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Wobbler Diagnosis & Surgery

Specialist led team experienced in evaluation and treatment of wobblers

REH has been at the forefront of recent advances in diagnosis and treatment of cervical disorders

Jonathan Anderson (RCVS and American Specialist in Equine Surgery) leads the surgical team who have become renowned as one of the only centres in the UK performing wobbler surgery. From evaluation, diagnosis through to treatment and aftercare, the highly experienced team are here to guide and help you and your vet understand what can be done and the outcome.  Jonathan trained for 10 years under Dr Barrie Grant (Equinewobblers.com) who pioneered cervical fusion (wobbler surgery) in horses, and now routinely performs the surgery at REH. In addition he consults

Evaluation & Assessment

A full neurological exam is performed in conjunction with a lameness exam. Sometimes neurological horses can present with gait abnormalities, and some gait abnormalities can make a horse look neurological. It is important to tease out those differences. A comprehensive neurological examination enables us to identify those sometimes subtle differences that point towards the horse’s neck as being the issue.


X-rays of the neck are where we start to evaluate pathology of the neck that leads to wobblers.  We have a powerful xray unit installed in the hospital that maximise quality of xrays for detecting disease. However, to evaluate the spinal cord requires a myelogram in which the flow of radiographic contrast injected around the spinal cord is imaged down the neck.

Formerly this would be performed using xrays.  But now, together with REH imaging specialist Jonathan Dixon ECVDI, the team at REH have led the way in validating the use of CT (cat scanning) myelography to greatly enhance the identification of specific pathology of the neck region and identifying sites of spinal cord compression which occurs where one vertebra links to the next.

The procedure is performed under general anaesthesia and takes approximately 40 to 45 minutes from start to finish.  Anaesthesia is performed by our specialist equine anaesthetist.  Horses have their neck flexed and extended during the procedure and this can make those that have spinal cord compression exhibit more obvious clinical symptoms temporarily following the procedure.


We’ll guide you through all the options

Wobbler Surgery (Cervical Fusion): 

The Rainbow surgical team have both the expertise and experience to perform this complex but life changing surgery.

We ensure that you and your vet are provided with the right advice specific to your horse’s needs and with the full awareness of prognosis and outcomes from our own experience and from other experts in this field.

The surgery involves fusing the two vertebrae at each affected site of cord compression using a special Seattle Slew Basket – named after the legendary American Triple Crown Winner who had wobbler surgery twice several years apart.

Medication of the Neck

For areas that have been identified as being inflamed and not resulting in spinal cord compression ultrasound guided injection of affected neck joints is routinely performed at Rainbow.  These can restore horses with performance limiting neck issues back to full function.

Our orthopaedic team are all experienced at performing the procedure.

Cervical Joint Arthroscopy

CT scanning of the neck enables to identify bone fragments in the joint that can contribute to neck pain and poor performance.  We can now remove many of these fragments under arthroscopic (keyhole) guidance.