Surgical Services

  • Surgery has been one of the areas of expertise at Rainbow Equine Hospital since it’s beginnings 30 years ago.

    With the addition of two board certified specialist diploma holding surgeons and a certificate holder in equine orthopedic surgery over the past five years who have a combined total of over 50 years of surgical experience between them and investment in state of the art surgical equipment we aim to ensure that we can take care of all surgical needs both on an elective and emergency basis. We perform in the region of 600 surgeries each year with approximately 200 of those being performed standing.

    Our surgeons interact directly with the referring veterinarian and the client and manage their cases from the moment it walks It through the door to the day that it leaves the hospital. They oversee a team of three veterinary interns and 6 qualified equine veterinary nurses.

    Our state of the art surgical facilities include;

    • Dedicated surgical suite refurbished 2014
    • Krusse Multi-tilt table
    • Dedicated rubber floored standing surgical suite
    • Dedicated qualified equine veterinary surgical nurses
    • Three fully padded induction and recovery boxes
    • Assisted rope recovery system following anesthesia
    • Pre-op CT capability with ability to move directly into surgery if needed
    • Intra-op CT and digital radiography capabilities
    • State of the art laparoscopic and arthroscopic equipment new in 2013
    • New dental extraction specialist equipment
    • Diode laser for upper respiratory tract surgery and mass removal



    One of the most common surgical procedures performed at the Rainbow equine hospital is Arthroscopy (Key Hole Surgery in joints). Arthroscopy has been developed over the past 20-30 years and is now the preferred method of treating chip fractures, OCD (osteochondrosis dissecans) and infections. A key hole technique is also used to evaluate and treat certain soft tissue injuries in tendon sheaths and bursae (Tenosocopy and Bursoscopy). Using a key hole technique results in greater success rates and reduces the risk of post operative complications.


    Where once a horse with a broken leg was immediately destroyed it is now possible to repair fractures in certain cases. Fractures are repaired with the use of special metal implants and depending on the fracture the repair may be done under general anaesthesia or with the horse standing. We have the added ability to perform computed tomography of fractures to allow excellent pre-operative planning of the fracture repair.


    Dr Grant is the world authority on equine wobbler syndrome, and has performed over 1500 cervical fusion surgeries. He visits the hospital by prior arrangement in order to carry out surgery on horses diagnosed with equine wobbler syndrome.

    Dr. Barrie Grant DVM, MS, DACVS, MRCVS – Visit



    We perform a large number of upper respiratory tract surgeries in performance horse, including tie backs, tie forwards, soft palate cautery and epiglottic entrapment release. We also have the option for using a surgical LASER for treating certain conditions, this can often be done in the standing patient which reduces recovery time and reduces the risks associated with general anaesthesia


    We regularly perform emergency colic surgery on horses referred to the hospital. With recent advances in techniques and post operative care there has been a dramatic increase in the post operative survival rates of horses following colic surgery , with the majority of patients being able to make a complete recovery and go on to a normal athletic career.

    Further information about colic is available from the Philip Leverhulme Equine Hospital link.


    Laparoscopy is key hole surgery of the abdomen and has been developed to allow the removal of abominably retained testicles (rigs) and the removal of abnormal ovaries in mares. The technique is also useful in the evaluation of chronic colic and other medical conditions of the abdomen and thorax.


    Veterinary ophthalmologists Gary Lewin and Chris Dixon visit the hospital to perform specialist ophthalmic surgery. They are equipped with full microsurgical operating facilities for extra-ocular and intra-ocular surgery, including;

    • Cataract surgery by phacoemulsification with intraocular lens placement
    • Lens Luxation surgery
    • Endolaser surgery for cystic corpora nigra, melanomas and retinal detachments
    • Corneal surgery
    • Entropion correction
    • Eyelid reconstruction
    • Treatment of distichia and ectopic cilia with cryoepilation
    • Orbital surgery

    Find out more by visiting

    Please contact the hospital for further details.


      Whether surgery or computed tomography is to be performed under general anesthesia or under standing conditions the horse is induced, maintained and monitored throughout by a separate anesthesia team consisting of a veterinary intern and veterinary nurse. This allows the surgeon to focus on the surgery with the confidence that anesthesia is being constantly monitored by trained veterinary anaesthetists.

      General anesthesia is maintained by a large animal circle system and ventilator if needed and the patient is monitored throughout with the aid of invasive blood pressure, ECG and pulse oximetry and intra-operative blood gas analysis maximising safety for the horse during the anesthetic period.

      Recovery: the horse is monitored the entire time through its recovery from general anesthesia or standing sedation. CCTV is installed in all recovery boxes as well as in the post anesthetic stalls to which horses are taken following their surgery. They are passed from the anesthesia team to a dedicated hospital veterinary intern and hospital nurse who then monitor the horse in its post operative period.

      All patients undergo a full clinical examination and if necessary undergo routine blood work prior to performing general anaesthesia. All general anaesthesia is performed one of our Veterinary surgeons. Horses are induced in one of the two padded induction rooms, before being moved into the theatre on an overhead hoist. Patients are monitored with ECG, Invasive blood pressure, SPO2 and blood gases during anaesthesia, if necessary mechanical ventilation can be performed if the horse is having difficulty breathing. Patients are moved to one of the padded recovery rooms for recovery from anaesthesia. We have an assisted recovery system in place for horses considered high risk e.g. after fracture repair.


      Due to the increasing number of advanced standing surgical procedure carried out, we have refurbished one of our examination rooms as a standing surgery suite.  The room has been fitted with a non slip rubber floor and set of stocks with surgical lighting. This new facility enables us to perform some advanced procedures without worrying about compromising sterility.

      There are a variety of new combinations of sedative and anaesthetic drugs which allow us to carry out advanced surgeries without the risks associated with general anaesthesia. The benefit of such procedures means that there is often less risk to the patient and a reduced recovery period post-operatively.

      We are now routinely performing the following procedures standing;

      • Eye removal and prosthesis
      • Sinus surgery
      • Oral extraction/repulsion of teeth
      • Repair of selected fractures
      • Laparoscopic ovariectomy and cryptorchidectomy
      • Laparoscopy for investigation of chronic colic
      • Thoracoscopy for chronic pneumonia
      • Penile amputation for Squamous cell carcinoma
      • Surgical resection of impinging DSPs (Kissing spines)
      • Splint bone removal
      • Jugular vein thrombectomy
      • Laser surgery of the upper respiratory tract including;
      • Laser Hobday
      • Laser release of entrapped epiglottis
      • Laser of sup-eppiglottic cyst
      • Laser removal of sarcoids/melanoma