General info for owners/trainers

About Langford Vets

Langford Vets is a wholly owned subsidiary of the University of Bristol. We offer first-class, friendly, first opinion and referral services for your horse. As a teaching hospital we are committed to providing gold standard care for your horse. Our commitment to their care doesn't just limit itself to the procedures your horse will receive, but extends to cover all aspects of your horse's stay including their nursing, rehabilitation and overnight care. Our dedicated clinicians are recognised Specialists in their field, able to provide procedures at the cutting edge of veterinary science.

Welcome pack Factsheets Special Offers

Share your experience

We would be grateful if you could take a few minutes to complete a questionnaire about your experience as a client of the Equine Referral Hospital. Your feedback is important to us and allows us to continually improve the service we provide to our clients and patients. 

All completed surveys will be entered into a monthly prize draw to win £50 of M&S vouchers (if you wish to enter). 

Referral Hospital Clients

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a specialist?

Most vets have to see a very wide range of diseases and species in their general work, so their knowledge is very broad, much like your own GP. A referral allows your horse access to treatment from a clinician specialising full-time in a particular subject, who is more experienced and knowledgeable in their subject than your usual vet. They will also have access to specialist facilities not generally available in first-opinion practice. This is much like your own GP referring you to a hospital consultant.

There are no restrictions in the veterinary profession as to who can accept referrals. This means you could potentially be referred to any vet,  however, they may not be a Specialist.  To be a Specialist you must hold a European or American Diploma or be awarded the title 'RCVS Recognised Specialist' by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (this is the highest level of clinical specialisation possible in the UK).

It is not easy to achieve European, American or RCVS Recognised Specialist status. Vets must undergo a formal training program over 3-4 years, usually within a University setting. Clinicians with this status possess knowledge in their field to a much higher level than general practitioners or Certificate holders.

At Langford Veterinary Services we have the highest number of these Specialists in the South West. Our clinicians meet daily to discuss the different cases being seen at the hospital. This means that your horse will benefit from the knowledge not just of the Specialist they are seeing, but from those in other related disciplines as well.

How do I make an appointment?

Arranging a referral

Referrals can only be arranged through your veterinary surgeon and we are unable to accept a referral directly from members of the public or to give advice to owners on cases that have not been referred.

If your horse needs to be referred you must discuss this first with your veterinary surgeon who will contact us on your behalf.  If your horse needs to be seen urgently, your vet will need to telephone us in order to arrange the appointment for you.

Your vet may wish to discuss your horses case with us by telephone prior to making a decision regarding referral.  In some cases they may send us X-rays or scan results beforehand – we provide a rapid reporting service for vets who send us radiographs.

You vet can contact us on 0117 394 0786

A map of our site can be downloaded here.

What is there to do in the area?

When your horse is admitted, the clinician will discuss with you how long they are likely to be with us. You may wish to explore the local area prior to returning home, or plan a day out for a check up when your horse may be hospitalised for a few hours during the day for tests. We hope you enjoy the following local attractions:
'Freddie' owned by Debra, Histopathologist

Short visits:

Cadbury Garden Centre, the south west's premier garden centre is no ordinary store. You'll find all that is best for your garden and home with brilliant displays of plants and an inspiring range of quality products. They also have a lovely tea room.

The Cadbury Health Spa is a luxury four-star venue tucked away within the secluded grounds of the Doubletree by Hilton hotel. Treat yourself to a manicure or back massage.

Day trips:

Court Farm offers a lovely family day out with baby animals, trampolines, play facilities and a maize maze, it provides a fun way to enjoy the sun.

Cheddar Gorge is the biggest, most dramatic gorge in Britain, with cliffs rising to 450ft, and two beautiful stalactite caverns. The 3 mile long gorge, created by successive Ice Age meltwaters, was first occupied by our ancestors 40,000 years ago. Today it's a famous tourist beauty spot, a premier site of British prehistory, a national Nature Reserve and an international centre for caving and rock climbing.

Historic Wells is a medieval city nestling on the southern side of the Mendip Hills, with the mystic Somerset Levels stretching away to the south and west. The history of Wells goes right back to Roman times. Today you can visit the cathedral and gardens or shop till you drop in its pretty boutiques.

The Helicopter Museum has a rare and award winning collection of helicopters, unique in Great Britain and in the world. Exhibits include; Two of The Queens Flight, How helicopters work, Russian Hind attack helicopter, the world's fastest helicopter.

Puxton Park is set in the beautiful Somerset countryside. The 50-acre family adventure park is one of the largest visitor attractions in the South West providing fun and variety with something to offer everyone. From a giant indoor play barn to the delightful Pets' Village and farm shop, adults and children alike can experience a fun day out.

