As a little boy it didn´t take me long to make up my mind, just like my dad I was going to be a veterinarian. For eight years I was in digs in Gent.’ Eight years Frederik? Isn´t that two years too long? Frederik laughs roguishly with twinkling eyes: ‘Repeating two years, isn´t that normal for a country boy who suddenly finds himself immersed in college life at Gent University? Those first years were pretty intense. Leaving on Sunday evening and realising on Tuesday night that your week money had evaporated (laughs). Luckily I had jobs on the side, like working in a snack bar in the afternoon and an evening job as a DJ. Those were pretty lively times being a student. After two years I had seen it all and started studying in earnest.’
Another coffee, one for the road. Frederik muses… I´ve been a vet for 18 years now and this day will show you that romance has been replaced by industry. These days the key words are professionalism and specialism. The ‘dokter Vlimmen’ (Dutch version of TV series James Herriot, ed.) aspect has mostly faded into the background. Palpating mares and inseminating has become routine work.
During my childhood I spent every free hour accompanying my father. I helped to deliver goats, calves and foals. My father has been a Zangersheide vet for 21 years. As a young teenager I presented one of my father´s foals at the very first Z-Festival. Back then it was still called the Benelux Championship and as far as I remember only around 18 foals had been entered.
Since childhood I have been fascinated by Zangersheide and even more intrigued by Mr Melchior. His visionary approach, his directness, how he went about realising his ideals. How he attacked sacred cows. As a vet I have learned the most from my dad, as a human being I have learned so much from Mr Melchior. I have infinite respect for him because he inspired me.’
Back in the day his parents were so preoccupied with their surgery that there was little to no time left for their children´s hobbies. ‘As a child I used to play shopkeeper. When I was twelve the farmers came to our home to buy their medicines and I did the honours: handing out de-wormers, penicillin, disinfectants, you name it. When my parents were busy in the surgery I helped out and kept the pharmacy open. Oh dear, should I be saying this?’ Those facts have lapsed with time Frederik...
The Equivet headquarters, as Frederik´s surgery is called, is situated in Spalbeek just a few minutes´ drive from his home town. Equivet is Frederik´s own surgery which he runs together with Marieke, Ine, Pieter and his wife Nyree.
08.15hrs Federik and Ine examining a mare.
We are checking several mares of Brazil owners to see if they have ovulated and in the mean time a queue is building up. Trailers come and go. With a healthy dose of anxiety breeders are having their mares checked. Is she ready? Not yet? Maybe come back tomorrow? American clients leave their mares in Equivet´s care, which after the birth also offers foal-raising services. Which is why there are some 70 horses to be found in Frederik´s fields. The Equivet team inseminate about 800 mares each year!
Encouraged by Léon Melchior, Frederik Mijten embraced the technique of endoscopic insemination. ‘It´s an insemination method that allows you to inject a smaller amount of semen deeper into the uterus. It´s the technique of deep intra-uterine insemination (IUI). The problem with expensive stallions is that the price is high but usually, you only get one straw for your money. Endoscopic insemination helps to raise the chances of impregnation.’
The deep freeze is opened, an expensive 0.5mm straw emerges from the steaming nitrogen and is being defrosted. Team Mijten need exactly one minute to unite the liquid gold with the egg cell. Mission accomplished. Next...
At Equivet´s Nyree is responsible for semen samples.
Frederik surveys his ten hectares of grasslands, populated with an international mix of American, German, Brazil, Spanish and Belgian mares and foals. Some are waiting for the moment of ovulation, others are staying at the paediatrics department or are enjoying the day-care facilities. It´s a sunny environment, with lush, fresh grass as far as the eye can see. It´s also a moment of peace and quiet. Frederik melancholy takes it all in and beholds the world of breeding. Meanwhile we are taught that mares ovulate every 21 days and that there´s also something called the foal heat, ten days after the birth. ‘I always advise against it because in such a short time span you´re dealing with a recuperating uterus as well as a really young foal that is usually very vulnerable to the stress of transport.'
