Equine Surgery

Our hospital is equipped and able to perform all types of elective and emergency surgeries, including arthroscopic surgery, laparoscopic procedures, upper respiratory tract surgery, fracture repair and colic surgery. Most surgeries are performed under general anaesthesia, but some surgeries (some laparoscopic procedures, some reproductive surgeries, some eye or sinus surgeries) will be performed with the horse standing.

If your horse is scheduled for surgery, please take as much time as necessary to understand and discuss the procedure and attending risks. Our veterinarians will be very happy to discuss everything with you at length and some your questions may be answered under Frequently Asked Questions. 

All surgeries are overseen by Dr Sarah Jalim and each surgical team consists of equine surgeons, anaesthetists and a team of veterinary nurses. 

It is now commonplace that most joint surgery is carried out with a “minimally invasive” approach; often referred to as “keyhole” surgery. Arthroscopic surgery involves the use of a camera placed into the joint to remove or repair damaged joint tissues under visualisation. A digital capture system is used to take and store images and video during procedures.

Unfortunately, colic surgery is commonly acquired in horses. Continual progress in new techniques and advances in intensive care means that the success rates are steadily improving. At the Bendigo Equine Hospital, we perform many colic surgeries each year, and between our surgical team, and the very dedicated post-operative care that our patients receive, we have many happy outcomes.

Advances in diagnostic imaging and some of the equipment available means that more fracture repairs can be completed in horse with success. Common fracture repairs undertaken in adults include repairs of fractured pasterns, condylar fractures and carpal slab fractures

Laparoscopy involves the use of a camera placed into the horse’s abdomen to explore abdominal organs (in the cases of unexplained or recurrent cases of colic for example). It is also used to remove retained testicles (cryptorchids) and ovaries (both normal and diseased).

Examples of surgery on the reproductive tract that are commonly performed by the Victorian Equine Group include correction of post foaling injuries (such as third degree perineal lacerations and rectovaginal fistulas) and procedures to improve fertility (correction of anatomical abnormalities, or laparoscopic treatment of blocked oviducts). Many of these surgeries will be performed on the standing, sedated mare.

Examples of elective surgery include castration of normal horses and cryptorchids (or “rigs”), wound repair, and flushing of contaminated or infected joints and synovial structures, umbilical hernia repair and foal limb surgery (transphyseal bridging techniques and correction of flexural deformities).

Examples of upper respiratory tract surgery include the placement of a laryngeal prosthesis (a “tie-back”) and ventriculocoredctomies for the treatment of laryngeal neuropathy (or
“roarers”), treatment of soft palate abnormalities (a “tie-forward”), surgery for epiglottic entrapments, and management of the other disorders that we may identify on standing or dynamic endoscopy.

Our hospital admits in excess of 100 sick neonatal foals over the course of the breeding season. These foals commonly suffer from conditions such as neonatal septicaemia, neonatal maladjustment (“dummy foal”) syndrome, and other gastrointestinal and urogenital problems. We have excellent purpose built intensive care facilities for mares and foals that to allow mares and foals to be separated so that they can be given continual intravenous fluids, continual oxygen and assisted feeding. We have an excellent team that allows us to provide the highest level of intensive care.