Advances in Throat Surgery

SEH team performing standing “tie back” surgery

Sussex Equine Hospital provides the most advanced state-of-the-art treatment options available for horses with upper airway problems. These include tie backs and laryngeal re-innervation, both of which can be done standing without the need for horses to go through a general anaesthetic.

Performing the surgery standing offers many advantages to both the horse and the veterinary surgeon. It avoids the risks associated with general anaesthetic and recovery, and at the same time, offers improved visibility to the surgeon, which in the majority of cases aids completion.

Roaring occurs as a consequence of an unhealthy nerve not firing the muscle responsible for opening the airway. As a consequence, the amount of air flowing into the lungs is reduced during the horse’s physical activity, causing fatigue.

Laser surgery by the SEH team and Fabrice Rossignol

The tie-back surgery has long been recognised and practised as a treatment for ‘roaring’. During the tie-back, the opening into the airway is ‘tied’ open so that the flow of air into the lungs is increased. Laryngeal re-innervation is another surgical option available for some ‘roarers’. This technique effectively replaces the unhealthy nerve by a separate healthy nerve. During laryngeal re-innervation, the healthy nerve is identified and implanted into the main muscle responsible for opening the airway so that the horse has a good chance of recovering its ability to open its airway itself.

Laryngeal re-innervation was actually developed in the 1980s. However, in recent years, further developments and refinement of the technique now provides an excellent surgical option for many horses and the standing surgery is rapidly

becoming popular. Dr Fabrice Rossignol (Clinique de Grobois, France) is a world-renowned veterinary surgeon who has been a key figure in the recent development of laryngeal re-innervation on horses. The Sussex Equine Hospital is privileged to work closely with Dr Rossignol, who has provided his top-quality expertise and guidance for some of our more complicated cases.

Nerve implantation treatment for ‘roaring’ under standing sedation by Dr Fabrice Rossignol together with the Sussex Equine Hospital team.

Sussex Equine Hospital has already treated a good number of horses with standing tie-backs and nerve implantations on the standing horse with impressive results.

Influenza News

Equine Influenza Outbreak: February 2019

As you are probably aware there is currently an equine flu outbreak occurring in the UK. At the moment 7 yards have confirmed disease and further testing is underway. NO yards in Sussex, Kent or Surrey have been confirmed as affected yet. 

Flu can affect horses of all ages. 

Clinical signs include lethargy, coughing, nasal discharge and fever (temperatures over 38.5 degrees celsius). The disease usually resolves within 2-3 weeks with rest and supportive care in most cases but can have complications. 

The virus is highly contagious and spreads rapidly between horses via nasal secretions and breathing. People can also spread the disease via contaminated clothing or equipment so hygiene is really important. 

To confirm the disease a nasal swab and blood is taken and sent to the Animal Health Trust.

Vaccination is very important to limit the signs of infection and is the most effective tool against a large flu outbreak. Horses who have been fully vaccinated usually have no or only very mild signs. Protection against the flu virus starts to drop 6 months after vaccination so some horses can become susceptible again.  

Sussex Equine Hospital is taking part in a vaccination amnesty month. We use ProteqFlu which contains the relevant strain of flu virus. 

During February, all horses starting or re-starting their vaccination course will receive the 2nd vaccination for FREE

Visit charges still apply. The offer is open to horses that are over 6 moths of age and have not been vaccinated or those that are overdue an annual booster. The first vaccination must be booked  to take place in February 2019.  

Please feel free to discuss with one of our vets if you have any questions 

Further useful information can be found here