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HORSE SENSE: State of the art equipment improving equine welfare at Tullyraine
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HORSE SENSE: State of the art equipment improving equine welfare at Tullyraine
on 02 April 2021
Veterinary surgeons Inge D’Haese and Hugh Suffern are very excited about the new state of the art equipment used for minimally invasive surgeries that is now available at Tullyraine Equine Clinic

THE team at Tullyraine Equine Clinic in Banbridge, Co Down have recently invested in specialist equipment in the form of a 4K HD arthroscopy stack and a HD upper airway and gastric video-endoscope with the help of an investment grant from DAERA.

The small team consisting of veterinary surgeons Mick Costello and Cormac Burns along with five reception and clinical staff are led by Hugh Suffern, MRCVS and Inge D’Haese, MRCVS who have been working together for the last 20 years and are in their fifth year as business partners at Tullyraine Equine Clinic.

“Our aim at Tullyraine Equine Clinic is to elevate the level of equine medicine available in Northern Ireland by investing heavily in purpose built facilities, equipment and knowledgeable staff. We want to make services that are only available in the south available for horse owners in the north too,” veterinary surgeon Inge D’Haese explained.

“This means increased welfare for the horses but also for their owners – when they do not have to travel as far. This is especially true with injured or young horses,” Inge continued.

With their new equipment it means that on top of the surgeries already on offer at the clinic, they now also have minimally invasive surgery available. Some of the benefits of these minimally invasive surgeries mean less trauma to the muscles, nerves and tissues of the horse, faster recovery time and the risk is reduced in cases where horses are sedated instead of being put under general anaesthesia.

This is the first equipment and services of its kind available in Northern Ireland. Examples of these type of surgeries include:

1. Keyhole joint surgery (arthroscopy): for example for removing OCD chips. A tiny camera is inserted into the joint which allows the veterinary surgeon to look into the joint and through another tiny incision they insert an instrument to grab the chip.

2. Keyhole tendon sheath surgery: for example for flushing a septic tendon sheath after it has been wounded. Through the camera, any damage to the internal structures can be assessed and then cleaned up removing any bacteria and foreign body material.

3. Laparoscopy: rigs, castrations or ovariectomies can be done in a minimally invasive manner with the horse simply sedated rather than under general anaesthesia.

4. The video-endoscopes are highly diagnostic tools and are laser compatible, which allows for minimally invasive wind surgery, for example hobdays.

“Obviously these are all specialist surgeries that require highly trained surgeons to perform. We are delighted to be able to have European Board Certified Equine Surgeons Warren Schofield (Equine Surgery Consultancy Ltd.) and Clodagh Kearney (University College Dublin) on side to realise this,” Inge says.

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