Seven horses suffering from joint conditions benefitted from arthroscopic surgery in which the joint is entered using a fiberoptic cable with a camera and tiny instruments. This allows removal of bone chips and damaged cartilage without having to open up the joint, and enables a speedy recovery and return to function after surgery. Two other horses had surgery for laryngeal hemiplegia - a condition in which one side of the larynx (vocal chords) becomes paralysed resulting in "roaring".
The operations were performed by Dr. Jonathan White, head of Equine Surgery at the University of the West Indies School of Veterinary Medicine, St. Augustine, Trinidad, who visited Jamaica specially for the purpose. He was assisted by recent UWI-SVM graduate Dr. Andrew Garvey along with a team of technicians and other personnel. Dr. Graham Brown of Animalcare Veterinary Services spearheaded the arrangements including the importation of gas anaesthesia equipment for horses, the provision of the endoscopic equipment and more.
The surgeries were performed in a large air-conditioned tent, with all the necessary sterile procedures being followed as there is no physical surgical or even hospital facility for horses at Caymanas or anywhere else in Jamaica. It is hoped that the success of these surgeries will help provide the impetus for such infrastructure to be put in place. The veterinary community is hoping....
Dr. Jonathan White and Dr. Andrew Garvey perform arthroscopic surgery on the carpal (knee) joint of a horse. The arthroscope is inserted into the joint via a small incision and the procedure is observed on a computer/television screen (right).
A Veterinary Technician monitors the horse's vital signs. The gas anaesthetic machine in on the right.