Equine Post Cervical Surgery Recommendations

At Home Care For Cervical Stabilization Surgery:

Trailer ride leaving the hospital:

  • The horse should be secure, butt rope, in a trailer stall with their head tied. They should not be able to get turned around and get their head stuck.


  • Please give your horse 2g Phenylbutazone orally once daily for the next 2 weeks.
  • Your horse should also receive 8,000 i.u. Vitamin E orally once daily for the next 60 days.


  • Please take your horse's rectal temperature once a day for the next 2 weeks. Please contact your regular veterinarian if the rectal temperature is greater than 101.5.
  • Please monitor the incision for any excessive heat, swelling, or drainage. Watch for any changes in the ability to flex, extend, and bend the neck. Some soreness is expected, but excessive pain is a concern. If any of these signs develop, please contact your regular veterinarian immediately.
  • Please monitor your horse's degree of ataxia. If your horse appears significantly more ataxic than prior to surgery, please contact us or your referring veterinarian immediately.

Stall & Exercise information:

  • The first 60 days following surgery:
  • Your horse should be confined to a box stall, 12 x 12 with no exercise for 60 days.

After 60 days:

  • Your horse can be hand-walked for 10 minutes per day for the next 30 days.
  • Please do not tie your horse for at least 6 months
  • Please do not use a hot walker for at one year
  • Once your horse is ready to ride again, all riders should be alerted that the horse has had surgery for a spinal cord condition. Horses should be ridden with care in areas that have good footing and no marked elevation change.
  • As with riding any horse, all riders should wear protective headgear. Even Cowboys.
  • We suggest video taping your horse before and after surgery. Then once home to record your horse's progress. You can send these videos to Dr. Grant for his opinion.

Follow up with your Veterinarian:

  • 10-14 days after the surgery date:
  • Your veterinarian can remove the staples. The bandage can be changed as needed until the staples are removed.
  • 60 days after surgery:
  • Have your veterinarian do a neurological exam to re-evaluate your horse suitability for increased exercise.
  • A follow-up radiograph is recommended at this time to more closely evaluate the fusion process and to make sure there is no ventral migration of the implant.

It requires at least 1 year for the maximum recovery from spinal cord compression.

Patience is required to help ensure the best results for you & your horse during this time. If you have questions, please contact your regular veterinarian first.

I am happy to work with you and your veterinarian to answer questions.

Barrie Grant, DVM, MS, diplomate ACVS, MRCVS