'Aided by our collaboration with the University of Nottingham Veterinary School, Oakham Veterinary Hospital has moved to the cutting edge of equine surgery, refining and developing new techniques, as well as improving established ones’

Image sowing surgical procedureOur surgical suite has three operating areas, all accessed from the induction and recovery boxes via overhead gantries. We have a fully clean theatre for elective sterile procedures under general anaesthesia. This facility has positive pressure ventilation with antibacterial filters and is up to human hospital hygiene standards. The second theatre is designed to be used for colic surgery and contaminated procedures, it is designed to enable horses to be rapidly prepared for emergency surgery under anaesthesia. The third facility is designed for the increasing numbers of procedures carried out under local anaesthesia in the standing horse.

Our experienced surgical team is headed by Neal Ashton and Julia Dubuc, their combined experience enabling us to provide the very best treatment for your horses.
Anaesthesia is headed by Kate White, using the very latest sophisticated monitoring equipment.

At Oakham all procedures are undertaken by Neal and/or Julia as lead surgeon and we always have an experienced theatre nurse scrubbed in to set up the increasingly complex equipment efficiently.

‘At Oakham the emphasis is on outcome, so all aspects of our surgical service are designed to achieve an efficient, high quality procedure, to give your horse the best chance of a full recovery’   

Orthopaedic surgery

In recent years arthroscopic (key hole) surgery has replaced open joint surgery. There are now almost no joints, bursae and tendon sheaths that cannot be treated endoscopically. Exceptional image quality (now using high definition 40 inch plasma screens), and increasingly sophisticated motorised instrumentation, have greatly improved the accuracy of endoscopic treatment. This has lead to greatly improved outcomes with many septic joints now returning to excercise in less than 4 weeks.

Fracture repair techniques are constantly evolving which has led to an increase in the number that can be successfully repaired. The recent introduction of 'locking plate implants' has improved the structural integrity of plate fixation, leading to improved outcomes on procedures such as pastern arthrodesis.

By combining our advanced imaging techniques with endoscopic surgery we have been able to develop treatments for conditions such as deep flexor tendon tears in the navicular bursa.

Colic surgery

We see many surgical colic cases per year, and through improved anaesthesia, surgery techniques and post operative medical support, we are now seeing increasingly good success rates. When this is combined with earlier recognition of the condition by referring vets a high proportion of these cases now have excellent long term prospects.

Upper airway surgery

We now have very effective surgical techniques for the correction of upper airway obstruction in high performance horses. From the trusty hobday, the established tie-back to the recent tie-forward for soft palate displacement. Laser surgery is also now available enabling many techniques to be carried out endoscopically in the standing horse.

Dental/sinus surgery

Recent advances in local anaesthetic techniques have enabled us to perform almost all dental extractions and sinus surgeries on the standing horse, reducing cost and complication rates. Further refinement of these techniques has lead to the use of endoscopic, minimally invasive electro surgery on sinuses. The majority of surgical sinus cases can be resolved without the need for general anaesthesia, via small incisions, returning the horse to work in less than a month and near free of blemishes. 


By working with human surgery colleagues we are able to offer advance ophthalmic surgery for cataract disease.
We now offer advanced microsurgery techniques to enable repair of the cornea, which in the case of severe trauma and disease, has enabled more cases to retain their eye and vision. We have developed prosthetic techniques for improving the aesthetic appearance of horses following the necessary removal of a badly damaged eye. Further refinement of these techniques has enabled our patients to retain their eye lashes, leaving a very natural appearance and retaining a remarkable awareness on the blind side.

General surgery

Recent advances include laparoscopy (keyhole abdominal surgery) which can be carried out under local anaesthesia whilst standing. A combination of hand assisted laparoscopic techniques have been developed for the investigation of abdominal disease, and the prevention of colic from nephrosplenic entrapment.

Gynaecological surgery

Almost all gynaecological techniques for correction of conformational problems and repair of foaling injuries are carried out in our standing operating stocks and now result in excellent breeding prospects.

Urogenital surgery

Almost all gynaecological techniques for correction of conformational problems and repair of foaling injuries are carried out in our standing operating stocks and now result in excellent breeding prospects.

Endoscopy is now widely used in urogenital surgery. Jim was responsible for the development of modified techniques to improve the outcome in penile cancer cases, which are now available to improve the long-term outcome in this common disease.

‘The emphasis is always on providing the highest possible standard of care for you and your horse'