Specialised Veterinary Surgery for Horses
Specialised Veterinary Surgery for Horses
Equine Surgical Services
All surgeries are performed by a registered specialist in Equine Surgery or under their guidance. The hospital is equipped to undertake most recognised surgical procedures. Last year over 300 surgical procedures were performed under general anaesthesia and over 50 major surgical procedures were performed standing under sedation. Both general anaesthetic and standing surgical suites are fully equipped with up to date equipment and include:
– Kruuse multi-tilt table
– Fully updated arthroscopic equipment
– Full range of AO/ASIF equipment for repair of fractures
– Rubber floored standing surgical suite
– Fully padded induction and recovery box
– Assisted rope recovery system following anaesthesia
– State of the art laparoscopic equipment
– Invasive blood pressure monitoring and blood gas analysis
– Mechanical ventilation under general anaesthesia
– CCTV monitored recoveries
– New dental extraction equipment
Equine Orthopaedic Surgery
Our surgeons have extensive experience in performing arthroscopy, tenoscopy, fracture repair, joint fusion techniques, correction of angular limb deformities and management of wounds.
Most surgery involving joints or synovial structures is performed using minimally invasive techniques (keyhole surgery) with horses under general anaesthesia. Arthroscopic and tenoscopic surgery is routinely performed for removal of bone fragments, OCD surgeries and treatment of infected (septic) joints.
Fracture repair can be performed under general anaesthesia and standing under sedation (where appropriate). The use of pre and intra-surgical radiography has improved implant placement significantly and the development of numerous internal fixation techniques means that many more fractures in the horse can now be repaired successfully.
We welcome referrals for elective surgery and offer a 24-hour emergency service for treatment of musculoskeletal injuries including fractures, septic (infected) joints and wounds.
Equine Colic Surgery
Signs of abdominal pain include pawing, flank-watching, lying down and rolling. Most signs of colic are caused by problems in the gastrointestinal tract and involve a form of obstruction.
We see numerous cases of colic every year and following examination of your horse (including ultrasound, laboratory tests, passage of a nasogastric tube and abdominocentesis) a prompt decision can be made to identify the cause of your horse’s colic.
While the majority of horses with colic can be treated with pain relief and fluid therapy (oral or intravenous) some horses will require more intensive treatment or emergency surgery. Early examination at the hospital is recommended to allow the best outcome for your horse.
For emergency colic surgery, horses need to be anaesthetised and a surgical incision made into the abdomen. All horses will be administered intravenous fluids, antibiotics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories while under anaesthesia. At surgery a variety of conditions can be identified including large intestinal displacements, small and large intestinal “twists”, intussusception (telescoping of bowel segments) and physical obstructions (impaction of feed material or masses). Most of these conditions are amenable to surgical correction although in some cases removal of damaged bowel and joining of healthy segments may be required.
Post-operative management of cases is imperative for a good recovery. Following recovery from anaesthesia, horses will be moved into an intensive care stable and will be continuously monitored. Administration of intravenous fluids, antibiotics and pain relief will be provided and feed will gradually be re-introduced following surgery. All horses are closely monitored with ultrasound to determine whether intestinal motility is adequate and to determine whether any build-up of fluid is present within the stomach. Post-operative intestinal ileus (poor intestinal motility) is relatively common and can be treated with various medications.
If you are concerned that you have a horse showing signs of colic, please contact the hospital immediately on 03 8790 4922 or your referring veterinarian.
Equine Airway & Respiratory Surgery
Many performance horses exhibit problems associated with the upper airway when performing strenuous exercise. These problems usually result in the horse making a noise during exercise.
Diagnosis of the cause of the noise can sometimes be challenging however a combination of resting endoscopy and laryngeal ultrasound can help determine the cause. We also have access to perform overground or exercising endoscopy at the hospital if your horse requires further investigation.