Places to eat and stay

'Boumbo' owned by Matthieu, Resident

Places to eat:

 Mezzé at the Ship & Castle is situated at the head of the ancient village of Congresbury on the site of a 15th century brewery and ale house. The Ship and Castle has a great deal to offer both as a restaurant and as a base to stay and take advantage of the beautiful North Somerset countryside and coastline.

Cadbury Garden Centre tearooms.

The Nelson Arms Carvery is a traditional Roast Dinner "like the one Nan used to make at home."

The Swan, Rowberrow. Rowberrow is an ex-mining village, and The Swan has been created from 3 knocked through miner's cottages overlooking the heather strewn beauty of Beacon Batch. The pub has been around since the late 1700's and started life as a cider house -Thatcher's cider is still on sale! But the real draw is the food.

The New Inn is a classic country pub overlooking Blagdon Lake.

Places to stay:

The Ship & Castle is situated at the head of the ancient village of Congresbury, on the site of a 15th century brewery and ale house. The Ship and Castle has a great deal to offer both as a restaurant and as a base to stay and take advantage of the beautiful North Somerset countryside and coastline.

The Holiday Inn is based a few miles down the road at Bristol Airport.
The Premier Inn, Sidcot.

The Plush Hotel is based a few miles down the road at Bristol Airport.

What do I need to bring to my appointment?


1. Referral letter: your vet should supply us with a letter of referral giving details of your horses relevant history and a brief summary of the problem.  They may ask you to bring this with you, or they may fax or post this to us in advance – it is best that you check with your vet regarding the arrangements that have been made in this regard.

2. X-Rays: You should bring any X-rays, scans or other information that your vet may have supplied.

3. Notes: It is a good idea to have made some brief notes about your horses history e.g. regarding dates of events and any signs of problems which you may have noticed, or a brief video if you have any, as our vet will ask you questions about this during the consultation.  It is also worth making a list of your own queries or concerns, which you can check at the end of your consultation to make sure that we have addressed them all for you.

4. Insurance paperwork: You should bring any relevant insurance documentation, including a blank claims form.  You will also need to bring a means of payment.

5. Medication: Please bring along any medication your vet may have prescribed for your horse. If they are on a special diet or given supplements, it may be worth bringing some with you, just in case we don't have any in stock.

6. Horse Passport

7. Horse Rugs

We supply bedding, soaked hay or haylage and have a range of Saracen feeds

What will happen when we arrive?

Who should come?

We much prefer that you, the owner or trainer (rather than an agent such as a friend, neighbour or driver) bring your horses to us.  This is because we will be asking detailed questions about their history and expecting to deal with the person who has responsibility for decision-making, not only regarding treatment for your horse but also with respect to financial considerations.  In the event that your horse is admitted to the hospital on the day of the appointment, we will also ask for signed consent for any procedures which have been decided upon.  It is very important that you have a full understanding of your horses condition and what the implications of any proposed investigations and treatment may be.  If you have any doubts at any stage, please do not hesitate to ask for clarification.


On arrival at the hospital you will be booked in at reception. Reception staff will advise you where to wait and where to take your horse. The clinical team will then come to meet you, usually a veterinary student will take brief history details from you. They will then show you into the examination area. You will have your initial consultation with the clinical team and then decide the best course of treatment for your horse. This may involve hospitalisation.

Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your appointment time to enable your horse to be registered before seeing the vet. The registration will consist of checking we have all your correct personal and contact details.  This time is also when we will take any insurance documentation if you wish to do a direct claim and take the direct claim fee. 

Complimentary refreshments are available in the waiting area, and our receptionists and grooms will be pleased to give you any help that you or your horse need on your arrival. If you are unable to keep your appointment or you are held up in traffic, please let the Hospital know as soon as possible.

How much will it cost?

Estimates & Payment policy

We are always happy to provide you with an estimated cost for the investigation and treatment of your individual horse – please check that this has been completed on your consent form.

What we provide is an estimate (not a quotation) as the way an individual case develops and progresses is often difficult or impossible to predict on first arrival and additional investigations, treatments and extended periods of hospitalisation can sometimes mean that the final account is significantly different from our best initial estimate.

Please take note that full payment is required at the time your horse is discharged.


But what if I've got insurance?


We offer Direct and Indirect Claims. For more information on insurance and how we deal with both Direct and Indirect claims, take a look at our Insurance Claims leaflet here.

Full details will be also sent to you in your welcome pack.

Why haven't I seen one of the Lead Clinicians?

At your initial consultation you may meet one of our Specialists who will be managing the treatment of your pet. Alternatively you may meet one of our residents (also called Clinical Training Scholars). A resident is a fully qualified Veterinary Surgeon who has already completed an internship programme either with us or another hospital. They are now in the final stages of their training to be a specialist. While they may be the person you have face-to-face contact with, our specialists will be supervising them, and have overall say in the care of your horse.

What if I arrive after reception has closed?

