COVID-19 (Coronavirus) – an update for our clients.

Seasonal opening hours for Garston farm & equine clients

Seasonal surgery opening hours

Christmas Eve 24th December – 8.30am – 5pm

Christmas Day 25th December – Emergency team

Boxing Day 26th December – Emergency team

Bank Holiday Monday 27th December – Emergency team

Bank Holiday Tuesday 28th December – Emergency team

Wednesday 29th December – Normal opening hours

Thursday 30th December – Normal opening hours

New Years Eve 31st December – 8.30am – 5pm

New Years Day 1st January – Emergency team

Sunday 2nd January – Emergency team

Monday 3rd January – Emergency team

Tuesday 4th January – Normal opening hours

Please remember to place repeat drug orders by Tuesday 21st December 2021

Emergency Care

As a client of Garston Vets you can feel confident that we are always available to deal with any veterinary emergency that may arise, day or night, including Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day.

If you have a pet emergency please call us on 01373 451115

Frome Market Health Hub – A new service for farmers

A new service could help save the lives of busy farmers putting off a trip to the doctors.

Frome Market Health Hub will give farmers, their families, and agricultural workers free access to confidential health checks, without the need to book an appointment.

Hundreds of rural workers attend Frome Livestock Market auctions every week and the hub, launched by Somerset NHS Foundation Trust (SFT), based within the market site, will open its clinic on the second Wednesday morning of every month – the first clinic being held on Wednesday, October 13 between 9.00am and 1.00pm. The SFT believes the hub will provide an important gateway for the farming community who are often the hardest to reach through traditional health service channels, and the hope is that farmers will make use of the drop-in clinic which is deliberately located at the market in what is the heart of their business and social lives.

NHS Operational Manager for the Health Hubs, Jane Fitzgerald, said: “We recognise farmers and farm workers often put the health and welfare of their livestock above that of their own wellbeing and will often put off seeking help, when it could help to save their life. “This is a great opportunity for those living and working in rural areas to access free health checks in a place and time which is convenient to them.”

Frome Market Health Hub will also be the base for additional, independently run clinics being scheduled for specialist problems on a rolling programme. Separately funded Foot Clinics will be held twice monthly, thanks to a grant from Somerset Community Foundation, again free of charge for farmers and with no need for prior appointments.

Health Hub clinics will rely on volunteers from farming and community-based charities like Farming Community Networks (FCN) and the Mendip Health Connectors, to give guidance on any long-term support farmers may need, as well as to spread the news amongst the South West’s agricultural community.

Service lead for Mendip Health Connections, Jenny Hartnoll, said: “It will be a pleasure to get to know farmers at the market and for the Health Connectors to become familiar faces there. “We know how important it is for farmers to have access to health care and advice that’s right there, without needing an appointment. We are delighted to play a part in telling them all about the Health Hub, and the services available to them.”

FCN’s Suzie Wilkinson, who has been involved in a similar health project at Sedgemoor market, added: “We know from our own experience that farmers really appreciate this excellent service which is free and available regularly. Farmers were grateful the nurses really understood their way of life, with all its daily stresses, and didn’t turn up their noses at dirty wellies.”

Lord Lieutenant of Somerset, Annie Maw, said the Frome project was only made possible thanks to businesses and organisations like Mole Valley Farmers and Frome Livestock Auctioneers (FLA). She said: “From Mole Valley Farmers, who have given marketing and creative professionalism, to the treatment rooms made available by Frome Livestock Auctioneers; together with all the help and advice given voluntarily by those who feel passionately that we need to do more to help our farmers. “Being able to support our farming and rural community in this way is a first-class example of a public and voluntary sector collaboration – testament to the hard work and team effort of everyone involved. “Livestock markets are an integral part of the farming community. Not only are they a place of business but a place for farming families to catch up with friends and family, so siting a health clinic at these locations makes absolute sense.”

Mole Valley Farmers Head of Organisational Safety and Wellbeing, Lorna Filby, said: “Farmers’ physical and emotional health and wellbeing are often put to one side as the important task of managing the farm takes over. “Farming can be a very isolating and lonely occupation, with many farm workers spending long hours alone, working in remote locations and leaving them with very little time to access healthcare. “In the farming community emotional health is often overlooked yet it is one of the biggest threats the industry faces. With additional challenges from the Coronavirus pandemic these are testing times for the agricultural sector.”


Frome Market Health Hub will be open on the second Wednesday of each month in conjunction with the livestock market’s key sale dates:

· October 13

· November 10

· December 8

· January 12

· February 9

· March 9

For dates of Wednesday foot clinics at the market, please see the FLA Market Report which will have regular updates.



