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Find out what we provide

CT, MRI scanning and more

Earlswood Veterinary Referrals is a tier 3 veterinary hospital with a full team of dedicated veterinary surgeons, veterinary nurses and support staff. With the out of hours service Vetsnow running out of our premises there are veterinary surgeons and nurses looking after your pets 24 hrs a day 7 days a week. Your animal will never be left alone. There is a vast range of facilities and equipment including CT and MRI scanning enabling the team to offer specialist referral services covering a range of areas of medicine and surgery. Hospitilisation facilities are excellent and we aim to provide a comfortable and caring environment.

Ophtalmology Referrals

Ian Millar BVMS, CertVOphthal, MRCVS is the veterinary ophthalmologist at the hospital, having achieved his certificate in 1984. Ian is an active member of BRAVO (British Association of Veterinary Ophthalmologists), EVO (European Veterinary Ophthalmologists) and REOVVA (European Network in Veterinary Ophthalmology and Animal Vision). Ian has been a BVA eye panel member since 1985.

A new ophthalmology theatre was purpose built in 2011 and cataract surgery facilities have been further improved with the purchase of a highly technical Alcon Infinity Phacoemilsifier. This allows for more rapid cataract removal with less impact on the eye. Acrylic lenses can be inserted as standard. This service includes: 

  • Phacoemulsification cataract removal
  • Glaucoma cases
  • Lendectomy surgeries
  • Intraocular surgeries
  • Paratoid duct transposition surgery for dry eye
  • Entropian and Ectropian surgeries
  • Keratectomy for dermoide chronic indolent ulceration
  • Electoretinography
  • Lens luxation surgery
  • Distichiasis surgery
  • Ian holds monthly satellite consults at Brook Veterinary Clinic in Enniskillen
  • BVA/KC/ISDS eye testing

Medicine and Diagnostic Referrals

Heather Smith oversees our internal medicine and diagnostic referrals. Heather graduated from University College Dublin with first class honours in 2003. She worked for two years as a mixed practitioner before joining the team in Earlswood in 2005. She was awarded the VSSCo educational bursary in 2010 to pursue studies in internal medicine, attending courses in both UK and Europe. She gained the RCVS Certificate in small animal medicine in the same year.

The medicine service accepts cases across all disciplines for investigation and management. Through our facilities at the hospital, our team are able to provide excellent 24 hour care for your patients. The availability of plasma and whole blood on site and our comprehensively equipped laboratory enable us to provide a high standard of care for critically ill patients, including those requiring monitoring of acid- base balance, blood gases, electrolytes (including ionised calcium) and coagulation profiles. With expertise in blood smear analysis and cytology we can reach a presumptive diagnosis rapidly while waiting for external laboratory confirmation. In addition we are able to support our colleagues by offering specific diagnostic procedures to help in their overall investigation.

These services include:

  • Flexible and rigid endoscopes for rhinoscopy and tracheo-bronchoscopy, imaging the gastrointestinal tract and cystoscopy (female medium and large breed dogs) Ultrasonography and ultrasound guided fine needle aspirate or trucut biopsy
  • Bone marrow biopsy
  • Contrast studies such as IVU, barium swallow Laparoscopy to include hepatic and other organ biopsy

Orthopaedic Referrals

Greg Dunlop MA, VetMB, CertSAS, MRCVS achieved his CertSAS in 2010, and is an active member of the AOVet, ESVOT (European Society of Veterinary Orthopaedics and Traumatology) and BVOA (British Veterinary Orthopaedic Association).

We have a dedicated orthopaedic theatre, isolated from the hospital and with unidirectional airflow to allow an exceptionally sterile operating environment. There is a vast range of equipment and implants enabling a choice of technique for problems in all sizes of patients. We have excellent digital software to help with the complex pre-surgical planning required for the correction of angular limb deformities and intraoperative fluoroscopy to confirm reduction and accuracy of implant placement when required.

