Laser focus

By Connie Orcutt • Published: February 1st, 2014
Category: Animal Airwaves

When a 5-year-old warmblood mare recently started passing dark urine and didn’t respond to antibiotic therapy, the horse’s owner turned to the Large Animal Hospital at the University of Florida for help.

Physical examination revealed a bladder stone the size of an egg. Less than 1 percent of horses develop bladder stones, so this isn’t a common problem. Treatment options include surgical removal or laser lithotripsy [LITH-oh-tripsy]. Lithotripsy uses laser energy to break apart the stone, and it can be performed in a standing, sedated horse.

Not many veterinary facilities perform laser lithotripsy, but fortunately the UF Large Animal Hospital does. In this case, the stone was successfully fragmented and the pieces were flushed out. The mare was discharged several days later, happier and healthier because of this minimally invasive treatment.