But surely every one with common sense won´t even consider to have the mare impregnated after a mere ten days? Frederik frowns: ‘It´s because so much hinges on auctions and competitions and early foals naturally look a lot better at selections and auctions than late foals. In my opinion breeding has been commercialised. It´s all about production, the loving and romantic character of breeding is fading into the background.’
The phone´s ringing...more or less constantly. If you happen to run into Frederik Mijten at any point and you see his right ear twitching then be informed that is perfectly normal. That´s the after-effect. His ear has sort of merged with the earphone that constantly requires his attention. Frederik also manages a call centre: Frederik speaking! Yes, we´ll pop in soon. Hello, Frederik here? I´ll visit today and give you half an hour´s notice. Hello, this is...., we just wanted to do the statistics. Three hours and 43 calls later we´ve lost count.
10.30hrs Just a quick recap of the agenda before leaving.
A former sport mare is next. We all have to work longer, it´s the same for horses. After her sports career she was redirected towards breeding but she´s struggling with the career switch. Her ladyship the mare is not overly pleased with her new job. Job coach Frederik describes it in graphic terms: ‘Her entire household mechanism has lain dormant for years. Then you are confronted with rusty doors and overgrown gardens.’ There you are, spoken plainly. He scans, searches, but nothing´s found. That calls for another treatment but right now Frederik doesn´t have the time to explain because the next patient comes in. Another sport mare that recently stood on the podium of the BC Juniors. The junior in question has to study for an upcoming exam and her mare pops along because in the intervening time she wants to become pregnant. Give her a shot then to bring her into heat? Will do.
Next...and this goes on and on all afternoon.
We inspect the uterus of a Dutch mare with visible discharge which indicates an infection. The diagnosis is PBE, short for Post Breeding Endometritis, the most common complication that stops mares from becoming pregnant. It affects mares that won´t catch anymore because of uterine infection following insemination. This condition needs treatment with medication although it doesn´t always solve the problem.
A client has collected some of his mare´s droppings in a plastic container and has brought it along for examination. While inspecting his field he spotted some worms in the droppings. Safety first, the man must have thought and takes the trouble to take it to Frederik. His reaction´s good, but in terms of perception there´s still something to be won. Microscopic examination seems unnecessary. We do in fact detect worms, ... earth worms that is. Never before have I seen anyone so happy and relieved with earth worms! He can go fishing now.
Frederik consults with a client. She´s willing to bring her mare but according to her the mare´s ‘mean’ and cannot stay in the field with other mares. Frederik frowns: ‘Have you seen the mares here in our fields? They radiate calmness, because there´s plenty of food and space. Horses need exercise. But I´m familiar with the situation, that mare is kept indoors out of anxiety and that obviously is disastrous. There you are, the true horse- men and women are a disappearing species’, Frederik sighs.
What a cute sight. The most beautiful horse of the day simply walks in from the street. It´s a lad from next door apparently, an elegant, proud boy, nicely groomed. Mr Tinker brings his grazers in for annual maintenance. Frederik´s not just a vet but also an equine dentist. Not too bad, no cavities. Just a little rasping needed. Just another of his job responsibilities.
12.15hrs Mr Tinker arrives for his annual dental check.
From the day he could walk Frederik could be found at Zangersheide. By now he is virtually part of the household and is associated with being a gynaecologist. But he wishes to shake off the label of gynaecologist: ‘Fertility represents not more than 50% of my surgery’, Frederik enlightens us. ‘I can understand it though, my father used to run a surgery with a strong focus on reproduction. To put it straight, that means that during the stud season he was up to his eyes in work. Until September, and then it all came to a stop. There were still jobs to be done like chipping, registrations and castrations. I recognised the gap in his work load and therefore decided I didn´t want to be just a fertility vet. So I also do a lot of house calls and that´s a deliberate choice because I like doing it so much.’
House calls it is and we´re off. That is, almost. Frederik first checks his diary in the office where he´s been working for seven years.
