What to Expect: Horse Hospitalization

When your horse requires hospitalization, it usually means there is a significant issue that requires specialized attention. We understand that it is stressful when your horse has a serious health concern, and you are likely worried about his or her health and prognosis. The faculty, staff and students at the UTCVM Veterinary Medical Center’s Equine Hospital are dedicated to the compassionate care of each of our patients. We will also work with your primary veterinarian to ensure continuity of care upon your horse’s discharge.  COMMUNICATION A member of the veterinary care team will update you on your horse’s condition a minimum of once a day or as often as needed. If there is a significant change in your horse’s condition, we will contact you right away, even if it is in the middle of the night. If you have a question or concern, or are just worried, please call us at 865-974-5701. You are welcome to visit your horse while he or she is hospitalized. To maintain our quality of care, decrease patient stress, and provide owners with the most current and accurate information about their animals, we have established a visitation policy similar to those found in human hospitals. Animals that are sick require rest just as hospitalized humans would. This policy has been instituted for your safety and for the comfort of all hospitalized patients. Please ask about our visitation policies and let the front desk staff know when you would like to visit. Always check in with the reception staff when you arrive. COMPASSIONATE CARE During hospitalization, your horse is monitored around the clock by dedicated members of the veterinary team. Any changes in condition or comfort are rapidly evaluated and addressed, even if they occur in the middle of the night. We have a dedicated Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for our most critical patients. The ICU features: • In-stall oxygen • Hoists to provide support for debilitated horses and horses with neurologic problems • IV pumps for precise administration of fluids and other medications • Open stall fronts that allow intensive evaluation of every patient • Stall-side blood analysis • 24-hour access to the clinical pathology service for complete blood analysis enabling rapid evaluation of any significant changes in patient status We also have a separate Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for critically ill foals. The NICU features: • Stall design enables the mare to stay by her foal’s side while the foal is receiving intensive, lifesaving care • Separate unit protects immunocompromised sick neonates • In-stall oxygen • Stall-side resuscitation, ECG, blood pressure, and treatment supplies • Whole blood and plasma transfusions Isolation facilities are available to protect severely immunocompromised patients and to separate patients with infectious diseases. These facilities include: • Separate stalls, ventilation system, and supplies protect the sick horse and the remainder of the hospital’s patients • Isolation stalls are directly visible to ICU nurse stations to enable constant evaluation of patients • Hoist stalls assist horses with contagious neurologic disease COMMITMENT TO EXCELLENCE Equine specialists who are board certified in surgery, internal medicine, anesthesia, reproduction, or sports medicine and rehabilitation supervise the care of every patient. Board- certified specialists commonly have 4-8 years of additional training after veterinary school, which includes a year of internship, 3 years of residency, and meeting stringent certification requirements. They have undergone specialized training that is not part of a typical veterinary education and are the experts in their field with advanced knowledge and skills. In addition to the specialists in our Equine Hospital, the UTCVM Veterinary Medical Center also has world renowned veterinary specialists in anesthesiology, diagnostic imaging, cardiology, ophthalmology, dermatology, nutrition, oncology, and neurology. Unique in the state and region, these highly trained specialists are available for on-site consultation and evaluation of your horse. Our Equine Surgery service is fully staffed around the clock and able to provide emergency surgery for colic, severe lacerations, fractures, and other trauma. We have a state-of- the-art surgical facility with padded induction and recovery stalls. Anesthesia is always administered and monitored by a board-certified anesthesiologist and all recoveries are assisted. The surgery service has experts in diagnosing and correcting surgical problems of foals and adult horses including intestinal, respiratory, musculoskeletal, dental, reproductive, and minimally-invasive procedures such as arthroscopy, laparoscopy, and endoscopy.


Our mission is to provide outstanding patient care and to create a positive and memorable customer experience.

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