Standing Thyroidectomy in 10 Horses

Vet Surg. 2018 Jan;47(1):86-92. doi: 10.1111/vsu.12744. Epub 2017 Nov 8.


Objective: To describe a surgical technique for thyroidectomy in horses with thyroid neoplasia under standing sedation and local anesthesia.

Study design: Retrospective study.

Animals: Client-owned horses (n = 10).

Methods: Medical records of horses with a history of thyroid enlargement were included in the study if thyroid gland enlargement was treated surgically via hemi- or bilateral thyroidectomy, with the horse standing and sedated. Data derived from follow-up clinical examination, performance level, recurrence, and cosmetic outcome were evaluated.

Results: Thyroid enlargement was unilateral in 8 and bilateral in 2 horses. Histopathological findings included adenomas (5/10), adenocarcinomas (2/10), cystic hyperplasia (2/10), and C-cell adenoma (1/10). No major complications were encountered during or after surgery. All horses resumed their previous level of exercise within 6 weeks. Recurrence was diagnosed in 1 horse, 7 months after excision, and a second surgery was required. Recurrent laryngeal nerve neuropathy and seroma formation subsequent to surgery were not recorded in any of the cases.

Conclusion: Thyroidectomy can safely be performed with the horse standing and sedated with local anesthesia.

Clinical relevance: Performing standing thyroidectomy does not increase intraoperative or postoperative complications and could be considered for horses with thyroid enlargement amenable to surgery.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / surgery
  • Adenocarcinoma / veterinary
  • Adenoma / surgery
  • Adenoma / veterinary
  • Animals
  • Female
  • Horse Diseases / surgery*
  • Horses
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / surgery
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / veterinary
  • Postoperative Complications / veterinary
  • Posture
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Seroma
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / surgery
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / veterinary*
  • Thyroidectomy / methods
  • Thyroidectomy / veterinary*