Case of the week
This mare came to us because her owners were having difficulty getting her in foal. She was described as having erratic behaviour and no pattern to her oestrus cycle. When we performed ultrasound examination of her ovaries, the right ovary looked like this and was about 10 times the size of the left ovary.
This image and scenario is typical of a mare with an ovarian tumour called a granulosa theca cell tumour (GTCT), which we confirmed with a hormone blood test.
GTCT is the most common type of ovarian cancer in horses. They cause hormone imbalances, but they do not all behave the same so mares can have elevated testosterone, inhibin, both or neither. Behaviour can also be variable - some mares will shut down and not cycle, some will have cycles that follow no distinct pattern, and others will display 'stallion like' behaviour. Sometimes, due to their size, they can cause back soreness and lameness issues.
This mare had her right ovary removed surgically (which can be done standing sedated via laparoscopy), and we expect her left ovary to begin functioning as normal so that she can be bred next season
In House Pathology & Other Treatments
We have a modern portable digital radiography system which allows us to take a comprehensive set of high quality X-rays in minutes, at either our clinic or on your property. We are able to adjust the contrast and exposure (brightness) of the images and magnify areas of interest to allow us to see fine detail of bone structures.
Elite Equine has a special interest in equine podiatry and we frequently meet with farriers’ on farm to take X-rays so that measurements can be taken for corrective hoof trimming or shoeing. X-rays can also be used to monitor progress of therapy and for surgical planning.
We offer X-rays for diagnostic purposes, to investigate injuries and lameness, chronic wounds, and as part of routine pre-purchase examinations or yearling sales.
All images taken are able to be copied to disc or emailed to you for you to keep.
Endoscopy & Ultrasonography
Elite Equine have a portable endoscope for viewing the upper respiratory tract of horses, where we can visualise the airways from the nostril to the lower trachea (windpipe).
This can be used to investigate abnormal respiratory noises heard in performance horses during work and to view the source of a nasal discharge or bleeding from the nose.
Endoscopy can assist with diagnostic sampling procedures to investigate the source of a chronic respiratory conditions (such as wheeze, cough or infection), as well as bladder or even uterine conditions
Ultrasound imaging allows us to evaluate soft tissue structures (tendons, ligaments, muscle or internal organs for example the reproductive tract, liver, intestine, lungs) in a safe and non-invasive manner.
We also use ultrasound to assist with sampling procedures, for example abdominocentesis (viewing and collecting free fluid from within the abdomen) or perhaps before biopsy of a mass.
Some of our vets have completed advanced training in equine ultrasound. Our ultrasound machine is portable and battery powered.
Elite Equine has a well-equipped laboratory and in-house pathology service. We offer full blood profile analysis, urine analysis, faecal egg counts and microscopy.
Our haematology machine measures red blood cells, platelets and white blood cells with differentials. Biochemistry allows us to look at electrolyte levels, assess hydration, total protein, and assess liver, kidney and muscle function.
We are also able to test fibrinogen (an inflammatory protein), blood lactate (an indicator of the quality of blood supply to internal organs), and triglycerides.
Our vets are able to then quickly evaluate blood test results to make recommendations and subsequently monitor response to treatments prescribed. Our in-house microscope allows us to assess blood smears, skin scrapings, abnormal fluid samples and semen quality in a timely fashion.
We have a good working relationship with a regional laboratory, enabling us to offer specialised tests (for example blood hormone assays), and a full pathology service including biopsy analysis, histopathology, and culture & sensitivity of tissue/fluid samples.