Equine Surgery

Arizona Equine provides complete surgical services for our patients

Equine surgery has progressed rapidly over the last 20 years, and Arizona Equine provides all of the latest procedures and techniques.

One of the most important factors when considering a surgical procedure is the experience and training of the surgeon. Arizona Equine has two surgeons:

Dr. Scott Taylor, who is board certified by the American College of Veterinary Surgeons.

Dr. Rick Howard, who is board certified by the American College of Veterinary Surgeons.

Both Drs. Taylor and Howard completed three-year residency programs in equine surgery after veterinary school. This training consisting of very thorough training in all aspects of equine surgery by recognized experts in the field. Arizona Equine is fortunate to have two surgeons with the training and experience of Drs. Taylor and Howard.

Some of the surgical services provided at Arizona Equine:

Horses are unique among domestic animals in that the anatomy of their intestinal tract makes them very susceptible to displacements or twists of parts of their intestines. In some cases these problems require surgery to correct them. The surgeons at Arizona Equine perform an average of 60-100 colic surgeries each year. The survival rates with colic surgery vary depending upon what problem is encountered and what complications occur.

Arthroscopy is a surgical technique in which a small telescope and camera is placed into a joint to enable either the diagnosis of joint problems or to allow bone chips to be removed. The image is projected onto a monitor for convenient viewing by the surgeons. The main advantage of arthroscopy is that very small incisions are used, which allows the patient to return to exercise much faster with much less damage to the joint. Drs. Taylor and Howardroutinely perform arthroscopy.

Laparoscopy is much like arthroscopy in that small incisions are made in a body cavity to allow insertion of a telescope and camera to either diagnose or treat problems. With laparoscopy, however, the body cavity that is examined is the abdomen or the chest cavity. This allows the diagnosis of some cases of chronic colic, abdominal neoplasia (cancer), peritonitis, pleuritis, and some other more obscure conditions of the chest and abdomen. Laparoscopy is also used at Arizona Equine to remove cryptorchid testicles (retained testicles) from the abdomen. This allows the identification and removal of all testicular remnants in horses that either have been castrated, but still act “studdy”, or in horses that have never been castrated and have one or both testicles retained.

Arizona Equine has invested in two types of lasers with which the surgeons can perform surgical procedures: A Diode laser, and a CO2 laser. A diode laser is used in certain upper airway (nose, throat, or windpipe) surgical procedures to allow the surgery to be done with the horse standing. In these cases the horse is usually sedated and the procedure done through a videoendoscope. The CO2 laser is very useful for the removal of skin tumors. It allows for very precise removal of cancerous tissue without damage to surrounding tissues. It seals capillaries and minimizes bleeding as it cuts, which results in less pain for the horse.

Drs. Howard and Taylor have a lot of expertise and interest in orthopedic surgery. Arizona Equine has the facilities and equipment needed to repair many types of fractures in the horse. Due to the generosity of a donation from Bob and Carmen Grimes from Tucson, Arizona the clinic was able to install a special sling recovery system that helps horses with broken legs recover from anesthesia after surgery. This system has been used numerous times and has helped to save 4-5 horses with broken legs that were repaired at the clinic.

Drs. Taylor and Howard are also adept at numerous soft tissue surgical procedures, including neurectomy, prosthetic laryngoplasty (tie-back procedure for roarers), enucleation, tumor removal, colic surgery, etc. In summary, just about any type of surgical procedure that is done for horses is done at Arizona Equine.