“Keyhole” Surgery
Surgical procedures have frequently required large incisions in order to attain
adequate exposure or visualization. If sufficient visual exposure is not achieved,
the procedure can be difficult, if not, impossible to perform. Laparoscopic surgery
is a technique developed over the years using a small diameter rigid camera to minimize
the invasive nature of some surgical procedures, thus decreasing post operative
pain and risk of complications associated with standard approaches. Laparoscopy
requires specialized equipment and skill, but by using these specialized instruments,
we are able to make small “keyhole” like incisions, but maintain excellent visualization
during surgery. This technique has not yet evolved to replace traditional approaches
for all equine surgeries, but great strides have been made for various procedures.
Cryptorchid castrations, ovariectomies, abdominal exploratories and organ biopsies
are procedures routinely done in horses that can be done laparoscopically.

Laparoscopic view of abdominally retained testicle.

Cryptorchid castration (the removal of an abdominally retained testicle) is frequently
done by an open inguinal approach, with good success and has a low risk of complications.
However, when a horse’s history is unknown or a previous surgery was performed,
but he still acts like a stud, it may be suspected that he has a retained testicle.
In this case, using laparoscopy to explore the abdomen to confirm the presence of
a testicle or testicles can be very helpful. Another use of this specialized equipment
would be for ovariectomy (surgical removal of a mare’s ovary or ovaries). Most commonly
this is done when there is an ovarian tumor. This can also be done to eliminate
aggressive or bad behavior that some mares develop in relation to their heat cycles.
This method is not only less invasive for these procedures, but also allows for
more rapid return to exercise, less pain and has a low risk of infection.
Laparoscopy also enables us to explore body cavities without making large incisions.
This is sometimes helpful in cases of chronic colic or other conditions that have
otherwise been undiagnosed. In these cases and others where organ dysfunction is
noted biopsies or small pieces of tissue can be collected to help guide therapy.
These are just some of the ways we use laparoscopic technology for the diagnosis
and treatment of horses. Advances are being made every day in the uses and capabilities
of this surgical technique. We are happy to now offer this at Retama Equine Hospital.
As with any procedure, treatment plans are uniquely determined by you and your veterinarian
based on your horses individual needs or conditions. Please call with any questions
or to consult with a veterinarian.
Additional information can be found by clicking this link to the ACVS []

Small Animal News
Are your pets scratching all the time, head shaking, chewing and licking their paws?
While there may be various causes, they may have allergies. Many of our pets suffer
from allergies much like we do, especially in south Texas. Allergies can lead to
these signs as well as red bumps on their belly, red irritated patches of skin or
even hot spots. If the allergies are severe enough, they can even develop secondary
skin infections. There are various medications and treatment options for allergy
conditions. With a thorough physical exam, we can test for possible causes and
determine the best treatment plan for your pet.
Please call 210-651-1384 with any questions you may have or to make an appointment

For those who own or lease a horse but do not have a barn at home, or perhaps don’t have the land for a horse on their own property, boarding a horse is the best solution. Boarding a horse means that the horse stays at a fully equipped stable and is cared for and sheltered for a monthly fee.

There are a few variations in how an owner may board their horse. Pasture boarding is the cheapest and includes water, an outdoor shelter and pasture and/or hay, but the owner is responsible for feeding the horse grain. Partial boarding includes an individual grain feeding, fresh water and pasture or hay. Full board is more expensive and generally includes the above as well as amenities.  Some places offer additional perks, such as free wormer and farrier trims. Some boarding stables offer by-the-night prices for short stays.

Usually large facilities offer more extras that are available to boarding horses, such as a larger pasture, trail riding, grooming and training. These stables may charge a greater boarding fee. Small stables that have owners living on the property may be able to deliver the most personal care for your horse, as their time will be spent between fewer horses. Most boarding stables are also training facilities and can provide an arena or round pen and sometimes trails to ride your horse on, though not all stables will have an indoor arena in addition to an outdoor arena.

Some owners live on the property, and some do not.
It is important to consider what is best for your horse. If you live close to the boarding stables, it may benefit you to pay for partial board and come to feed and care for your horse yourself. If you live more than 20 minutes away, then full board may be best.

Boarding can mean keeping an equine companion that an owner wouldn’t otherwise be able to have. Not only do boarding horses have the benefit of qualified people looking after them, but training is often available onsite as well. Training board is an option some stables offer if they have several trainers on staff. This includes full board plus individual time spent training your horse several times a week.