Clinical Activities and Procedures

Photo: Equine Medicine and Dentistry Service

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Full Service Care – Internal Medicine


Heart problems can be present at birth or may develop later in life. These problems can manifest in several ways including poor performance, intolerance of exercise, presence of a heart murmur, irregular heartbeats, distended veins, poor growth, weakness, or collapse. Accurate diagnosis of heart diseases typically requires advanced diagnostic techniques such as cardiac ultrasound, electrocardiography, echocardiology, color flow Doppler, angiography, chemical/electrical conversion, cardiac catheterization, and blood testing. Our specialized veterinary cardiologists use these techniques in horses as part of the in-depth evaluation needed to determine the underlying problem and to recommend appropriate treatment. Detection of subtle heart problems in performance horses may require evaluation of the heart while the horse is exercised on one of the high-speed treadmills in the Claire Giannini Hoffman Equine Athletic Performance Laboratory.


  • Gastroscopy
  • Abdominal ultrasonography
  • Ultrasound-guided biopsy
  • Abdominal radiography
  • Abdominal fluid collection


  • Ultrasound and radiography
  • Ultrasound-guided biopsy/aspirates
  • Muscle biopsy

Neonatal Medicine

Some of the most critically ill patients treated at the VMTH’s Large Animal Clinic are the neonatal foals. Care of these patients is provided by our team of dedicated and highly-trained faculty and resident veterinarians, and patient care specialists. The intensive management and supportive care of these foals is provided in a specialized intensive care unit, the Lucy Whittier Neonatal ICU. Customized stalls are used to pad and support sick foals, allowing around-the-clock care under the watchful eye of the mare in an adjoining stall.


  • Comprehensive neurologic exam
  • Cerebrospinal fluid collection
  • Myelogram, CT scan
  • Slinging capability


Management of cancer in large animals presents several unique challenges to clinicians. Improving patient outcome and enhancing quality of life while realistically addressing owner expectations are important considerations in the treatment of large animal patients with cancer. Our oncology specialists provide comprehensive diagnostic services to accurately identify the type of cancer and guide decisions regarding therapeutic options. The individualized therapeutic plan may include surgery, local or systemic chemotherapy, radiation therapy and immunotherapy, or combinations of these approaches.

Pulmonary Medicine

  • Upper/lower airway endoscopy
  • Pulmonary fluid collection
  • Ultrasound and radiography
  • Lung biopsy


  • Urinary tract endoscopy
  • Transabdominal/rectal ultrasound
  • Biopsy

Photo: Clinical Activities and Procedures

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Full Service Care – Dentistry

Comprehensive Oral Evaluations

These evaluations include external oral findings, oral soft tissue findings, assessment of occlusion and any focal malocclusions, periodontal status, and endodontic status. The oral exam is conducted under standing sedation, and all findings are notated on a recently redesigned dental chart that incorporates the exam components in a systematic fashion.

Detailed Imaging Techniques

The VMTH can perform intra- and extra-oral radiography and CT scanning of the teeth and sinuses to accurately define which teeth are diseased if this remains in doubt after a thorough oral examination and radiographic study.

Restorations, Fillings & Endodontics

Our goal is to maintain the function of any affected tooth. Horses’ teeth are subject to trauma and decay associated with cavities and exposure of vital portions of the tooth. Our state-of-the-art dental unit allows us to perform restorations, including root canals when the pulp is involved.

Periodontal Treatments

Treatments are usually performed in middle-aged and older horses primarily due to food packing in areas between teeth. The goal of periodontal treatment is to slow or stop progression of this painful condition and prevent further bone loss and periodontitis, which ultimately leads to tooth loss.

Teeth Extraction

When extraction of teeth is necessary, the preferred approach is to perform the extraction under sedation with the horse standing. Standing extractions are performed in stocks with sling support, and patients are monitored continuously throughout the procedure by board-certified anesthesiologists. When standing extraction is not possible or is judged to be inappropriate for a particular patient, surgical extraction under general anesthesia is pursued. Also provided is standing sinus surgery for diagnostic and therapeutic purpose 

Training of Veterinarians in Equine Dentistry

In order to build strong collegial relationships with other practitioners, the Service also provides training in routine equine dental examination, dental imaging and occlusal adjustment.

Consultation with Specialists

We welcome referring veterinarians and individual horse owners to contact any of the equine medicine faculty by phone or e-mail to discuss a horse’s problem or to consult on a patient. The VMTH offers elective diagnostic procedures for cases already worked-up by a private veterinarian. Such procedures may include cerebrospinal fluid collection, gastroscopy, ultrasound or radiographic imaging, and biopsies. We also offer specialty service consultations in a multitude of services to provide the best possible diagnostic and treatment outcomes to equine patients.