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Services & Facilities

See a comprehensive list of the very best equine services in Cornwall

Below you'll find a comprehensive list of our services and facilites in alphabetic order. Aside from the listed, we can also help with Lameness and Poor Performance Clinics and we have our own In-House Laboratory.

If you have any questions regarding our services, please don't hesitate to contact us!

Artificial Insemination

Our equine department is registered with the British Equine Veterinary Association list of practices offering AI services. It is one of only two veterinary surgeries in Cornwall on this list.

We are on the British Equine Veterinary Association List of approved practices for AI with chilled or frozen semen.

We offer fresh, chilled and frozen semen AI services. Fresh and chilled services can be carried out on owner’s premises, while fresh, chilled and frozen semen AI are all offered as an inpatient at the practice on a package service.

Please contact the surgery for up to date costs on our packages.

Cardiology Clinic

Equine cardiology referrals are seen at Penmellyn Equine by Dr Mark Patteson who is an RCVS specialist in veterinary cardiology and runs Heartvets.


All our equine vets are experienced and equipped to do routine dental procedures including wolf tooth removal.
At our surgery we are able to offer an advanced dentistry service, which includes diastema widening, cheek tooth removal (molars), motorised dentistry, tooth root filling to name but a few.

Eye Clinics

Ophthalmology referrals are seen at Penmellyn Equine by Jim Carter.

Jim is an RCVS and European recognised specialist in Veterinary Ophthalmology.

Home Visits

We have zoned days where we can stay for a day in an area.

This allows us to offer cheaper visit fees. The fees are from £35 on fixed fee visit days.


We have excellent hospitalisation facilities with 5 large stables, 2 pony stables and a large mare and foal stable. These all have concrete block walls with purpose built doors and bars . The stables are easily cleanable to help with biosecurity.

Each stable is completely cleaned out , pressure washed and disinfected after each horse has left. As are all bowls and buckets. Labelled bowls etc ensure no cross contamination.

In the tack room each stable has a numbered shelf for easy storage of rugs etc. All tack, rugs and horses are labelled to avoid mistakes!

Our dedicated equine nurses and our night nurse ensure we have 24/7 care of all hospitalised equines.

Isolation Facilities

We have a purpose built isolation stable with its own utensils well away from the main stable block. The drainage from this stable also goes directly into a tank nowhere near the main block.

Vets and nurses who attend to isolation cases wear all the necessary protective clothing and equipment and shower and change all clothes before touching any other equine.

All waste from the stable, including hay and straw is destroyed as ” clinical waste”. In this way we try to attain maximum biosecurity.

Cases we would keep in isolation include horses with a high temperature, horses with suspect infectious respiratory disease and horses with diarrhoea.

JMB Measurements

We have an official measuring pad in our equine consulting room on which official JMB measurements can be done.

Horses and ponies have to have their shoes off and feet trimmed for measuring. They have to be microchipped too.

Ruth Varcoe is the vet within the practice who is designated by the JMB to carry out official measurements.


Our surgery has an endoscope and gastroscope. The endoscope is used to diagnose problems within the head, upper respiratory tract & lungs.

Such as laryngeal paralysis, pharyngeal problems and sinus problems.

Diagnosis of lung disease is helped by taking samples from the lungs either by a tracheal wash or a bronchio-alveolar lavage which collects cells from deep in the lungs aiding an exact diagnosis & treatment plan catered for your horse.

Laser Surgery

Laser surgery is something that can be done at the surgery when we have our monthly visit from Henry Tremaine, who is an equine surgery specialist.

Nursing Care

We are very lucky at Penmellyn to have dedicated equine nurses – Sarah Buscombe and Louise Dally – who have been with us for many years.

They have a lot of experience with equines at our practice and ensure our patients receive every care and attention. We also have night nurses ensuring 24 hour care for 365 days of the year.

We have CCTV in our intensive care stable which also is a useful aid for the very sick equines.

Operating Suite

Our large theatre is state of the art and a lot of time, thought and money has gone into ensuring this.

