Equine Post Cervical Spine Surgical Care

After Care in the Hospital and at Home

The majority of equine post cervical spinal surgeries require only minimal aftercare. Following surgey, horses usually eat right after returning to their stall. A postoperative compression bandage is left on for 5-7 days to assist in the reduction of any postoperative swelling. If necessary the bandage can be changed and replaced while the staples are still in.

A post operative radiograph is taken within days of surgery to make sure that the implant has not migrated. If the recovery was traumatic or stormy a post operative radiograph will be taken sooner to ensure the implant has not changed position.

Your horse will stay at the hospital for approximately 7 days. The staples will be removed in 10-14 days post operation by your veterinarian.

Once home, your horse will be in a 12 x 12 stall for 60 days with no exercise to encourage a solid fusion. We also recommend oral vitamin E during this time. Platinum Performance makes a quality natural Vitamin E that you can check out at this Link for Platinum Performance.

After 60 days, have your veterinarians evaluate for increased activity including hand walking or paddock exercise. We recommend a follow-up radiograph taken at this time to more closely evaluate the fusion process and to make sure there is no ventral migration of the implant. Starting after 60 days, you can hand walk for 10 mins a day for the next 30 days. In addition, we do not recommend you tie your horse for 6 months and do not use a hot walker for one year.

Many horses can be returned to active training within 4 months of surgery but it will require at least a year for the slow healing spinal cord to regain its maximum improvement. Exercise, including core exercise, is very important during the rehabilitation period. We have had patients race and win within a year of the procedure. Riders should always be made aware that the horse has had this procedure.

Complications from this procedure can occur in about 10% of the cases.

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.