Surgery & Inpatient Care - FAQ on your horse visiting SEH
What should I bring?
If your horse is staying at the hospital please bring their rugs and any stable bandages that they usually wear. We stock most usual feedstuffs and the nurse that admits your horse will take a note of what he/she usually eats. Additionally, don't forget your passport, insurance details and claim form.
Will my horse need a general anaesthetic?
How will I know what is going on?
Updates: One of our team will call you each morning to update you on your horse's progress. If we have performed a significant procedure or surgery, one of our vets will call you once that procedure is completed. If your horse is in a critical state, our team will always update you immediately of any significant change.
Visiting: Visitors are welcome within working hours but please call reception ahead of your visit to let us know that you are coming.
What happens on the day of surgery?
* Horses are usually starved overnight prior to having a general anaesthetic.
* An intra-venous catheter will be placed in the neck, so a patch of hair will be clipped there. The anaesthetist will examine your horse before they sedate and pre-medicate him/her with appropriate medications, including antibiotics and pain relief.
* Anaesthesia is induced in our padded induction room using an intravenous drug.
* Your horse is then moved into the operating suite and positioned on the operating table ready for surgery.
* Hair will be clipped at the surgery site and small patches in other places on the body to allow positioning of anaesthesia monitoring equipment.
* After surgery has ended, the horse is moved back into the padded room to recover from the anaesthetic.
What should I expect afterwards?
Lameness Assessment - FAQ on your horse visiting SEH
What should I do before my appointment?
Your horse needs to be lame on the day of examination, so unless advised otherwise by your vet, you should keep on with light work. Shoes should remain on if your horse is normally shod.
If your horse has been receiving painkilling drugs such as 'bute', we would normally recommend not giving this for 2 days before you come into the hospital. If you are unsure, please call the clinic to discuss.
If your horse is likely to be staying at the hospital please bring his/her rugs. We stock most usual feedstuffs.
Finally, don't forget your passport, insurance details and claim form.
What to Expect...
Lameness is a common problem in all kinds of horses, from children's ponies and happy hackers to elite performance animals.
If your horse is referred to the Sussex Equine Hospital for a lameness investigation, he or she will be seen by one of our dedicated hospital clinicians.
Lameness investigations usually start with a thorough clinical examination and gait assessment. Clinical examination will usually include observation, palpation and manipulation of the musculoskeletal system. Gait assessment may include evaluation of the horse at walk and trot in-hand on both hard and soft surfaces and lunging at trot, and sometimes canter, in both directions on hard and soft surfaces.
In most lameness cases diagnostic imaging is used to help determine the cause of lameness, once a region or regions of interest have been identified. The type of imaging used will depend on the nature of the lameness. All imaging methods are 'non-invasive', meaning that they should not be uncomfortable or painful for you horse.
* Radiography ('X-rays')
Taking radiographs is one of the most common ways we image the horse's skeleton. Several different views of the area of interest are obtained in order to highlight all the aspects of the joint or structure being imaged. Your horse will usually be sedated for a radiographic examination.
Ultrasound is a great way to image soft tissue structures such as tendons and ligaments. The area being imaged will usually have to be clipped for ultrasound examinations.
* Scintigraphy ('bone-scan')
In many cases, including horses with suspected injuries of the neck, back, pelvis and upper limbs, or for the horses which are not amenable to nerve blocking, bone scan is the best options. A radioactive dye is injected into your horse's bloodstream and then a camera is used to image the bones. 'Hotspots' appear where there is increased turnover of bone, giving a measure of the bone activity in certain sites of the skeleton. Your horse will have to stay in the hospital for 2-3 days if he/she is having a bone scan followed by a lameness examination.
Once the cause of lameness has been established we will be able to advise you on appropriate treatment and management strategies, including whole horse or joint medication, surgery, farriery, exercise programmes or shockwave therapy.
When is the right time to breed the mare and how do we determine this?
Are there any ways of getting my mare to cycle early?
When should I get a pre-breeding check done on my mare?
How old is 'too old' for breeding a mare?
What is the mare’s breeding cycle?
The oestrous cycle is generally 21 days long (+/- 2-3 days), and can be divided into two phases, the follicular phase and the luteal phase. The follicular phase (oestrus) is when the mare is in ʻseasonʼ. This can last for 4-7 days, during this period the mare display signs that she is ready to be bred e.g. posturing to urinate, raise their tail particularly in the presence of a stallion. The remaining time is the luteal phase (dioestrus) which starts just after the mare ovulates. The mare will actively display signs that she is not ready to be bred e.g. squealing/
tail clamping or kicking out at the stallion.