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The Vet Centre’s Equine services has grown quickly in the last 3 years enabling our investment in the latest on-farm mobile DR Digital X-Ray and Digital Ultrasound equipment.

This means we can travel to your horse on your property to undertake these examinations. Alternatively, if you want to come to us, saving some travel costs, we have 3 local privately owned facilities that we can use to examine your horse.

As well as providing general animal health and preventative care, we offer a full range of on-farm services such as:

  • Digital radiography
  • Ultrasonography
  • Laser therapy
  • Surgery
  • Pre-purchase examinations
  • Dentistry
  • Assisted/routine reproduction


We will perform basic surgical procedures from Geldings and hernia repairs to more complex orthopedics (X-ray above of Phalange I fracture repair) . Where possible we will refer more specialized surgical procedures to Canterbury Equine, but under some circumstances, such as repairable leg fractures where the horse is not transportable to Christchurch (7 hours away) we will perform fracture repairs.

On Farm Digital XRay & Ultrasound

The Vet Centre has the latest in portable DR Digital XRay and Ultrasound systems, enabling us to provide the very best images for the purposes of diagnosis of equine lameness,back and dental problems.

Lameness Examinations

We provide a thorough work up with the use of High Speed Camera, Nerve Blocks, Hoof Testers and the new Krosscheck Leverage Testing Devise to accuratly pin point the problem and provide constructive remedies. We have a close working relationship with a Remedial Farrier for corrective trimming and shoeing and both the Farriers and our practice are members of the Equine Lameness Prevention Organisation.


Repiratory diseases are common in horses and the use of an endoscope to obtain diagnostic samples and visualising the structures of the upper respiratory sytem, turbinates, gutteral pouches and ethnoid processes is a great tool to have available.

Reproduction and Artificial Insemination

There is nothing nicer than having a mare with a young foal at foot. Nelson has a few local stallions available for service, but many of the mares are mated with artificial insemination.

We preferr to provide this service on the farm where the mare is familiar and we get good results to show. We like our clients to provide a simple stock for holding the mare and to provide safety for everyone, so to enable this we will provide clients with dimensions to make this simple facility.


This is another area where The Vet Centre excels. We use the very latest IM3 veterinary equipment supported by IM3 DR digital dental X-Rays and veterinarians with post graduate training able to perform root canal fillings, cappings and corrective orthodontics.

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Do Horses need Dentistry?

Horses have evolved to live in a semi-arid extensive grazing environment. Their incisors are designed to nip off the grass and their tongue and cheeks massage the food into the grinding cheek teeth where it is chewed and manipulated into a rope like bolus as the first stage of digestion.

Over the years, we have domesticated the horse and provided them with conditions that are different from their natural environment. Natural selection seldom takes place and breeding programmes do not factor in dentition. As a rule grass fed horse, especially those grazed more extensively, may seldom require dental work (Kohnke BVSc ‘The making of Champions’), but they should be checked regularly. All other horses should have dental checks at least annually.

Some Common Reasons to do Dentistry on Horses:

  • Teeth erupt at the same rate that they are worn, but if there is no opposition for the tooth to wear on, severe imbalances can occur in the teeth configuration.
  • Sharp enamel points on the inside of the lower cheek teeth and the outside of the upper cheek teeth result in discomfort and cheek and tongue lacerations and infections.
  • Young horse shed 24 deciduous or baby teeth between the age of 2 and 5 years of age; just when we are trying to train them! If retained they can cause pain, behavioural problems and weight loss. They can be retained for years after they should have been shed. If the deciduous teeth are not shed at the right time, they can impede the normal eruption of the permanent tooth, often seen as dental cysts (lumps) on the lower jaw.
  • Removal of Wolf Teeth as they interfere with the bit
  • Attendance to genetic problems such as ‘parrot mouth’ and other conditions as a result of dental injuries.removal of hooks and ramps that have developed from unnatural wear to the teeth.

What are Some Signs of my Horse having Dental Problems?

  • Loss of body condition
  • Dropping feed while eating or difficulty in chewing
  • Packing the cheeks with feed
  • Large undigested food particles in the manure
  • Behavioural problems
  • Riding problems e.g turning one way
  • Head tilting
  • Nasal discharges and foul odour
  • Dental cysts on lower jaw

The Vet Centre has developed a strong association with Equine Dentist, Claire Murray CEqD. Claire is one of only 3 Equine Dentists in New Zealand certified through the Academy of Equine Dentistry Idaho, USA. Claire trained through the College of Equine Dentistry, Australia. Claire carries an extensive range of equipment to provide full mouth dentistry. At The Vet Centre, we are able to diagnose and in some cases treat some dental issues, but rely on the expertise of Claire who will come to Nelson periodically.

