Our team understand what a daunting prospect surgery can be in your horse. In order to help you understand the procedure and to answer any questions you may have beforehand, admission appointments are arranged with one of our vets. During this appointment, a member of our nursing team will take details about your horse’s normal management to reassure you that your horse will receive gold-standard care during their stay at Towcester Equine Vets. Our nurses are incredibly accommodating and are happy to follow your instructions about how you wold like your horse to be cared for, including feeding routine, rugging and grooming.
Many of our surgical procedures are carried by our own veterinary team. Procedures such as enucleations (removal of the eye), castrations, impinging dorsal spinous process resection (‘kissing spine’ surgery) and joint flushes are performed by our own veterinary team. More specialist procedures including orthopaedic surgeries – fracture fixations and arthroscopies, wind operations and sarcoid laser removal are completed by our visiting veterinary specialists. We have great links with surgeons, whom are specialists within their respective fields. You can read about out visiting team on our Meet the Team – External surgeons page.
Visiting your horse
You are welcome to visit your horse during their stay, both during the week and by prior arrangement at weekends. Please be aware that visitation is not permitted on the day of surgery. In order to ensure that the vet team in on hand to meet with you during your visit, please make the reception team aware of your estimated time of arrival. Weekend visits need to be pre-arranged by the on-call duty vet.
Purpose-built surgical facilities and recovery boxes have been created at our Paulerspury clinic in order to ensure that safest possible surgical environment is catered for. We also have a selection of inpatient stables and padded stocks, plus a large treatment room and x-ray room to ensure that we can complete any necessary diagnostics before surgery. If you would like to find out more about our facilities, please click here.
Procedures we offer
Extensive surgical procedures can be performed either by our own vets or visiting veterinary specialists at our Plum Park clinic. Procedures performed are listed below, albeit not an exhaustive list. Please talk to one of our vets if you would like to find out more about a surgical procedure. Horses requiring colic surgery are sent to a referral level hospital for exploratory laparotomies.
This technique is used in minimally invasive surgery to examine joints (arthroscopy), tendon sheaths (tenoscopy) and bursae (bursoscopy). The technique is used as both a diagnostic aid, enabling visualisation of the inside of a joint and in the treatment of joint disease, such as joint infections and the removal of bone chips in osteochondrosis dissecans (OCD). Our arthroscopic camera can be used in a variety of cases, click here to find out more.
This technique allows the surgeon to visualise the abdominal cavity in the standing horse, thereby eliminating the risks that a general anaesthetic surgery carries. Procedures using laparoscopy include abdominal rig castration, ovariectomy and intestinal biopsy.
We can complete resection of impinging dorsal spinous processes of the lumbar vertebrae in the back (commonly known as ‘kissing spines’) carried out as a standing surgical procedure. Following diagnosis, our vets will be able to talk you through the different medical and surgical options available for horses who have ‘kissing spines’ including bone resection and transection of the interspinous ligament.
Laser sarcoid surgery
Laser sarcoid removal is carried out by visiting veterinary surgeon Jeremy Kemp-Symonds who is a specialist in the field of skin cancers and tumours. With your consent, we can refer potential sarcoid cases to Jeremy for a second opinion, following which the most suitable treatment options can be discussed, including CO2 laser removal, electrochemotherapy and photodynamic therapy. Depending on the anatomical location of the sarcoids; laser removal can either be completed under standing sedation or under general anaesthetic at our Paulerspury clinic. For more information about sarcoid removal, visit: www.sarcoidsurgery.com
General anaesthesia vs standing sedation
If your horse needs to undergo surgery, our vets will be able to advise on whether it can be performed under standing sedation and local anaesthetic in our stocks or whether a general anaesthetic is required. Due to the size and nature of horses, a general anaesthetic does carry more risks, however we have an experienced team of anaesthetists and modern theatre equipment to minimise these risks as much as possible. We also have 2 padded induction boxes, constant monitoring equipment and a rope assisted recovery system. Where possible, standing sedation is used over a general anaesthetic but this is dictated by surgical procedure and your vet will be able to advise you on what is best for your horse.
Following surgery, a dedicated team will monitor and care for your horse until they are ready to return home. This includes monitoring vital parameters to make sure any post-operative complications are identified and managed swiftly. The team make every effort to ensure gut motility is restored to normal following surgery to reduce any risk of colic; this is achieved with an evidence-based post-operative feeding regime and the administration of intravenous and oral fluids to keep your horse hydrated where required.
When your horse is ready to return home, a discharge appointment will be booked with the treating vet. A written surgical report and detailed discharge instructions for ongoing management are provided to advise you regarding home care. Future appointments can also be discussed at this time and whether additional professional help is required, including physiotherapy or remedial farriery.
To discuss a surgical procedure with a member of our veterinary team, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01327 811007.