Business organisations supporting FMHH are:

Frome Livestock Auctioneers Ltd

Mole Valley Farmers Ltd

Old Mill Accountants

Cooper & Tanner

Symonds & Sampson Auctioneers

Red Tractor Assurance – New standards

There have been changes to the RTA scheme, some of which come into force at the start of November. The main updates are outlined below, but please click here for full details:


NEW: Tethered housing systems, for stock of any age, will not be permitted on Red Tractor farms.
NEW: Commitment to eliminate the routine euthanasia of calves by 2023. A new standard is focused on a written breeding and management policy.
NEW: A health plan now needs to be signed, dated and reviewed annually by a nominated vet, who should visit the farm at least once a year.
NEW: All farms with workers must have a written health and safety policy.

Beef and lamb

NEW: Tethered housing systems, for stock of any age, will not be permitted on Red Tractor farms.
NEW: Individual farm protocol for eradication of Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD). This needs to be documented in a health plan and implemented.
NEW: All farms with workers must have a written health and safety policy.
NEW: The health plan now needs to be signed, dated and reviewed annually by a nominated vet who should visit the farm at least once a year.
UPGRADED: At least one person on farm must have undertaken medicine training to help raise awareness of antimicrobial resistance and drive best practice.

Autumn Watch – Sycamore Poisoning & Atypical Myopathy

Atypical myopathy, known as sycamore poisoning, is a frequently fatal disease of horses in the UK caused by eating sycamore seeds, and possibly the leaves. The disease is most common in the autumn, typically around October, and often occurs as an outbreak when large numbers of seeds fall onto the pasture following bad weather. These helicopter shaped seeds fall onto the pasture and contain a toxin known as hypoglycin A (HGA) that causes severe muscle damage, in particular to the muscles that enable the horse to stand, to breathe and the heart muscle. The amount of toxin within the seeds varies, and some horses appear to be more susceptible to the disease and become sick after eating only a small number of seeds. Individual grazing habits and the condition of the pasture are also likely to determine why some horses become sick and others don’t. Even with intense veterinary treatment and hospitalisation, the survival rate is around 50% for affected horses.


What are the signs?

• Muscle soreness and stiffness
• Muscle tremors
• Reluctance to move
• Fast and laboured breathing
• Lethargy and reluctance to exercise
• Red/ brown urine
• Choke
• Colic symptoms
• Head tossing and low head carriage
• Sudden death


How is the disease confirmed and treated?

Recognising the signs early give the best chance of survival. If your horse is showing any of the symptoms above with sycamore seeds on the grazing, we often assume the diagnosis and begin treatment immediately. In particular, if your horse is passing red/ brown urine, as this is caused by a pigment released from the muscle breaking down into the urine. A more definitive diagnosis is made by taking a blood sample to check for muscle breakdown. Unfortunately there is no anti-toxin, but some medications can be used to stop the absorption of the
toxin from the intestines.

The best chances of survival are to transport the affected horse to an equine hospital for intensive care within the first 24-48 hours of symptoms. If the horse survives the first few days of treatment their chances of recovery are good, although this may take several months.



Check for sycamore trees around your fields and avoid letting horses graze pasture with over hanging sycamore trees in the autumn. The seeds can spread up to 3x the height of the tree, but this distance may increase in bad weather.
If horses have to remain on pasture with sycamore trees, fence off areas where the seeds and leaves fall, and clear them from the grass as often as possible. Ensuring there is adequate grazing, and if not supplementing with hay or haylage placed well away from the trees, will encourage horses not to eat the seeds and to graze away from the trees. Reducing stocking density on the pasture may also help ensure there is enough grass.


For more information on sycamore poisoning and atypical myopathy, or if you are concerned your horse is at risk, please contact the practice to speak to one of our equine vets for further advice.


Welcome to the equine team Kate

We’d like to introduce you to our new vet Kate, who joined our equine team this month

Kate has recently qualified from Liverpool vet school after an 8 year career in engineering before taking the plunge to study veterinary science. Outside of work, Kate is kept busy looking after her two ex-race horses George and Andie. She describes herself as a happy hacker and her favourite thing to do is ride on the beach. Look out for Kate and her cocker spaniel Maisie!

Click here to meet the rest of our expert equine team.

Six-monthly TB testing

Please be aware that APHA are beginning to phase in six-monthly TB testing for herds in High Risk Areas of England from July 2021.

Increasing the frequency of surveillance testing in the HRA from annual to six-monthly will help detect TB-infected herds at an earlier stage. This reduces the time M. bovis can spread within the herd, be transmitted to other herds, and potentially shed in the farm environment. Farms with no TB breakdown in the previous six years or accredited Level 1 or above in the TB CHECs health scheme will be eligible to stay on annual testing.

First routine WHT – Between July and December 2021       Next test window (if 1st test clear) – First six-monthly herd test from January 2022 onwards


First routine WHT – Between January and June 2022        Next test window (if first test is clear) – First six-monthly herd test from July 2022


To find out more about TB testing on your farm or smallholding, or if you have specific questions that aren’t covered here, feel free to contact our farm vets for advice.

