In 2004, James graduated from Glasgow University as a fully qualified veterinary surgeon. After two years honing his veterinary skills in mixed practice in Cumbria, James then spent the next six seasons assisting the flat trainer Mark Johnston as senior veterinary surgeon looking after all the veterinary needs of up to 300 horses at a time. James quickly became one of the country’s leading racing yard veterinary surgeons.
At James Tate Racing, all on-site veterinary costs are included in the daily training rate. State of the art veterinary equipment includes:
Digital x-ray equipment – to diagnose and monitor problems both to try and prevent serious injuries as well as returning horses back from injury as quickly and safely as possible.
The image to the left is an x-ray image showing a tiny stress fracture in a horse’s front fetlock (circled in red) known as a ‘lateral condylar stress fracture’. It was detected at a very early stage which prevented the fracture from becoming serious and enabled the horse to make a speedy recovery.
Digital ultrasound scanner – to diagnose and monitor both bony and soft tissue problems. Again, this enables us to try and prevent serious injuries as well as returning horses back from injury as quickly and safely as possible.
In racehorses, ultrasound scanners can be used to obtain good images of virtually any part of their anatomy. However, the most common uses are for diagnosing and monitoring tendon/ligament injuries and pelvic injuries. On the right is a two year-old colt with ‘juvenile’ tendonitis being scanned to determine what level of exercise he can safely do.
Endoscopy – horses are routinely ‘scoped’ after exercise using a flexible endoscope to look for respiratory infections and any wind problems. However, horses can also undergo dynamic endoscopy to accurate diagnose wind problems and guide us to perform the correct surgery if necessary.
On the left is a horse undergoing routine resting endoscopy after exercise to check if it is suffering from a respiratory infection or if it has bled internally. On the right is a horse fitted with a dynamic endoscope ready to gallop. This will enable us to see the horse’s throat when it is galloping and hence help to find out why it is making a noise at exercise and what needs to be done to correct the problem if necessary.
Surgical equipment for minor operations such as wound stitch-ups and castrations
The routine castration operation is a simple procedure. Most Thoroughbreds are castrated under ‘standing sedation’ but the operation can also be performed under a general anaesthetic when, for example, castrating a ‘rig’ or cryptorchid (with only one fully descended testicle). In the photographs to the right, James is performing a ‘normal’ castration under ‘standing sedation’.
Every type of medication/injection permitted by the British Horseracing Authority
We are on hand for every eventuality with medications ranging from antibiotics to anti-inflammatories to sedatives to drugs to help horses with colic.
In the photograph to the left, a horse is receiving an injection into its fetlock to help it recover from a joint problem.
We have all the tools necessary for routine tooth rasping and tooth removal.
Horses teeth are not like human teeth as they grow continuously. As a result, they generally need rasping twice per year as can be seen in the photograph to the right.