As a patient at the Equine Hospital

The Equine Hospital of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital provides high-quality examinations and care for both outpatients and horses staying at the Hospital for a longer period of time. This website provides information and treatment instructions for the owners of horses arriving and staying for treatment at the Equine Hospital.
Before arrival

Book an appointment in advance through appointment booking. If you are unable to keep the appointment, please cancel it as soon as possible by calling the patient office. The cancellation must be done no later than the morning of the appointment. An administrative fee will be charged for an appointment that has not been cancelled.

If you need emergency care, please call the emergency services before arrival. The veterinarian on call at the Equine Hospital may be visiting a stable, and the advance call can speed up the initiation of veterinary-level care. A clinical veterinary nurse will be present at the hospital during the on-call veterinarian’s stable visits.

Bring the horse’s passport with you. It is also recommended that you provide treatment and examination details if another veterinarian has treated the horse for the same condition or the horse arrives for further examination with a referral from another veterinarian.

Emergency patients at the Equine Hospital are primarily treated on the hospital premises. During on-call hours, stable visits are conducted only if the patient is unfit for transport.

When arriving at the Equine Hospital, please first register at the patient office. The patient office records the basic information related to the owner and the horse as well as the reason for the visit. After registration, the horse will be taken to the Equine Hospital’s stables for examination. When needed, the horse will be given its own (fee-based) stall.

There is a small waiting room for owners at the Equine Hospital with coffee and refreshment vending machines. Nearby student restaurants offer lunch and snacks.

Your horse at the hospital

A veterinarian may determine that a horse requires hospital treatment. All horses are taken good care of at the hospital and there is at least a nurse present at all times. We will call (either the veterinarian or a student participating in the treatment) the owner about the horse’s condition daily unless otherwise agreed. We aim to ensure that the same members of staff treat the patient all the time, but due to night work and teaching, the veterinarian in charge may change.

Veterinarians are aware of the circumstances of all the hospital patients in their specialty. We will typically call during the afternoon if the horse is not suffering from an acute ailment. Other members of staff are not able to comment on the condition of your horse. If there is a significant change in the horse’s condition, we will contact you as soon as possible, but we will first administer the necessary urgent treatment.

The horse’s accumulated treatment costs will be disclosed daily but in many cases it is impossible to estimate the overall costs accurately in advance. Recovery speed, complications and changes in medication as well as the need for supportive care will affect the total costs. The hospital does not know the terms of your horse’s insurance, so the accurate answer to the question of your horse’s treatment costs is only available from the insurance representative of your insurance company. According to the hospital protocol, once the treatment costs exceed €2,000, the accumulated costs will be charged as an advance payment even with continued treatment. NB! The advance payment does not apply to LocalTapiola’s direct compensation patients.

We will not assume responsibility for the horse’s personal belongings or feed, so please only leave a halter for the horse at the hospital, and do not leave reins or a rug. If the horse’s condition allows it to walk outside in an enclosure, this will be agreed with the veterinarian.

As a rule, visiting hours are between 17.00 and 19.00. Especially during patient rounds, the owners are not allowed to be present due to the teaching situation as well as the need to protect the data of the patients. We kindly ask you to register with the staff upon arrival.

Patients are quite often treated in quarantine at the hospital for a variety of reasons, the most common of which include diarrhoea, fever or a recent trip abroad. Please ask for advice on clothing and movement around the horse before visiting your quarantined horse. When needed, the hospital will take samples related to hygiene from all patients.

It is our wish that the horse will be picked up to go home between 8.00 and 21.00. As a rule, the invoice is paid when picking up the horse (cash, debit cards and common credit cards are accepted). The clinic also has the opportunity to offer an instalment scheme through the financing companies Lowell and SAVThe clinic has a direct compensation agreement with LocalTapiola, and we will need the horse’s insurance number for it. Any required special invoicing arrangements must be agreed before discharge with the person in charge of invoicing at the hospital.

­In­struc­tions for horses ar­riv­ing for sur­gery

The horse must fast for approximately 12 hours before the operation, in other words it should not be given food the previous evening. It is recommended that the horse is brought to the hospital the previous evening to ensure that it has recovered from transport and is calm before anaesthesia. A horse arriving for surgery should be clean, so it is recommended it is bathed at home, if needed. To ensure the safety of anaesthesia, the shoes will be removed at the clinic before the operation at the latest. Please also check that the horse has a valid tetanus vaccination before the operation. If needed, it can be given during the procedure.

After surgery, the horse will convalesce at home according to the instructions provided by the hospital. The bandages are usually changed every one or two days. It is also recommended that the horse’s temperature, food intake and amount of defecation is monitored. Should the temperature rise above 38.5 degree Celsius, the horse display pain or changes in the operated area become visible, contact the Equine Hospital.