Full Mouth Dentistry

Full mouth dentistry gives your horse the most thorough dental examination and treatment opportunity. Often simple hand floating is not going to be adequate to restore your horses mouth to its natural state. Power tools have been around for a long time now and in skilled hands are the only equipment to address many issues and be safe at the same time. To perform full mouth dentistry, sedation is required. Firstly it helps the horse relax and remain comfortable during the dental procedure, and secondly some dental procedures would be impossible without some analgesia. The head becomes heavy and so this must be supported by a special padded dental halter.

Owner Awareness

There is a huge differences in the standard of equine dental care delivered by different people. We recommend that you go to the link above to the websites. They are impressive. Through our association with Claire, we believe at The Vet Centre, that we can deliver a the highest standard of equine dental health and well being examination to your horse.

Dental Radiology

The gross anatomy of the equine head is complex, therefore the normal radiographic anatomy can be challenging for the average equine practitioner. However, with adequate anatomic references, the practitioner can become comfortable with obtain- ing diagnostic images of the equine head and recognizing dental and paradental radiographic signs of pathologic conditions.

With the widespread availability of digital radiography (DR) in equine practices, such as The Vet Centre, the practitioner can more readily learn the correct positioning for the various projections of the equine head that are used to evaluate the dentition and sinuses.

Digital systems provide rapid processing of the image, enabling the practitioner to correct positioning errors and retake the image without significant delay.

Pre Purchase Examinations

A pre purchase examination can save you a lot of heart ache and disappointment, not to mention money.

Using the New Zealand Veterinary Equine Branch Standards we will carry out a variety of stages of examination from a basic 3 stage to more detailed 5 stage examinations that include XRays, Endoscopy and Ultrasound. At the end we will provide you with a comprehensive report on the suitability of the horse to your intended needs.

Pre purchase examinations are seldom a question of ‘pass’ or ‘fail’, but more a questions of “does the horse fit the needs of the rider?”

Download the following forms if you are a seller or a buyer. Email them back to us and we will book an appointment for your horse’s Pre-Purchase examination.

Horse Articles

Our dedicated veterinarians

We are a team of dedicated veterinarians and nurses providing a broad medical and surgical service to all companion animals and production animals. Based in a purpose built facility, equipped with modern equipment to provide a broad range of diagnostic, medical, advisory and surgical services.

In todays advanced veterinary environment, veterinary nurses provide a critical role in the delivery of quality veterinary care. Without their expertise, professionalism and care, veterinary clinics would not be able to provide the medical and surgical care expected by todays public.

Meet Our Clinical Team

“BEST PRACTICE” accredited

New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA) “BEST PRACTICE” .. “Assurance of veterinary standard of care & responsibility”

NZVATo qualify for NZVA “Best Practice” is no small task. A practice has to meet very rigorous standards in not only animal care, surgery and medicine, but standards of public health (OSH), building and veterinary equipment maintenance, and the legal requirements of drug prescription (ACVM Act), as examples. As a result The Vet Centre, is the only practice in the Tasman area of Nelson to have achieved these standards.

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Our Services


Catering for all animals


Full equine services


We can come to you

Personal Care for All Animals


79 Gladstone Road, Richmond

03 544 5566
[email protected]

Monday – Friday: 8am – 5.30pm
Saturday: 9am – 4pm
Sunday: Temporarily Closed except for emergencies. Please phone first
Public Holidays: Hours may vary


400D High Street, Motueka

03 528 8459
[email protected]

Monday – Friday: 8.30am – 5.30pm
Saturday: 9am – 2pm
Sunday: Closed. (See Richmond Clinic).
Public Holidays: Hours may vary


69 Aranui Road, Mapua

03 540 2329
[email protected]

Monday, Tuesday and Friday: 8.30am – 10am and 3.30pm – 5.30pm
Thursday: 8.30am – 12.30pm and 3.30pm – 5.30pm
Wednesday, Saturday & Sunday: Closed
Public Holidays: Hours may vary


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