Money, let´s talk finances! Frederik promptly points out where it hurts: ‘It´s common practice for veterinarians to be confronted with non-payers and I´m no exception. Although I must add that it´s often partly our own fault too because we´re not good at monitoring the financial and administrative aspects. To say it bluntly: 30% pay right away, 30% pay after putting the pressure on and 30% don´t pay at all. In the last category we´re dealing with divorces, disappearances, bankruptcies. Or dissatisfaction: a mare fails to become pregnant after multiple attempts and subsequently the invoices aren´t paid. Do you know what our big problem is? We have a medical and academic education but we don´t know the first thing about management. How to interact with assistants, clients, service, organisation, administration, we all have to suss it out ourselves. Now don´t get me wrong, I´m not complaining, but there´s always two sides to a medal.'
We´ve hit the road, yesterday Frederik took a blood sample from a lame foal. He´s planning to give it another check-over later on today. ‘I hope it was caused by trauma, but I fear that it´s inflammation of the joints. That would be bad news. I´ll pop by again later but I´m worried about the result of the blood sample. Creating life is wonderful but we´re just as often faced with sick foals and horses.
Frederik is already on the phone with the breeder, telling him that the result of the blood sample hasn´t come in yet but that he´ll visit anyway when the result from the lab has arrived.
We start our rounds. Our first patient was born on a cattle farm. We see loads of calves and one corridor with horses. A yearling is gasping for breath. It doesn´t take a vet to see that this yearling is clearly having respiratory problems. The farmer´s regular vet has asked Frederik for a second opinion as he can come up with a more precise diagnosis because of his mobile X-ray unit. We find a cyst at the height of the sinuses. Possible cause of the infection could be faulty development of a tooth, which can only be put right with surgical treatment. Frederik talks the owner through the options and lists the clinics where they can help his horse. It´s stifling hot and this must be taken into account when considering to transport a horse that´s having trouble breathing. Still, this is an emergency. The breeder´s face betrays his disappointment and despair.
13.30hrs The photos reveal the problem.
We leave the yard....this is distressing, is Frederik´s first reaction: ‘If he decides against having his yearling operated on then it will die. If he does opt for an operation the horse will be cured, but that comes with a price tag which will be more or less the cost price of the surgery. The breeder asks his advice and asks what it will cost. In the next few hours Frederik makes various phone calls to animal clinics until he has been given a guide price. He deserves credit for that. He calls and keeps calling until he´s got an indication of the costs. ‘That´s my job, guide and assist my clients.’ Is the farmer going to evaluate his yearling from an emotional or commercial perspective?
Our reporter assisting with radiology.
And what´s Frederik´s take on this? ‘I try to see things from my client´s perspective and put all the options before him. I would understand if the breeder considers the operation is too expensive and asks me to euthanize the horse. See, that man breeds calves, that´s his bread and butter, so he needs to judge a young life on an economic level. If he doesn´t, his yard wouldn´t yield a profit. If a calf brings in amount x and the operation costs at least that same amount then it won´t take him long to make up his mind in economic terms. Then there´s not going to be an operation. It´s an evolution which is also making headway in equine breeding these days. More and more breeding studs have become professional enterprises. The increase in BTW numbers (VAT registrations, ed.) is a telltale sign and the foals of those businesses also need to yield a profit. A rational and emotional approach to one´s breeding and foals is a difficult balancing act and the extremes of each approach spoil the effect of it', Frederik states.
While we´re on the road to our next appointment Frederik sends photos of the yearling to two Flemish clinics. He makes a call, explains the issue and requests an indication of the price involved. They call him back, surgery will cost around € 2,000 to 3,000. Frederik calls his client again, who says he needs to think it over.
Phone´s ringing again. It´s a colleague. Frederik screened a young horse a few years ago, but there were a couple of remarks. If not to say that the horse was lame and not fit for the sport. The owner sold the horse anyway without mentioning the medical report. Now the same horse is up for sale again and the client is being told that the photos are all right. What can I say, if that´s how they do it’, Fredrik cannot help but sigh. ‘Sellers don´t always disclose everything. And in the case of purchase vettings traders are keen to exploit the inspection to lower the sale´s price, even when a disorder doesn´t have any influence on sport performances.’
