Lameness evaluations generally involve the following procedures:
- Horses are evaluated either in hand, lunged or ridden to assess the degree of lameness.
- Hoof testers applied to rule out any hoof pain.
- Full limb or distal limb flexion tests.
- Nerve blocks. Nerve blocks eliminate the pain by desensitizing the nerve supply to a localized area. Nerve blocks are performed starting from the distal (bottom) end of the limb and sequentially move up the limb.
- Once the region of pain has been identified diagnostic procedures such as radiography and / or ultrasonography can be performed to identify skeletal (bone) pathology or soft tissue pathology respectively.
- Diagnostic nerve blocks and digital radiographs,
- Backs can then be treated in the specific area of pathology allowing these horses to continue with their competitive careers.
Arthroscopic (joint) surgery:
- Arthroscopy is used as either a diagnostic or treatment tool. Warmbloods and Thoroughbreds commonly suffer from a developmental condition called “OCD” (osteochondritis dissecans). Small osteochondral fragments can develop in the first 9-10 months after birth. These fragments may lead to lameness and effusion of the joint as a result of chronic inflammation. Generally these horses perform well after arthroscopic removal of these fragments .
- Any horse that sustains an injury in close proximity of a joint is at risk of developing septic arthritis (joint infection). Young foals usually less than 6 weeks of age that did not receive sufficient good quality colostrum are prone to developing septic arthritis. These foals may acquire the infection via the respiratory tract, gastrointestinal tract or through the umbilicus. All cases of septic arthritis are considered as emergencies and are taken into theatre to have the affected joint thoroughly lavaged. Arthroscopic guidance during the lavage generally facilitates removal of fibrin and is used to assess any damage to the cartilage.
- Arthroscopy is also used during fracture repair of condylar fractures to determine the correct alignment of the joint surface.
Colic evaluations / monitoring /surgery:
- All colic referrals are welcome.
- On arrival the colic patient undergoes a thorough clinical examination which includes a rectal examination and nasogastric intubation.
- Diagnostic ultrasonography is used to confirm certain diagnosis. A 3m video-gastroscope can be used to diagnose ulcers or stomach impactions. It has also been used to help diagnose and treat horses suffering from choke .
- The non-surgical colics are treated in purpose built ICU stables with facilities to administer intravenous fluids.
- Surgical colics are taken into theatre and monitored closely under general anesthesia. Some of the parameters that are monitored during surgery are: heart rate and rhythm (ECG) , blood pressure, expired CO2, Oxygen saturation levels, body temperature etc. A padded recovery room has been designed to assist in the safe recovery of horses.
The successful treatment of a colic is attributed to the team effort !
- Pregnancy diagnoses (rectal ultrasonography)
- Artificial inseminations (chilled or frozen semen)
- Semen collection
- Phantom training of stallions to facilitate semen collection
- Embryo transfers
- Specimen / sample collection for various reproductive tests (CEM, Dourine, EVA, etc)
- Semen transportation to your choice of destination with the use of an Equitainer
- Surgical procedures in mares: caslicks, dystocias, caesarian sections, reconstructive surgery of the perineum, granulose cell tumour removals, etc
- Surgical procedures in stallions: routine open or closed castrations, cryptorchidectomies (rig operations), urethrostomies, penile amputations, etc
Upper respiratory tract disorders:
- Video endoscopy is used to diagnose upper respiratory tract pathology. Laryngeal hemiplegia (roarers), dorsal displacement of the soft palate (DDSP), entrapped epiglottis, sub-epiglottic cysts, arytenoids chondritis, guttural pouch infections, ethmoid hematomas and sinus problems are some of the conditions that can be diagnosed and treated surgically.
- Routine evaluation, floating and correction of abnormalities of the dentition of the horse (hooks, ramps, retained caps, wolf teeth) is important not only for the horses wellbeing but also plays a role in how the horse responds to being ridden and how the head is carried.
- Radiographic evaluation of the teeth, tooth roots, and sinuses is performed to help diagnose abnormalities. Horses with molar fractures which cannot be extracted orally under sedation are taken into theatre and the teeth are removed under general anesthesia. The sinusus may be trephined to facilitate the retropulsion of a maxillary molar.
- Tooth root canal therapy is performed when extractions are not necessarily in the best interest of the horse.
- Incisive mandibular and maxillary fractures generally have an excellent prognosis. These fractures are stabilized by using an intra-oral wiring technique.
Neonatal and foal care:
- Premature or dysmature foals require intensive care and treatment. The foals are routinely evaluated for passive transfer of immunoglobulins. Plasma transfusions are performed in foals in which the IgG levels are below a certain limit.
- Premature foal’s carpal and tarsal joints are evaluated radiographically to determine if there is incomplete ossification of the cuboidal bones.
- Foals suffering from angular limb deformities are generally treated using remedial shoeing. Surgical correction of the angular deformities can be performed using periosteal stripping and / or growth plate retardation techniques. Flexural deformities are initially treated conservatively (medication,bandaging / splints, remedial shoeing) before resorting to surgical procedures.
- Foals suffering from umbilical infections (omphalophlebitis), patent urachus , umbilical hernias, scrotal hernias can be corrected surgically.
Hoof care and balance:
- “No foot no horse” – owners are encouraged to radiographically evaluate their horses feet on an annual basis.
- Canterbury Vet Clinic uses qualified, experienced farriers for routine and remedial purposes.
- Bloods, electrolytes and enzyme evaluations can be analysed in the hospital using the Heska Drichem 4000.
- Outside laboratories are used to perform tests which cannot be performed in house.
Prior to purchasing a horse every prospective buyer is strongly advised to have an experienced equine veterinarian perform a prepurchase examination. Problems associated with the horse’s soundness are most likely to be identified during the vetting and create an environment of a willing buyer and happy seller. Prognosis and treatments can be given regarding any abnormalities at this stage (eg. OCD lesions in Warmbloods –arthroscopical fragment removal), giving the buyer some insight on the future implications and costs.
- 24h Emergency service for equines.
- Routine work is performed daily.
- Digital radiography and ultrasonography can be performed at the horse’s own yard.
- Should you have any equine related questions / problems of a veterinary nature please contact us for assistance.