The Minster Equine Clinic is equipped with a purpose-built surgery suite and two padded anaesthetic induction and recovery boxes. In theatre there is a fully networked digital station and a direct digital radiography (DR) system capability for taking and viewing digital radiographs and ultrasound images during surgery. For arthroscopic, laparoscopic and upper airway procedures, a networked digital capture system is used to take and store images and videos during surgery.
Five stalls are located within the surgical building to accommodate our high risk and intensive care cases.
- Orthopaedic Surgery
- Respiratory Surgery
- Laparoscopic Surgery
- Urogenital Surgery
ArthroscopyArthroscopy is a minimally invasive (“key hole”) surgical technique used for the evaluation and treatment of orthopaedic conditions within joints, tendon sheaths and bursae – techniques for exploring pretty much any joint or bursa has been described. Arthroscopy represents a “gold standard” to assess the health of cartilage within joints as there is no available imaging modality capable of accurately assessing cartilage damage in the horse. Arthroscopy can be performed to remove bone chip fractures and osteochondral (OCD) fragments, assist fracture repair, treat infected joints, tendon sheaths and bursae, and to evaluate and treat tendon or ligamentous damage. Some of the advantages of arthroscopy include an ability to accurately assess damage within joints, an ability to use a less invasive approach to access the joint, therefore decreasing the risk of post-operative complications as well as shortening the recovery period. Knowing exactly what’s going on with a joint facilitates a much better prognosis.
Tendon / Ligament SurgeryTendon and ligament injuries are a common cause of lameness in all types of performance horse. Various cutting-edge treatments are now available to promote better quality healing of tendon and ligament tissues. These include the direct injection of platelet-rich-plasma (PRP), non-cellular support proteins (Hyaluronic Acid), and stem cells into the injured tendon or ligament. Focused extracorporeal shock wave therapy is another treatment that promotes ligament healing at bone attachment sites (For more information on shock-wave please click here. Various surgical procedures can be performed to treat proximal suspensory ligament desmitis (PSD) in the hind limb, a common condition in the performance horse. These include fascial release around the ligament and neurectomy (cutting only the nerve which supplies the head of the suspensory ligament).
Orthopaedic surgery in the foalIn the growing foal, flexural and angular limb deformities can occur. These may be treated with corrective trimming and shoeing alone in some cases. In those that fail to respond, various surgical treatments can be performed to change the growth in the limb (growth plate bridging) or reduce tension in the tendons (superior or inferior check ligament desmotomy) in order to correct limb alignment.
Fracture RepairFractures can occur in all ages of horse, and involve long bones, the smaller bones in and around joints, and the bones in the hoof. Our clinic has commonly treated fractures in racehorses using a combination of direct digital imaging and advanced implant technology. Our specialized team of orthopaedic surgeons, veterinary anaesthetists and purpose-built recovery rooms ensures the best possible outcome is achieved in such high-risk orthopaedic patients.
Partial or complete obstruction of the upper airway due to abnormal anatomy or function is a very common cause of poor performance in both racehorses and sport horses that may be accompanied by an abnormal noise while exercising.The most commonly encountered conditions include:
It should be noted that many of the conditions that can affect performance are “dynamic”, which basically means that they only occur during exercise. We use the latest technology to enable us to get clear images of your horse’s throat during exercise. Please see the spate section on over ground endoscopy for more information.
Surgical treatments performed at the Minster Equine Clinic include the “Hobday” which can be performed conventionally under a general anaesthetic (GA). However, we also offer this treatment using a laser, which can be performed under standing sedation, negating the risk and cost accompanied with the GA.
We also routinely perform “tie-back” (for roarer), “tie-forward” (for DDSP), arytenoidectomy, laser resection of aryepiglottic folds and endoscopic laser release (for epiglottic entrapment).
Sinus and dental surgeries are also regularly performed on both pleasure and performance horses, either standing or under general anaesthesia.
Abdominal laparoscopy is a minimally invasive surgery in which an endoscope is inserted through a small incision into the abdominal cavity. It can be performed in the standing or anaesthetized horse. Excellent visualization of abdominal organs and the reduced size of the abdominal incisions required may enable the horse to return to competition sooner than conventional techniques. Examples of when this technique is used include:
- Removal of ovarian tumours (granulosa cell tumours) or abnormally functioning ovaries
- Removal of abdominally retained testicles (“rig” castration)
- Investigation of chronic low-grade colic
Castration is a commonly performed routine surgical procedure that can be carried out both on the road and in the clinic by our vets. Castrations can be performed at any time of year however they should ideally be carried out in either the spring or autumn months as this helps to avoid the flies associated with summer and wet/muddy conditions with winter. Surgery can be performed under either standing sedation or general anesthesia. This decision may be based, among other factors, on the size or age of the horse/pony and the temperament or previous handling experience of the horse. Foals, small ponies and shetlands are often challenging to castrate while standing due to their size and badly behaved or poorly handled horses will likely be much quicker and safer to castrate under general anaesthesia.
A colt/stallion can be castrated at any age however in older horses it can sometimes be preferable to perform castration under general anaesthesia which may require use of an operating theatre depending on the case. This can be decided on a case by case basis and our vets are available to discuss what would be most suitable for your individual horse’s needs. In order to perform a routine castration, both testicles must be descended into the scrotum. If only one testicle is present (rig), it is likely that admission to an equine hospital will be required as the retained testicle can be anywhere from the inguinal ring (groin) to somewhere in the abdomen.
In a standing castration our vets perform an open technique. This is where the scrotum and vaginal tunic (sac) containing the testicle are incised (cut) and then left open for drainage after the testicle has been removed. An incision is made for each testicle and so after castration your horse will have two incisions left open for drainage. Our vets will explain the monitoring and aftercare required following castration but this typically involves stabling overnight followed by a combination of turnout and controlled exercise to help with swelling.