We push on to Haspengouw and Hageland. We reach a large-scale breeding farm with ditto five-star sport stables surrounded by apple- and pear orchards. A young 3-year-old, just backed, probably suffered a kick with a haematoma or contusion to show for it. Frederik slices it open to drain the blood. Now that we´re here anyway we might as well scan a few mares. He consults with the boss if she wants him to give some mares a shot to force them into season. ‘We do this to have better control of a mare´s cycle which increases the chances of impregnation.
14.30hrs Treatment of a haematoma: draining of the blood.
‘I like doing house calls because it´s good for client-contact which I think is very important. Being stuck in my office all day doesn´t appeal to me at all. You got an impression this morning, horses come and go and if I say it bluntly, that feels like an assembly line. House calls are just up my street. Meeting your clients at their own homes improves the contact because you make more time for each other. The clients know it too so after the stud season they also turn to me for other outpatient treatment. That´s the time of inspections of young stock, castrations, outpatient treatment, and so on. That´s what I really love to do.’
It´s a formula that works, earlier on Frederik was initially called in for a haematoma. He also checked some mares and this evening some of them will be brought to his surgery for insemination.
On-site examination of a mare.
He calls the next client but he´s not at home. Frederik never makes fixed appointments. ‘That´s a hopeless task’, he laughs: ‘You arrive at a place for problem x but then are asked to look into problem y and z. You never know in advance how long it will take. I put my clients on my schedule and if I can fit them into my round I call them to ask if it´s convenient.’
Frederik checks his schedule. A pony needs its vaccinations and we´re in the area. He calls, are you at home? Yes he is and we can come along. Fifteen minutes later the pony has had its jabs as well as a de-wormer. On to the next patient.
A foal was born during the night but the dam has developed a fever and Frederik received a call, around midnight. He was still on the road and dropped by. ‘At moments like that you cannot leave it till the next day because then it will be too late.’ So we make a quick pit stop to examine the mare and make the most of our visit by checking the foal for antibodies. Foals should get their dose of antibodies by drinking the beestings. Sometimes a mare doesn´t have enough beestings or the foal has ingested too little of it. That´s where a foal test comes in handy, which is becoming more and more common. Foals without a sufficient supply of antibodies have an increased risk of infections, often with fatal consequences. This issue is easy to remedy by administering plasma containing the necessary antibodies. Price of the test is € 50 and treatment with plasma will cost you € 400.
16.00hrs Taking blood samples for testing of antibodies.
The foal test is like a pregnancy test, one drop of blood and waiting for the right colour. Won´t you have a drink while you´re waiting, the lady of the house asks us. Yes, a soda please. She comes back with a Tönissteiner. There´s no sugar in it I hope, is Frederik´s immediate question! You know, I quit smoking and now I´ve gained ten kilos. And I do want to lose those again.’
Our test is taking its time, but there´s another matter to attend. An old mare of 28 is tired of living. She´s on her last legs and limps outside one last time. Two jabs and 20 seconds later the old mare is no longer with us. ‘Euthanasia is always to be preferred over suffering of the animals’, explains Frederik, who has had his share of heartbreaking scenes in situations like this. ‘I do understand that saying goodbye is hard and that it´s probably even more difficult to set a date for it. But putting it off is worse than not taking the decision. Then we enter the realm of pointless suffering. People must be aware of that.’
Within a time span of 12 hours life and death rub shoulders in the same yard. This morning at 04.30hrs Frederik had a call about a problematic delivery. The foal was emerging, in the amniotic sac, which was clearly not a whitish-pink colour. That was badly wrong and urgent. Three cheers for Whatsapp, Frederik received photos of the situation and guided the breeder through the delivery. We were dealing with a red bag delivery, which is caused when the placenta or afterbirth is expelled prematurely. The placenta is the foal´s source of oxygen. When that source is cut off the foal no longer gets oxygen and can suffocate. Speedy intervention is key here. The amniotic sac had to be cut open. The foal is doing well, the dam´s fever has subsided and the foal test reveals that the foal has sufficient antibodies.’
Red bag delivery, fortunately the breeder managed a timely intervention.