Equine Centre

Emergency arrival:

If you have to visit the hospital outside of normal working hours, you will have to stop at our security lodge (at the barrier by the main gate) There is a telephone situated by the security building marked 'Out of Hours,' dial the telephone number marked on the telephone which will take you through to security who will open the barrier.

Once you arrive outside the hospital there is another telephone by the front door also marked 'Out of Hours'  dial the number on the telephone which will connect you to a member of the emergency team who will come and greet you.

How long will my horse be at Langford?

A hospitalised horse

Whilst we will make every effort to perform investigations and possible surgery on the same day as the consultation (if this is in the best interests of your horse and in line with your wishes), there is no guarantee that it will be possible to do everything on that day. 

It may be that initial work will be done on the day of your appointment, and that your horse may be hospitalised for further diagnostic and possible surgical procedures to be carried out over the next few days, depending upon circumstances. 

It is also possible that your horse may need to go home after the consultation (possibly on medication) and return for diagnostic or surgical procedures at a later, mutually convenient date.  Again, this depends upon the circumstances.

It is important to understand that, like a large human hospital, the Equine Centre provides an Accident and Emergency service, and sometimes, urgent cases may need priority when we are organising our patient care.

When will I hear from you?

We will normally contact you with an update within 24 hours of admission. It may be much sooner than that if we have reached a diagnosis or if your horses condition is deteriorating. So please make sure we have the best contact details for you.

​If your horse stays with us for a few days you will be called by a Veterinary Surgeon and informed of your horses progress on a daily basis unless otherwise agreed with us. 

Will students have contact with my horse?

Students at our first opinion practice

As we are a teaching hospital, students will be involved in helping to look after your horse. This will include assisting in taking blood samples, placing intravenous catheters and providing assistance during surgical procedures.

Students are supervised by qualified nurses and vets and are not allowed to undertake any invasive procedures without full observation. As all horses in the hospital will have designated students, it means that each horse has a 'friend' assigned to them, that gets to know them very well and helps to settle them into the hospital.



You're a University - does that mean you'll experiment on my horse?

Our aim is to provide the highest quality of care for your horse and be equipped to offer the most up to date treatments and procedures available.

We do not experiment on any cases that come into the hospital for treatment. We do have on-going clinical research trials, which we may discuss with you and offer to you if we think it may be of benefit to your horse.

At no time would your horse be entered into a clinical research project without your full consent. The clinical trials we have on-going are varied but rest assured, all have undergone assessment by the ethics and welfare committee at the University of Bristol before we are allowed to carry them out. If you have any further questions or concerns regarding this topic, please ask the clinician you see when you visit the hospital.




What will happen at the discharge appointment?

When your horse is ready to be discharged, the veterinary surgeon will contact you to let you know. You will be asked to collect your horse as soon as possible.

On arrival you will be given a full set of discharge instructions which will guide you through any medication to be given at home, any follow up veterinary treatment required and general after care of your horse. You will also be asked to settle your account.

N.B. Whilst we are aware that you may need to arrange transport, please note that a livery surcharge will be made if the horse is not collected within 48hrs of discharge notification unless prior arrangements have been made with hospital staff.

You should bring the following items with you:
Travel rug and bandages
Your horses passport (Compulsory)
Any relevant insurance documentation including a claim form
A form of payment to settle your account




What if my horse has a problem after they come home?

If you simply have queries about any treatments we would recommend you phone our Reception (0117 394 0786) and ask for the clinician to speak to you or to call you back. If there has been a sudden deterioration in your horses condition at home, we recommend you speak to your normal vet immediately, and if necessary they will refer him/her back to us.
Out of hours cover
All of our clinics provide an emergency service for our registered clients. If you live a long way from the hospital it is best to call your usual vet straight away to ensure they can provide fast emergency treatment to your horse. Our vets are available 24-7 should you or your vet need advice. Please call the usual hospital phone number and you will be put through to our emergency service.


What if my horse stays in overnight? 

If your horse is admitted to the Equine Referral Hospital and stays overnight it will receive the highest possible standards of care from our overnight on-call clinical team, comprising a surgeon, a physician, an anaesthetist, two specialists-in-training (a Senior and Junior Clinical Training Scholar) and senior clinical students.
The specialist in charge of your horse will formulate a dedicated overnight plan for your horse specifying how often it must be checked and when treatments must be given. Every horse receives individual care overnight and the out of hours plans are reviewed for each horse with the overnight clinical team each day. As a minimum, every horse is checked four times overnight at 8pm, midnight, 4am and 8am and more frequent checks and treatments are provided if required by the out of hours plan.
Our team is able to provide hour-by-hour or continuous monitoring of patients as required.
If you would like more information about the overnight care of your horse, please ask when your horse is admitted and your clinical specialist will be pleased to discuss this with you.