The equine surgery services at North Carolina State University specialize in diagnosis and treatment of horses with diseases that may require surgery as a major component of their management, including:
- Lameness- Principally orthopedic disease in performance and companion horses, including arthritis and foot problems
- Fractures - Including small ‘chip’ fractures that may impede optimal joint function, and long-bone fractures, which are frequently devastating.
- Colic - A catch-all term for abdominal pain, which may require surgery for diagnosis and treatment
- Respiratory disease - primarily involving throat and sinus problems of performance horses
- Reproductive problems - such as dystocia (difficult birth), and perineal lacerations acquired during foaling
- Lacerations (cuts), which may involve major orthopedic structures such as joints and tendon sheaths
- Neoplasia (cancer) - which in the horse most commonly involves theskin (sarcoids, melanomas, and squamous cell carcinoma being by far the most common tumors) but may include internal organs (such as lymphosarcoma).
- Because of the broad array of surgical problems, the Equine Surgery service has split into two services:
- Equine Orthopedic Surgery, which deals with lameness and fractures
- Equine Soft Tissue Surgery, which deals with all other problems
What is an equine surgeon?
All of the equine surgeons at NCSU are board-certified by the American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS). In order to become board-certified, a veterinarian must graduate from an accredited college of veterinary medicine, perform an internship (one year of general equine experience), and an approved residency (3 years of specific equine surgical training). Finally, board certification requires successfully passing an intensive 3-day written, practical, and oral examination.
Why might I need an equine surgeon?
The only surgeries routinely performed in general equine practice are minor lacerations and castrations. This is because horses are relatively difficult to anesthetize, and have a greater incidence of postoperative complications than other species. Therefore, advanced surgical expertise (with the accompanying expertise of anesthesiologists) is needed for the problems previously listed. In addition, surgeons at the NC State Veterinary Hospital have access and expertise in a range of high tech diagnostics such as nuclear scintigraphy, ultrasonography, thermography, and arthroscopy (for lameness), laparoscopy (for workup of chronic colic) endoscopy (for throat problems), and computed tomography (for sinus problems).