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Breathing problems are a common cause of poor performance in the horse.

Over the last decade effectiveness of treatment has taken a major leap forward because of improved diagnosis provided by overground endoscopy, a technique in which NEH has been at the forefront of since its emergence. Wind surgery describes surgical management of conditions affecting the larynx and pharynx.

Overground endoscopy

The overground endoscope allows video assessment of the upper airways and larynx of horses at exercise.  For Thoroughbred racehorses, this can be done at the trainer’s yard with the horse’s normal work rider. Alternatively, horses can be brought to Newmarket and exercised on the gallops. For sports horses, the procedure can be performed ridden in the school at NEH. The information obtained from overground endoscopy is invaluable in deciding on whether a horse needs surgery, and which surgical procedure is most appropriate.

Wind surgery

A full range of surgical options is available at NEH, including standing laser surgery, such as ventriculectomy and cordectomy (‘Hobday’), as well as procedures under general anaesthetic. Some of the more common procedures include ‘tie forward’ surgery for treatment of dorsal displacement of the soft palate, and ‘tie back’ or ‘laryngeal reinnervation’ procedures for treatment of laryngeal hemiplegia (‘roarers’). 

Our Wind Surgery &
Breathing Problems Team

Mark Hillyer

Mark Hillyer


Specialist in Surgery and Medicine


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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.

Matt Chesworth

Matt Chesworth


Specialist in Surgery


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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.

Other Services

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