This service includes:

  • Cruciate disease: TPLO, Cora based TPLO, TTA, Modified Maquet technique enables us to individualise surgery according to the conformation and size of each patient
  • Fracture treatment: All conventional internal fixation systems including cannulated drill bits and headless compression screws. Angle stable locking plate technology (FIXIN,SOP,Synthes), external fixation (linear, hybrid and circular systems). Minimally invasive surgery to include percutaneous plate application and fluoroscopically guided sacroiliac stabilisation
  • Arthoscopy: Fully equipped new Richard Wolf tower including shaver system and intrarticular diathermy with 3 telescope sizes to diagnose and treat elbow dysplasia, shoulder OCD, biceps tenosynovitis, meniscal tears and inspection of cruciate ligaments
  • PAUL for severe medial compartment disease (DJD usually caused by elbow dysplasia) Hip dysplasia and DJD: Pubic symphysiodesis, double/triple pelvic osteotomy and total hip replacement using Kyon cementless implants
  • Angular limb deformity: Luxating patellae, malunions and growth plate anomaly. These deformities can be treated by acute wedge osteotomy or with llizaroff technique to gradually correct and perform limb lengthening
  • A range of suture anchors and biomaterials for prosthetic ligaments and soft tissue augmentation

Cardiology Referrals

Alisair Gibson MVB MRCVS is our cardiologist at the Hospital. He has studied cardiology in both Ontario Veterinary College in Canada and also in Cornell University in the USA.

His services include:

  • Investigation of cardio-respiratory cases in dogs and cats
  • Diagnosis and continued monitoring of acquired heart disease
  • Accurate diagnosis and treatment plans for congenital heart problems
  • Investigation of syncope and collapse
  • 12-lead electrocardiography (including interpretation of faxed ECG’s)
  • Thoracic radiography (including interpretation of radiographs sent or emailed to the practice)
  • Angiography
  • Implantation of “Reveal” devices for long term assessment of arrhythmias and syncopal cases
  • Investigation and treatment of complex arrhythmias
  • Lung lobectomy (via thoracotomy or thoracoscopy), Pneumothorax,
  • Pleural effusions, Pericardial effusion, Patent ductus arteriosus, Mitral stenosis, Tetralogy of Fallot
  • Diagnosis, assessment and surgical treatment of extrahepatic portosystemic shunts
  • Interventional occlusion of intra-hepatic portosystemic shunts
  • Abdominal ultrasonography including assessment of pancreas, adrenals.
  • Echocardiography: Including spectral and colour-flow Doppler investigation, Tissue Doppler, Ultrasonographic, “Bubble-studies”
  • 24 Hour ambulatory ECG / Holter monitoring equipment available including full interpretation/report
  • Cardiothoracic Surgical Service: Thoracotomy, Thoracoscopy (including evaluation and biopsy of intra-thoracic pulmonary and cardiac masses)
  • Interventional treatments: Pericardial effusion, Thoracoscopic and balloon pericardiectomy, Pacemaker implantation, Balloon valvuloplasty for pulmonic stenosis, Intraluminal tracheal stenting for tracheal collapse, Amplatzer duct occcluder placement for treatment of patent ductus arteriosus, Ureteral stenting

Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation

Our Rehabilitation Suite is overseen by Veterinary Surgeon, Siobhan Menzies BVM&S, LFHom(Vet), MRCVS. Siobhan has studied homeopathy in Glasgow, Bristol and Waterford. Further studies in acupuncture, physiotherapy and physical rehabilitation were completed at the Royal Vet College, the University of Tennesse and also with the Association of British Veterinary Acupuncturists.

Our rehabilitation suite was completed and opened in 2009 with Northern Ireland’s first and only Underwater Treadmill. Siobhan is available for appointments on Tuesday, Thursday and every other Friday.

This service include:

Acupuncture – The use of very fine needles to stimulate nerves and the central nervous system to achieve pain relief and relaxation of muscle spasm. This ancient Eastern therapy is now understood scientifically and the World Health Organisation has produced a list of conditions which have been shown to respond to acupuncture. Acupuncture can assist in post surgical recovery. It is also suitable for pets suffering from such conditions as Arthritis, Injuries, Chronic Lameness, Paralysis/Paresis , Neurological cases, Back pain, Neck pain, Muscle Spasm, Lick Granulomas.

Pain management – In addition to advice on pharmaceuticals we use acupuncture, laser, hydrotherapy and physiotherapy to achieve additional pain relief.

Physiotherapy – The use of physical therapies such as hot and cold therapy, massage, passive and active exercises to relieve pain, increase joint range of motion and improve strength and function.

Therapeutic laser – The use of light energy to reduce inflammation, achieve pain relief and promote healing.

