The Liphook Equine Hospital is one of the busiest equine surgical units in the country. Our team of four experienced European and RCVS recognised surgical specialists accept referrals from veterinary surgeons across the country for both emergency and elective surgical procedures around the clock every day of the year.
The surgeons are assisted by a team of experienced equine theatre nurses and anaesthetists. Round the clock post-operative care is provided by our large team of nursing staff and housevets under the supervision of the surgeons.
Many surgeries are performed under general anaesthesia in our fully equipped equine operating theatre. Horses can be moved into and out of the padded anaesthesia induction and recovery boxes by an overhead electronic rail system. State of the art anaesthetic monitoring equipment is available to the anaesthetists. CCTV in the recovery room ensures that the anaesthetist can closely monitor horses during anaesthetic recovery. Many procedures can now be performed with the horse standing under sedation and local anaesthesia thereby reducing the risk of complications associated with general anaesthesia and reducing the cost for the owner.
A wide range of different emergency and elective surgeries are regularly performed at The Liphook Equine Hospital including,
Most surgery of equine joints and other synovial cavities is now performed using minimally invasive (‘keyhole’) techniques. This has resulted in better outcomes and horses returning to work more quickly. All of our surgeons are experienced in the use of minimally invasive surgical techniques (eg. arthroscopy and tenoscopy) which are regularly performed at The Liphook Equine Hospital for the management of a wide range of musculoskeletal conditions and injuries.
The development of new internal fixation techniques (plates and screws) for horses and improvements in imaging and anaesthesia techniques means that many more fractures in the horse can now be repaired and result in the horse returning to athletic performance. The surgeons at The Liphook Equine Hospital have the expertise and equipment available to them in order for fracture fixation to be performed.
The nature of the horse means that traumatic wounds and injuries are all too common. Therefore as well as performing elective surgery, a 24 hour emergency surgical service is available for the treatment and management of musculoskeletal injuries such as wounds, septic joints and fractures.
Approximately 130 emergency abdominal (‘colic’) surgeries are performed at The Liphook Equine Hospital each year. All of our surgeons are extremely experienced in colic surgery and all of them have lectured on this topic at international conferences.
However, not only is the experience of the surgeons important when performing corrective surgery but intensive care nursing in the immediate post-operative period is essential to a successful outcome. At The Liphook Equine Hospital all post-operative colic patients are nursed and monitored around the clock in our intensive care facility by our highly skilled and experienced nursing and veterinary staff.
Laparoscopic standing surgery in the horse was pioneered at The Liphook Equine Hospital by John Walmsley in the 1990s and early 2000s and the surgeons at the hospital maintain a keen interest in this field. Laparoscopic (or keyhole) surgery of the abdomen enables the surgeon to visualise and evaluate the gastrointestinal tract and other structures of the abdomen using a camera inserted through small incisions in the flank and therefore in most cases can be performed in the standing horse therefore avoiding the need for general anaesthesia. Laparoscopic surgery can be used to assess the gastrointestinal tract in horses with weight loss or recurrent colic. Minimally invasive laparoscopic surgical techniques are commonly used to remove retained testicles in cryptorchid horses or remove ovaries in mare with ovarian tumours or cysts or for behavioural reasons. This minimally invasive surgery results in less morbidity in the post-operative period and a much shorter recovery period.
Dental and sinus surgery
Dental disease is common in the horse and often results in secondary infection of the paranasal sinuses. Dental surgery is routinely performed at The Liphook Equine Hospital both under general anaesthesia and in the standing sedated horse under local anaesthesia. Furthermore sinus surgery to remove sinus cysts, ethmoid haematomas and for other sinus conditions is also commonly performed under standing sedation.
Respiratory tract surgery
Upper respiratory tract conditions are a common cause of poor performance and exercise intolerance in racehorses and sports horses. At The Liphook Equine Hospital our surgeons perform surgeries on the larynx and pharynx to improve airway dynamics using both traditional methods and minimally invasive endoscopic laser surgery.
The Liphook Equine Hospital has a portable diode laser that can be laser used as a non-invasive method of treating a variety of surgical conditions. The laser can be used via an endoscope for the treatment of laryngeal hemiplegia and dorsal displacement of the soft palate. It is also used for the ablation of masses of both the upper and lower respiratory tract and urogenital tract and for the removal of equine sarcoids and other skin tumours.