The operating table is a sturdy air-filled one which looks after the horse’s muscles (muscle damage after surgery is a common complication with harder tables). A modern anaesthetic set up with a ventilator is present if necessary.

We have equipment and experience to perform many operations – arthroscopy (key hole joint surgery), hernias, rig operations, complicated wound closure to name but a few.

We also have specialists who visit our surgery to perform operations such as tie backs and hobdays. Most surgeries can be catered for.

For every surgical case we have at least one operating surgeon, one veterinary surgeon to perform the anaesthetic, and a theatre nurse. Initial anaesthesia and recovery occurs in our padded room where this can be monitored directly via viewing portals and also by CCTV. The horse is moved from the padded room to theatre by a dedicated, well maintained hoist.

The theatre, table and instruments are all cleaned and disinfected between operations. Obviously all instruments used in or on the horse are sterilised by vacuum autoclave. All staff in the theatre wear special scrub suits and boots.


List of operations we do:

  • Joint surgery including arthroscopy
  • Check ligament desmotomy
  • Treatment of angular limb deformities in foals
  • Laparotomy
  • Tracheostomy
  • Removal of large masses or difficult to remove masses
  • Castrations including rig operations
  • Scirrhous cords
  • Repair of complicated wounds
  • Treatment of complicated foot problems such as keratomas
  • Eye surgery with visiting vet

Surgeries we do in the stocks include:

  • Certain wound closures
  • Some mass removals
  • Sinus surgery
  • Removal of check teeth / molars
  • Wolf tooth removal
  • Eye removal
  • Liver biopsies
  • Treatment of difficult sarcoids especially around the eye
  • Abdominal fluid collection /sampling
  • Standing surgery for some hoof problems such as infected pedal bones
  • Visiting vets do back surgery and ovariectomies

Outside Facilities

We feel that one of our best facilities is our large concrete yard. Boxes & trailers can come in and easily be turned around.

There is a loading ramp available for equines that do not like to load or are too injured to come down a ramp. For the very badly injured a hoist is available to carry them from trailer to our padded room.

Our facilities are excellent for examining lame horses or poor performance horses as we have a flat, hard trot up area, a sand lunging arena and a small field for ridden exercise.

We also have a securely fenced paddock for those guests that can be turned out.

Pre-Purchase Vettings

We offer 2 and 5 stage vettings in Cornwall.

All vettings include a blood test which is stored & can be accessed & checked for the presence of painkillers or sedatives – these lab fees are an extra cost – for up to 6 months post purchase.


We are lucky to have two X-ray machines- a small mobile one, which can take X-rays of heads and limbs to the elbow in front and the stifle behind, and a large, more powerful fixed machine which can be used to X-ray heads, limbs, spines and chests.

Both machines are useful in differing ways.

The mobile machine is easy to move around the horse/ pony and sedation is often not necessary.

The larger machine is slightly noisier and often requires sedation of the horse/ pony but it can X-ray parts other machines cannot reach.


We have an ultrasound scanner at our surgery that is used to scan tendons to check for damage, but is also advanced enough to scan chests and abdomens. It is an incredibly useful for investigating such problems as weight loss, diarrhoea, best problems to name a few conditions.

Our ultrasound scanners also allow for fertility assessment of mares along with pregnancy diagnosis from 14 days of pregnancy.

This can be carried out on owner’s premises or at the surgery.

We are equipped with equine stocks at the surgery to assist with the procedure.

Weigh Scales

These live outside in our concrete horse yard. They are a flat walk on /walk off platform and so are easily accessible.

The scales are accurate and can measure from miniature shetlands to shires.

Any client who would like their horse /pony or donkey weighed need only telephone and an appointment will be arranged with one of our equine nurses who are happy to help with this service.

Practice information

Penmellyn Equine Vets

  • Mon
    8:30am - 5:00pm
  • Tue
    8:30am - 5:00pm
  • Wed
    8:30am - 5:00pm
  • Thu
    8:30am - 5:00pm
  • Fri
    8:30am - 5:00pm
  • Sat
    Emergencies only
  • Sun
    Emergencies only

Find us here:

Station Road St Columb Major Cornwall TR9 6BX
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