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We are excited to announce that we have now purchased our own surgical laser. This means we will no longer have to hire one on allocated days only. As a result, appointments for your horse’s laser surgery at the Rathmell clinic, can now be made on any mutually suitable day. The majority of these procedures take place with your horse sedated rather than under a general anaesthetic, and standing in the stocks. Nearly all patients arrive and go home on the day of the surgery.

The laser works like a surgical blade, but can seal and vaporise tissue at the same time. There is a reduction in the amount of bleeding as the laser seals small vessels while it is cutting. Nerve endings are also sealed as the incisions are made, meaning less tissue pain for your horse.

By far the most common use of laser surgery in the horse is for the removal of skin tumours such as sarcoids and melanomas. With knife incisions some of the sarcoid cells may be spread into the surrounding tissue allowing potential tumour regrowth. The risk is reduced with laser removal because any cells at the far edges of the tumour site are vaporised during the procedure.
We take as wide a margin as possible around the tumour, so the resulting wound is often large. However, cutting skin with a laser results in less inflammation and swelling compared to standard surgery, so these wounds heal very easily, even if they look big to begin with.

Case study:

Lucy is an 8 yr old Shetland mare

Lucy’s vulval tumours grew rapidly over the course of a few months and became ulcerated and uncomfortable. In September vet Paul was able to remove the bulk of the tumours, and restore the perineal region to its former appearance.

If you are concerned about any lumps and bumps on your horse, please do call to arrange a vet visit to examine them. Laser removal may well turn out to be a simple, quick, safe and economical solution.