With a smile on his face Frederik says that he could write a culinary guide about Belgian pita bars. And true enough, an hour later we are eating... pita bread, spicy and with peppers. Maybe he should also write a book on dieting? ‘How to lose ten kilos on a diet of Tönissteiner & pita’.
We hurry to the next patient after a lunch break of not even 30 minutes. Just a quick recap: Last night Frederik was home by 01.30hrs. He received an emergency call about a foal in a red bag at 04.30hrs. At 08.00hrs we left for the surgery. The day will end after midnight. During the stud season things are slightly more hectic, Frederik informs me. So I wonder how long anybody can keep this up? ‘Not everyone is cut out for this. There are vets who put their phones on hold in the evenings or weekends. I just cannot, they can always call me. And yes, that´s mentally and relation-wise very taxing. It´s not that I had that many partners, but most women walked out on me because they cannot handle this life style. And I understand, I´m not around much. Actually, my beloved should be so keen on me that she doesn´t want me around too much.’
‘You know, getting a call in the dead of night and being in a position to save a foal´s life is so rewarding. That gives me the strength to do it and you need that to deal with setbacks, because those also happen. Do you want to know who else has always given me strength? Mr Melchior. Because of his drive and determination. He was a visionary and that´s why I´ve always looked up at him with great admiration. At the same I also used to be a little afraid of him. Funny eh, (smiles). That´s because he always kept you on your toes, constantly challenging you. Youth has the future, he used to argue, and so I was given the chance to succeed my father. Mr Melchior has really made me sweat (smiles)... in my early days he once popped by and asked how I was doing. They all catch, I replied. You´re quite full of yourself, he retorted. The next time when he asked me the same thing I was slightly more careful with my answer and said: ‘I´m struggling a bit sometimes, right now not every mare becomes pregnant...What!?! What do you mean ‘not pregnant’? I pay you to get them in-foal don´t I? Now I can see the funny side but back then in my early days that was a bit hard to take in. He was constantly provoking you. I remember the time he passed me in his Range Rover, rolled the window down: ‘You do grasp why I´ve given you this job?’ ‘Eh, no Mr Melchior…’Because you can deal with the stress’. Window back up and he was gone. I´m not sure I have the same drive as Mr Melchior but he has always been a role model I´ve tried to copy.’
While doing our rounds in Flanders Frederik is frequently called for advice. What do you think of stallion X, Y, Z...Every stallion has his own assets and shortcomings...etc... I listen to Frederik´s explanations. Sounds to me like a difficult balancing act. Frederik agrees: ‘I don´t like doing this. Who am I to recommend or advise against a stallion? Giving unbiased advice is terribly difficult. You have to look at the mare...yes, that´s obvious. Or weigh up the combination. Also true. But what is a good combination? And most importantly, what all breeders forget is rideability. I´m no judge of that because I´m not a rider, and neither are most breeders.
The problem is solved with an ointment.
Our next stop is a yearling in the field, looking listless. He´s not hungry and has a fever. Frederik already dropped by yesterday and now examines the horse again. Problems with the digestive system? After examination the horse gets another dose of medication. Tomorrow they will be in touch again to monitor the progress and the effects of the treatment.
We drive over to a breeder with two foals. One of them cannot put weight on one of his legs. Everything points at foal sickness, an infection of the joints. Frederik has been treating it for a couple of days and fears the worst. ‘Doing nothing probably means death. The only option is to operate which will cost a few thousand Euros but gives no guarantees. Those are heartbreaking choices. And they will look at me for support with whatever choice they make. I have no qualms at all to put a horse out of its misery. But euthanasia on a foal is hard on me too. Particularly because I keep asking myself: was my diagnosis correct, the timing, treatment? Did I take the right decision at the right time? Questions like this usually go unanswered and they all stay with me. Every doctor, surgeon has his own graveyard. That´s a harsh reality.’
The family, father, mother and daughter are distressed. They are aware the sword of Damocles is hovering over their foal. They´re true hobby breeders with love and passion for their mare and foal. They clearly realise the severity and apparent hopelessness of the situation and it´s upsetting them. Frederik too realises he´s virtually powerless. We leave in silence and the first minutes in the car neither of us speaks.