Body Condition Scoring (BCS) in Beef Cattle

Body condition scores are a vital part of successful fertility management on beef units. These techniques are ways of managing body condition score changes throughout the year if required:

• House later if grass growth and quality has been good in the summer and a decrease in BCS is required
• Wean calves later if a decrease in BCS is required
• Increase straw in the ration, costs allowing, to decrease ME of ration and prevent excessive BCS gain during winter housing
• Manage thin cows and heifers as a single group requiring extra energy to allow accurately targeted feeding

During winter housing feeding 1kg of barley/day will equate to a gain in BCS of approximately ½ unit body condition score

During summer wean calves earlier if thin or a heifer; weaning 1 month earlier will equate to a gain in BCS of ¼ unit if pasture quality is good.

If you would like to know more about Body Condition Scoring or our cost-effective Vet Tech Farm Services, please contact our farm team.

How to tell if it’s too hot to ride your horse

Did you know that less than 20 minutes of gentle exercise increases a horse’s body temperature to dangerous levels?
By exercising  your horse when it’s cooler and less humid you can really help to keep things cool. Don’t forget that they will need more fresh water sources and shade from full sun. Clipping long hair and installing good ventilation or an air conditioning unit in their stalls can all help to keep them comfortable, along with a nice cool hose down if things get too warm.
Signs your horse could be dehydrated:
•Dark/less urine
•Less droppings
•Dry skin
•Dry mouth
•Dull eyes
•Dark coloured gums
Signs your horse could have heat exhaustion:
•Fast & shallow breath (panting)
•Nostril flaring
•Increased rectal temperature
•Irregular heartbeat
•Reduced appetite and thirst
•Slow recovery after exercise
•Muscle spasms
•Reduced performance
If you are worried about your horse, please contact our equine team straight away.
BozMerix – A new product aimed at supporting joint function

As all horse owners are aware, there are many different products and supplements on the market to support joint health and manage arthritis in our horses, ranging from pharmaceuticals such as phenylbutazone (bute) to herbal remedies such as turmeric. 

Choosing the right therapy for your horse and how best to manage their condition, is a conversation our equine vets are always happy to have, and encourage our clients to have with us. After all each horse is unique and each case is different.  

BozMerix is a new product aimed at supporting joint function. It is a combination of naturally derived active ingredients proven to have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties, at a therapeutic concentration.  

It can be used in combination with drugs such as bute, or as a natural alternative where bute cannot be used or is not suitable such as during competitions.  

You can either watch the video or for further information on the ingredients, please click here

If you think your horse could benefit from BozMerix, feel free to contact the surgery to speak to one our equine vets, or alternatively you can register here to order your free samples and 30% discount voucher for your first box, and we would very much like to hear your feedback!  


“I have an 18 year old retired KWPN showjumper with arthritic changes who was becoming
increasingly grumpy in the stable. All veterinary treatment had been exhausted. I had wondered
whether discomfort might be causing some of her mood. I have tried her on BozMerix for a number
of weeks now as I want her to be as comfortable as possible, now she seems considerably less so and
generally much happier in herself. She is a fussy eater and I have no problem with adding it to her

“Our 14 year old thoroughbred, used to be used for eventing but has now stepped down to general
hacking/riding club etc. Yesterday we lunged him for the first time since starting the BozMerix and
for the first time in four months he was sound in front! Fingers crossed this carries on helping for his navicular problems.”






Good post-operative care on the farm

Following a recent seminar on farm animal surgery, Rich Talbot gives us some key factors to achieve a speedy recovery:

Operations on farm animals are commonplace; from caesareans to enucleations (eye removal). As with any procedure, complications can arise. Good post-operative care is key to welfare and vital to ensure the animal continues it’s productive life.
With good stockman ship, husbandry and communication with the operating vet, many complications after surgery can be avoided. Here’s what to watch out for:

Pain and discomfort:
•Decreased movement/altered locomotion
•Decreased interaction with other animals
•Reduced feed intake (hollow left flank due to poor rumen fill)
•Tooth grinding
•Dull/poor coat condition
•Reduced mental activity & responsiveness
•Animals post-op MUST have clean, dry, comfortable bedding that is grippy under foot.

Wound complications:
•Abnormal discharge

•Poor feed intakes – Most likely related to pain

Access to feed
•Animals post-op MUST have access to good quality forage at all times.

•Can be related to pain
•Poor access to water
•Signs include poor skin tenting, sunken/hollow eyes, tacky mucous membranes (gums)
•Correction of hydration can be achieved by stomach tube. This is an extremely useful tool for farmer & vet.

Medication compliance:
•Most animals will be placed on a course of antibiotics. Due to the nature of surgery on farm, it is never completely sterile. As a result, infections are a risk.
•It is important to completely finish any course of medication. Sometimes an extended course may be needed.
•Communication with the vet is important if you notice any of the above signs. Early detection results in faster treatment and faster recovery.

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