Equine anaesthesia

A horse is a demanding animal to anaesthetise, and there is a larger risk for complications in anaesthetising horses than, for example, small animals. Anaesthesia includes a risk for muscle damage, bone fractures and respiratory reactions. The Veterinary Teaching Hospital has invested a great deal in ensuring the safety of anaesthesia for our equine patients. The Veterinary Teaching Hospital aims to minimise the risks related to anaesthesia. However, while they are smaller in healthy horses, they cannot be entirely eliminated. Anaesthesia, pain relief and intravenous rehydration are planned individually for each patient at the Equine Hospital. Effective pain relief during surgery promotes the patient’s welfare and quick recovery after the operation. Trained and experienced veterinary nurses monitor anaesthesia, supported by an equine veterinarian and state-of-the-art anaesthesia monitoring devices.

After a general physical examination and the necessary blood tests, the horse is cannulated and sedated, after which it is laid down carefully under anaesthetics in a padded stall. During surgeries, we continuously monitor the animal patient’s blood pressure as well as respiratory gas and anaesthetic levels. In most cases, we also take blood samples, including during anaesthesia, to monitor the patient’s status. We also monitor the horse’s electrocardiogram (ECG) and the sufficiency of tissue oxygenation. In some surgeries, the owner can watch the operation through a window in the operating theatre. After the operation, the horse will wake up and rise to its feet in a padded stall. The patient is then moved from the recovery room to a stall in the stables and, depending on the case, can be discharged either the same evening or the next day.

The most common non-urgent operations include castration and removal of joint mice. Colic and wound treatments are among the most common emergency operations.

Intensive care

The Equine Hospital of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital is the only hospital in Finland that can offer intensive care for adult horses and foals around the clock at the moment. The hospital has expert staff with strong expertise in the treatment of severely ill patients who are on duty 24/7.

Intensive care patients often require continuous intravenous fluid treatment or repeatedly administered medication, such as antibiotics or eye medicine. When needed, horses may also be given extra oxygen in a stall. Some of the stalls are equipped with cameras allowing the surveillance of the horse. A foal in intensive care will be continuously monitored by one student or a nurse, who will monitor and help the foal according to an individually made plan and a veterinarian’s instructions.

In addition to small foals, typical patients requiring intensive care are horses that have been operated on for horse colic, mares suffering from foaling complications as well as patients with diarrhoea or endotoxemia. Eye patients do not require actual intensive care, but due to frequent administration of medication and monitoring, it is often easiest to care for them at the hospital.

Physiotherapy patients

When coming for physiotherapy for the first time, the patient will undergo a physiotherapy examination. The aim of the examination is to map any physiotherapeutic problems.

For example, if the diagnosis is back pain, possible physiotherapeutic problems may include:

  • Pain in back muscles
  • Atrophied back muscles
  • Inactive abdominal muscles
  • Limited mobility
  • Wrong size of saddle

After identifying the problems, short- and long-term goals will be agreed with the owner. The short-term goals can, for example, include managing the pain in the back muscles, improving mobility and increasing muscle mass, activating abdominal muscles, and purchasing suitable equipment.

Long-term goals may include the horse’s return to a top athletic level and the prevention of the recurrence of back pains. A rehabilitation plan will be drawn up to attain these goals which includes a timetable and the forms of therapy chosen to be used.

Note-taking and careful patient documentation are an important part of each patient’s therapy. In conjunction with the treatment, the effectiveness and success of physiotherapy will be continuously assessed and reported to the veterinarian in charge of treatment. We also cooperate with our colleagues working in the field as well as other professional groups.

Cooperation with a veterinarian is of essential importance in successful equine physiotherapy. For example, lameness or back pain patients are often booked appointments simultaneously with both a veterinarian and a physiotherapist for examination and treatment.

You may book an appointment at our clinic either with a referral or directly regardless of your home location or the location of the referring veterinarian. During a clinic visit, the owner should always be present during treatment unless otherwise decided with the owner for personal reasons. You should reserve one to two hours for the clinic appointment.

Physiotherapeutic rehabilitation might be needed when a horse is admitted as an inpatient. In these cases, a hospital physiotherapist will provide physiotherapeutic treatment to the horse up to several times a day. The physiotherapist will keep in touch with the owner by phone, register reports and instructions in the patient records, and provide advice in possible shared therapy sessions.

If the horse’s condition requires intensive rehabilitation or the owner’s schedule is demanding, the horse can be brought to the hospital in the morning and picked up in the evening. In these cases, the horse will be given a day stall, and the physiotherapist may provide a required amount of physiotherapy during the day. The horse may also stay at the hospital several days for rehabilitation and physiotherapy.

When necessary, our physiotherapists also conduct stable visits.