Duty calls. We visit a young rider who has recently started his own sport stables. A promising 6-year-old is struggling with bending to the left, at any rate, that´s what the rider suspects. There is some interest for the youngster but the rider wants to be sure. Frederik cannot spot anything, not on the circle and neither on a hard or soft surface. The mobile X-ray machine is switched on. The photos suggest a tiny deviation that could explain the rider´s feeling. Frederik prescribes some experimental treatment and new consultation will take place in a few weeks.
18.15hrs Examination of a sport horse.
From Lummen we drive over to Zangersheide. It is 19.20hrs. This morning his colleague Marieke was on duty in Lanaken. The mares still to be checked are either Zangersheide-owned or owned by Z breeders and on average are screened twice a day. We check a few mares, some are ready for insemination, the rest will come in again tomorrow.
18.45hrs The mares are patiently waiting for the doctor in the waiting room.
A good half hour later we leave Lanaken behind us and hit the road in the direction of Moerbeke for a purchase vetting. A long drive and Frederik manages to squeeze in a moment of family bliss. Three cheers for technology! From his car he gets in touch with his two sons. That is, by means of the connected cameras in and around his home. He watches them play and horsing around, but the first thing he notices is an unfamiliar black car parked on the drive. Whose is that? No panic Frederik, that´s my car and I´m right next to you. He laughs, phew...and hits the gas. We drive on with one eye on the motorway and the other on his family.
Quite the picture of the virtual family man, that Frederik. The phone rings again. Marieke talks him through the mares that were treated that day.
Have a nice evening Marieke and someone else already on the phone. Colic? I´ll send a colleague over straightaway because I´m driving through Antwerp right now. Hello Ine, I´ve got a client with a case of colic, can you answer that call? Thanks. The phone remains silent and Frederik keenly talks about his never-ending quest for modernisation and improvement.
An Israeli has bought a young stallion and wants Frederik to vet him before finalising the purchase. It´s already 21.30hrs. Blood samples and swabs are taken as well as a series of photos and footage of all three paces on the circle and a hard surface. It takes over an hour. We have a chat with the seller and leave around 22.45hrs. Yes, it´s late, but we can use it to our advantage because we travel the Antwerp ring road in record time. A last stop at the petrol station in Ranst. Now I could do with a pint, Frederik laughs! You too? Sure enough, I´m not driving. And we head home.
21.30hrs Comprehensive purchase vetting.
Again it´s midnight by the time Frederik arrives home. All the family´s asleep. Fortunately he saw his children a little while ago. Well, quite literally no more than seen. All we can do now is hope that he won´t be woken again tonight because of a troublesome delivery or some other urgent intervention. Our day is over...
How did our patients fare?
A few days later we checked on the patients. How did they fare?
The family of the sick foal had tears in their eyes when they heard the diagnosis of foal sickness. Initially the situation looked hopeless and either decision was a difficult one. Their decision was a battle between emotion and ratio. Thanks to the medication the foal´s condition has stabilised. The situation hasn´t taken a turn for the worse but neither has it improved significantly. They are giving it a chance.
The foal with the crooked teeth that caused serious irritation of the sinuses, resulting in severe short-windedness, was taken to a university clinic before rush hour and has had surgery. The operation was successful. The foal can now breathe normally and is staying at the convalescent unit where it is probably surrounded with the best possible care from all the veterinary students.
The 4-year-old sport horse that developed a visible haematoma because of a hefty kick is doing well. The blood was drained out, after-treatment has caught on and the horse is back in work.
The mare that developed a fever after her red bag delivery has completely recovered from her taxing ordeal.
The listless yearling in the field that wouldn´t eat and had developed a fever was relocated to an animal clinic where it was diagnosed with grass disease, a bacterial infection that can be triggered by certain elements the horse ingests while grazing. There´s no treatment for this condition and the horse was euthanized in the clinic.
The last client of our long day was a horse scheduled for a sale to America, but only after purchase vetting. The buyer was rather pleased with the comprehensive report. The horse in question now remains in quarantine ahead of transport.