Horse owners across Wales can benefit from support and advice at free clinics.

The series of clinics are part of the Arwain DGC (Defnydd Gwrthficrobaidd Cyfrifol / Responsible Antimicrobial Use) programme, which aims to reduce the spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) through the responsible use of antibiotics.

The programme, an element of both human and animal medicine, contributes to the preservation of currently available antibiotics. In further efforts to ensure equine wellbeing, Arwain DGC presents its second series of 1-2-1 Equine Health Clinics, following their widespread popularity.

The core objective of the clinics is to improve horse health without requiring them to be sick or injured. The initial phase of the project proved successful, as more than 200 horses received aid from various Welsh clinics.

Funding of up to £200 facilitates personalised advice on biosecurity and individual health planning, with further provision for bacterial culture and sensitivity testing if recommended by a local vet following clinical assessment.

However, funding is allocated on a first-come, first-served basis and limited to one clinic per horse owner. Nevertheless, the clinic can provide advice and screening for multiple horses belonging to a single owner.

Mifeddygon Dolgellau Cyf, a veterinary practice located in Gwynedd, has hosted several equine clinics. As stated by their practice manager, Ania Wyn Parry, the programme has proved advantageous for their clients and staff.

Ms Parry said: "We have had a fantastic response from clients to the clinics, who have been grateful for the opportunity to discuss their horse’s health and carry out tests.

"The financial support available has enabled many of them to have checks on their horses that might not otherwise have been possible. Life is expensive, and having a horse doubles or triples that, so if you don’t have to do investigations, owners often don’t.”

A client of Milfeddygon Dolgellau Cyf advised other horse owners to utilise the clinics. The client said: “I would 100 per cent recommend horse owners take the opportunity to have an equine clinic. I found it a very positive experience and really appreciated being able to talk to the vet and discuss my horse’s health which gave me a better understanding.”

Ms Parry emphasised the significance of prevention and shared that the clinics have expanded the horse owners’ understanding of equine health, aided in the early detection of symptoms, and minimised the need for antibiotics.

The clinics also encourage investigations for common yet overlooked equine health issues like laminitis, Cushing's Disease, and Strangles, especially in case of horses purchased at sales with unclear health history.

The clinics' benefits have been amplified through the veterinary practice's social media, and an information evening for clients is planned. Ms Parry also praised the effortless experience provided by Arwain DGC to the veterinary practice.

Arwain DGC marketing officer, Katy Hurley, conveyed her satisfaction over the positive feedback and emphasised the clinics' role in fostering an invaluable dialogue between vets and their clients about AMR and responsible antibiotic usage. She welcomed vets and other practice staff interested in learning more about the clinics to get in touch.