Laryngeal surgery


Regarding laryngeal surgery, we mainly carry out classic laryngeal paralysis operations, during which a one-sided laryngeal hemiplegia is repaired using a muscle prosthesis. Laryngeal illnesses in horses can have a range of causes, from degeneration of the recurrent laryngeal nerve and growth disorders to cartilage infections. In this respect, a comprehensive diagnosis that leads to actual surgery and/or ideal therapy using the newest methods and including post-operative care offers a guarantee for successful and targeted treatment of your horse.

Our diagnostic services include:

1. Resting endoscopy
2. Ultrasound of the larynx
3. Stress endoscopy
4. Lung examinations, where necessary

During a stress endoscopy, the state of the larynx is examined while the horse is under physical stress, because there can be a difference between the state of the larynx at rest and while the horse is moving. For example, there are different degrees and levels of laryngeal hemiplegia and, with a classic laryngeal paralysis, we can see whether the larynx collapses or remains stable, which is critical for determining if surgery is necessary or not.

Depending on the results of the diagnosis, even the early stages of laryngeal hemiplegia can be detected. Generally speaking, this has the advantage of allowing us to choose between two surgery methods:

This is a classic laryngeal paralysis surgery where the paralysed muscle is replaced by a prosthesis, meaning the side of the larynx that has been operated on remains permanently open or fixed. This surgery is traditionally done under general anaesthetic while the horse is lying down; however, at Hanse Equine Hospital, we can also perform this surgery while the horse is awake. The vocal cord surgery is done using a laser, which allows us to avoid the otherwise typical surgical wound on the throat, and only requires one single stitch.

This treatment method for laryngeal paralysis leads to considerably fewer complications after the operation and is considered to be a pioneering treatment. The principle is based on a natural approach in which a new nerve is placed into the paralysed muscle to support it in rebuilding itself, and to achieve a natural stability under physical stress.

Plus, we can treat many other laryngeal illnesses here at Hanse Equine Hospital – we always use detailed diagnostics as well as evidence- and experience-based post-operative care for your horse:

  • Chronic coughing
  • Soft-palate displacement
  • Guttural pouch diseases
  • Nasal discharge (one side/both sides)
  • Nasal alar collapse
  • Difficulties swallowing
  • Tumours
  • Cysts