Equine Specialist Surgery

Fellowes Farm Equine Clinic offers specialist equine surgical care for horses in a dedicated equine surgical facility. David Rutherford our specialist surgeon is a recognised RCVS and European Specialist in Equine Surgery. He holds the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Certificate in Equine Orthopaedics and the European College of Veterinary Surgeons Diploma in Equine Surgery. He has completed a rigorous residency training program and is board certified by the European College of Veterinary Surgeons. Every surgical case is handled by our surgical team of specialist surgeon, dedicated anaesthetist and qualified equine veterinary nurses who have extensive experience with all types of elective and emergency surgeries of the horse.


Arthroscopy or “key hole” surgery has revolutionized joint surgery in both humans and horses. In horses it is routine to remove chip fractures, debride OCD lesions, lavage infected joints and assist in repair of damaged tendons and ligaments. The minimally invasive approach allows patients to recover quickly with minimal scarring and optimal return of joint function.

Orthopaedic surgery

Since injuries are often caused by trauma every orthopaedic surgical case is different and often present as emergencies. Our surgical team is prepared for every eventuality of wounds and fractures, but also for the non-emergencies such as growth deformities in young stock, neurectomies and correction of kissing spines.


Laparoscopy is “key hole” surgery of the abdomen. It is usually performed in the standing sedated horse to remove retained testicles (rigs), cancerous ovaries, repair hernias or to assist in the evaluation of colic patients. A camera and instruments are passed into the abdomen through small flank incisions removing the requirement for a large opening into the lower abdomen and therefore reducing patient discomfort and time to return to exercise considerably.

Airway Surgery

We regularly perform a wide variety of procedures to improve breathing in horses with airway abnormalities. The most common procedures include “tie-back” or “hobday” surgeries for horses with paralysed larynx (roarers), soft palate surgeries and sinus surgery.

Colic Surgery

Colic is a very common problem and one of the leading causes of death in horses, especially as they age. Most colic cases resolve following medical treatment, but sometimes if blockages or twists occur much more intensive therapy or surgery is required. In recent years advances in surgical techniques and post-surgical intensive care have greatly improved outcomes for colic surgery. Around 70-80% of horses that have such surgery survive to be discharged from the hospital and most of those return to their full athletic potential.

Post operative care is as important as successful surgery. We have a team of experienced internal medicine clinicians and dedicated nursing staff to monitor and manage these patients around the clock which is vital to ensure the best possible outcome for your horse.

Standing Surgery

Traditionally most surgical procedures in horses were performed under general anaesthesia but, due to the large size of most equine patients, this is not without risk. In the past decade advances have been made that allow many procedures previously performed under general anaesthesia to now be performed in the standing sedated patient using local anaesthetic techniques. This reduces the risk to the patient and also the cost of the procedure.

Procedures commonly performed under standing sedation at Fellowes Farm Equine Clinic include:

Debriding and suturing traumatic wounds

  • Kissing spines surgery
  • Enucleation (removal of a badly damaged eye)
  • Laser surgery to remove skin tumours including sarcoids and melanomas
  • Removal of fractured splint bones
  • Infected cheek tooth extraction
  • Removal of keratoma – a hard tumour on the inside of the hoof capsule
  • Tendon and ligament cutting procedures – e.g. to correct locking stifles or flexural deformities or to treat strains to the annular and supraspinous ligaments.
  • Laparoscopy