Following determination of the cause of the noise various surgeries are able to be performed at the hospital including:
– Laryngeal “tie-back” surgery – for treatment of “roarers”
– Laryngeal advancement (tie-forward) surgery – for treatment of soft palate problems
– Epiglottic entrapment surgery
– Removal of laryngeal masses/arytenoid chondritis
– Laryngeal dysplasia
Laser surgery for a variety of upper airway complaints is commonly performed on horses standing under sedation. This surgery can now be performed at the hospital by our surgeons
Sinus disease commonly causes nasal discharge. Diagnosis requires a combination of upper airway endoscopy and radiography. Causes of sinus disease include sinusitis, dental disease, sinus cysts, ethmoid haematoma and tumours. Similar to arthroscopy, minimally invasive methods for examining the sinuses are able to be performed at the hospital. These techniques are usually performed with the horse standing under sedation and local anaesthesia and have the benefit of improving visualisation and reducing the risk of haemorrhage in these patients.
Laparoscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that allows examination of the equine abdomen in a standing horse while sedated or under general anaesthesia.
The abdomen is distended with gas (carbon dioxide) and instruments are inserted through small incisions (15mm in length) into the abdomen. A video camera is attached to a laparoscope and the laparoscope is placed into the abdomen via the small incisions. The organs can then be visualised on a video monitor. This procedure is minimally invasive, can be performed either standing or under general anaesthesia and provides extremely good visualisation of the internal organs of the horse.
Laparoscopy can be used as a diagnostic and surgical tool. Common conditions that can be treated laparoscopically include ovary removal (normal and diseased ovaries), cryptorchid castration, application of PGE gel onto oviducts, investigation of chronic/recurrent colic and investigation of weight loss.
Thoracoscopy is another minimally invasive surgical procedure that allows examination of the organs within the chest. It allows excellent visualisation of the lung surfaces and can be performed in horses standing under sedation. It can be used for treatment of complicated cases of pleuropneumonia (travel sickness), intra-thoracic oesophageal disease and lung biopsy.
Laparoscopic application of prostaglandin onto the oviduct of a mare that was unable to get in foal.
Equine Dental Surgery
Dental surgery refers to procedures that affect the dental tissues or their supporting structures. Advances in quality of sedation, analgesia, and locoregional anaesthesia allow a majority of dental surgeries to be performed in the standing patient.
After accurate diagnosis, it is sometimes necessary for infected or fractured teeth to be removed and with full surgical facilities at hand, the step from diagnosis to treatment is seamless and hospitalisation times are kept to a minimum.
At South Eastern Equine Hospital we have the expertise and equipment to ensure that a large number of these cases can be successfully managed.
The most commonly performed surgery in young male horses is castration. This can be performed at the hospital. A number of techniques have been developed to reduce the incidence of complications following castration which include ligation (tying off) of the blood vessels (to reduce bleeding after surgery) and closing the vaginal tunic (to reduce the risk of evisceration/eventration). Horses that are presented for castration at the hospital can have a routine castration performed via a quick general anaesthetic or a castration performed within the surgical suite which involves skin closure.
Both techniques involve ligation of the blood vessels and closure of the tunic and we believe there is a reduction in complications because of this.
Male horses that have an undescended testicle (Rig or cryptorchid) that are presented to the clinic will have an ultrasound examination performed prior to surgery in an attempt to locate the undescended testicle. If the testicle is located within the inguinal canal, a routine castration can be performed. However if the testicle is located within the abdomen, a laparoscopic procedure can be used to identify and remove the testicle from the abdomen. The laparoscopic procedure has the benefit of improved visibility and is a minimally invasive technique.
Mares can occasionally suffer damage to their reproductive tract during foaling. The most common injuries that are suffered include perineal lacerations. Surgery is performed on these mares standing under sedation and following an epidural to repair the damage to the perineal area (including the rectum and vestibule).
Mon - Fri: 8:30am - 5:30pm
Sat: Emergencies only
Sun: Emergencies only
359 Belgrave-Hallam Road
Narre Warren North
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