Post-Surgery Prognosis in Horses

When a horse needs surgery, what’s his prognosis for a full recovery? What problems can occur during recovery?
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Know what to expect when the unexpected happens.

"He needs surgery."

This assessment is one no horse owner wants to hear from his or her veterinarian. Surgical intervention can be costly and risky, and a horse’s response to anesthesia and surgical procedures can be unpredictable. Plus, after your horse has gone under the knife, what’s his prognosis for a full recovery? What obstacles might you face and what should you expect during the recovery process?

To answer these questions, we consulted three veterinarians who handle a considerable number of emergency referrals: Bradford Bentz, VMD, of Bluegrass Equine Performance and Internal Medicine in Georgetown, Ky.; Langdon Fielding, DVM, Dipl. ACVECC, who runs the intensive care unit at Loomis Basin Equine Medical Center in Loomis, Calif.; and Liberty Getman, DVM, Dipl. ACVS, a surgeon at Ocala Equine Hospital in Ocala, Fla. With their help, we’ll trace the typical course of treatment and prognosis for four equine emergencies that often require surgical intervention as well as other common procedures

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Written by:

D.J. Carey Lyons is a lifelong resident of Chester County, Pa. She also has written for USDF Connection, Practical Horseman, Equine Images, and Dressage & CT.

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