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The major disciplines in equine soft tissue surgery are abdominal surgery and airway surgery. Other common types of soft tissue surgery include urogenital surgery, and cutaneous (skin) tumour removal.

Dystocia

Dystocia describes difficult foalings. The condition is life-threatening for both the mare and foal. Upon arrival to the hospital the team get to work immediately. Whilst the surgeon makes an initial assessment, the team prepare the mare for general anaesthesia and surgery so that no time is wasted if it is needed to proceed with either. Most mares presenting to the hospital will be anaesthetised and attempts made to deliver the foal. If progress cannot quickly be made, progression to surgery follows for caesarean section. Once the foal is delivered the medicine team work to revive the foal and further assess requirements for ongoing treatment and care. 

Laparoscopic surgery

Laparoscopic surgery describes keyhole surgery of the abdomen. The most common laparoscopic procedures performed at NEH include ovariectomy for removal of abnormal ovaries such as granulosa cell tumours, cryptorchid castration ('rigs') and oviductal prostaglandin treatment. The latter pioneering technique was developed by recently retired NEH vet Huw Neal, along with the Equine Fertility Unit. Most procedures are performed standing using sedation and local anaesthesia.

Laser surgery for tumour removal (sarcoids and melanomas)

Laser surgery is a good option for removal of skin tumours, such as sarcoids. Sarcoids are locally invasive, with tumour cells spreading and invading into the tissues surrounding the sarcoid. In addition to removing the sarcoid, any invading cells must also be removed. Laser surgery creates a layer of cell death adjacent to the site of surgical excision, effectively removing any invading cells and thereby reducing the risk of tumour re-growth.

Colic

Wind surgery

Anaesthesia

We provide the highest standard of anaesthesia, analgesia and intra-operative care in our equine patients. In order to achieve this, we use modern anaesthetic machines and monitoring equipment and the most up to date anaesthetic techniques available.  

Our anaesthesia department is run by a team of four Diplomate Anaesthetists who are specialists in anaesthesia and analgesia and have extensive experience of anaesthetising complex cases. They also provide the training for our intern veterinary surgeons.   

We appreciate that use of general anaesthesia brings concerns to horse owners because of perceived risk. We always try to ensure that our clients have an understanding of the anaesthetic procedures to be performed and the level of inherent risk. 

Our Soft Tissue
Surgery Team

Mark Hillyer

Mark Hillyer

Partner

Specialist in Surgery and Medicine

BVSc PhD DipECVS DipECEIM FRCVS

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  • Head of Internal Medicine and Intensive Care
  • European Specialist in Equine Internal Medicine

Mark graduated from the University of Bristol in 1987. After graduation he worked at the Veterinary School at the University of Bristol as an equine and farm animal clinician. Here he developed his interests in equine internal medicine and soft tissue surgery. Following completion of a residency training, he became a Lecturer in 1995 and completed a PhD on equine colic in 2002. The same year he moved to Newmarket providing a hospital based referral service in equine internal medicine and soft tissue surgery. Mark has RCVS certificates in equine practice, equine soft tissue surgery and equine internal medicine and is also a Diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Surgeons and a Diplomate of the European College of Equine Internal Medicine.

Mark has published over 45 scientific papers, written 5 book chapters and is co-author and editor of Diagnostic Techniques in Equine Medicine, which is now in its second edition. In addition Mark has given presentations at over 30 national and international meetings. He is an Editorial Consultant of Equine Veterinary Journal as well as co-chairman of the Clinical Evidence Board. In 1997 he was awarded the Equine Veterinary Journal Richard Hartley Clinical Prize. Mark is a member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Equine Board and has been both a regular examiner and advisor for the RCVS equine certificates.

William Barker

William Barker

Partner

Specialist in Surgery

BVSc MVetMed Dipl.ECVS MRCVS

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  • Degree – Liverpool University 2008
  • Internship – Newmarket Equine Hospital, Newmarket. 2008-2010
  • Surgical Residency – Royal Veterinary College, University of London 2010-2013

Will returned to the Newmarket Equine Hospital on completion of his surgical residency to join the referrals team and specialise in equine surgery. In February 2014 Will successfully passed the qualifying examinations of the European College of Veterinary Surgeons, becoming a Diplomate of the college and gaining recognition as a European Specialist in Equine Surgery.

Will has published several papers in peer reviewed scientific journals and presented both nationally and internationally, on subjects including soft tissue injuries to the tarsocrural joint and sinus surgery.

Prior to embarking on his veterinary career Will was a keen event rider, unfortunately Will no longer competes but still finds time to ride.

Matt Chesworth

Matt Chesworth

Associate

Specialist in Surgery

BVM BVS MVetMed Dipl. ECVS MRCVS

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Matt graduated from Nottingham University Veterinary School in 2011. He then undertook an internship before spending 4 years as an ambulatory vet in a busy equine hospital in Yorkshire. Following this, he completed a surgical Residency at the Royal Veterinary College where he developed a keen interest in both soft tissue and orthopaedic surgery. He joined NEH in 2019. In February 2020 Matt successfully passed the qualifying examinations of the European College of Veterinary Surgeons, becoming a Diplomate of the College and a European Specialist in Equine Surgery.

Matt Smith

Matt Smith

Partner

Hospital Lead & Specialist in Surgery

BVetMed Dipl. ECVS DEO MRCVS European and RCVS Specialist in Equine Surgery

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Matt is a 2001 graduate of the Royal Veterinary College. After graduation he completed an internship at Greenwood Ellis and Partners, before returning to the RVC where he undertook his residency in Equine Surgery. He became a Diplomat of the European College of Veterinary Surgeons in 2007, and has been recognised by the RCVS as a specialist in Equine Surgery since 2008. Matt undertook additional studies resulting in passing the RCVS Diploma in Equine Orthopaedics in 2011. His thesis was on clinical applications of endoscopic techniques in orthopaedic surgery.

Since 2006 Matt has worked as a surgeon at Newmarket Equine Hospital, and in 2021 became hospital lead. He is interested in all areas of equine surgery, but with particular emphasis on orthopaedic surgery, and more specifically arthroscopy and fracture repair.

Other Services

Our hospital veterinary surgeons are consultants in their field, holding specialist qualifications endorsed with extensive clinical experience.