Equine Surgery

Pre-purchase Examinations

When considering the purchase of a new horse, a pre-purchase examination can help a buyer with his or her decision making process. While a pre-purchase exam is not a guarantee of future soundness, it can help a buyer identify reasons to either go ahead with the purchase of that horse or to possibly keep looking for a horse more suitable for his or her needs. Typically, the buyer is responsible for making an appointment and for the costs of a pre-purchase examination. Pre-purchase examinations are designed on a case-by-case basis in accordance with a buyer’s expectations. Therefore, prices and the time spent on each examination will range significantly. It is important to have an idea of what you expect from the examination and to discuss your expectations with the VMC veterinarian. A basic pre-purchase examination will include a thorough physical examination and a lameness evaluation (including joint flexion tests). For buyers wishing a more extensive examination, upper airway endoscopy, digital radiography, ultrasound, and other assessments can easily be accommodated for an additional fee. At the end of the examination, the potential buyer will be given a typed record of the exam findings and will then be the owner of that information. It will be his or her discretion to share that information with the horse’s current owner. Given the detail of pre-purchase examinations and time required to complete comprehensive evaluations, patients are scheduled at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. You can expect to spend the morning or afternoon at the hospital while the exam is being completed.

Lameness/performance evaluation

The Lloyd Veterinary Medical Center has equine clinicians with not only years of experience in diagnosing lameness and performance limiting conditions, but who are recognized nationally for their contributions. The Medical Center has state of the art capabilities to diagnose even the trickiest of performance issues. (link “capabilities” to “diagnostic imaging”) Lameness evaluations are conducted on a case-by-case basis and can include regional nerve blocks and/or joint blocks to help localize the region causing lameness. More extensive lameness cases may require the aid of diagnostic imaging to arrive at a definitive diagnosis. You should expect your horse to spend half a day with us and it is advisable to bring the horse’s full tack to the appointment. If necessary, you should be prepared to ride to allow lameness assessment under saddle. Your clinician will communicate with you throughout the lameness examination to keep you informed of diagnostic plans and treatment options.

The clinicians at the Medical Center are knowledgeable in state-of-the-art therapies and are happy to offer such treatments as Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP), Stem Cell therapy, IRAP, and Extracorporeal Shockwave therapy.

Ground breaking on an indoor performance evaluation center will take place this spring to allow a year-round, climate-controlled environment in which to conduct lameness evaluations. It will be equipped with modern diagnostic, research, and rehabilitation equipment. Stay tuned!

Abdominal Procedures



Gastroscopy is the only way in which to definitively diagnose gastric (stomach) ulcers. This outpatient procedure requires sedation and a small camera is passed through the horse’s nasal passages, down the esophagus, and into the stomach. Your horse will need an empty stomach, however, and it is recommended they be held off feed for 12 hours and water for 4 hours prior to your appointment.

Emergency colic surgery

The staff at the LVMC are available at all hours to accept emergencies. Our sterile colic surgery suite is equipped with a closed-circuit camera allowing owners to observe surgery from the privacy of a designated room.


Laparoscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that uses multiple small incisions to accommodate specialized instruments. Laparoscopy is available for certain abdominal procedures, such as cryptorchid castration 
and ovariectomy.

Diagnostic Imaging

Diagnostic Imaging


Ultrasound is a diagnostic method used to detect soft tissue injuries. A probe is placed on the area of interest and sound waves are used to reflect an image of the tissues onto the screen. Occasionally a patient will require  sedation for this procedure.

Computed Radiography (digital x-rays)

The LVMC is proud to offer digital radiography. The benefit of this over standard film radiographs is improved contrast with a digital image, less time spent in the radiography suite, instant access to images, and images that are portable on a disk or USB drive.

Nuclear Medicine (bone scan)

Bone scans (nuclear scintigraphy) are helpful in detecting subtle lamenesses or musculoskeletal performance disorders that are unable to be blocked out with nerve or joint blocks. The patient is injected in the vein with a radioactive isotope that is taken up by tissues undergoing active remodeling. As the patient is radioactive for a period of time after the procedure, at least two days’ hospitalization is required.


Magnetic Resonance Imaging is available for the foot, ankle, and head. The specific detail of structures obtained is the biggest benefit to this imaging technique. General anesthesia is required for this procedure.

CT (coming soon)

A Computed Tomography unit is anticipated to be operational at the LVMC soon. This will allow 3-D imaging of fractures and other more specific imaging of bone and soft tissue structures.




Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgery utilizing a small camera in which access to joints is achieved through small incisions. It is used for the removal of bone fragments, repair of certain intra-articular soft tissue injuries, diagnosis of joint conditions, and treatment of OCD (osteochondritis disssecans). General anesthesia is required as well as hospitalization for at least 2 days.

Fracture Repair

Fractures ranging from small splint bone fractures to those involving the long bones (cannon bone, tibia, etc) are repaired using internal fixation utilizing ASIF principles, external fixation, or other methods of repair.

Tendon and Ligament Injury Evaluation and Treatment

Injury to tendons and ligaments is common in athletes. Each patient will be thoroughly examined to arrive at an accurate diagnosis. Multiple treatment options are available including Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP), Stem Cell therapy, IRAP, and Extracorporeal Shockwave therapy. An underwater treadmill for rehabilitation of soft tissue injuries will be available in the new Performance Evaluation Center. Stay tuned!

Upper Airway Examination



A small camera is passed through the nasal passages and into the pharynx and larynx to observe structures important for proper airway function. Additionally, the guttural pouches are able to be examined for signs of bacterial or fungal infection, inflammation. Sedation may be required for this outpatient procedure.

Treadmill Evaluation

Examination of the upper airway during exercise can be an important part of diagnosing performance limiting disorders. The LVMC has an equine treadmill available for dynamic upper airway evaluation. The endoscope (link to “endoscopy”) camera is placed in the nasal passages to view the response of the larynx during the extreme differences in airway pressure experienced during exercise. Horses require at least two days’ hospitalization to become accustomed to the treadmill prior to this examination.

General Surgery Procedures


In addition to offering state-of-the-art procedures expected of a university hospital, the LVMC is proud to also offer general surgical procedures such as:

• Castration
• Laceration repair
• Limb deformity correction of foals
• Umbilical hernia repair
• Laser Surgery