Hydrotherapy/ Underwater treadmill – At Earlswood Rehabilitation Clinic we have Northern Ireland’s first Underwater Treadmill which provides advanced hydrotherapy. This utilises the buoyancy of water to support your pets weight while allowing the muscles and joints to regain strength and range of motion without trauma.The benefits are pain relief, improved muscle strength and endurance, cardiovascular fitness, reduced oedema and swelling and increased joint range of motion. Most painful orthopaedic problems will benefit from hydrotherapy.

Homeopathy – An in depth consultation with you and your animal helps to identify the homeopathic remedies appropriate. This therapy is particularly useful for chronic conditions and behaviour/ emotional problems.

MRI Scanning

This mobile MRI unit, based inside a 8 wheel articulated lorry, visits the hospital on a fortnightly basis. Previously reserved for human medicine, MRI scanning procedures are safe and highly effective methods of producing clear cross sectional images of the body. This means that complex neurological and spinal injuries can be reliably diagnosed, and then be effectively treated. Veterinary Practices who have problem cases in this area can refer these to Earlswood for MRI.

With over eight years’ experience in developing mobile veterinary MRI scanning; Burgess Diagnostic’s highly skilled team of radiographers, engineers and veterinary surgeons can provide all of your veterinary cross sectional imaging needs. Following MRI scanning the radiograph images are forwarded to Geoff Skerrit BVSc MIBiol CBIOL DipECVN FRCVS, RCVS for reporting. A full written report is forwarded to the client’s own Veterinary Surgeon usually within one week.

CT Scanning

In 2015 Earslwood Referrals expanded their diagnostic imaging with the installation of a 32 slice Toshiba Acquilon CT Scanner in the newly extended hospital building. This complements the visiting MRI scanner, used primarily or imaging of the central nervous system (CNS), enabling us to offer a wider range of advanced imaging modalities with applications in soft tissue and orthopaedic surgery, medicine and oncology.

Computed tomography (CT) is rapidly emerging as an imaging modality with huge potential in veterinary medicine. Helical multi-slice CT scanners have the advantage of allowing rapid image acquisition, so that whole body areas or limbs can be scanned in a few seconds or less. Consequently, imaging can be performed under sedation rather than general anaesthesia in many instances and at a reduced cost compared to MRI.

The excellent spatial and temporal resolution using this technique can be used to generate 3D reconstructions and facilitates CT angiography, where iodinated contrast medium is rapidly injected to visualise vascular structures, such as porto-systemic shunts.

There are many indications for CT scanning including:-

  • Joint Disease
  • Complex fracture planning, evaluation of angular limb deformities
  • Nasal/Sinus disease
  • Middle, inner and external ear disease
  • Thoracic Imaging
  • Abdominal imaging
  • Angiography
  • Compressive spinal cord disease

Soft Tissue Referrals

  • Brachiocephalic airway disease, laryngeal paralysis, total ear canal ablation Cardiothoracic surgical service
  • Diagnosis, assessment and surgical treatment of extrahepatic portosystemic shunts, diseases of the biliary tree. lnterventional occlusion of intrahepatic portosystemic shunts
  • Laparascopic ovarohysterectomy, liver and other organ biopsies, adrenalectomy Temporary urinary diversion (urethral bypass) in certain cases to avoid urethrotomy or
  • urethrostomy, ectopic ureter. lnterventional treatments: Ureteral and urethral stenting (useful in the management of transitional cell carcinoma)
  • Wound management and reconstruction: skin grafting, axial pattern flaps, myocutaneous flaps for reconstruction following radical surgery for neoplasia or severe shearing injury

Neurology Referrals

Access to a fortnightly MRI service has broadened the range of neurological investigations that we are able to undertake. Accurate lesion localisation through neurological examination with myelography (cervical or lumbar puncture) or MRI is essential for the preoperative planning of neurosurgical procedures. We achieve consistently excellent outcomes following decompressive surgery for disc disease. Post-operatively, our patients benefit from daily physiotherapy under the direction of our rehabilitation unit and 24 hour specialist nursing care for recumbent patients.

This service includes:

  • 24 hour availability for spinal emergency referrals or for advice
  • Compressive disc disease: Ventral slot, hemilaminectomy, mini hemilaminectomy or pediculectomy
  • Caudal cervical spondylomyelopathy: Ventral slot and/or distraction fusion Lumbosacral stenosis: Dorsal laminectomy and foraminotomy
  • Spinal trauma
  • Surgery for congenital vertebral canal stenosis, atlantoaxial instability, subarachnoid cyst, spinal meningioma resection
  • Seizure investigation and management
  • Screening for Chiari malformation and associated syringomyelia