Key–hole Surgery Saves Bridget

Google Maps location for South Eastern Equine Hospital

South Eastern Equine Hospital
359 Hallam-Belgrave Road
Narre Warren North
Victoria 3804

03 8790 4922
03 8790 4944


Key-hole surgery is a less invasive form of surgery that has been used successfully on human patients for many years. This surgical technique is scientifically known as laparoscopy and can also be used with great results in equine patients such as Bridget as described below.

Bridget is a 12-year-old Quarter Horse X Welsh Cob who recently underwent key-hole surgery at South Eastern Equine Hospital to remove a fast growing ovarian cancer. The surgery was performed whilst Bridget was awake and standing without any impact on her unborn foal.

Bridget was artificially inseminated at the end of last year. During Bridget’s routine pregnancy scans, the veterinarian noticed one of her ovaries was abnormally large and irregular in its pattern on ultrasound. The veterinarian and Bridget’s owner closely monitored the ovary over the next few weeks and found it to be rapidlygrowing. The rate at which the ovary was growing was very concerning and it was decided that it was in Bridget’s and her foal’s best interest to have her ovary removed.

Bridget was referred to Dr Robyn Charman at South Eastern Equine Hospital at Narre Warren North for the surgical removal of the ovarian cancer. In previous times, removal of an ovarian tumour would have required general anaesthesia and a large abdominal incision to remove the ovary. However, in this modern world Bridget was made comfortable and the whole surgical procedure was performed whilst she was standing. The surgery was conducted using long instruments through small ports operated from outside the patient. A grapefruit-sized ovary was removed through a small hole in her flank, made just big enough to squeeze the ovary out. Bridget recovered very quickly from the surgery and her unborn foal was not affected by the surgical procedure.

Fortunately for Bridget, histopathological analysis (i.e. what it looked like under the microscope) revealed the ovarian tumour was a luteoma, a rare but benign ovarian cancer. With this cancer removed, Bridget should continue to provide her owner with many future years of pleasure. When Bridget was sent home from hospital, she was placed on hormonal support for her pregnancy to help the transition to only one ovary. Bridget recently had a pregnancy ultrasound and her foal is developing normally and should be grazing alongside Bridget in spring this year.



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