Exclusive insight into the University of Liverpool’s new £2m intensive care unit for horses at Leahurst
AN INTENSIVE care unit for horses was unveiled yesterday as part of a £6m University of Liverpool masterplan.
The cutting-edge £2m facility, at the university’s Leahurst Campus in Neston, is the next piece in the jigsaw of the globally renowned Philip Leverhulme Equine Hospital.
It sees over 2,000 equine cases per year ranging from lameness to surgery for acute abdominal problems known as colic – the biggest killer of horses.
In 2009 Princess Anne opened the first £1.5m phase of a series of new developments at the hospital, which now boasts an MRI facility, two operating theatres and refurbished stables for 35 horses ranging from Grand National runners to family pets.
Yesterday Lord Derby formally opened the hi-tech ICU unit, meaning horses have the very best after-care.
The facility comprises 11 intensive care horse boxes – all hooked up to a CCTV control room within the building, allowing 24-hour monitoring of the horses and donkeys.
Foals, although separated by a divider, can recover under the watchful eye of their mother, based within the same unit.
Current patients in the new ICU include retired race horse Rogan, hooked up to a giant drip controlled by a winch outside the stable as he recovers from abdominal problems, and Doris, who had to have keyhole surgery to treat a tumour on her ovary.
The operation was done under local anaesthetic with the horse standing. Assuming a problem-free recovery, she is likely to go home this week.
The unit also has a motion detection system in each horse box – the first of its kind in the UK – allowing vets to identify changes in a patient’s behaviour over a short period of time.
Although the hospital is headed by a team of highly qualified senior equine clinicians, it is also the annual base for 140 final-year University of Liverpool students.
Professor Chris Proudman, a professor of equine studies at the university, said: “New technologies, as well as the advancement of research into colic, cancer and tissue repair, allow us to enhance the treatment of critically ill horses.”