Del Oeste Equine Hospital’s veterinary surgeons are highly trained and experienced in surgical solutions for many common conditions. We offer a wide range of equine surgical procedures, including:
Routine and Cryptorchid Castration
Castration in horses is an extremely common and valuable surgery. Intact stallions are often unpredictable and dangerous, to humans as well as to other horses. This means that, legally, horse owners who decide to keep a stallion must provide an adequate, isolating fenced area. Geldings are much less likely to exhibit behavioral problems, and are simply safer for everyone.
A cryptorchid horse retains one or both of its testicles in the inguinal canal or abdominal cavity. This condition generally goes unnoticed until the horse is seen to be castrated. The name comes from crypt, meaning hidden, and orchid, referring to testes.
Eye Removal (Enucleation)
Glaucoma, tumors, traumatic injury, and chronic uveitis (moon blindness) are the most common causes for an enucleation surgery. The primary reason for performing an enucleation surgery is to relieve a chronic source of pain. Usually, the horse is already blind and all other remedies have been exhausted.
A pre-surgical exam and bloodwork is performed the day before surgery. The day of the procedure, a second exam precedes anesthetic administration and eye removal. For a better cosmetic appearance, a prosthesis can be inserted. The horse will remain at the hospital 24 hours for observation and post-surgical treatment. Your veterinary surgeon will send your horse home with pain medication and antibiotics. Sutures are removed in 10–14 days.
Del Oeste’s surgeons diagnose and remove a variety of benign and malignant tumors from the skin, musculature, ovaries, and other organs. A commonly encountered example is removal of Eye Cancer (Excision of Ocular Neoplasia).
Cryosurgery employs a controlled stream of liquid nitrogen to freeze tumors on the skin. It’s a relatively non-invasive treatment for a variety of skin cancers. Cryosurgery is the treatment of choice whenever surgical resection is difficult or dangerous.
Umbilical Hernia Repair
An umbilical hernia is an abnormal protrusion of tissue or an organ through an opening in the abdominal wall.
Correction of Club Foot (Inferior Check Ligament Desmotomy)
A club foot is often characterized as a short toe and long heel combination. A radiograph will reveal that P3, or the coffin bone, is rotated and not parallel with the ground.
Club feet have been classified into four grades:
- 1. Slight rotation — May not be apparent to the eye.
- 2. Marked rotation — Dished profile or hoof wall.
- 3. More pronounced rotation — Significant misalignment also occurring in P1 and P2 as they are “pushed up” by P3. Profile of front rim of coffin bone visible as a crescent on the bottom of the hoof.
- 4. Severe club foot — Front of coffin bone is vertical or behind the vertical.
With grades 1 and 2, a club foot can sometimes be corrected with trimming, shoeing, and dietary changes. With grades 3 and 4, surgery is recommended. A grade 2 club foot may require surgery, if more conservative therapies don’t produced the desired outcome. Surgery involves cutting the check ligament, allowing the deep flexor tendon to relax, thus relieving the pull on the coffin bone. Club foot correction surgery is recommended at six months of age.
Correction of Angular Limb Deformity
Angular deformities are common in newborn foals; serious cases require surgical intervention. The goal of surgery is to accelerate or decrease the growth in a particular side of the bone in order to correct the deformity.
Fractured Splint-Bone Repair
Fractured splint bones — small bones located on either side of the larger cannon bone of the horse’s lower limb — are a common injury. Surgical repair depends on the exact location and severity of the fracture. Our skilled surgeons and advanced radiographic equipment provide an accurate diagnosis and appropriate repair.