Our surgical suite consists of a large equine operating theatre with a separate knock down/recovery box. This box is completely padded to protect the horse during the induction and recovery from anaesthesia. There is a separate scrub area for the surgeon, instrument stores and a changing room to ensure a sterile environment is maintained in the theatre. Standing surgery is performed in the adjacent examination room in stocks.
There is a hydraulic operating table which can be adjusted to the required height; with various attachable leg and head supports to ensure correct and comfortable positioning of the horse. The theatre is fully equipped to carry out most cases on horses of all sizes, from miniature horses to the largest draft horse.
Arthroscopy is “key-hole” surgery used to examine and treat joints, tendons sheaths and bursae in the horse. Using a sterile rigid fibreoptic arthroscope, the inside of these structures can be visualised and assessed. In most cases, this is not only a diagnostic tool, but is a means of surgical treatment. The arthroscope can be used in most joints of the horse, for a wide variety of conditions such as OCD, fracture removal, infected joints and assessment of soft tissues within joints and tendon sheaths.
At Newnham Court Equine clinic, we use laser surgery for treatment of horses with certain type of skin tumour, in particular certain types and locations of sarcoid and melanomas. Surgical laser can cut through skin and other soft tissues, just like a normal surgical blade, but since the emitted energy also results in heat, small blood vessels are sealed immediately. This is extremely useful when operating on skin tumours, where there is increased risk of spreading the tumour via the blood or lymphatic system, or when there is not enough skin to close the wound. The laser also vaporises cells as it cuts, reducing the chance of tumour cells contaminating the surrounding healthy tissues.
We use a SMART surgical approach to attempt to minimise further spread of tumour. This technique means we bring healthy skin edges together before the tumour is removed. When the tumour is removed with the laser, the skin edges are easily apposed and stitched together without the underlying tissues having been exposed to the tumour at any point.
To spread the cost of laser surgery, we try to organise a day in which we can treat several horses in one sitting. However, we can arrange for laser surgery to be performed on your horse at any time convenient to you.
If your horse has sarcoids or melanomas, please contact Katie Snalune to arrange a consultation on 01622 737884 or firstname.lastname@example.org, to discuss whether laser surgery is suitable.
Most horses presenting with colic respond well to medical management in the field or in the clinic. Less than 10% of cases presenting with colic require surgical intervention. However, this is a major undertaking and a scary situation to be faced with. There is a risk to your horse, a large financial input and it is a big commitment in terms of aftercare. If surgery is necessary, however, it should be undertaken as soon as possible.
Colic surgery is performed with the horse under general anaesthesia and these cases carry a higher risk of anaesthetic complications compared to other patients. Throughout the procedure, the horse is carefully monitored by a dedicated anaesthetist. A midline ventral abdominal incision is made to allow for systematic exploration of the horse’s abdomen and identification of the cause of the colic. Once identified, corrective surgery can be performed, which may involve removal of dead bowel, removing gas, correcting bowel displacements and taking biopsy samples for evaluation.
Post-operative complications can and do occur, most commonly surgical site infections and colic. We manage the abdominal incision with belly bandages and monitor them closely. Depending on the type of colic, we will discuss at length the short and long term prognosis for survival, and the type of aftercare needed, to help you make an informed decision
Undertaking colic surgery requires a large team of people – surgeon, anaesthetist, intern and nurses. As a small clinic, there are occasions when we do not have the staff available to us to accept your case. In these occasional circumstances, we will recommend referral of your horse or pony to the closest facility to treat your horse.
Some cases require specialised surgery and in these cases, we invite specialist surgeons to operate at NCEC. This enables our cases to receive the highest standard of care, whilst staying close to home. In some cases, your horse may need to be referred, and we maintain close excellent links with many referral centres.
There are piped gases for anaesthesia. All anaesthetised patients are monitored using an electrocardiogram, to measures the heart rate and rhythm, a pulsoximeter to measure the oxygen concentration in the blood, direct arterial blood pressure monitoring, capnography and blood gas analysis.
Horses are usually given intravenous fluids during the operation via a catheter to help maintain their blood pressure, and in sick colics, we routinely measure blood gases throughout the procedure, to assist us in identifying and treating problems.
All anaesthesia is performed by a trained vet, whilst another vet performs the surgery, and both are supported in theatre by a dedicated nursing team, ensuring that your horse receives the highest standard of care.