Nerve and Joint Blocks

Local anaesthesia is used commonly in the process of diagnosing equine lameness. By blocking specific nerves in the lame limb it is possible to localize the specific area of pain that may be leading to lameness.


Further investigation of the target area using ultrasound and/or radiography can then be performed.




Digital Radiology

The CEC now offers Digital Radiography (DR). Instead of using film, the x-rays are converted to a light signal which is digitized in the x-ray plate and sent directly to a computer.

This means improved diagnostic capability, as the image quality is greatly superior to film and images can be manipulated and magnified, as well as increased efficiency, as each image takes approximately 5 seconds to appear on the computer screen for viewing. In essence, with our new DR system, we can diagnose problems more accurately in less than half the time. The rapidity of the system is also very useful for vet checks, where many images of multiple joints are required.


Nuclear Scintigraphy

In 2005 a separate air-conditioned suite was built on the premises to house our scintigraphy unit. The process of scintigraphy, or bone scanning, involves injecting a radioactive isotope into the horse's body and observing areas of increased uptake of the isotope using a camera.


The radioactivity is increased in areas of the body that are undergoing inflammatory reactions and/or boney remodelling. Although most of our scintigraphic analyses focus on the skeleton, soft tissues can also be visualized for muscular, tendinous or ligamentous damage.


Scintigraphy is a useful method of resolving more complicated lameness cases when the cause of the lameness remains elusive using radiography and ultrasonography alone.


Joint Therapy (IRAP)

'The Canterbury Equine Clinic offers an exciting new treatment for the management of arthritis and degenerative joint disease in horses. IRAP Therapy is especially useful in horses that either do not respond to, or show decreasing levels of response to, conventional anti-inflammatory joint medication (e.g. Hyaluronic acid/cortisone joint injections).

Shockwave Therapy

The Canterbury Equine Clinic offers shock wave therapy as a means of aiding in a horse's recovery from a variety of injuries and ailments. Shock wave treatment is used successfully for treatment of musculoskeletal disorders including suspensory ligament strain, stress fractures, sacroiliac (back) pain, sesamoiditis, splints, navicular syndrome, curb, stifle and cannon bone cysts, tendonitis and muscle strains. 



Sampling the fluid that bathes the organs of the abdomen can assist in the diagnosis of many conditions. Our resident haematologist can interpret these samples immediately, allowing fast and accurate diagnosis and treatment.

Abdominal Scan

Using ultrasound we are able to visualize the organs within the abdominal cavity, an important method of diagnosing a variety of ailments from colics to peritonitis.


Stomach ulcers can affect performance and overall condition of horses dramatically. The clinic has a gastroscope that is capable of visualizing the stomach lining. The extent of ulceration can then be photographed and monitored throughout treatment and recovery.


Cryptorchidectomy (Rig Op)

It is reasonably common for the male equine to have one, or sometimes even two, undescended testicles. The testis can be sitting high in the abdomen or in the inguinal ring area.


Removal of both testicles at castration is vital to ensure the colt/stallion cannot serve mares as this condition is hereditary.

Primary Closure Castration

Primary closure castration involves removal of both testes through skin incisions that are then closed. This technique is carried out in the surgical suite and is the safest means of castration as there is virtually no risk of herniation. Horses can return to full work in only a few weeks after surgery.


Tumours in the ovaries or behavioural problems can necessitate removing the ovaries of the mare.

Rectovaginal Fistula Repair

During foaling, or at service, the mare can sustain an injury that splits the shelf between her rectum and her vagina. It is vital that this is repaired for future pregnancies to be successful.


This shelf can be carefully rebuilt so contamination of the vagina from the rectum cannot occur.

Caesarian Section

Foaling is a very fast and vigorous process in the mare. Complications can arise very quickly and to save the foal it is vital that a caesarian be performed very quickly. We are able to walk the mare straight off the transporter and into the surgery for an emergency caesarian section.