Clients & Visitors

Laser Surgery for Horses

Laser

A laser procedure underway to relieve a horse's chronic distal hock pain.

Laser surgery provides the least painful and most accurate way to treat your horse's soft tissue problems. At the EMC, laser surgical procedures are routinely performed to correct laryngeal hemiplegia (roaring), dorsal displacement of the soft palate, epiglottic entrapment, and arytenoid chondritis, as well as skin tumors and eye diseases.

Many laser surgical procedures were pioneered at the EMC. Dr. Ken Sullins began performing laser surgery in 1987 and has developed innovative surgical procedures for treating horses with upper respiratory disorders and skin tumors.

Photo gallery

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Laser Laser Laser

The advantage of laser surgery

  • Much more versatile than a scalpel, surgical lasers deliver light or heat to incise, coagulate, or vaporize tissue.
  • Laser surgical sites bleed and swell less than conventional surgical wounds. The carbon dioxide laser creates a clean, bloodless incision and can also vaporize tissue masses.
  • The carbon dioxide laser is controlled enough that corneal tumors can be vaporized from the surface of the eye.
  • The Nd:YAG and diode lasers can be utilized with a video endoscope for upper airway surgery. These lasers are also used to relieve hock pain in horses with uncontrollable bone spavin.
  • Surgical procedures performed with lasers can often be performed on standing horses on an outpatient basis. The horses leave with no external wound.

Resources

Appointments for laser surgery

  • Laser surgery is performed by appointment. For more information, call (703) 771-6800 or email emcinfo@vt.edu.
  • View the Client Care Packet (PDF) to learn more about what to expect when you bring your horse for laser surgery.

Faculty clinician

Dr. Ken Sullins has over two decades of experience in performing laser surgery.